Thursday, January 29, 2009

Why a Standardbred?

Two years ago I decided that I needed a new project horse. The two horses that I had were getting old. I was working with Standardbreds at a turnout farm (A vacation spot for pacers and trotter that race.). I had grown up with horses but had never worked with Standardbreds. I was very much impressed by their disposition, they are pleasant to work with and calm.

Some horses never make it to racing and some are retired at a relatively young age but I wasn't crazy about adopting a Standardbred, after all could they canter, or just trot or pace really fast.

One day off a trailer came 2 mares that we were keeping for the Retirement Foundation) The 1st mare, Gina-a pacer, stood about 16 hands and the 2nd mare, LatherRinseRepeat-a trotter was about 17 hands. I was impressed with both of them but could still not convince myself that I wanted a Standardbred. After all I wanted to do dressage and jump, was a Standardbred capable of these disciplines?

I watched the two mares in the field for about two months then I decided that I would play a little with LatherRinseRepeat. She was a big mare and looked like the perfect working hunter to me.

We started with lungeing and she did great. Lat was a pleaser and worked very hard to understand what I wanted her to do. I then decided to lay across her but remember she is 17.2, I had to use a ladder to get on her. She stood there quietly and was cool as a cucumber. Step two-we will put a saddle on her, again nice and quiet.

In June of 2007 I decided that I wanted to show Lat at the Standardbred National Horse Show in New Jersey, that was in September. Lat and I worked very hard and we did Intro A and B at the show. We scored 57.50% on A and 55% on B. I was tickled pink, after all I had not shown in over 30 years and I never showed in dressage. Lat was a 6 year old and had been raced as a two year old and three year old, so she was excited but very good at the National Show.

I do not have an indoor arena, so in the winter it is difficult to do any training. Spring of 2008 Lat and I started training again however as I said I have never shown dressage so I needed to find a coach. I did find one but our sessions together were erratic at best however each session Lat and I learned and improved. By June 2008 we were ready for our 1st dressage schooling show.

Enough of Lat's story I'll tell you more later.