From racing to riding... the training diary of an off the track Standardbred

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Good Comes With the Bad

So sorry for the lack of posting. So much has been going on lately between family, friends, riding, school work, applying for college, etc. It all got me thinking about life and what I truly want to do. After months and months of thinking, I have decided that I need to move on to another horse that will be able to take me where I want to go with my riding. Realizing that it will not be possible financially or time-wise, I can only have one horse through college. What does this mean? Jet has to find a new home. This decision was one of the hardest things I had to do. After months of going back and forth trying to decide if I could emotionally handle losing Jet for a second time, I quickly sent Jet's old owner an email asking her if she would want him back. It was a quick decision to write the email and I knew ti had to be done before I changed my mind again. This is what it said:

"Hello P,

I am considering finding Jet a new home. I love him to death, but in order to do what I want to be able to do with my riding, I need to find a new horse. Since I am going to college in the fall, I know I will only be able to have the time and money for one horse. This leaves me in a horrible position. I cry even thinking about finding Jet a new home, but I know it needs to be done. I was wondering if you would be interested in taking him back? It could be a free lease or ownership. If you are interested, we could work something out. You were such a great owner and he was fat, happy, and healthy with you and got to live on acres and acres of open fields. While I have had him, we have done lots of shows, hunter paces, and fairs. We are going well wtc, and have jumped up to 3'. He loves trail rides and gallops in fields. We have even pulled an inflatable snow tube behind him during the winter (I'll attach a video below. He is such an awesome horse!) He lovessss to drive and that may be something he would excel in.

You can email me through here or call/text me at 508 *** ****.

Thank you,


Within minutes, I got the following response:

"Hi Emily,
OMG. So good to hear from you! Congrats on college. Where are you going? What will you be doing for riding? 
I may be interested, but I wouldn't be able to do anything for a few months. Any health issues with him? How easy is he to WTC and jump small stuff - xrails to 2'? He was always such a good boy. Is he still an easy keeper? What's your time frame?

My daughter has a rescued Saddlebred TB cross that we thought we'd be able to just condition for her, but he is progressing with neurological issues that are worsening despite all of our efforts. He has gone from just being "weak", to unsafe to ride, now to unsafe to himself in the pasture. I believe we have exhausted all medical intervention options, and we are being advised the end should be near in all fairness to him. (he's up there in age too. estimate 17-20 so it's the right thing to do.)
My daughter is 12 now and about my size (5'1, but she is much skinnier :)   and she just wants a buddy to bond with and hack around, have fun and take some lessons on. I would say she's an advanced beginner. She actually rides better than that, but she's a little timid, and now hasn't been on regularly in about 6 months. I would love to see the video of the snow tube. (I didn't get it) That sounds so fun! I've always wanted to do that with the kids, but my horses are crazed wimps! It would NOT go well. They are also unsuitable for her, at least for several more years. I'm not really sure she'll ever want to be crazy competition girl anyway, which is fine with me. One chronically injured person is plenty. Haha.

Let me know if you think he would suit her. I always loved him too. I'm not sure what I would have done if he didn't go back to you. I know how much you love him. At the very least I could probably find a job for him as a happy farm trail horse (showing the crazy young greenies how to do it without exploding) as long as he's not unsound. I love my Vet, but I could use a break from seeing them all the time (and I don't even want to add up how much I've spent this year), and I'm done with the emotional exhaustion. My daughter is in denial about her horse's condition and is still expecting a magical outcome. It's drained me as you can imagine.

Feel free to email or call me. I'd love to see the video and photos of him! And thanks for thinking of me :)

PS- How's your mom? Tell her hi for me. "

After a few more emails back and forth and some text messages, it has been decided that Jet will go back to his old owner so her 12 year old daughter can love him and ride him. P is a trainer and will put a few good months of dressage work into him too. She will use him as a trail horse/buddy to help her babies learn the ropes. He will be going back late April so it gives me some time to accept the fact that this is really happening, and needs to happen in order for me to do what I want to do. I have been casually looking for a new horse since last July. I have seen close to 40 horses now between private sellers, sales barns, and thoroughbreds on the track at Suffolk Downs. I have looked at everything from quarter horses to thoroughbreds to warmbloods to saddlebreds and everything else you could possibly imagine.I have only really really liked three of those horses. One fell through because of legal reasons (it was an abandoned horse and it was a long process of transferring ownership), one was a TB on the track that sold before I could get the vet out there to do a vet check, and other was bought out from underneath me by a friend who said that I could make the decision on the horse before they did. So it has been a crazy battle of finding the right horse and then actually getting it before someone else does. 

I went to go see a 3yr old, coming 4, TB gelding yesterday that I really liked (make that 4 horses now that I have actually liked). He is super cute, has a good personality (is a little to playful with his mouth though...), sound, put together well, and has been started undersaddle by a close friend of mine. My trainer is going to look at him with me this week and we will see what she has to say about him. I know that if I do not find a horse by the time Jet goes back, I will stop riding. Last time Jet left, I wouldn't even look at a horse for 6 months. By having a new horse already, the transition will hopefully be easier...I just feel so selfish doing this...but it does need to be done. I will always love Jet and I will take him back in a heartbeat if anything goes array down the road. Fingers crossed that he will make the little girl just as happy and as good of a rider and he has made me. 

This is the baby TB. Opinions on him?


  1. What a tough decision, but it sounds like you have a great potential set up with P. Hope it all works out happily ever after. Jet sounds like he'd be perfect for the daughter, and vice versa.

    1. I hope so. It makes me feel a bit better knowing that P already knows Jet and knows all of his quirks and still loves him ;) Fingers crossed it all works out as planned. I have been trying to read your blog but have been unable to access it recently. Maybe my computer is messing up?