Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tampa Bay area, FL
Some things just make you realize how lucky you are!
So today I was out watching a barrels lesson and chatting with the barn farriers wife. They board their QH gelding at the barn I'm at, and as it just so happens their horse is also an off the track horse. I'd say he's between the ages of 7-10, he was a race horse for the first four years of his riding career and then was bought by someone who quote "just kicked him and let him run". Now the farriers wife, who competes in barrel racing, bought this guy with the intention of training him for barrels. Long story short, she's had to start basically from the ground up and he still just wants to run run run.
Now for my part of the story. My 12 y/o TB was on the track for eight years, then spent another year doing nothing. I would still consider him "fresh off the track" because he had no prior normal riding experiences before I bought him. However, considering what the woman told me, he's been relatively easy. Sure, he has a horrible attitude, and some days he's fine to let me brush him and then the next day he's baring his teeth at me, but he knows how to walk without speeding up, knows how to trot without trying to run through me, stops decently well, and has some flexibility. He free lunges, and we're working on teaching him how to lunge properly on a line. He leads well, ground ties, knows how to pick up his feet, back in both directions, yield his hindquarters, and we're working on yielding his forequarters. He neck reins with minimal reminders from the bit. All of this was achieved in the eight months I've owned him. I consider that quite an accomplishment. He is very smart and very willing, and loves nothing more than to trot around our huge arena for an hour.
For all that I complain about my horse, I was listening to that womans story and thinking "thank god that's not my horse"