I Decided To Buy A Racehorse – Part 1
Bought on an impulse and just from a picture! Only having seen him buck, trot and spin in-hand we came home with Earthwindorfire. Earthy raced 13 times, unlucky for some but not for us. Dismissed for not giving 100%, he spent two months out of work and in a stable while Rachel Geary kindly searched for his new home. Through Claire Fielding, a friend on the eventing circuit, we got talking to Rachel, and his uphill build and active front leg caught our eye. The rest is history …
As a racehorse, Earthy had impulsion covered: Day one felt like a casting call for Fast & Furious 9, and he definitely got the part. The options I considered for the first step of his re-education were:
Lunging: This went well from Earthy’s point of view, and after pondering his choices, he considered it safest to stand still and watch me.
Long Reining: Having prepared the horse and feeling smug that this was the smartest way forward, I took up a contact. Mistake number one. Having saved my face from imminent floor contact while convincing the Duke of Edinburgh group passing on the footpath that this was standard procedure, I retrieved my steed. I didn’t fancy running anyway.
De-brief & extensive safety checks followed. After the first couple of weeks riding, we’d started to make progress. There was a rhythm, although it would be fair to describe it as swift (or cheetah like) he certainly wouldn’t arrive late to the party.
Suppleness –yes, talents included bending, wiggling, spooking, bucking, napping and only if you didn’t require it.
Reversing (at speed, obviously).
Straightness – yes, but no.
Contact, yes but strong.
Collection… ha! Not yet!
The plan laid down was to work on a longer rein with a soft contact to encourage Earthy to look down at what’s in front of and around him and to deal with the situation without introducing tension.
So, risk assessment complete and NECK STRAP ON (recommended for everyone racehorse or not!), I set out some poles. Well, I set out a single, solitary pole. Steep learning curve ahead, pole eventually traversed.
From there on, poles were a daily necessity (I like to keep my adrenaline up), so I took all of my scariest possessions (flowers, banners, fillers, tarpaulin… ). We started with the walk, working up to trot until he began to feel relaxed about his job (job title: pole-crossing enthusiast) and it proved an effective technique. Spoiler – this paid no dividends when I tried to introduce the ‘coat on a rail’ technique into his grid-work… I’ll elaborate on that in our next exciting instalment…
Tune in for next month’s blog for the next update on Earthy’s progress.
This blog comes courtesy of tweed fashion brand Timothy Foxx www.timothyfoxx.co.uk