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Exercise Riding 101!

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  • #21
    Maybe it is an East vs. West Coast thing? We still call a cross a cross, it's when you really have to crank one down, a 9 to 5 hold.

    This is probably the best pic I have of galloping a tough horse...

    Different horse, not the same hold:


    • #22
      Originally posted by BansheeBreeze View Post
      Excellent advice, very well said. Just to clarify I meant bib/yoke when I say martingale, essentially the same thing. I mentioned waterskiing as an emergency situation response only, I would never gallop a horse like that always but it CAN be helpful in the case of a runaway or (since she'll be learning and unfit) when your arms just turn to jello and you literally can't hold anymore. I never had to recite the poles for my license (well, I never had to ride for my license but that was a special case) but I'm sure each track is different and either way you should know them.
      Thanks, your’s too. I assumed you meant bib/yoke. Personally I think a running martingale can be more effective then a bib. I am also a big fan of German martingales for tough horses or ones that tend to hold their head high or don’t get into frame and engage their hind end. A couple weeks in this rig and then back to regular bridle and bib. Most seem to drop right into frame and not pull nearly as hard.
      There was a time when one looked around the track in the morning and everyone was water skiing. Show boating is what I called it. Saw many a rider body slammed when the horse jigged sideways. Don’t see it as much anymore. And was pretty much always males.
      Don’t know what is asked or expected these days when applying of an exercising license I would suspect it all depends on the track. But IMO anyone should know what the poles are all about from day one. Even if you are not going to be asked to work a horse. A trainer is going to say, jog to the X pole, pick it up at the X pole let’em roll from etc.
      Perspective riders need to understand that by the time a horse goes into training at the track the owner will have around $30,000+ into training cost and that does not include breeding and raising costs or a purchase price. I understand that everyone has to start somewhere but most owners would prefer it was not on their horse.
      I have spent a lot of time in Argentina on horse business. Great country, beautiful racetracks.
      They gallop, exercise their horses bare back, rather with just a pad.


      • #23
        Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
        Yes you can sometimes...you can feel when they are about to get the jump on you. If your strong enough you can sort of knock them off stride and get a better hold of them. It's something you have to feel.

        As far as a 9 to 5 hold, it's a double cross, crank down, with your right rein anchored at their withers.
        Good tips and good explanation of a 9-5.
        As I said in my post racing has it’s own terms but mean the same thing. A 9-5 hold is easier to say then a “double cross, crank down”. Think of the position of the hands on a clock when looking down at your hands and reins. When sitting in the track kitchen with fellow riders it’s just easier to say, “ man, I was on a tough SOB, had a 9-5 and he was still getting way from me. Verses, “I was on a strong horse this morning and even with a double cross, crank down he was hard to hold.” Never thought of it as an east-west thing because the banter was pretty much the same at Santa Anita or Belmont in my days at the track. I don’t get off the farm anymore then I need to these days and things change.


        • Original Poster

          An update!

          I got on two of the horses yesterday morning (the only two that the owner has moved out to the track), just jogged while being ponied by an outrider on the one horse, then jogged and loped a little on the other (mostly being ponied, a little on my own). This outrider has taken me under his wing a little (or would prefer not to scrape me up off the track!) and has given the owner a good talking to as apparently these were both VERY tough horses... the one that I just jogged on, some of the outriders have ridden and can't hold him. They also haven't been ridden in almost two weeks (a long trailer ride in, then some time to recover). So we are keeping me off them for a while and I am supposed to jog one of the easier ones next time, plus this outrider is arranging to put me on an easier horse from another barn.

          My arms and back are, indeed, jello just after those two.

          I got a bit more details about the owner situation... he is trying to act as his own trainer this year for the first time, with a trainer friend of his mentoring him. We'll see how long he lasts... I'd give it a week! He is also trying to be his own groom... let's just say I would rather tack them up myself! (and have largely taken over with that... faster than redoing everything) A note, the owner a few weeks ago said we would be the first ones out there, but a lot of others certainly beat him to it!

          I am being VERY careful... I do think the owner has good intentions but obviously can't provide much help (aka he is kind of clueless and openly admits to it). I will stick to jogging a couple easy ones that the outrider is sure I can handle and we will see from there. I'd also be happy to work as a groom or a hotwalker and that is much more in my league, the exercising thing just came my way so I want to give it a shot! I will take it easy and jog a few for a week or so (all the while asking many, many questions) and re-evaluate from there...


          • #25
            Does he have workman's comp? Most owner's don't. I wouldn't touch that mess with a ten foot pole.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • Original Poster

              Yes, we have workman's comp.


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Flypony View Post
                I can't think what Canadian track your going to be at that hasn't opened for spring training. Unless it's Saskatoon. If your going to be the first people there, you wont be the only ones for long. I know most of the people out west, so PM the names, I can tell you what your getting into.
                PM sent!


                • #28
                  I am glad to hear that. Odds are 1-9 you are going to need it. Be careful.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home


                  • Original Poster

                    Last edited by PalominoPower; Apr. 1, 2013, 08:03 PM.


                    • #30
                      I will give you a little bit of advice about "just jogging"...if these are even semi fit racehorses after a few days they are going to be high as kites just jogging. I've seen horses run off the wrong way and it ain't pretty even with experienced riders. I remember years ago helping a girl that was a very good show rider get started galloping. I ponied her on a few, and put her on one of the easiest horses in the barn to jog. She ended up getting run off with about 3/4 of the way around. What made it worse was that she started yelling for people to get out of the way, which of course only made the horse run faster.
                      She did end up a very good excersise girl, most of the time while you are learning your going to have some mishaps, just make sure you have your ducks in a row (insurance, etc).

                      The owner turning trainer can be common. There are some owners that figure they can save heaps of money doing it all themselves (or at least the training part). What they are usually missing is experience, the trainers test is the easy part.


                      • Original Poster

                        Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                        I will give you a little bit of advice about "just jogging"...if these are even semi fit racehorses after a few days they are going to be high as kites just jogging.
                        Yup, I figured as much. Today the owner's horses were all galloped by an experienced rider, he will do them all again tomorrow, including working the easiest one, who we will put me on to jog the next day if all goes well. We will try to slowly transition me onto them one at a time.

                        Today another trainer lent me essentially the easiest horse at the track just to jog. He is an absolute saint and was worked yesterday so I had a much better experience... I will be doing more with him tomorrow.

                        I am surprised by how absolutely lovely and helpful and friendly everyone has been at the track; you guys are all awesome and if I decide this isn't for me I definitely want to be a groom until I go back to school for my second degree! Love the atmosphere at the track! I have no experience with racehorses but I have worked in show barns for 10 years so it should be a bit less of a stretch...


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by PalominoPower View Post
                          Yup, I figured as much. Today the owner's horses were all galloped by an experienced rider, he will do them all again tomorrow, including working the easiest one, who we will put me on to jog the next day if all goes well. We will try to slowly transition me onto them one at a time.

                          Today another trainer lent me essentially the easiest horse at the track just to jog. He is an absolute saint and was worked yesterday so I had a much better experience... I will be doing more with him tomorrow.

                          I am surprised by how absolutely lovely and helpful and friendly everyone has been at the track; you guys are all awesome and if I decide this isn't for me I definitely want to be a groom until I go back to school for my second degree! Love the atmosphere at the track! I have no experience with racehorses but I have worked in show barns for 10 years so it should be a bit less of a stretch...
                          Glad you are enjoying it! I hope it continues to go well for you. Don't give up on your owner/trainer just yet, either, we were all there once. He did get stalls at the track so that is a good sign. Hang in there!

                          "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester


                          • #33
                            Also glad to hear it's going well! You sound like a bright girl and know your limitations (for now) so you'll be all right. Besides riding, watch and learn the vet work/leg care side of things too. There is an education that you won't ever find in a show barn, trust me!


                            • #34
                              What you learned in show barns will help, but...

                              It will be a heck of a stretch. The horses are much different in temperment, that is the most difficult thing for a lot of people who were wonderful grooms in "show" barns, to get used to in racing barns. I've had a stud horse strike with the off leg while I was bandaging the other one. I had a nasty mare, who was a horrible kicker actually cross her off hind leg in front of the leg I was bandaging and kick me right in the forehead. I've been bitten, knocked into the wall, jumped on, dragged around and generally thumped on by horses I was taking very good care of. It happens even if you are careful. There are horses that will be very nice to take care of, and ones that will thrash their stall all night and be nasty every time you pass. Not all, but some of them, are just not socialized like personal horses are. Often, they have been knocked around a bit, force doesn't really work, and they've been made aggressive and some of the more agressive horses run well.

                              I love TBs. I loved working at the track. But I watched girls come and go because the horses just weren't the same as they'd been used to at home, and not only did the behavior intimidate them, I think it broke their hearts a little bit.

                              I hope you can surround yourself with good owners and trainers. Never work for free, the second your paycheck is short cut your losses, don't flirt with anyone unless you mean it and don't loan anyone any money. Don't screw around with your trainer or your owner, your job will end when the screwing does.

                              And as fun as it is now, think about what you're going to feel like when you're 50 if you keep it up.

                              If you PM me, I'll tell you


                              • #35
                                I just want to add to please please be careful about WHO you ride for. You have been very lucky. Not everybody is out for your best interest or knows things. You could have gotten seriously injured riding a tough horse like that and it's good there was an outrider to go with you (although I'm assuming you mean pony person?). There will be trainers who will put you on dangerous horses without a thought as to your safety, so please don't go around just accepting a ride from anybody. That's great the outrider is helping you, and they will be the ones who know who to trust and who not to.


                                • #36
                                  The competence of your trainer makes me very nervous for you -- if they are clueless like you say, then they cannot make good decisions about how you should learn to ride and what horses are best to learn from. Find a better trainer - find the BEST at the track. That is where you want to go to "exercise rider" training school.

                                  I had a friend in your shoes, the trainer/owner put her on "easy" horses - just like your experience. It took twice getting terrifying run-away rides - and she stopped working for that trainer / owner.

                                  Find yourself better company - you will be safer. Clueless owner/trainers are very dangerous - your life is on the line just because they are just too cheap to hire qualified help.


                                  • #37
                                    I'm sorry, nothing about your situation gives me the warm fuzzies about your safety. You have a 'trainer' that doesn't know anything and you are hopping on horses for people you don't know. I really hope everything works out well for you. Really hope. I think that since other people are there, you would do MUCH better to go to an actual trainer and start there, even if you start hotwalking.

                                    The guy wants to save money on a trainer, a groom and an exercise rider. not saying I haven't met some nice ones, but I wouldn't go to a gyp barn to learn the ropes
                                    Originally posted by The Saddle
                                    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Hi guys, thanks for your concerns!

                                      This is quite the learning experience! Two outriders/pony persons (people?) have very quickly removed me from this trainer for now and have found me an absolute saint of a horse (nearing the end of his career, supposed to transition to a pony horse after this season) to work with.

                                      I AM riding him for free every day... but it is much more of a favor for me than for anyone else! I am realizing now I would probably be best to not sit on any horse at the track other than this guy for a good month. He is quite happy to just jog... and today we galloped for the first time. He got a bit quick down one straightaway when he got a good 50 km/h gust of COLD wind up his arse but I managed to get him back to an easy gallop through the turn. He is plenty tough enough for me for now; I have decided I am not "graduating" to other horses until I find him easy -- even if that means the owner/trainer who originally recruited me gives up on me.

                                      Despite riding just the one I have still been spending 3 or so hours at the track most mornings to watch and ask questions as well. Really interesting to see how babies are worked, particularly...
                                      Last edited by PalominoPower; Apr. 3, 2013, 03:25 PM. Reason: unclear wording


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Okay, so my saint of a horse REALLY ran off with me today and an outrider came and rescued me after two laps of our little training track. I did not panic, just couldn't pull him up and used up all my strength, and the horse is a good fellow with a good brain, so no silly antics, he just decided it was time to work when another worker passed us...

                                        I am, however, announcing my early retirement from exercise riding! Partly because I do not like being a hazard to others (or to myself), but mostly because my SO got a job offer in a city nowhere near a track and we are now moving in a couple weeks. I will probably still hang around the track a bit until I move because I love the atmosphere and the people and I like to watch and absorb.

                                        Thank you for your support and all, perhaps in a couple years I will find myself living near a training centre where I can properly learn the ropes. In the meantime, I will be finishing my 2nd university degree, hopefully riding on my university's IHSA team, and trying to find a new project horse as I will be leaving my loaned one behind!


                                        • #40
                                          Uh oh! They're addicted!

                                          Its easy to fall in love with the track! I've been to only 2 "Real" tracks in my life, and multiple training centers to watch galloping. I've never galloped one (I'm a show rider, too!) so I can't help you on that, but wow! Those are some beautiful horses!
                                          I'd love to go back to a track, love the atmosphere!!

                                          best of luck!!
                                          ~Buy an OTTB, Save a Life, Gain a Forever Bond.~
                                          Let's say NO to Kill Buyers