Well kids, it’s been a crazy busy past few weeks at the farm hosting our semi-annual de-spooking clinic with National Mounted Police Services, an organization dedicated to training mounted police units, civilians, and their equine partners across the country.
It’s an excellent opportunity for both horses and humans to gain confidence and experience with obstacles that might otherwise be really challenging — like tarps, fire, loud noises, uneven footing, etc. But after falling off yet another horse earlier last week, I was still sore from my latest trip to Gravity Academy by the time clinic day rolled around so decided to sit this round out but have my oh so amazing fiancee put my OTTB through his paces.
My boy, Sure Prize, was one of four off track Thoroughbreds participating in the clinic and to everyone else’s surprise, they were all model citizens, even leading some of the more wary horses through the most difficult obstacles as the first day wore on.
On the second day I felt good and confident enough to hop on the Prize myself, but after a few laps around the arena through the obstacles, I felt my boy shift his weight in his hind end oddly. I hopped off and traded places with Lisa, who walked him through a bit longer. We traded places again and he seemed to be a bit better but not knowing the extent of what was wrong we decided to call it a day at lunchtime. Of course just as I’d gotten myself worried, the next day he seemed to be almost 100% fine but with the vet coming this week, always better safe than sorry.
We almost survived the whole clinic and next time around we definitely will. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed not to have been the one taking him through the course but at the same time I can’t let my own ego get in the way of his training.
With years of training and riding experience under her belt, my fiancee Lisa is one of the best and most knowledgeable horse people I’ve met, so who better to have at the helm for my retired racehorse’s first time through a clinic of this level? In all reality it’s better for him to have the experience with seasoned rider than it is for me to not be at my best, nervous and injured, and have those fears affect his composure and judgment making ability.
It was also just an awesome thing for me to see — my sometimes less than confident horse, boldly going where some horses refused to go. It was as much of a learning experience for me on the ground and even more of one for him under saddle.
All in all it was a stellar weekend for those wild and crazy Thoroughbreds and with Indy seemingly fine on Tuesday, he also got to spend some time practicing other obstacles during our weekly group ride. Despite an otherwise eventful weekend, Tuesdays ride was pleasantly uneventful with Indy being a perfect (and extremely tired) gentleman.
As they say, a good horse is a tired horse and this is especially true for one coming off the track.