Saturday, February 22, 2014


Last weekend I visited the Washington horse expo. I had the pleasure of watching my friend on her big adorable OTTB. He's a year older than Dickie and an old soul. I remember seeing her at a show last year when he was just off the track. He was calm, sweat, and down to business. He might be the same color, size, and just a year older but he's miles ahead of Dickie in mental maturity. I'm excited to see what they do this year. 

She rode in an eventing jump clinic demo. He warmed up well on the flat. Calm and obedient. You wouldn't know that he's only been back under saddle again for three weeks after recovering from Australian string halt. Watching him warm up you would think "wow that's a good looking horse" but he wasn't over the top flashy. Then she set the jumps up...... His eyes lit up, his ears pricked, and he was suddenly better than a nice horse. He was a fancy mother that was begging to get to work. He gave a few jumps the hairy eye ball and took a couple odd distances but he was game. 

As I looked at his happy face I wondered if it would be a bad idea to start Dickie over some low stuff. I don't believe in jumping them young, their spines don't finish growing until six and you see a lot of sacroiliac problems in horses pushed young. However, I don't think small stuff will be a problem. He's a big guy so his canter is bigger than low stuff. 

The next time I went out to work him I made things a little more fun. I haven't even set up ground poles in a while so I set up trot poles on the quarter line and a cavaletti at the highest setting on a circle. He ho de dummed along on the lunge like usual then i pointed him over the three trot poles and doofus woke up. His ears perked up and he started using his butt. Next we trotted cavelleti a few times then started cantering over it. He was happy as a clam the whole. He even was more jazzed up at the end than when we started. 

Dickie can be a hard but to crack. He's not the most forward horse but I wouldn't neccesrily call him lazy. He needs to be interested and he needs to feel confident. His TB side wants to keep trying when he's learning something new. This isn't what you want? Ok, what about this? The appy side says "this is boring, here's a donkey kick. Think of something fun then we will talk." 

We are at the stage now where he's confident enough w a rider on his back to argue. He knows enough to think going around in circles is boring but not enough to do much exciting. But he is balanced enough to hop himself over some cross rails and seems to find that interesting. So jump we will do. It isn't going to be me because he deserves to start out with a confident balanced rider. To be continued...........


  1. Your friend's OTTB sounds awesome! :) How do you treat Australian Stringhalt? I'm glad he recovered.

    Yay crossrails! I bet Dickie is loving it. Chrome is almost five now. Maybe I should try some crossrails (on the ground, not with me on him lol)... but jumping is not good for straight, locking stifles is it? :(

    1. There is no treatment. You just take them off the weed and hope they recover. He is almost better. He looks really good to me but she said she notices it. He might never be 100% but he is well enough to jump. Aren't raised things good for locking stifles? What does your vet say? I would be it is ok for him as long as he is in regular work.

  2. Uhhh I've never asked a vet about his stifles.... I just discussed it with my farrier since his hoof angles are what makes it worse... I'll try to remember to ask a vet lol. I don't know why I haven't. My farrier said stepping over thing at the walk (like my square bale of hay I walk him over) and doing cavaletti at walk and trot and working up hills is the best way to rehab locking stifles. I just didn't think jumping was good for horses with straight rear legs. I don't know much about jumping so I'm not sure. I can ask the vet that too. :)