Down the track they come

No news to report on the CANTER horses that I have at the moment. Parker’s ulcer meds are on the way and we are going to give that a shot. He had dropped a bunch of weight very quickly after his choke incident but he seems to have put most of it back on. He is an easy keeper but I have upped his calories a bit adding in a bit more of the senior feed with some rice bran. He has gotten used to eating soup for meals although it still pisses him off. He is quite vocal about his anger and makes me laugh with all his noise and banging that he does while eating. He is very serious about food and will remain in the barn walking from stall to stall cleaning up every last little kernel that might have been left by the other horses before joining them out in the field.

Training horse has become a different horse which is really cool to see. His manners are night and day from when he arrived and I am really confident that I am returning a better horse to his owner which is what I am always aiming to do. He will occassionally have a moment under saddle but instead of mentally checking out it is just now a brief moment and then he is back to work. He has become accepting of the aids and the use of the spurs/stick. I find it is very important to have a horse that respects the whip and he needed to learn it meant forward and didn’t warrant a huge reaction. We are now getting forward when I close up my leg and if I get no response I might touch him with the spur or tap with the whip and he knows that means he better move on. You really don’t have much of anything without forward so this has been a good tool to get installed. He is a very relaxed and slow horse so his behavior is all up and down. When the behavior happens he needs to be sent forward so he learns he has to keep working. I feel like I have made great strides in that area.

Saturday, we headed up to Delaware Park to get new badges and passes. The meet started on Saturday and we will now be making track visits weekly instead of bi-weekly. I really enjoy going around and talking with the trainers and seeing everyone getting ready. We don’t normally have a lot of activity this time of year since everyone is hopeful the horses will do well but starting in June the listings will increase as they figure out which horses aren’t going to cut it.

Yesterday, we went on an awesome scavenger hunt/trail ride to benefit Mid Atlantic Horse Rescue. My hubby was riding Junior (my conn/tb) and I was on The Boppus. Kurt only rides on the trails when I make him go out with me to exercise the horses or give me a lead out on the babies but he enjoys being out in the open and having a good ride. For whatever reason he has found his comfort zone on Junior even though Boppus was supposed to be his horse 🙂 He said Boppus is to bouncy and has no brakes so he stole Junior from me.

I don’t complain because on Junior he has no fear which is probably because Junior will go anywhere for you and he is super well trained. He also is very smooth and has a soft mouth so Kurt likes that he can pull up quick if needed.

The ride headed out from Great House Farm in Chesapeake City, Md. You ride back through the prettiest horse country there is. Huge open fields with the nicest green grass and rolling hills. There was also a really nice portion that went around the water. We had a few water crossings one which gave us a tiny bit of trouble because it was a cement pad with water flowing over it but the water creating a waterfall effect on the right side of the pad and Junior wasn’t to sure about that. We used our mesh scavenger bag to encourage him to move forward as he was doing the backwards run 🙂

We had some really nice trots and canters across the big open fields and the horses were simply fantastic just enjoying themselves. Kurt kept remarking how beautiful it was and that he was having fun. The best part of the day was when we came to a lovely 1/2 mile dirt track. Kurt wanted to let them run but I wasn’t sure how fast he was going to go. I started off with Boppus and the next think I know I hear Kurt clucking to Junior and he let loose on his reins and Junior just flew by me with Kurt hooting and hollering in his galloping position. That just made by day right there seeing my hubby having so much fun and Junior clearly tolerating him 🙂 Boppus was dead tired by that point and could barely keep up so that was quite funny!

It was really hot so we eased them home mostly walking and when we tried to trot up the final hill the boys made it halfway up before coming back to the walk. It was an 8 mile ride but with temp’s at the upper 80’s with high humidity it really took it out of them and Boppus was sore from a lost shoe.

It is nice when Kurt and I get time to spend together and watching him have so much fun riding Junior always makes me happy. Junior is hotter than all of our tb’s put together but he isn’t mean just has a lot of get up and go to him. He gets pretty excited in group situations and we had to spend a bit of time moving along to wear him out so he stopped trying to catch up with the groups in front of us. He acts more like a racehorse than most racehorses. He wants no part of being in the back! Boppus who ran close to 30 races could care less and sees no point in going faster than you need him to go.

The rest of the day was spent dragging and mowing pastures and then I rode a few more horses when it cooled down. My riding ring is looking good and should be ready for the jumps soon. We need a few more rains for it to set up just right but it is coming along.

Kurt is leaving for 6wks of training starting May 17th and I am having a mild panic attack on taking care of the whole farm by myself. I am not going to take on anymore horses until he comes back as it becomes to much work on top of the full-time job for one person to do. I know I am a lucky military wife when 6wks is the longest trip he has had to make but it will still be tough to be away that long.

I will be keeping busy so hopefully the time will pass quickly.


2 responses to “Down the track they come

  1. You’re the best Jess… 🙂

  2. I’m glad that your hubby found a friend in Junior. At our house, hubby is the trainer and I’m the novice and it’s taken years to find the perfect horse for me, but we have (an OTTB, of course!).

    My hubby is leaving for 6 months in the desert, starting in two weeks. Thankfully, we have a small acreage with just two horses, but I’m still panicking slightly. Two horses, two human children, two dogs (one blind, one deaf) and two goats… Ack! I totally get the panicked feeling of having to take care of things.

    I bet you’ll do just fine, and when he gets back, summer will be in full swing and you can get some new CANTER-cuties in! 🙂

    Good luck!

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