"Qu" was a very good boy this year.

Hope everyone made it through the Holidays alright. The horses must have all been very good because Santa left 20 lbs of carrots for them! “Qu” did not know what a carrot was and wouldn’t take a piece until I finally corrupted him 2 days ago. Since he’s a youngster I of course won’t overdo it especially since he is a gentleman when he takes a treat now.

I have to knock on wood when I tell you this, but he has been so good to work with. Christmas gave us all a relaxed start and we did ground work until Saturday when I got on him for the first time. He was a little nervous but settled in quickly. All we did was walk, halt and go over poles and he was a champ. I love his attitude. I’m hoping to go on a hack with him fairly soon. I’m using a Happy Mouth mullen mouth right now but will probably try others too.

I was surprised also by his feet–they looked a lot better than I had expected from when the vet was describing them to me. I am really happy with him. Plus all three horses get along great- even my daughter’s horse who is usually a bit of a bully likes “Qu”. My retired horse, Dan, and “Qu” eat out of the same hay pile and are buddies.

Thanks again, Elizabeth!! I’ll keep you posted. Best wishes for a great New Year for you and all the horses!

Suzie

I am not surprised Suzie’s first ride was fine. “Qu” was most likely nervous because Suzie was unsure of what to expect. Many people expect OTTBs to be hot or difficult to ride when the opposite is usually true. Thoroughbreds are sensitive and pick up on the emotions of the people around them. It is important to relax and open your heart when working around your Thoroughbred.

Read the Training Notes from Elizabeth to learn more about training your off-the-track Thoroughbred.

I am surprised “Qu” walked over the poles so easily. Some horses see them as a barrier and will not walk over them. Many horses have to be dismounted before allowing themselves to be led over the poles. They sometimes need a lead horse to guide them over the poles when mounted. Sometimes the whole process will need to be repeated several more days. Earn your horses’ trust from the ground first. Teach him that you are the leader of the herd and that he can trust your judgement. The more the horse trusts you, the more willing he will be to do what you ask when mounted and the less he will resist.

We always use a light bit in our horses’ mouths. We have Happy Mouths with rollers and French link snaffles. We never have to use a harsh bit on any of our Thoroughbreds – even out fox hunting.

Do lots of hill work and walk trot transitions. Teach your horse to respond from your seat with half halts before a transition. Look in the direction you wish him to move and you will find you hardly need to apply rein. When trotting be sure to not lean forward or post too fast. Your horse will automatically match your tempo. If you wish him to slow down, slow down your posting and bring your shoulders and chest back. Breathe. Your horse will slow down. Think about walking and do a half halt and he will be walking. Off-the-track Thoroughbreds are very sensitive and learn quickly because they want to please their person.