I’ve been watching the site and meaning to send an update… just haven’t gotten around to it! Honestly there haven’t been any real milestones because we’ve been taking it easy since our last update. I injured my knee and was sidelined for about nine months (I’m still working to get back in shape!!) and then started a new job. I’m just now getting my feet underneath me enough to start focusing on training again.
“Huey” (Admiration) and I haven’t been doing much under saddle, but he’s made huge strides in being a healthy horse. He has continued to gain weight and he is almost where I’d like him to be – now he really just needs to get muscle back on him, which will come with time. The big news is his personality and our relationship. He now recognizes me when I come to the pasture and leaves his buddies to come see me – this is the horse that used to run away! He is just so much more relaxed even than the last time I wrote… it’s amazing to think that this is the same horse I got in March of 2007. He is not pushy, even though he’s so large, and he is so playful. He’s lost that stressed out and harassed look completely, and his attitude now that we’re picking up training again is much different. There is so little resistance there! I’m learning a lot as a rider and trainer as well, because now I know for sure that when things don’t go as I planned it is because I’m not asking correctly. As long as he understands, he will give me whatever I ask. Riding him now is so much more rewarding since he has really allowed himself to trust me and form a bond.
So now as the days get longer (and warmer), we’re ramping up the training and getting back into shape together slowly but surely. I am going to try to get some pictures this weekend. Right now we are mostly doing trot work – I want him to muscle up a little more and see the chiropractor before I start asking him for leads and collection. The goal is to have him off the property in some way by the end of spring, and possibly in a show or two come the fall. I’ve been doing some bit experimentation to learn that he has a big tongue and a low palette – we’ve switched to a Myler snaffle bit with a port which is doing wonders. It’s amazing how soon his head went down after I found a bit that wasn’t restricting his swallowing or pinching his tongue.
Also – and this might be the biggest news – my boyfriend is learning to ride on Huey! We haven’t advanced to learning to post (I think I am going to borrow another mount for that), but Austin and Huey are now hacking around together in the ring comfortably, practicing two-point and turns. Who knows – I might be coming to you in a year or two for another mount/large pet!
Whitney has learned the secret of training a Thoroughbred – Trust. This is why we ask people not to send their horse off for training. The OTTB needs to learn how to trust YOU. He needs to understand how YOU ask him to canter, pick up a lead etc. Thoroughbreds WANT to please their people. If they do not do what you ask – ask yourself if your horse UNDERSTANDS what you want him to do.
Click here to see more photos of Admiration and Whitney in their OTTB photo gallery.