Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Event Plans For March

March begins tomorrow and I have big plans for it.

But before I go into my plans,  I must show all of you this!  Finally!  Someone wrote about Ollie!!  A Quirky Gelding Eases Grief. Finally Ollie's story is out there!  He's always been overshadowed by Jag but now that War Horse is out and the Oscars have been awarded (so bummed that War Horse didn't get any), we can move onward! 

I've been having many fairly good rides with Ollie lately.  Something seems to have clicked for me as well as him.  I think a light bulb went off when I was watching the videos from the Retired Racehorse Training Program.   Each trainer put up their own videos and made comments on their blog posts.  They were so helpful for me.  I could find a little of Ollie in each horse and then see how the various trainers worked with that characteristic.  I loved it! 

I'm probably one of a few fortunate people who know what a race horse's life is like at the track.  My work as a photographer in the industry and my many friends in the industry allows me a window to how the horses are taken care of.  Having that knowledge helps me in understanding my horse. Thankfully someone saw the value in knowing a typical race horse's routine.  Robin Coblyn, owner of Four X The Trouble saw it and is putting together a video with this kind of information to help OTTB owners who don't know what life is like for a race horse at the track.  Here is a promotional video which gives you an idea of what their videos will contain:

The videos will also contain information about retraining an OTTB which is probably along the lines of what we saw during the RRTP challenge. It's all good information and will be a great asset for many OTTB owners including myself!

But let's get back to me shall we?  Ollie and I are doing well as I mentioned.  Part of it is that I don't over react to him being him.  He anticipates things and he may go into canter when I didn't ask but rather than me instantly disapproving and getting tense, I keep my cool, go along with it and ease him back into the gait I wanted.  Keeping my cool helps in keeping Ollie's cool!  It was an "Ah Ha!" moment for which I'm embarrassed to admit didn't click for me earlier!   Ollie is an EXTREMELY sensitive soul and he feeds off of my feelings like no horse I've ever been around.  Therefore it's important that I keep my good naturedness about me when I'm around him.  Since I'm conscious of this now, we've had really good rides!   I'm also working on breathing.  I find that I stop breathing the second Ollie gets wound up.  If I keep breathing and breath deeply, that it settles us both down!  Crazy - I know. 

March is a bit slow for photography which means it's great for riding.  I can give Ollie all the time he needs and we can have fun with our work.  There are two horse shows coming up and a clinic.  I was planning on going to the final Snowbird Show for the season at the Horse Park over St. Patty's Day weekend but I've changed my plans.   That same weekend has a clinician, James Houston, coming into town.  I've decided that going to a clinic would be a better bang for our buck at this stage.  It'd give Ollie the road trip he needs and the experience in a new environment as well as the two of us getting expert help from a first class dressage instructor!  Seems like a fun opportunity and the organizers have assured this insecure middle aged woman that we'll fit right in.  I could also use the running martingale which I still need for safety at times.  Here is a link to another blogger who had high praise for James Houston Clinics:  Excellent Clinic Ride Today  I'm looking forward to it!

Then at the end of the month is the Paul Frazer Memorial Combined Test and Dressage Show at the Kentucky Horse Park.  The Jockey Club is supporting an OTTB division with their Thoroughbred Incentive Program at this show where we could win a prize!  Woo hoo!  But really - I just want to support all the OTTB efforts I can.  I love my OTTB's! 

So that's my plans for March.  Should be fun!  


  1. Very exciting about the column Susan wrote about you (I commented there already ;o) and I'm excited too about the videos on retraining OTTBs. You're doing the right thing with Ollie--giving yourself confidence gives HIM confidence, too. Worriers try very hard, and that makes us want to help them get over their fears so we can make progress. Keep up the good work and good luck on your show plans!

  2. Loved reading Ollies story! That was very cool! I never thought of it but he really is teaching you to be a better horsewoman! I hope you two have a great time at the clinic!

  3. This is ALL terrific news! So glad that the RTTP was beneficial, and I bet others have been inspired, too.

    I hear you on the breathing thing. Funny, nobody ever noticed that I was holding my breath in jumping classes until nearly the end of my junior riding career. I still remember being on an outdoor hunter course (read: long, like they used to be) and my trainer hollering, "BREATHE!!!!" as I went by. Talk about a lightbulb moment! I guess she finally noticed I was turning blue? Ever since then, I have concentrated on remembering to do it during all horse activities. I also used to get the most horrible side stitches when riding. If I focus on breathing from my abdomen I can mostly keep those at bay. And yes, the horses absolutely know what's going on!

    Keep up the great work with Mr. Cutie!