View Full Version : Eventing on a Standardbred?

Oct. 11, 2009, 06:56 PM
Has anyone attempted this? My mare is on the disabled list now. I'm still determined to ride, so my DH has very generously given up his horse, an 18-year-old Standardbred gelding, Johnny, who I'm pretty sure has never been actually *trained* to go under saddle, so that I can continue riding.

I've ridden him dressage a few times since we bought him three years ago, but never tried doing anything serious with him. The one time I tried to jump him, he reminded me of a cow. But once he finally figured out that he could go OVER the cavaletti instead of having to kick it out of his way, he showed some improvement. lol

I am impressed with the reach of his hindlegs and his powerful trot. He does trot, but occassionally falls into a pace when you're trying to get the right lead canter and he's in a stubborn mood. And have you ever seen a giraffe gallop? Paint a few orange spots on Johnny and you'll know what his canter looks like.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me if my mare is going to be out of it for long. But I'm just curious if I'm the only insane person who has tried to turn one of his breed into an eventer?

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:00 PM
No, and I'm not sure why you'd describe yourself as "insane" for trying. Standardbreds are lovely brave horses who are often quite athletic--or at least as athletic as us lower-level riders need!

Granted, it's easier if you start off with a trotting one rather than a pacing one, but with proper work and conditioning your guy should not have a problem.

Come Shine
Oct. 11, 2009, 07:07 PM
I know two people who have little standardbreds they show. One is unbeatable in the jumper ring at 3'3" and the other is unbeatable on a cross country course. They are both fabulous horses. Have fun!

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:12 PM
There is actually a whole group of us that seek them (ASB or ASBx) out...

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:17 PM
No, and I'm not sure why you'd describe yourself as "insane" for trying. Standardbreds are lovely brave horses who are often quite athletic--or at least as athletic as us lower-level riders need!

Mostly I think I'm insane because I'm not a professional, nor do I play one on the internet. :winkgrin: So the thought of trying to develop three decent gaits and a good jump on this horse is just overwhelming right now. Plus I have 18 years of bad habits to undo. With limited finances, so lessons only when we can afford them.

But he's a saint and as long as we praise him enough, he'll try his heart out. Definitely brave. I've yet to see him actually *spook* at something.

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:18 PM
There is actually a whole group of us that seek them (ASB or ASBx) out...

Cool! I always thought the acronym ASB was American Saddlebred. Good to know, thanks! :D

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:22 PM
I know two people who have little standardbreds they show. One is unbeatable in the jumper ring at 3'3" and the other is unbeatable on a cross country course. They are both fabulous horses. Have fun!

That's very encouraging. Thank you! Hopefully Johnny will take after one of them. I'm excited to try. :)

Oct. 11, 2009, 07:37 PM
Oops - I meant American Saddlebred, I should read more carefully!

Oct. 11, 2009, 08:43 PM
I've worked with a few trotters, but I also have a client who ended up with a pacer off the track. Once he learned how to trot, he proved to have a really nice set of gaits on him. He'll sometimes break to the pace when he gets off balance at the canter, but will go back to the canter or switch to the trot after a stride or 2. He was easy to teach to jump as well, and really seems to enjoy it. I'd take a dozen more of them, any day. Willing, trainable, responsive and sane, gotta love that!

Oct. 11, 2009, 08:50 PM
I have a 25-year-old Standardbred saint. He's teaching a 12yo horse crazy tween to ride.
I have a video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjCXYhKCtVU
We trained them race, had mostly pacers. Most of the standardbreds available as riding horses are old pacers. They will revert when nervous or stressed, so just keep them calm and it is usually not a problem. They need to learn to canter just like any OTTB has to learn a canter, too. Can't beat them for smarts and people loving. They are truly a family horse, and actually, were America's first family horse. Probably most of the horses ridden in the Civil War were Standardbred ancestors.

Oct. 11, 2009, 11:00 PM
Does anyone remember the CCI*** horse "Freeway Stepaside"? (I think I spelled the name correctly). He was a big bay with 4 whites. He was 1/2 Standardbred. The only time the Standardbred part showed up was in Dressage. He tended to pace (kind of flaten out) in the counter canter. Anyway, 3 star is pretty darn good for any horse so have fun with your Standardbred!!

Oct. 12, 2009, 05:01 PM
I thought Jenny Camp was half or 1/4 Standardbred... I know Hans Gunter Winkler's Olympic (3x Gold medalist) show jumping mare from the 50s, Halla, was Standardbred/French Trotter... Lots of others that are either full of partially blooded. They're a pretty athletic breed and I've found most are powerful jumpers, they just need a bit of help with their technique -- mostly balancing their gaits so they can approach in good form.

My trotter raced till he was 10. (He's 16 this year.) His canter has good and bad days but when he's in consistent work it's better. He schools 1st level dressage with some baby 2nd moves thrown in. He will never be a "brilliant" mover but he can perform three solid gaits for dressage, and he loves to go cross-country. He's done a bit of everything, including hunter paces and baby horse trials; just haven't had the finances to take him to a recognized event.

Some of the earliest harness racers, like Goldsmith Maid, ran into their late teens and even into their 20s, way back before the days of joint supplements or Adequan... These were also horses that pulled carts or plows in their "day jobs" during the week, and then hauled the family to and from the races. Horses these days are required to retire after the end of their 14y/o season, but there are plenty still winning up until their last race. They come from hardy stock. ;)

Oct. 13, 2009, 05:15 PM
I had one. She never needed a vet, never had a competitive jump penalty, hunted and evented and two years in a row was in the top ten before I sold her. Was sane and sensible, a hot blood without the hot temperament.

Oct. 13, 2009, 08:52 PM
So I just thought I would share this. I happen to work at a Standardbred track... nothing to do with horses, I work in the bank of the Casino. I can catch a glimpse of them racing a couple nights a week depending on my break schedule, but never anything to really catch my eye. Well a few weeks ago I had to stop in early one morning and caught sight of the mass exercise going on the track.... probably 30-40 horses all QUIETLY trotting along to the right. Down the long side comes this absolutely gorgeous bay that was MASSIVE. He floated right past me and all I could think (as I stood with my mouth agape) was "Anky, Eat your heart out," followed by "hmm, I wonder if he can canter/jump,".

Then saturday was "Family Day".... imagine dozens of little rugrats running loose around the stands on the back stretch and one of those bouncy blow up things right there by the finish line. No kidding. All those horses went right past in warm-up and race without batting an eye. I was pretty convinced most show horses would have high tailed it to the next county.

My thoughts- DO IT! The few that I have know well that have trotting tendencies could easily do novice, maybe higher with some good canter gymnasticizing.

Oct. 14, 2009, 07:29 AM
So we think Winston has a lot of standardbred in him. Amish reject and all the things I like about him, folks say is definitely standardbred. So, I got a little fella from New Vocations last year and what a doll! The nicest kindest horse I've ever met and he's only 3 now. Yeah, redneck moment here. The first time anyone ever sat on him was the hubby ... in the pasture ... with 2 other horses ... with a lead rope and halter ... bareback. Yeah, hubby got an earful.
Anyway, here's Winston.
Here's little Butters (that's what we call him because he reminds us of Butters from South Park)

Oct. 14, 2009, 08:59 AM
I can attest to the differences in feet. Both my guys have smashing great hooves.
And for some reason, the standardbred breeders breed horses that last a long time at the track.
Like I was relaying to my vet that Butter's sire is a $1M winner and he said it's not that uncommon because they race for a lot longer than TB's. He also said that while he was in vet school, the students loved to work on the STB's because they were so easy to work with.
On a down note, Butters has the world's shortest neck and it seems to be prevalent. So, for me and my larger upper body, I do feel uncomfortable riding him in that regard. Like I would never jump him that high because I fold over too much.

Oct. 14, 2009, 10:22 AM
I think the trotters specifically jump well- Ihave not heard of jumping pacers tho.

I have a jumping pacer. :) I got him just a couple weeks off the track at 6 years old with 95 starts behind him.

Most pacers, including mine, trot naturally and only pace / race in hopples. The pace is always there, though, and can sometimes comes out when nervous or as an evasion. That goes away with time and as they get less and less green. When I first got my boy (almost 6 years ago), he associated pacing with work. While he'd never pace while turned out / at liberty, he would pace on the longe and under saddle. He was hard wired to think that is what I wanted. Once he figured out we wanted him trot and not to pace, the pacing went away quickly. When he moved from a quiet, backyard barn where we did mainly trail riding to a large training barn, the pacing resurfaced. He hadn't done it in 4+ years, but it came back the first day at the new place. So, for some, it can resurface when the horse gets nervous. Once he settled, though, he once again stopped offering to pace. I would, however, avoid a horse that chooses to pace at liberty instead of trot. If he's always pacing and never trotting when free, I think it will take a tremendous amount of time and effort to get a consistent trot and canter. JMHO, though. YMMV.

The problem is that it takes a LOT of CORRECT schooling to develop a proper canter with a pacer -- can take a year or more to really get a good canter. Obviously, some learn faster, some learn slower, and some never truly develop a fantastic canter. My guy's canter has improved leaps and bounds over the past year and still leaves a lot of room for improvement.

My Standie is schooling 2'3 - 2'6" courses and has jumped single fences up to 3'3" with my trainer. He's 16.2h, and I'm often asked what kind of warmblood he is. Then again, when he gets excited and his canter falls apart, I'm often asked "Exactly what IS he again?" :lol:

He has more personality than any other horse I've had. I am pretty sure he's part human and understands every word I say. :lol:

I will say this, though - If you're looking for a suitable eventing mount, evaluate a STB the same way you would any other horse -- jumping style (paramount importance), temperment, etc. I'll also add that, like others, my STB has amazing feet.

They can be really wonderful and athletic horses with superb minds. :yes:

Oct. 14, 2009, 11:40 PM
STBs used to be quite common in the LF days (they just, win at roads and tracks). My coach had one that went 2*, and only died recently at age 34. The story with him was that when they went to try him, there was no ring so to see if he could jump they jumped him over a scrap car in the yard. Ahh the 80s. Also Peter Gray used to have one competing at 3 or 4* I believe.