I’m excited to blab on and on about helping CANTER Mid-Atlantic retrain and re-home racehorses! If you know me, you already know that I blab on and on about it in person, so it’s a natural progression for me to do it in blog form!
Getting on these babies is so rewarding – everything they do is a big deal. They really are like clean slates. You can throw together conformation, movement and attitude, but you really don’t know how they’ll be until you get on and get them going a bit. Finding that out is my favorite part of restarting racehorses, because usually, they’re great – after all, they’re thoroughbreds!
Back up: May 2010: A little 4 year old bay gelding arrived at Allie’s in NC… he wasn’t too impressed with us. Rather, did he even see us at all? Example: when he was walking on us, over us, through us or, his personal favorite: trotting away from us. He was like, “Meh.. phht! Humans suck…” And who could blame him: Sadly christened with the unfortunate jockey club name I Yam a Mandate (by Full Mandate out of .. you guessed it: Sweetpotatopie) “Tater “ didn’t have much reason to fancy us humans. Aloof and grouchy, it was decided he needed a few months R & R at Chez CANTER ala’ Cameron. He spent the summer there mingling with other CANTER horses.
Fast forward to the past few weeks and a new horse emerged. From aloof and hard-to-catch, to in-your-face and very outgoing. Every time we’d go to see the horses in Cameron he’d try to get our attention, ok. His wheeling and kicking out was just his way of saying, “Pick me! Pick me!!” We all know the type: the bratty show-off kid at school who is always trying to get everyone’s attention – shooting spitballs, throwing erasers and being obnoxious. His behavior was telling us loud and clear…that he was ready for a job! We brought him to Allie’s on a Saturday night.
Because we don’t like to waste time, we gave him a day to settle in. Monday I pulled Tater out of the field, brushed him off and put some tack on him. So far, so good. I led him to the mounting block and .. (here’s goes nothin’!) .. hopped on…wait for it.. um.. never mind – there was nothing to wait for.. he just stood there! So off on our hack (with Allie on Maggie) we went! The expression on his face was priceless! So full of pride and “OMG I have a job!” You’d think we’d just made him the head hall monitor. He took hacking very seriously – it IS serious business after all. We had a nice walk through the woods and he never put a foot wrong, ears pricked, the happiest pony ever! I’m still waiting for him to spook, or be actually afraid of something.. anything!! But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Seriously, folks, this horse is E.A.S.Y!
So that was on a Monday, by Saturday you’d think he’d been in work for months. It was a pretty busy first week, too –a bootcamp of sorts. He’s hacked out alone and with various other horses all week. Wednesday he “got “ the whole “OH you want me to put my head DOWN!” thing. He’s trotted over little logs in the woods, and he’s done some flatwork – yes, he picks up both leads. His canter is lovely, and his trot doesn’t suck, either. Good boy! He canters in the woods doesn’t care if he’s in front or behind -it’s all good. Being a hall monitor is a good job!
We’ll get some pictures up soon, so his cuteness can be documented !
Allie laughs because I fall in love with all of them – but they’re all special in some way. And Tater is no exception – he’s going to be a really cool little horse for someone -which is extra cool since I thought he might be a bit naughty before I got on him. I was happily mistaken! He’ll spend the next weeks hacking out and practicing “circles.” Then…maybe a date with the line of logs at the Foundation this week! I’ll let you all know how that goes.. but I think you be able to guess! 😉