Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Out Sort Of

Thoroughbreds With Good Heads

I start with that comment responding to something someone on another blog site said about Thoroughbreds. The remark was that if you didn't ride a Thoroughbred for a while that before you got on to ride again you would need to lunge or work the horse down first.

I have not ridden Tucker in weeks due to the lost shoes and consequent lameness. Today, I saddled him up, pulled myself into the saddle and walked off with nary a problem. Now, that was also after I had saddled up Toby who has not been ridden in a while either and taken him out on a hack in the woods. Once more, not a problem except one brief very "Toby second" when he thought he saw something strange in the cornfield.

My Boys are very "Thoroughbred," as well, with rather opinionated personalities and a relatively high sensitivity. Which brings me to Chance. He is no slug, by any means, but definitely a different sort from his pasture brothers. The big difference seems to be in how he tunes in, or rather does not tune in to me.

I remember when I first rode Toby, I was really impressed by how he instinctively wanted to stay under my seat. He was, from the first, just naturally inclined to react to my weight. Tucker was the same, although I am not 100% sure he actually cared if he stayed under me. But regardless, it was clear that he knew I was there and reacted to me.

Chance, on the other hand, is "his own man." If he wanders off track following his own gaze, it doesn't really matter that much if I am leaning the other way. He has a very solid feel in his body as if he is well grounded, which might be the big difference. He seems to connect to the earth while Toby and Tucker have a much more "airbound" feel. I think it is both physical and mental.

At any rate, in case you haven't yet figured it out, I rode Toby on the trails. Then I did a short school in the arena with Tucker, mostly to see if he felt sound. I would not say he was 100%, but he was nearly 99.9% with just a step here and there that I would normally ignore were it not for the lost show syndrome aftermath. What was a big plus was that he took both canter leads without a protest, so the acupuncture seems to have worked. I finished up with a mini-hack just on the loop in the woods directly behind my property. I think Tuck really enjoyed that.

I didn't even bother to work Chance in the arena but instead took him right out for a hack. He is so funny out there. Even though I am clearly attempting to steer and choose our path, he will try to make his own decisions on which way we should be going. When he does, his body just goes off in that direction almost as if he is drawn by a magnetic charge. As I noted above, he really does not tune in to me unless I insist. He's never really "bad," just more interested in doing his own thing. He was even funnier when we got back home and I opened the gate back into the arena from the saddle. Instead of walking in, Chance just stood there, leaning back towards the trail heading out into the woods again. It took me four tries to get him to finally go in.

He surely does have a mind of his own. *LOL*

And it is now official...the farm across the woods is saved! It was announced at a press conference today. The house dates back to the 1600's---about as old as it can get for a house here in the USA. On the top floor are intact slave quarters and there are two historic cemeteries on the property. Along with the house are well over 100 acres of prime farmland. Here in one of the most densely populated states in our nation, this is something truly special.


  1. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Congratulations on saving the farm - that's an amazing achievement!

    I'll bet those people with the TBs that needed "lunging down", what we used to describe in the show world as LUD (lunge until dead), probably were at barns where the horses got limited turnout and large amounts of grain - that's the prescription for "nuttybreds".

  2. I'm so happy to hear the farm is saved. I love historic houses and this one sounds really interesting and special.

    I've also got to say that I don't ever feel comfortable making blanket statements about certain breeds. We've had a few TB's along the way and they were very calm and sweet. A lot of times I think the horse's character is formed by his circumstances. I always thought Arabians were just crazy, but I had to take that back after rescuing Sami and Sweetie. They are two of the smartest sweetest horses I've ever encountered. I really think the people that interact with the horse have a big impact on their behavior.
    It's just my opinion. There's bound to be plenty of data to prove me wrong.

  3. Hoorrah for the farm! Is it haunted? for being so old, I wonder if there is any trap souls left remaining there???

    Chance seems quite strong minded LOL, but he is good nature and he does not try to get rid of you.

    Your boys are having an ideal horse life, they are in herd and with tunr-out. Perhaps the other person meant for a TB kept in a less natural way, mainly stabled etc ... so yes perhaps better off lunge him before!

  4. I find many of the people who stereotype TBs are those who have rescued OTTBs without knowing anything about racehorses. So they get on, the horse wants to run, they pull back and disaster ensues. Then they blame the horse and label all TBs as crazy. It's very unfortunate.

    For what it's worth, the worst injuries I've sustained were from lazy, slow Warmbloods. Once you've got a TB in front of your leg he stays there. Warmbloods suck back and can buck like broncs! How's that for a stereotype? *lol*

  5. Fantastic about the farm and what an interesting history of the property.

    My friend's horse is also a thoroughbred and he was not ridden for many weeks. When he was finally ridden, after about 6 weeks I think, he was just fine, actually seemed to relish being back in work. As Kate mentioned, Fella was turned out 24/7.

    If Chance was a student, I think he would be the type to turn his work in late and daydream in class, despite having an intuitive understanding of the material taught.

  6. good news about the farmm, i remember when you first posted about it.

    and it's generally rot about TB's - or as shannon said, people getting them off the track and not knowing how to reschool them..

  7. Looks like everyone else said this already, but the "crazy" TBs do seem to be the ones who get grain, minimal work, and no turnout. We have an OTTB who works 3x a week, and he doesn't need wearing down. If he just sits all week though, it's best to lunge first.

    Congrats on the farm! That sounds really cool. Will it be open to the public after a while? If I ever make it out to the East Coast again, I want to see it.