Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Enough context... now back to some action, so I'm also going to share here a recent unfortunate chainsaw accident and subsequent harness race I originally wrote about in my 40+ village.


Please take care with power saws

Hey all, my father, who's used chain saws for over four decades and never had an accident, had one yesterday cutting firewood. A funny shaped branch slipped and the saw kicked to the side and got him in the palm of his left hand. He was extraordinarily lucky not to have severed any tendons or nerves. An emergency department doctor spent nearly two hours stitching him up and says he should make a full recovery.

To give you an idea of what my father is like though: Happened at 10am, my mother came home from shopping at 10.30 and wanted to take him to emergency but he'd pressure bandaged his hand and insisted on training his horse first as it had a race coming up on the weekend. Then he had to feed all his darlings and he decided he might as well bring them all into their stables early in case the medical treatment went on after sunset. So by mid-afternoon he left to see his GP, who took a look at the hand, nearly fainted, and sent him to the emergency department...

I've offered to take two of his retired horses into care here on a permanent basis, to reduce his load from 12 (3 in training, 9 surviving retirees) to 10. I'm looking to take care of Sunsmart's mother and her full brother, both early 20s, both chestnuts with stars and very friendly. I have ample room here and I know I'm going to lose Romeo before too long. He's officially 30 (although his real birthday isn't for weeks yet) and that's a bit of a record. He's doing well though, pelted around with the others at full gallop today and has stopped being lean now! Very energetic at present. Would want to be though, with all the stuff I'm feeding him because he is four molars down!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celeste
Sue, I hope your dad heals quickly. I think it is awesome that he keeps his older race horses! That is great!

I've been referring to his place as "The Equine Retirement Village" for years. Not only does he keep every single one of them (except Romeo and Sunsmart, whom I adopted), but he continues to stable them at night and muck out after them. For 12 horses all up, to do that, plus hand-feed concentrates twice a day and meadow hay four times (dry lots at his place, no pasture) took me 3-4 hours a day on the weekend just to do all that, and that's before you actually work with a horse! And he's 75, and still trains three horses, and has mountains of upkeep around his property that keeps him busy besides...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RegularJoe
Reminds me of a friend from high school. His dad was, if memory serves, 61 and had never seen a doctor for any reason whatsoever.

He put a chain saw half way through his leg, nearly to the bone.

He wanted to just sew it up himself.

My friend's mom basically had to threaten to divorce him if he didn't go to the hospital.


Funny story! I have one like that! A colleague of mine back in 1998 (picture a dreadlocked art teacher) cut his leg on a piece of metal, poured whisky into it, drank some whisky, and sewed himself up with fishing line. Unfortunately he got an infection and then had to go to hospital anyway. I don't think the whisky in the would helped any (because it basically cooks not just the bacteria, but the cells on the wound surface and that really interferes with healing...blame the old cowboy movies...)

My dad isn't anti-hospital as such. He just puts his horses first to a somewhat ridiculous degree...

Last edited by SueC; 09-12-2014 at 09:45 AM.
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post #12 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eole
Sue, I'm sure your father will heal well... if he can be convinced not to use that hand for a couple weeks.



Even when my father had a hernia repaired in his 60s and was told to avoid lifting/strain for a month, he was mucking out stables and training as usual. He did make the concession to only half fill the wheelbarrows...

So resting his hand is a similar story. In fact, here he is driving in a race on Sunday afternoon, days after the accident. He and his little (rescue) mare Dezba came third. He's had her a year - previous place she'd got so stressed out she wasn't eating and she wasn't performing, and they know my father is good with this kind of stuff and offered him the mare. He hasn't won yet with her but they've had numerous placings, and this is another. He's easy to spot with his pink/black horseshoes driving jacket.

http://media.harness.org.au/wa/BYC07091406.mp4

If that doesn't open, choose your video option from this link (Race 6):

Race Results -BUNBURY┬*┬*7 September 2014- Australian Harness Racing

He did tell me he was taking the precaution of wearing a food handling glove between his bandaged hand and driving gloves for extra protection from dirt and moisture.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RegularJoe
Nice finish! Just enough left in the tank to capture third.

Yeah, that was a really nice tactical drive - and that's great because after the last race he was beating himself up after sitting in the running line and taking her out with 400m to go instead of closer to the finish, which meant she had to run extra distance (around the curve) and push wind longer, and they ended up 6th.

This time, in that video, he was racing his maiden mare in a mixed race with some horses who had already won up to three races (the horses who finished 1st-4th there were the three favourites plus Dezba). So he didn't want to fight one of the favourites for the lead but took the slipstream behind that horse, which is a good spot to be if you can get out at the end - and if it's a favourite leading you, then you're unlikely to be shovelled back at the end by a tiring leader. Paid off because he got to overtake the leader in the end.

It's only her third race back from a spell and she is not quite back at peak fitness yet, so my dad is very happy! And I'm proud of him for getting a free mare to be so competitive. She's run 2nd five times and 3rd six times since he had her and with previous owners she'd only had the one placing before she started starving herself out of stress and unhappiness. As mares that haven't won aren't generally used for breeding, her life expectancy wouldn't have been very long if dad hadn't adopted her. As it is she's staying in the family - I've already promised she can retire with me (because dad expects she'll outlive him).

It's not like we have a champion racehorse there, but this kind of thing is very satisfying and more than pays for itself as well, and a great hobby for a 75yo person compared to watching TV!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC
...this kind of thing is very satisfying and more than pays for itself as well, and a great hobby for a 75yo person compared to watching TV!

Nearly anything is a better hobby than watching TV, 75 or not.

Interesting that you said it pays for itself. If I'm not intruding, what's the payout for a third place finish?

It's around $500 in country races like that. She's made around $10K in the last 12 months with her 11 placings. 2nd pays around $1200. There's also a little money for 4th and 5th. A win would be $4500 or so in country class.
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Last edited by SueC; 09-12-2014 at 09:59 AM.
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post #13 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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I am including the following "reprint" because people ask me regularly about trotting versus pacing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eole
Classic Julian is so handsome, I had noticed him in the previous pictures. Are they all pacers?

I look at Julian and see his under-saddle potential - he's beautiful and athletic and only 14 and totally sound. I think he'd be as good a riding horse as my Sunsmart, who is by the same sire. Julian is slightly smaller, but has a better head carriage - I had to work Sunsmart out of being upside-down when I started. I think he's wasted in the paddock, and bored to boot. But I already have a riding horse and can't ride two.

Julian raced as a pacer but has a beautiful trot as well, like Chip, who did whatever gait the rider cued for - there is this misconception that pacers are useless at serious equitation because they allegedly can't trot or canter properly or get the leads right. There is a small subset of pacers who can't trot, they only ever pace in the paddock as well, but whatever they have in the paddock, they will potentially have under a rider with the right communication. However, unless a rider has some competence in under-saddle training and in basic dressage, the horse is just going to keep doing what it thinks the humans want from it unless shown otherwise. If trotters/pacers are ridden from the go-get parallel with their harness training, then they never need re-training, but re-training is straightforward for a competent rider.

Sunsmart was a trotter, pacing didn't agree with him although my father tried to teach it to him for seven years, so he never got to race as there were no trotting races in WA at the time. Same goes for a few other horses my father bred but never raced - the mare that everything started with was a French Trotter, and some of her descendants, like Sunsmart, took after her to the extent that they weren't "ambidextrous" like most Standardbreds.

Sunsmart's gaits at liberty - this is a fun video if you haven't seen it, where he chases cattle for entertainment:


End of excepts from my HF social group. Hopefully this gives some non-harness folk a glimpse into that discipline, and makes a nice starting point for this thread.
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post #14 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 10:10 AM
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This is very interesting. I know nothing about Standard Breds...I don't think we have them in Germany? Or maybe we call them something else. Subbing so that I can learn more.
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post #15 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Frlsgirl!

In Germany you have them too, (American) Standardbreds and various European trotting breeds, all collectively referred to as "Traber" - and people in Europe ride them far more commonly, including in serious competitions, than they do in Australia.

Very famous example: Olympic showjumper Halla.


Olympic showjumper Halla - a German Trotter with SB blood (stud books allow free mixing).




Trotting blood is also often well represented in various riding and carriage breeds (and Trotters themselves, of course, developed from good carriage horse lines interbred with TBs etc).

I spent my first decade in Europe and noticed that carriage driving was (thirty years ago anyway) still a popular pursuit with Warmblood riders. They'd be in the saddle one time and driving their horses the next. It was way cool. That kind of versatility was highly prized. We had a Bavarian Warmblood once, and we found out that (thirty years ago anyway) prospective breeding stallions had to pass examinations on conformation, halter handling, dressage, jumping, carriage driving and ploughing to be allowed to breed registered offspring.

Also the Bavarian Warmblood studbook accepted various Trotting breeds, SBs, TBs and Arabians for breeding BW horses, so long as they passed all these examinations of course! Our BW was out of a German Trotter dam called Yakima who was a regional showjumping champion of her time, so her foal to a "regular" BW stallion, Morketo, was registered as a BW without hesitation.

If you go to a Trabrennen in Germany you may well come across blood relatives of the horses my father bred. Our foundation mare, French Trotter Dame du Buisson, produced five foals in Germany before we bought her, and they ran very well, and almost certainly produced further racing offspring. Her foals used to race in Daglfing, Munich.

Last edited by SueC; 09-12-2014 at 10:50 AM.
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post #16 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
Hi Frlsgirl!

In Germany you have them too, (American) Standardbreds and various European trotting breeds, all collectively referred to as "Traber" - and people in Europe ride them far more commonly, including in serious competitions, than they do in Australia.
Ahhh...Traber...I got it now. I've lived in the states for the past 20 years and I don't recall seeing Trabers at any of the riding schools where I took lessons when I lived in Germany, but I do recall the breed term and remember watching trabrennen on TV. I didn't know that you could use them for every-day type of riding...thought they were exlusively used in harness/racing. Learn something new every day :)
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post #17 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well, horses are horses, and though there are specialist breeds around, many of them are still versatile.

Where I went to riding school in Germany, they had mostly Warmbloods, but there was also one draught horse, Kalinka, who got ridden (an old schoolmate, reminiscing, recently said, "We had to do the splits to ride her, as child riders!") and one Trotter. Interestingly, it was the Trakehner who had issues with his canter leads.

Our first horse, a Bavarian Warmblood, was half Trotter by bloodlines, and our foundation mare we actually bought as a riding horse, and she was a wonderful, reliable horse. Nobody we met in Germany expressed surprise to see a Trotter being ridden, which is quite unlike the situation in Australia, where there is a snootiness about it. While we agisted at German barns, we came across several other Trotters in the breed mix that included Warmbloods (like Trakehner, Oldenburger, Hannoverian), Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Irish Hunters, Icelandic and Fjord horses. Trotters have a good jumping reputation there, because of Halla and other such showjumpers/eventers.

Whereabouts in Germany were you from? And can you get Brezeln and decent bread in Oklahoma?
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post #18 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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For those interested in riding Standardbreds, NBEventer recently started this thread here:

https://www.horseforum.com/horse-bree...rdbred-459114/
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post #19 of 2251 Old 09-12-2014, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Frlsgirl: I noticed you ride a Morgan. This breed is related to the American Standardbred, as the faster Morgan carriage horses were incorporated into the breed during its development, along with TBs like foundation sire Hambletonian.

A reasonable article on the Standardbred on Wikipedia:

Standardbred - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The point mutation discussed in the article and its relationship to trotting ability is vastly oversimplified in the article. Like many complex characteristics, many genes are likely to be involved, not just one simple mutation. Other breeds also have good trotting abilities, and do not all have this point mutation - for example, other trotting breeds, and also good working Arabians (my Arabian mare trotted faster than some Standardbreds and consistently won saddle trotting competitions in gymkhanas).

I do like this photo of a SB doing dressage, from the article above.




It's a shame that "standard" has such negative marketing connotations these days compared to "deluxe" and other superlatives. The SB is thus named because they all had to trot to a certain time standard to go in the stud book.

Also a nice website here on Standardbreds for pleasure and performance under saddle:

The Standardbred Pleasure & Performance Horse Association of NSW Inc. - Home

Last edited by SueC; 09-12-2014 at 11:07 PM.
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post #20 of 2251 Old 09-13-2014, 12:57 AM
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I have a Standardbred mare, an older girl. We're thinking around 20yrs. I bought her for $200 from a couple that said they rescued her from a mud pen with no food,hay or fresh water. I was looking for something my 2 yr old granddaughter could learn to ride on and they said this is the girl. As close to spook proof as you can get, never a kick,bite or anything that would hurt a person. So for the last 3 year's she's lived in our backyard and taken many many walks on a leadline around the loop road We live on.
Chloe has a her size pony now to learn to ride independently and I've decided to ride Judy myself. I used to ride anything when I was young but lost confidence after a few falls as I got older. I'm 61 now, so I took her to a friend's barn where there's a round pen and an arena to ride in and someone around to call 911 if I do fall off 😉. I've gone over twice this week and lunged her a little then rode in the arena,mostly walking, circles,changing direction until I get my confidence back. It's finally beginning to cool off here some so maybe soon I'll try some trails behind the barn. My friend that's a trainer and instructor is there with me in case I do need help.
When she round penned Judy she says every now and then she can get her to gait, heck I just want a nice walk/trot at this point. Amy said she didn't know if there were certain cues or commands because she has no experience with Standardbreds. I did notice in your cow chasing video, when we first turned Judy out in her big pasture, she trotted and flew around with that tail out and up like a flag. I did think her gallop almost looked like some kind of bunny hop, is that normal? I know this is kinda long, I'm just so happy with my sweet old girl and counting on her to get me past that old fear so I can really enjoy riding again. I really don't care if she gaits or not, I'm happy with a good trot. Amy seems to think if she can do it then we should learn how to make her do it on command. I'm riding her in an English saddle and a thick,fat loose ring snaffle or just bareback. Are there specific commands or equipment needed to get the pace? My granddaughter still says Judy is her horse. ☺
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