Today’s society where everything and anything is designed for immediate satisfaction, with little to none sweat equity, ask yourself if you have what it takes to develop a young prospect. I’m inclined to believe sweat equity is of bygone days. I’ve noticed in particular over the past 10 years of self-proclaimed experts and Generation X’ers who buy an inexpensive Thoroughbred and then rush through it’s training and completely ruin their chance of becoming a decent riding horse. Then there are those who lack drive, ambition and just plain ol’ horsemanship skills to train a green horse because of their overwhelming need to avoid any physical labor what-so-ever.
In the real world its impossible to set a deadline to a horse’s training. How high it should jump, when it can do correct lengthenings or balanced flying changes depends entirely upon each individual horse and rider’s horsemanship. I always start with small goals over a reasonable period of time, and gradually increase the challenges when the horse accomplishes the lessons. I don’t skip steps and over challenge my horses in the early stages of training.
For example, mounting off a block while the horse stands immobile, or learning to rein back, walking quietly on the buckle are important lessons I always start with first. They’re small goals that are ingredients for the BIG picture of each horse’s successful future.
Training involves developing the horse’s confidence and relaxed mental state. Some horses are naturally relaxed while others will have a more energetic personality. Some horses are described as ‘kick-rides’ , while others are ‘forward rides’. One horse isn’t better than the other, and there are personal preferences for every rider looking for their next partner.
Developing and reconditioning an ex-racehorse doesn’t happen over night. Take into account that on average by 1.5 years of age, a Thoroughbred is being broke and goes into race training every day and on the same schedule over and over. They’re sponges and learn through repetition and routine. It comes to no surprise that they learn what to expect when the saddle is on and the girth tightened. . . . it means its time to go to the track and R-U-N.
Once home, the prospect stays active with a lesson of some sort each day. If I tack up, sometimes that’s all I do. I’ll put the saddle on and walk out to the arena and set fences while holding the lead. After fences are set, I may hand graze for a few minutes and then casually go back to the stall and untack. What this does is teach the horse to relax and to do nothing. I’m reconditioning them mentally, and it works.
Track horses have an incredible amount of experience that includes loading and traveling to different tracks, racing in daylight or racing at night, loud crowds, mechanical equipment such as hot walkers/ starting gates/ tractors/ golf carts and more. I take that foundation they’ve experienced from the track and build upon those lessons. I never attempt to erase their track experience, but rather build upon them and it makes what I do easier.
Sweat equity isn’t for everyone and purchasing a made show horse has it’s advantages. But if you aspire to be a good horseman and devote yourself into training a prospect, it takes a year of steady consistent work when an ex-racehorse begins to understand and show improvement in it’s lessons. They also begin to understand not to associate sounds, loud PA speakers, cantering horses in the warm up, billowing flags on flag poles and electric vibes from other horses with something to react towards.
It comes to no surprise to witness so many Veruca Salts walking around in designer breeches. Personally I prefer anyone who resembles Charlie Bucket, who worked hard on his paper route to support his family.
GO Thoroughbred . . . GO the Charlie Buckets of the world!
A heartfelt congratulations goes to Kirstin Murphy of Longview Farm in Alabama on the purchase of Prince Neff. Kirstin comes from ‘Equestrian Royalty’ (google Dennis Murphy), and she plans on campaigning Eddie in the Retired Racehorse Project 2018.
Indeed there is something to be said about a tall, dark and handsome gentleman. Today marks 30 days since Prince Neff’s last winning race. As he has been adjusting to his new career away from the track, he has had me in deep thought. Many words come to mind to try to describe him such as, ‘soulful’, ‘wise’, ‘gentlemanly’….and many more.
Congratulation to Bryant McGee on his purchase of Handsome Jake. We are all thrilled knowing that its not only a perfect match, but that we will continue to see Jake move up the ranks in Eventing and follow his future success. Thank you Bryant for your love of Thoroughbreds and we look forward to seeing you both at the horse trials!
Nature’s first dapple is grey.
Her hardest color to stay.
Her early coat’s a bay, but only so a day.
Then dapple subsides to white, in the morning light.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing grey can stay.
Congratulations to Judy McDonald on her purchase of Coach E! Judy will continue to develop Coach and bring her along as a show horse, with also the hopes of enjoying her chasing the hounds in the next few years.
Congratulation to Sandra McDonald on the purchase of our beautiful Betsy. We are so pleased that she will be Eventing with you and that its a start of a long and successful partnership together.
GO Betsy! GO Thoroughbred!
If you have a Thoroughbred, flip the lip and be sure to have a few apples and carrots ready to wish them a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! January 1st is recognized as a Thoroughbred’s birthday regardless of their foaling date. By age 2, they’re eligible to begin their racing careers.
The Thoroughbred breed originated back to 3 founding sires in 17th century England. Here in North America, The Jockey Club was developed in 1894, where all Thoroughbred racing stock is recorded.
Male (unaltered) horses are considered as ‘colts’ until the age of 5. If they breed to mares, then they’re called a ‘stallion’. If they’re gelded, they’re called geldings. Females by age 5 are called ‘fillies’, after that age they’re called ‘mares’.
The tattooed lip of a Thoroughbred is a wealth of history and information. Thoroughbreds who have completed race training and are prepared to run, or has raced, will have 6 tattooed images. They document the year the horse was born, identifies the horse (name) and the owner on The Jockey Club recorded papers.
The first image begins with a letter and that letter signifies the year the horse was born. For example, ‘A’ is the year of 1997 and ‘B’ is 1998, and so on. Once you go through the entire alphabet, you go back to ‘A’.
If you have a Thoroughbred, but not their papers, take a deep breath and relax. Look at their lip (if the tattoo hasn’t faded) and contact The Jockey Club. They will be able to assist you in finding answers. So, celebrate this special horse and meaningful day with love and appreciation.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOROUGHBREDS! GO THOROUGHBRED!
It is usually articles in well circulated publications titled “Buyer’s Beware” that frighten the you-know-what out of the readers when it comes to the shady underworld of horse sellers. As a seller of Thoroughbreds for the competition world, I’ve gone through great lengths of marketing all my horses with clear and honest representation. I’ve been told numerous times that honesty is a rare trait in the horse world, and I can agree. But it goes both ways as a buyer and as a seller.
I vet buyers before they come to the farm to try the horses. I ask questions relevant to what their requirements are and then I tell them what mine are in order to buy a horse from me. Some may consider it intrusive of me. . . I think its smart.
For some strange reason there seems to be an influx of potential buyers who shall I say, are a smidge dishonest and come from La-La Land. The meetings are always a learning experience, very memorable and downright frustrating.
I hope to provide fellow sellers a peek into my experiences and how even the sweetest looking buyer in breeches is potentially someone in sheep’s clothing. Here is a list of interesting and true tidbits that will leave you nodding, shaking your head, laughing, and slack-jawed.
My final experience is a doosey! After wasting my time for over 7 hours, and the person was still not making a decision to purchasing a horse, I was asked, “Is this horse fast?”
Exhausted, we walked out to the back pasture, I opened the gate and took the bridle off. I smiled at the person and slapped the horse on the rump and watched him gallop full speed down the hill and out of sight. “Was that fast enough for you?” I asked.
So to the buyers out there, I want you to know that I’m a straight shooter and I want to sell you one of my horses only if you’re honest with me and don’t play games. You’ll be lucky to have one of my Thoroughbreds to call your own.
Don’t be that person in sheep’s clothing.
GO Thoroughbred – GO Little Kentucky Farm!
Consider this when horse shopping. . . .
BUY AMERICAN! BUY A THOROUGHBRED FROM LITTLE KENTUCKY FARM!