Saturday, March 27, 2010

First of all, read this article. Published in the New York Times, it discusses the alarming statistic that racehorses in the United States have a much higher fatality rate than those in Europe.

As for my student, A and her horse T, I did two lessons with her. T is a good boy but a tough saddle fit, and the saddle used on him was too small. In addition, A was using two saddle pads to correct the issue, which actually made it worse. T is similar in size and shape to Shorty, so I let her try out my dressage saddle. Lo and behold, the horse was 85% better than he'd been in the other saddle. During the second lesson he looked 100% better. He was happy and relaxed with a light, forward stride and plenty of impulsion.

Shorty moved to a new barn on February 28th. The whole moving experience was... interesting. I hired a friend to haul Shorty to the new place because it had snowed a great deal the day before (18 inches!) and I'm not totally comfortable with my trailering skills yet. Unfortunately, my friend got stuck in the driveway coming in, and we spent four hours digging him out. Somehow, he busted a brake line in all of this, and I thought that Shorty wouldn't get to move after all.

A friend of a friend offered to drive Shorty over. By then, it was dark, and I wasn't totally sure I was up for it. However, I did really want to get Shorty out of there, and the thought of waiting another week made me feel disappointed. The friend of a friend brought over a teeny, tiny, parallel load, ramp-up trailer. I've only ever hauled him in a huge, roomy, 3 horse, slant load, step up trailer. However, he walked right on, no questions asked. We loaded on the street because the driver was afraid to get stuck in the driveway. Shorty's chest was pressed against the chest bar at the front of the trailer, and his butt was against the door. Thankfully, the ride took five minutes. We unloaded on the road at the new place (backing out was fun but Shorty was good) and walked down the half mile driveway in the dark. He strutted into the new barn like he owned the place and immediately settled in his new stall. A fresh pile of hay was waiting, and he instantly tore into it, sighed once, and looked at me as if to say, "Now what?" What a good boy! OTTB's may be hot under saddle, but when it comes to transport and new places, they rule.

The new place is really cute and the horses are well cared for. It's more of a private facility, although some lessons do take place. There are only seven horses, and they spend most of the day outside. The only major downside is the fact that there is no indoor riding arena, although they are breaking ground on a limestone arena that may, eventually, get a roof. I hope to post pictures soon.

Okay, there's a second downside... MUD! There's lots of it here in Ohio, especially in the spring when we get torrential rainfall.