I've been patiently waiting for the "right" time to ride my OTTB....I rode him around the barnyard the day he came home off the track, but since then, among other personal things, he's been lame with recurring abscesses. So, over Christmas, I've been waiting for good weather - not too cold, not too windy, not too rainy for an outdoor ride.
horse in stall...check.
Western tack fitting well on horse...check. (hey, all the handles I can get!). He doesn't flinch at the difference from exercise tack...sweet!
Um....hold on a second. This horse is way, way bigger than anything I've ever ridden....the saddle horn is above my head!!!!!!!!
He fidgets a bit, picking up and putting down his hind feet, but hey, he's just being a little eager, I hope...
Dressage bridle with nice Metalab snaffle with a mouthpiece with 360 degree rotation (hey, we don't match, but if it works)......check.
I realized how easy he was to bridle....not like my older gelding, who loves to touch his nose to the ground the minute the halter comes off! BONUS!!
Well, being very plus sized plus padded with winter gear, I lead him to the tailgate of my truck....and he stands like he's been doing it all his life! WOW!
I am fortunate to have company for today's outing....my awesome BO, who has an equally awesome gelding who LOVES his job, and then a good friend of mine on my older OTTB. My friend is GOOD at her job as a pony person, and I can trust her with my horses and my life, so I figure if things go south she will either help me keep it together or point and laugh at me later.
We point out into the open field beside the turnout, and I'm still on. Suddenly the ears that looked so long from the ground seem small and fox-like....because, dang....he is TALL! 16.3 isn't too bad till you ride it for the first time!
We go along at a cautious walk, and my new boy looks at my older one and thinks he needs to walk as if being ponied. Hey, big man, if it gives you confidence - do it! As he gains confidence, he starts looking around, dropping his head, and relaxing. The three of us walk along, do some circles, head back and then poke into the schooling paddock. I'm still waiting for the antics - the head tossing, sidestepping, rooting at the bit.
Do we dare go out on the open road?
And, is traffic scary?
Kid with a camera?
Does this horse have such a big walk that the other two have to break into a trot to keep up sometimes?
We ended on an awesome note. He is incredible for having been pulled out of a field after not being ridden since August. Incredible for having lived the life of a racehorse. The only "bad" thing he did, which put a HUGE grin on my face, was to want to bounce into a trot on the way home....it was like sitting in a huge rocking chair!
I am so very, very proud of my boys. Boo for being so smart that he knew that he had to behave and supervise my new boy....and Heart for being such a class act. I am in awe....I can't help but feel like I'm 15 again and dreaming of possibilities.
For those of you who stuck to the end of my long story....I guess I needed to get it in writing, as I lost a LOT of confidence from a couple of tough rides on another horse a while back. It feels really, really good to have had this much fun! Ride on!
OTTB's are the bestest! I've seen my share of silly ones but 98% of them are solid citizens. Mine continues to boost my confidence with every ride. I didn't have any real horrible rides but I had a couple bad falls right as I turned that "adult" age and it made me nervous add to that my other horse is hot hot hot and fed off my nerves like crazy. He wanted to be a good boy in the worst way but I made him nuts We did really well through the years considering but it was a constant battle of controlling my nerves. Now though? Now I get on, I ride, I enjoy myself, I look forward to shows, I can laugh at the rare silly moment--and by rare I mean maybe 2 or 3 times in 6 years he's had a spook or a thought of under saddle antics
Enjoy your boy! He sounds like he's going to be a blast to train
What a nice sounding boy! I have my first horse, also an OTTB project. And he's one of the sanest animals at the farm. I've been continually impressed with his levelheadedness (is that even a word?) since day one. My first ride on him was much like yours, and although I haven't taken him on the trail yet, I have ridden him in the indoor when the owner's son was cleaning out the gutters on the indoor roof. With a leaf blower. And it was only mildly scary! Today we schooled the barn rats in how to ride a straight line over jumps and do proper turns. They were on been there done that have the T-shirt schoolies and the greenie kicked their butts!
Sorry, don't mean to hijack but I'm starting to love the OTTBs!
I'm sold on OTT Tbs. My boy had his first ride the day after he got off the truck (he arrived at 7:30 the night before). I took him round the block, past an earth-moving bulldozer, barking dogs, cars, my neighbour's pet zebra, and way,way out in front of the other horses. He was awesome.
He was a good racer with 40 starts under his belt, and he came off with a bow, so he just stood for four months at the trainer's before I got him. I had to do everything on trail because he had to work on hard ground, so we couldn't school. He's an awesome horse and my husband is now eventing him.
Thanksfor loving our horses and having good things to say about them!
They are exposed to so much I'd not be worried about much BUT I do tend to go blindly and expect good behaviour.
Again thank you and congrats on the great ride!!!
Congrats on the 1st ride. With the exception of my Big Eq horse, all of my show horses have been OTTBs, including my current guy. LOFF them... and I'm sure you will too. Sounds like you have a guy with a great mind and a big heart. have fun!!
I am still so tickled pink this morning....I mean, this horse had never seen western tack before; never been ridden by a plus sized rider, never been hacked out, and probably never ridden in snow either! How awesome is that?
And since you wanted pics...
coming along the fenceline with my "good" OTTB beside us for confidence http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...&id=1119091986
nice and relaxed http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?i...&id=1119091986
The three amigos - the handsome boy on the left is my first OTTB, who has been my rock for 15 years http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?i...&id=1119091986
And even a short video..... http://www.facebook.com/video/?id=11...=1073420031932
After that we went half a mile out on country roads! The very best thing of all is that after I dismounted, I was patting him and telling him what a good boy he is, and he cuddled up to me with his eyes bright and his ears pricked. J ust awesome. His racing name was Heart Warrior, and he is every inch of that. I have dreams of low level dressage, so as I work on bringing my weight into a healthy range, I am going to work on a good foundation with him and fitness for me.
Well the weather was so nice here yesterday, that I decided to take him out and do a little more with him. By the time I had him saddled, he was pawing the floor in anticipation! Now, that's not a habit I normally encourage, but it put a huge grin on my face.
We went a good distance yesterday for a second ride - about three miles. He wanted to trot, but managed to contain himself in company to a lovely slow collected jog that would not have been out of place in a western class....but the POWER in his hind end is awesome! You could feel so much impulsion just WAITING to be turned loose! He was a bit lighter-mouthed than our first ride, which is awesome. He trained in an elevator bit, so being able to use an eggbutt snaffle makes me pretty happy. A lot of things pleased me about him, actually.....we worked on halting while my friends rode on, and even walking away from them. Coming home, the "herd" in the front paddock saw us coming and started to play - running, bucking, you name it; he got a bit strong, but I took him into the opposite field and did some circling with him, and he was a true gentleman for it.
Thanks to all of you who take horses off the track and give them second chances....when I think of horses like him (or my other boys) who slip through the cracks, it just seems so hard to believe. I know I am lucky; not every horse, regardless of breed is this classy and honest. I think I'm in love!