The Unbearable Lightness of Thoroughbreds

Final Call showed me tonight that his lovely uphill frame is well-suited for that classic TB move: “getting light in front.”

The round pen worked for join-up (and he was a total star, working his mouth and lowering his head after about ten minutes, and putting his nose on my shoulder when I turned my back) but as soon as I was mounted and trotting I could tell that it was too slippery to ride in.

I weighed my options. I could get off and take him in or I could ride him out in the paddock. Not much of a choice. . .

I went with paddock, because I may be a slacker but I know I’ve got to ride him out there sometime.

I managed to open the gate while mounted, which frankly astounded both us, but once I gathered up the reins and caught his attention again, he walked out nicely enough.

Don’t be too jealous, but my paddock and round pen back up to a home autobody garage. I didn’t put it there, we bought the place that way. The Good Ol Boys were on a Budweiser break and watched with interest as my snorting monster cavorted across the field.

Guess who else liked seeing Final Call out in the paddock? Heckle and Jeckle, the yearling comedy duo, who decided to put on their best Spanish Riding School/Wild West Rodeo routine for our benefit.

The usually static, flat horizon that characterizes central Florida suddenly took on new landmarks, as I found myself peering through Final Call’s pricked ears.

My gods that horse can make himself tall!

Through use of the most defensive seat I learned at the track- deep seat, heels jammed down and roughly just in front of my knees, body bent at waist, chin just above my hands, hands pressed into neck just above withers- I managed to ride the stargazer and even allow him a nice easy canter. I would ride out a tornado in this seat. It preps you for spin buck or bolt, without causing unnecessary tension. Indispensable for anyone riding an OTTB. Their lightness is one of their athletic gifts, and it can certainly be used against the unwary rider.

This post was written on a BlackBerry and I’m curious to see how it turns out…

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4 Comments

Filed under Final Call, Stereotypes, Training Diary, Training Theory

4 responses to “The Unbearable Lightness of Thoroughbreds

  1. It posted perfected from your BlackBerry!

    They sure can exhibit all kinds of lightness in a hurry, can’t they? Sounds like the incredibly growing horse has a good, thinking brain in his head! When they get light like that it is such an amazing feeling, like riding a spring or a bouncing ball.

    Gabe does the nose on my shoulder or back thing too. None of my other horses have ever done that. When I’m cleaning his run-in he has to be right. there. with his chin resting on my shoulder or pressed against my back. I can’t figure out if he just wants to be close and my presence comforts him or if he’s waiting for me to let my guard down so he can bite! He came to me very, very mouthy and not afraid to use his teeth, while he’s gotten much, much better, he still manages to sneak a nip in from time to time.

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      It sounds like Gabe and Final Call are very similar, very lovie-dovie puppy dog types. I don’t know how much you know of his background, but Final was a home-bred who ran for his owner, and did his lay-up with very considerate people, so he is a horse that doesn’t know poor treatment.

      Take that kind of personality and you can either warp it and create a fearful or dangerous horse, whose trust has been broken, or nurture it and end up with a partner that will never let you down.

      You can see it in the face – a sweetness and a good sense of humor. That was what first attracted me to the horse. No, you don’t ride the head, but you definitely ride what’s IN the head…

  2. Thanks for the description of the defensive seat, I will use that! Well, I’ll use it once I can get the shoe back on Bar’s foot. Oye.

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