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Seattle Slew - learned dressage as a two-year-old to stay sound - amazing

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  • Seattle Slew - learned dressage as a two-year-old to stay sound - amazing

    I had no idea about this, and it makes me wonder why more racing people don't do it.

    http://www.thepilot.com/news/2011/ju...-seattle-slew/

  • #2
    Wow, what a story! It both gave me goosebumps and made me cry. He was a special horse- I'm happy I got the chance to meet him while he was stll standing at Three Chimneys. Thanks for sharing!! Yes, dressage does seem like a smart way of cross-training. Do we "factory produce" TBs too quickly to bother theese days?

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    • #3
      I guess it depends upon how you define dressage as the horse's I break are too young for any real collection, but I do basic dressage with all of them to get them using their hind ends and coming through their back rather than pulling themselves along on their forehand as young horses tend to do. Not sure it's that unusual.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

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      • #4
        Great story, thanks for sharing!
        \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"

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        • #5
          Thanks for sharing!

          (proud rider of a Seattle Slew descendant)
          Sarah K. Andrew | Twitter | Blog | Horses & Hope calendar | Flickr | Instagram

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          • #6
            If you call basic flatwork "Dressage". Hardly that unusual. I doubt he was doing collected work as an early 2yo, at least I hope not.
            For a horse that did regular dressage work while racing, three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate. His trainer, Henrietta Knight was an ex-eventer who had being around Badminton a time or two.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/g...ds-654209.html

            Fans of this game should be lucky that Best Mate is a racehorse, for this handsome, noble individual could have excelled at any discipline. And indeed, he has regular sessions of flatwork in the indoor school, like a dressage horse. The effect such suppling exercise has on his balance was evident to all at Cheltenham.

            "He is a horse without flaws," said Knight, "He could win at Badminton, over solid fences, or in the show ring, or in the dressage arena."

            The gang was all there yesterday. Assistant Bridget Nicholls, Alexia Lovett, who does the dressage schooling, Andy Fox the head lad, Bob Bullock, who sat up all night guarding the horses the week before the Festival, vet Roger Bettridge, Jim Culloty with his mum and dad Donal and Maureen over from Co Kerry, secretary Chris Douglas-Home, all of them bursting

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            • #7
              Thanks for sharing. My girl, whom I just LOVE, is a Slew O Gold grandaughter (Seattle Slew great grandaughter). I'll share the story with her. We need to learn dressage for eventing. If it was good enough for your great grandpops, it's good enough for you!!!

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              • #8
                Ditto...thanks for sharing. My boy is a Slew grandson. Now I know why his is delightful in dressage. And a rocket in Cross Country!

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
                  If you call basic flatwork "Dressage". Hardly that unusual. I doubt he was doing collected work as an early 2yo, at least I hope not.
                  For a horse that did regular dressage work while racing, three time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate. His trainer, Henrietta Knight was an ex-eventer who had being around Badminton a time or two.

                  http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/g...ds-654209.html
                  That's great. Goes to show how valuable that kind of training is. That really doesn't happen in the U.S. - the tendency is just to break them and send them to the track. The fact that Slew's trainer took the extra time with him (and it really sounds like she did, even working him with cattle) is probably what made him what he was.

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                  • #10
                    Ha! I love how the trainer's wife says

                    "We were walking out to the track, and Huey started passaging (a dressage move which involves trotting with an extended mo-ment of suspension),” Turner said, smiling. “At this point he thought he was king of the world. All these riders were looking at us funny, but he could have won a training level dressage test that day.”

                    I was expecting her to say Grand Prix. What she did say was much more realistic
                    ----------------------------------------
                    PSSM / EPSM and Shivers Forum
                    http://pssm.xanthoria.com/
                    ----------------------------------------

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                    • #11
                      When I was starting babies for the track, I tried to give them some foundation, which is all you can realistically do with babies that young. Whether or not that would really factor into one holding up would depend on alot of variables once they get to the track. Better/more complete training is always helpful, but alot of dressage training on a baby could do quite a bit of damage. Each step has it's place. I've seen dressage prospects that were pushed having soundness issues.
                      PennyG

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                      • #12
                        I worked at a racing stable for awhile and we did quite a bit of dressage too....

                        Even the 2 year olds were able to g in a basic frame with the balance shifted back. That is proper riding, not extreme collection as is being implied. There is no reason for them to be allowed to run around on the forehand just because they are 2.

                        Great story about Seattle Slew though
                        "My ideal horse is the horse that I fall in love with again every morning when I see his face hanging over the stable door, looking for breakfast. " - Jim Wofford

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                        • #13
                          I heard her talk on The Story one night about raising her "Baby Huey" and how she says she did everything with him three times more than any other horse to compensate for his crooked leg. LOVED hearing her talk about him.
                          Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eventfan4LIFE View Post
                            That's great. Goes to show how valuable that kind of training is. That really doesn't happen in the U.S. - the tendency is just to break them and send them to the track. The fact that Slew's trainer took the extra time with him (and it really sounds like she did, even working him with cattle) is probably what made him what he was.

                            I've actually had a few OTTBs who were clearly well started. They knew about mounting blocks, basic contact, leads etc. In tracing their history...all that were like this were fairly expensive youngsters and started their track life in very good barns...probably doing most of their initial work on the farm. One was a turf horse...but the others ended up in cheap claiming races (in not so good hands). But that initial great start certainly made re-training them for eventing so much easier.

                            There are a lot of good race trainers around here that teach their babies the basics (including hacking out in the country). Still...a nice story though.
                            Last edited by bornfreenowexpensive; Jun. 20, 2011, 03:01 PM.
                            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                            • #15
                              Well, I enjoyed the story. I have a SS grandson, so I thought it a fun story.

                              I have to say I'm happy that my horse had really good basics when I purchased him off the track in 05. The trainer told me that his horses were backed away from the track, and it made my horse very easy to handle and ride when I got him.

                              But, I do have a funny quip. A friend of mine who is now a dressage trainer, started her career excersizing horses at the track when she was a teenager. she said she was fired from her job because the trainer didn't like the idea she was teaching the horses how to stop and turn. She felt that she was doing the horse and trainer a favor as she could tell some of the horses didn't have any speed.
                              I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!

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                              • #16
                                ^ haha I just read you siggy and I love it.
                                "My ideal horse is the horse that I fall in love with again every morning when I see his face hanging over the stable door, looking for breakfast. " - Jim Wofford

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                                • #17
                                  LOL I talked to Paula last year and she has some great stuff.... google her and read the stuff on her website.....!

                                  I'd say about a third of the OTTBs I've gotten have had some idea of contact, bending, etc...... So at least SOME trainers are doing it right....!

                                  Jennifer
                                  Third Charm Event Team

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