Friday, May 27, 2016

Racing Odin

I was recently contacted by Odin's racing owner and she sent along some photos of baby racing Oaters!

From one of his first rides as a late yearling or early two year old


Love this one.  She said he dolphin squealed at the track too

Oh hi

Ah, so he came pre trained to graze with the bit.  Good, no one can blame me then

I love the internet, it makes it possible for someone who used to be in his life to know he is in a loving home and it makes it possible for me to learn about his earlier years.

For example, after he bled so badly in his last race they retired him.  But further vet care indicated he might not be that bad of a bleeder, he actually most likely had a virus of some sort that made the bleeding worse.  I am still glad they stuck with the decision to retire him - he didn't appear that into racing anyways.

You could always tell this horse was well treated at the track, but it is cool to hear more information and I am so so grateful for these images for our collection.

Oh, and here is the jumping video from last weekend:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jumping Fun

The Oatsmobile has continued to be an excellent riding horse, remembering his lessons from ride to ride and getting much better.  Saturday during my lesson we trotted a small jumping course (mixed poles and cross rails) and he did great.  He still won't land on his left lead very often but that isn't a priority at this time.  

Sunday I went hiking in the morning and managed to limp to the barn (freaking rolled ankle) in time to watch his training ride with R2.  

I took video which I will clearly need to upload to youtube because blogger and I can't agree on uploading it directly, but in the meantime the video stills tell a relatively interesting story to me.  Mostly about how baby horse is tired of this cross rail shit.  

First jump of the day, trotting in and just stepping over.
Not really trying and definitely not jumping round
Lazy front end. Kind of fugly

Hard to see but a slightly better effort going into the line as he warms up.
Still trotting in

Coming back to this jump he gave a slightly bigger effort now that he is rolling
But obviously still not trying super hard

A crappy angle but this is cantering out of the line in the add.
Speaking of, this horse has a monster stride.  He can do the step trotting in.
Slightly better effort, using his neck a little, still a little lazy or maybe just awkward with a tight distance.

The biggest jump he did that day, probably 2'3".  This was trotting in.
Commands a bit more respect and effort.  

Cantering to the flower box. I think having fill made him actually stretch his neck a
bit to take a look

Jumping out of the line in the step

And finally, cantering to the "big" vertical

Not too shabby

Looking at it in total with my very amateur eye, it seems to me that a bunch of pretty predictable stuff is going on.

  • He isn't really trying at the tiny stuff anymore (especially when it is warm out and it was on Sunday).  
  • He jumps tidier and better when he has more momentum, the jumps are higher, or the spot is bigger.
  • He hasn't learned to really use his back or neck when jumping yet. 
  • Odin is a pretty bold jumper.  He will peek at the fill but it doesn't phase him and he doesn't stop unless you pull on him.  Totally acceptable, he is green so he isn't expected to offset rider error at this point.
  • Can deal with the tighter spot or the bigger one, although he has plenty to learn about both.
On the whole I am thrilled with him.  The pros are confident he is going to develop into a killer jumper (although possibly not hunter material) and he seems to have retained most of what he learned about jumping last summer even with a pretty long 6 months focusing on flat work.  We have plenty to learn, but I think we have the basics installed and it is the right time to advance.

I am hoping for lots of photos and videos over the next few months to keep track of how he progresses over fences.  Always open to any other thoughts!

Monday, May 23, 2016

0 for 2

On the summer horseware front, we are officially zero for two.  Saturday I gave Odin a bath and put on his fly mask and Fly sheet (a kool coat).

Today I walked out to his pen and found a horse with no fly mask.  After a brief hunt, I found it.

At the bottom of his water trough.


Then after our ride, I put his kool coat on and he promptly went to roll.  As he did the front buckle ripped off. Like completely disconnected from the sheet.  Luckily it didn't panic him that it was dangling sadly as he stood back up.

So he is naked tonight.

Actually that isn't totally true.  He has 2 flipped up bell boots on for some fetlock sores.  May god have mercy on their souls.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Odin progress report

Before we had an Odin birthday celebration on Sunday, we have actually been riding quite a bit.  I have seen it noted on several blogs that it is hard to write interesting posts when your horse is just easy and good, and I totally understand.

Because if there ever was an interesting way to say "my horse does pretty much what I am asking and continues to improve faster than anticipated," I have tapped it out.

We get sunshine during the week and rain on weekends
Regardless, that is what I will continue to say!  Odie has been a good little worker bee for both me and R.  He gives R2 a little bit more business during her rides but she is usually the one tasked with pushing past his comfort zone so that isn't unexpected.  And he still is mostly awesome with her.

The laying on the bit behavior seems to finally be fading away.  Which is a nice change, I even rode without gloves for the first time recently!  As he is getting stronger he is able to hold a nice trot tempo for increasing periods and he is figuring out a reasonable range for head set.

I can't find much to complain about with this trot

It is actually a bit interesting to me because this is kind of what he was like when he first came to us, but then he grew and his body changed and his training increased and the poor guy basically had to learn all over again but now we are back to this nice place only with a lot more muscle and knowledge.

With the estrone in routine use, his stifle seems to be fine again and I am so, so grateful that a cheap drug helps him out this much.  I will probably leave him on it all summer at minimum.  We are still being careful to warm him up - at least 5 min walking each direction and trot left for a couple minutes before even attempting to go right - but in the past week he hasn't seemed really sore at all.  Even after a decently tough work out.

We have also been doing poles which he thinks are fun but not as fun as jumping.  So sometimes we jump the poles.  But he has been cantering off nice and quietly and has even started landing on his left lead.  Historically, he has always landed right when trotting a fence, but it looks like that is starting to open up some.

The heavens literally shine on us :P
The canter is just amazingly different, for which I have to thank R2 for all her hard work.  But both leads are there and haven't even been temporarily misplaced recently.  The first couple transitions can be a little rough....coughlotsofsquealingcough.....and he does still kick out at the outside leg sometimes.  We have learned that he currently canters off better with pushing a smidge with the inside leg and holding, whispering with the outside leg, and verbally asking for the canter.  

A full on squeeze with the outside leg will almost always get a cow kick so we will build up to that. Not that I mind having a horse who is sensitive to the leg!  But we don't need to always object so strenuously, baby horse.  Anyways, that is a future refinement.

For now, we can canter multiple laps and hold a lead!  This is probably about 75% him getting stronger and 25% me figuring out how to help him hold that lead, i.e. stepping into my outside stirrup and supporting with the outside aids when turning.  

Swapping still occurs at a reduced frequency, and usually when we first start cantering, less after he is warmed up at the canter.  Curiously, he has started swapping in front sometimes now too.  So now we have all the options - hold correct lead, swap in back, swap in front, and once in a while - a full lead change.  

So yeah, nothing exactly thrilling happening here.  We are working some on stretchy trot because Odin loves to stretch down.  And hoping to get into some more jumping soon.  We do jump on occasion but apparently my cameraman never makes it to my lessons.  R did say she thinks he is ready to start some gymnastics.  

Oh and I did hop on him bareback for the first time!  He couldn't have cared less and mostly wanted to eat the camera:

Damn, I love this horse!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Happy 5th Birthday Odin!

You only come of age once, right?  Might as well go all out and party hard.  Odin turned 5 on Saturday, May 14 although we saved his birthday party for today.

I made some homemade horse biscuits using a recipe from here:
2 carrots, shredded
2 apples , shredded
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1.5  cup oatmeal
  • Generously grease a muffin tin.  I used cupcake paper cup things instead and these still stuck to them some.
  • Mix carrots and apples into a bowl with molasses, water, flour and oatmeal. Mixture should have a thick and doughy consistency. 
  • Scoop dough into a muffin tin and bake in the oven at 400F for 30-50 minutes or until well cooked.
These were a huge hit with all the horses and besides being kind of a sticky mess were really easy.

I also hit the dollar store for some horse decorations.  Using the horse cookies as bribery, the Odinpotamus was happy to let us decorate him at will.  I am not usually into this kind of stuff, but with a horse that just likes to be played with it was pretty fun.

I am embarrassed for you, human

OK, the crown means I can tell you what to do, so that's cool

We aren't really riding with the crown, are we?

People, this is just ridiculous

Barn cats party too
He was very snuggly after his ride so Jon wanted to get some cute shots too

More to come on how things have been going (spoiler - mostly great) but one last picture for today.  When you are so tired from a trainer ride that you can't even hold your own lip up

He stayed like this for two solid minutes, just leaning his gums on me.  Weirdo.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Next level

It was one of those weeks in young horse world.  The best kind of week that is.  For months now we have been plugging away and helping drive Odin to the right answers and patiently waiting for him to "get" it.  And we definitely had a week of getting it.  

We really need new media, but here are some old pics to break up text wall.
The stifle, by the way, seems to be slowly improving so more estrone, more stifle strengthening (thanks for the tips on my last post!) and a long warm up is the current plan.

Anyways, it seems that almost everything came together for Odin this week.  In fact, tonight I had the first hack on him that just felt like a hack and not a training session.  He was soft and bendy without pulling or dragging on the bit, he was obedient, and he did w/t/c both directions like he has been a riding horse for 20 years.  

While I have enjoyed working with him this whole time, there was just something special and almost magical about a ride where it all came together fluidly.  Clearly that won't happen everytime, but I love seeing glimpses of the future!

Fancy trot
 Going back a bit, our lesson Saturday was short but sweet.  I am finally FINALLY feeling better so I was excited to get back to real riding.  Odie was a little bit distractable and excited during the warm up but then settled down to work.  We ended after trotting up to a tiny vertical, and he just loped over it, cantered away quietly and dead straight.  Couldn't ask for anything better.

 On Sunday, he got a training ride from R2.  And boy had to work.  He was swapping leads quite a bit in back and didn't want to pick up his right lead, and after consideration, R2 decided he wasn't sore, he was just being lazy.

So it became canterpalooza spring 2016.  Both directions, simple changes across the diagonal and canter more.  Horse thought he was going to die but he did stop swapping in back so her judgement call was accurate.

After a rest, he was then rewarded with jumping.  And like any good baby OTTB he instantly forgot how tired he was in order to leap sticks.

He jumped some scary boxes....well, other horses find them to be scary, Odin was largely unconcerned.  R2 said she put a tiny smidge of leg on him when he looked and he popped right over.  He also cantered a solo vertical and cantered a line.  I mean, he cantered it pretty crookedly but let's not get to greedy, mmmkay?

I hopped on to cool him out and we went on a trail ride.  Due to the rain there were some puddles and mud which Odie eyed suspiciously.  He does have some strange concerns about footing.  And where the dirt turned to grass he decided was not safe and wouldn't cross.  It was flipping adorable.  His ears go out sideways, he snorts, and he s-l-o-w-l-y backs away.  I kick him back forward, he goes, gets to the verge, and repeats.

It took a few tries, but then he got across and was rewarded with some nice spring grass.

All in all, Odie has shown he is ready to handle some added pressure/move along a bit in his training so I am excited to see what is next!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Patience required

There isn't an awful lot to report on the Oatsmobile front.  The estrogen did come in and he got his first shot last Wednesday.  While it helped some, he still seems sore and by Monday night his stifle locked up again twice during our ride.

I am going to try and call the vet and see if you can give it twice a week, sort of double dose him for awhile.  Or if she has any other ideas.  Otherwise I just need to remain patient and give it more time.

If anyone else has thoughts on stifles in young TBs, I am happy to hear them.  The horse is pretty fit, we do backing and poles to help strengthen the stifles, and we don't have any hills to work on.

Also, coming back from Ireland I was whammied by a cold and have been mostly laid out.  Combine that with yet another spring fricking snow storm (do I sound like a broken record yet?) and it has not been the best week ever.

And yet, Odin really does make almost everything better.  I spent the weekend on the couch wishing I would either die or get better, except when I double dosed myself on cold meds and went to the barn to ride.

Clearly I wasn't the most effective rider on earth but we still had nice rides.  Not amazing and perfect rides, but rides that demonstrate he is growing up and learning his job.  That canter.....oh, how that has changed.  He can't do it correctly for very long but damn it is going to be really nice.  He was a little silly but didn't try to take advantage of his sick person.

One new thing because it's horses and it never ends.....he has been locking his jaw on the left and R thinks he might have a wolf tooth coming in.  I kind of hope that is the case because I am lazy and would rather it is a simple tooth thing than a green horse testing his boundaries thing.  But either way, we will work through it.  Sometimes we just don't have an effective left turn at the moment!