Condition (before and after) critique
Old Man Noah is in his mid-teens and was taken off the track at sometime between December of last year and late January of this year. He was allowed to recuperate (and was gelded...why a teenaged racehorse with no speed wasn't gelding beforehand is beyond me) for a month and a half, then was handed over to me for training to eventually be an Intermediate/advanced lesson horse. He'll ride out english, western, or bareback- and has begun some small crossrail work with a more experienced english trainer (my experience is almost only western) and I'm really pleased with how he's coming along. He began his new job a month or so ago, and is already fitting in really well. He's a bit on the lazy side though, so getting him to put some pep into his canter is rather hard xD
What I'm looking for is an idea from those of you who know more than me how he's looking as he progresses. Over-all muscle building, suggestions on how to get him looking even better...and of that stuff. He's come a LONG ways and can now round himself quite nicely, I'm really pleased with him. Still, I think its vital to get critique from you all too, to make sure I'm not being biased, or missing something important!
A month into his training: not really working on form yet, or head carriage, just letting him know that there's actually two gaits between the walk and the gallop, working on vices (he was in terrible shape when we got him. Wormy, overdue for a farrier, terrible at leading, wouldn't stand for vet/farrier/tacking, all of the good stuff) and just getting accoustumed to the western saddle.
two and a half months into training: Lots of long and low work, some rounding, working on serpentines, lead changes, cantering steadily, etc) beginning to develope his topline a bit.
this morning: capable of staying round throughout his work, now working groundpoles, small verticles and crossrails, and added to our program.
(the first photo is just cute-factor ;P not critique.)
Surely SOMEONE has something to say? ;) come on now, I don't mind harsh critique.
I have to say that Old Man Noah now has quite a bit of muscle in his neck. His hind quarters and his chest doesn't have as much muscle as I expected. Hills are wonderful for building up chest and hind quarter muscles. Even if you just walk up and down the hill it has done wonders for my horses. I would also like to see him have a bit more fat. I don't like to see my horse's ribs as much as I can see Noah's, and for all I know he could still be racing lean. It is always a plus if you can get any horse to gain a little bit of weight before winter. Good job, I know it can be hard to re-train an ex-race horse. I have helped re-train a few of those horses, and it is NOT easy. :)
Sorry, no critique from me. Do want to say thank you for helping to make his life better. He has a sweet look about him, like he appreciates your effort and has formed a bond with you. A bond is probably all new to him! Anyway, I can definitely see an improvement and the start of his topline. Nice job!
SpottedDraftRider- thankyou for the critique. Yes, you're absolutely correct. He should have more muscle in his hindquarters than he does, and I think that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it's really hard to get him to engage his hindquarters. He'll do it, but if you're not constantly reminding him, he'll go flat again. I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to get him off of his forehand (he still tends to lean that way sometimes, unfortunately) and get that butt of his big so he can compete with our QH booties! We dont really have access to any hills, but I'll see if we can't fine somewhere for him to go, maybe once or twice a week. As for his weight...that's probably the most annoying thing about him. He's such a picky eater, and he tends to eat very slowly. We've actually had to start penning him by himself to eat (he was in a group of ten before) and we were reccomended to start him on senior feed since it tends to have a bit more substance to it. He could easily take on another hundred pounds and be fine, with as large as he is. (17.3hh)
MicKey73- We're absolutely in love with his easy temperment and gentle nature, even with the kids. It's him, not us- that is the blessing. He's such a sweet boy, even if he didn't make it very far on the track. And to think that he spent so many years ungelded but acts like a gentleman astounds me.
We definately still have a lot of work ahead of us, that's for certain, but I really couldn't ask more of him. Now just to get that butt engaged and some groceries on those bones! ;)
Getting a horse to go off of his/her hindquarters can be extremely hard if they haven't been doing their job this way for a while. I remember re-training a horse that was used to just flat out running and didn't use his hindquarters. I used to practice transitions with collections and extensions. After he got good at this, I would place two ground poles at the opposite sides of the circles I would have him do. I would ask him to collect for an entire circle so he would have to engage his hindquarters (especially over the poles). Then as a reward I would let him go his preferred pace (an extended canter) around a circle. I did this walk, trot, and canter. I don't know if this will work with Noah, but it worked with my old gelding. This may also help him muscle up in the chest, and will definitely help with flexibility if he has any problems with that. As for his weight, I used to use a supplement called Rice Bran with some of the ex-racehorses I had (I did ex-racehorse foster care for a while). All it does is increase the fat content and doesn't give the horses any extra energy. All the horses my friends and I used this on liked it. Including the extremely picky ones. As for eating slowly, does he have any issues with his teeth?
Sorry for the novel-like post :)
Thank you so much for the suggestions! He really just doesn't understand how to use his hindquarters, yet- I suppose. I'll definately try what you've said, and hope that it helps him.
Rice Bran...yes, I think I've seen that at the feed store. I'll try to pick some up next time I go in for an installment.
He does have some minor teeth issues, as well as a shallow pallette (which makes it hard to fit him for a bit, but the broken rubber snaffle I'm using right now seems to be pretty good for him.) so we're having him routinely floated every three months. It doesn't seem hard for him to eat as long as we stay on top of that, he just tends to get distracted, and dispite his size- he's a big pushover. He would just stand and wait while our miniature yearling ate his fill, not even bothering to challenge the others for his meal. It's a pain, but we figure that eating alone or with just one other non-agressive horse is the best plan for him.
No critique but he is such a cutie :) what a nice looking old guy. I do notice an improvement in his musculature, good job! It's hard to get a horse to use himself properly when they're not used to it, just keep at it and he will come around.
Your welcome! I find it rather funny that he lets a miniature yearling eat his food. Good luck with the further training! Also could you post more pictures of him in the near future? I would love to see how is doing. :)
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haha, yep. He's just a big pushover. Observe.
17.3hh gelding versus 22 inch miniature. aha.
mini (clyd) says 'what are YOU?' and noah says 'what are YOU?'
I can definately see why he didn't get anywhere as a racehorse :lol: he has that 'OH. you wanted to pass me? All you had to do is ask!' attitiude. I see some potential in him though, not only as our lesson horse but also as a lower level competition horse. Dispite his quirks that we're still working out, he has a lovely, floaty gait that I dont see often in thoroughbreds, and a rather nice circle and turn. Perhaps once we have him working off of his booty we'll try a bit of dressage or something ^^
And absolutely! I'll try to post some more pictures in the next few weeks as we get him in better condition ^^
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