Tag Archives | Retired Racehorse Project

Taxi’s First Rated Show!

Taxi First Recognized Show

Taxi has been a real star as of late! He went to his first rated show and did a really good job!! Mind you we had to travel all the way to Temecula for this one. He finished with 3 firsts and 1 second. Blue certainly looks amazing on him.

Taxi First Recognized Show

We still have a lot of work to do but it was certainly nice to see his scores improve every time he went down centerline. I think our biggest obstacle at this point is getting Taxi to relax a bit more in show ring. I certainly can’t blame him for getting anxious in a new environment. Let’s not forget this handsome fella has had less than 90 days of retraining. However, I also know the more we travel and the more places we go he will soon have the confidence to face whatever is thrown his direction. So we are doing just that.

Taxi First Recognized Show

I plan on taking him to as many different facilities as I can in the next two months and hopefully hit another horse show or two come September. I am just so proud of the horse and everything he has accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Taxi First Recognized Show

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Salsa’s New Friend

Salsa is doing wonderful. Everyday he grows a little stronger. We are still working on establishing some more balance at the canter. So as of right now he is still only getting ridden at the walk and trot. However, I think we will attempt some canter work under saddle in the coming weeks. He just had his teeth done so he is enjoying a little downtime.

This handsome man has quickly become a barn favorite. With his wonderful disposition it’s not hard to see why. The kids at the barn all love him. (He likes them to… kids = treats and hugs!!). One of my students, 11 year old Gabi is head over heels for him and spent a good majority of her week helping me out with him. She even rode him at the trot in the round pen. Although he is green, he is a patient teacher and certainly has Gabi pretty fluent when it comes to lunging horses and working with them on the ground.

This horse has an amazing future ahead of him. I’m so happy to be apart of his story!! A special thank you to Enviro Equine for recently sponsoring Salsa and supporting us on our journey. It’s been really rewarding to see how many people have come together for one special horse.

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Meet our 2017 RRP entry Secret Room!

Salsa (officially nick-named Mr. Squishy) is being retrained to compete in the Retired Racehorse Project Makeover to be held in Lexington, KY October 2017.  He comes from the CARMA Placement Program and is currently in full training with Lindy Christensen at LC Equestrian in Las Vegas, NV.  We will be reporting on Salsa’s progress bi-monthly.  He was delivered to Lindy on January 15, 2017.
Salsa and Penelope
Lindy writes:  Salsa  has such a good head on shoulders. From the moment he stepped off the trailer he was level headed and extremely down to earth. He’s made friends with our barn pig Penelope and certainly enjoys his time in the grass pastures. We’ve been going nice and slow but nothing seems to phase him. All of our work has been on the ground. Lots of lunging to help establish balance and rhythm. I put a dressage saddle on him last week and he did really well with the irons knocking around on his sides. I’ll introduce the bridle this week as well as some side reins so he can slowly get comfortable with the idea of connection, on his terms. Jenny Valley of Valley Equine Massage has agreed to donate her time and services to Salsa. Salsa will be receiving biweekly massages to keep his muscles nice and loose and to insure we aren’t pushing him any further than what he is physically ready for. This one has heart and aims to please. He has shown some spectacular movement and I’m so excited develop him. We are waiting to see if Salsa will be sponsored for his supplements but in the meantime he is getting MSM and U-Guard mixed with some rice bran and beet pulp. He loves his bucket! Overall I’m very impressed with him and can’t get over how mellow and sweet he is. I haven’t seen a single vice.  He really is a spectacular horse.
To help Salsa please donate to his page here: http://neighsavers.org/portfolio-items/secret-room/
And/Or purchase some delicious Estolia’s Salsa:  http://www.estolias.com/salsa-that-saves-lives

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Oso Schooling at Woodside

Another great trailering and training session with Oso at the horse park. After a nice hack around the cross country course, we headed up to the arena to pop over a few show jumps. In the last few weeks, I have focused on developing Oso’s strength and adjustability in the canter through work in the lunge. Lunging Oso in side reins and Pessoa system (not something I use on every horse, but Oso seems to like the support it provides) has helped him develop confidence in his canter and steadiness in the bridle. It has definitely paid off, as he trotted and cantered small cross rails and verticals in good rhythm, even throwing in a flying lead change when we changed direction. We ended by going up and down the banks in the arena–Oso’s first introduction to this element! Looks like we might be off to our first show on Sunday, stay tuned!

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Oso’s First Cross Country Jump!

Oso and I had a great ‘field trip’ to the Woodside horse park yesterday! He trailered like a gentleman, and was calm and confident as we rode out to the cross country course. Despite horses galloping in the distance, he was focused and listening. Once again, he went right into the water without hesitation, and we were able to quietly trot and canter around with other horses (something he used to find very exciting when we would attempt this in the ring). Oso even jumped his first cross
country log! I am very proud of him, he was a pleasure to ride and seemed to enjoy himself!

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Building a Few New Skills

In the last week or so, I started working Oso in hand from the ground with the intention of increasing his suppleness under saddle, developing his focus, and teaching him more extensive lateral work. I stand next to Oso on the ground and use taps with a long whip to direct his hind end and the reins to keep him soft and round through the poll and the neck. As expected, Oso was smart and willing as we tackled something new. He also really enjoyed the cookies I fed him throughout the training process! He quickly picked up shoulder in, haunches in, and a bit of turn on the haunches. I am looking forward to putting these new skills to work under saddle!

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Learning to Jump

As Oso learns to jump, I have made it my goal to challenge and help him progress while keeping him feeling confident and successful about his ‘job’. Some horses take to jumping easily and quickly, others take a bit longer to figure out how to jump. Oso is careful for the most part to keep his feet out of the way of the jump, and when we are able to maintain a good canter coming to the jump, he is simple to ride! Our biggest challenge is to continue to improve the consistency of balance and rhythm in Oso’s canter. We have worked on a few different exercises so far: trot poles for strength and coordination, canter poles on the ground to improve adjustability and jumps on the circle to improve suppleness. In the next week I am planning on working on Oso’s canter on the flat, (getting him to accept my leg and allow me to sit a little more deeply in the saddle) and hopefully start jumping through small grids!

 

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Learning Some New Things

July 5th 2016 – I am so proud of Oso, he is becoming accustomed to handling trailering to other locations to ride with no issues. I have made an effort in the last week to get him over to the Woodside Horse Park a couple times within the span of a few days, as it sometimes helps young horses figure out that trailering is part of their program and not a big deal. Today was our best ride yet, we hacked all over the cross country course, up hills, around jumps, and through the water! He walked right into the water with no problems. We also went in the arena where the A circuit Hunter/jumper show was being held and schooled over a couple of jumps! He did not blink an eye at the brightly colored poles, plants and gates. Oso is brave to the jumps without being hot, I think he likes to jump! Jumping training has also helped his canter develop. Having a jump or pole in front of him makes him balance from his hind end. I am looking forward to seeing how Oso does cross country schooling!

 

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Oso is Growing Up!

June 19th 2016 – Oso has made great strides since our last blog update. I started him over some small fences, and we made our first trip away from the home barn! With a young horse, my only goal for the first ‘field trip’ is to make it a positive experience, even if that means simply trailering to a new place, walking around, and trailering home. Of course, given Oso’s easy going and affable personality, I had high hopes we would be able to accomplish even more on our first trip! He exceeded my expectations, and we had a great ride, at the Woodside Horse Park! After getting over some initial nervousness about being in such a large space, we were able to do some nice trot work, and then hang out quietly as I taught a few students in their horses. We ended with a trail ride on cross country course. Looking forward to our next adventure, and hopefully our first show sometime soon!

Oso Woodside At The Horse ParkOso Woodside In the ArenaOso Woodside On the Cross Country Course

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Making Progress…

June 4 2016 – I have tried to take a picture of Oso every few weeks or so to keep track of how he is developing. It is so much fun to see OTTBs go from race horse to performance/riding horse!

Oso March 11 2016Oso June 3 2016

The last few weeks with Oso have been filled with developing strength (and steering) in the canter and preparing for our first ‘field trip’ off the ranch. I am planning to take Oso over to our local show venue (Woodside Horse Park) in the next week or so. In preparation, we incorporated some new things into our daily rides. When starting a young OTTB, I like to develop a routine that stays relatively the same until the horse is comfortable with the basic requirements of being a riding horse. Horses appreciate a certain amount of predictability in their training. Since Oso now comfortably walks, trots, and canters quietly with focus, I have begun altering our rides slightly to introduce some new factors. I find the more new circumstances a young horse is exposed to, the calmer and more easily they handle new situations. We have started riding in the bigger, spookier ring, at different times of day, and have both started and ended on the trail during our rides. I am looking forward to seeing how Oso will handle trailering for a ride at a different location–stay tuned for our next update!

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We Can Canter!

image1A week or two ago, I started working Oso in the canter a bit, just to see how well he was able to balance himself initially. Some young thoroughbreds are heavy in the bridle in the canter as they are used to leaning on the bit or rider’s hands for balance. For dressage and jumping, we want to help the horse to learn to accept the bit, hold a steady contact, but balance from behind and remain relatively light on the forehand. My initial impression was that Oso had good natural balance in the canter, but his straightness, rhythm, and acceptance of the bit was going to take some work. Our first few canters consisted of a few straight strides, followed by several sideways and silly steps! The next few rides (and the last week or so) I have focused on continuing to develop our ability to bend to the right, and our adjustability in the trot. We revisited the canter for the first time in our latest ride, and Oso was fantastic in both directions! He picked up both leads on the first try, and was able to canter a big circle quietly and in good balance! We even had a few steps where Oso softened and held a contact. Love this boy!

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Trail Ride Time!

image1It’s been a great week with Oso, we went on a little trail ride today and he was a good boy! With young horses, I find the more they get out to see different things the more focused they are when asked to work in the arena. This is definitely proving to be true with Oso. A few days after moving to the bigger turnout, we had a real test of his focus while riding. New horses were being let out into the turnouts (right next to the arena), and they started running around playing. In the past this has been a definite cause of excitement for Oso! This time, though he looked to check out what the other horses were doing, he stayed calm and remained focused on our work in the arena. Today we did a relaxed walk on the trail to finish up our ride. Oso has a good head on his shoulders!

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