It has been a really good week for Kurt and I. Kurt found out he will be stationed at Dover AFB for at least a few more years which is always good news for us. Then he found out that he was promoted to Master Sergeant. He had studied so hard for that test and really didn’t think he would make it (didn’t have much time in rank or time in service for this particular testing). It was also a super low promotion rate of 18%. There were only 3,841 selected out of the 20,528 eligible. He was shocked to get the news and I am just so proud of him. He works harder than anybody to be the best at what he does.
I had also found out that I was selected for the RRTP Thoroughbred Makeover- http://retiredracehorsetraining.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=243:26-thoroughbred-makeover-trainers-selected&catid=79:thoroughbred-makeover. There are 26 of us who were selected from over 142 applicants. There is a really diverse group and I am excited to read more about the other participants.
I wanted to do the makeover to highlight the CANTER MA retraining model and illustrate that 501c groups can be a great place to horse shop. I liked the format of this particular project because it wasn’t a challenge of who was the better rider or which horse progressed the fastest. You basically are going to just show your training process and the real good, bad and ugly side of retraining Tb’s. That is the whole reason that I write this blog. It is so much fun to get to see all the steps.
I was thinking that I would go “shopping” at our CANTER farm but when the parameters of the project said that a horse could have less than fifteen rides and still be considered not to have retraining, I decided to use Gib. I need to make sure that I don’t get so busy that I can’t focus on this project (and my regular job..let’s not forget that!) so it made more sense not to add another horse to the list of horses that I need to ride. Gib only had about six or seven rides on him so we can consider him eligible for the makeover. I still have Letterman, Sky, PJ, Legend (rehabbing) and Gib in my rotation so that is quite enough already. I hope to get Sky and PJ sold but no real hurry on that. I am lucky enough to have a great bunch of girls who help me with the riding. We are going to have so much fun this summer!
We will be keeping a page on the RRTP website to chronicle the process. I may post both places but I haven’t figured that all out yet.
I thought it might be interesting for readers to see what I wrote about on my application. I am bit insecure when it comes to talking about myself but I will post it here because it is real and from the heart.
My primary focus is retraining thoroughbreds off of the track for both CANTER and personal clients. I have also broke horses of all breeds, and worked on dealing with horses labeled as problem horses. I also do quite a bit of sales with great success.
A successful competition with a horse that is beginning their retraining is all about having a positive experience. Competing a young horse isn’t about winning ribbons, it’s about building confidence and ensuring the horse is happy and comfortable. I am the type of trainer that focuses on building positive experiences in every outing; making sure that I enter the level where the horse will be sure to have a good experience. My version of success is when a horse goes to a competition and is relaxed and happy about the job it is being asked to do. Most of my competing is at the very basic levels of every discipline where I am introducing the horses to their first shows. Success is when I have done an excellent job preparing a horse at home so that they know what to expect at their first show and they have a great experience. I don’t focus on perfection, only that I leave with a horse that has come away with more knowledge than they arrived with, and a positive experience.
I have an excellent knowledge of what type of feed program works best for OTTB’s and allows them to build weight and muscle without having any adverse effects such as being too hot. I understand saddle fit and how that affects the performance of OTTB’s. Therefore, I pay attention to properly fitting tack so that the horse is comfortable and not hindered under saddle. I tailor my turnout situation to creating the most relaxed horse possible. I am excellent at figuring out any underlying issues that an OTTB may have and treating them to get them comfortable again. I work with an excellent farrier which is essential in ensuring we have a comfortable horse. No foot no horse! The dentist and chiropractor play a large role in my program as well to ensure optimal comfort and physical performance of the horse. My extensive experience allows me to understand how a horse’s job at the track will correlate into retraining. I can recognize when a horse is muscle sore and whether I need to back off or push through it. I believe that I do a really good job at bringing a horse along on the flat, so that they develop the correct muscles without getting sore or cranky.