Nothing Like a Gallop

Final Call has been entirely too well behaved. I am not coming to the office each day with any real adventures to share with you.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have had so long to get to know him without a relationship-busting event. So far we have discovered that he loves treats (Giddyap Girls Cookies), that he loves to eat wood (my washrack/barn/side of shed), and that he hates having poultice put on (that one is kind of funny, I wonder what it is specifically about poultice that annoys him?). He stands tied and his nervous racehorse tic (they all have at least one, don’t they?) is to nip the air constantly as if he is being handed a carrot. I think it’s actually a very broad hint.

Ain't we got fun!

But I’m also discovering that he is either very lazy or very bored. And so this afternoon when I took him out and put him on the lunge he went around like a school pony. I had to dislodge my lunge whip from the bottom of Lake Okeechobee (also known as the round pen) and snap that at him like a lion tamer. The clever little snot knows voice commands, too – someone has done a bit of homework for me with this horse, and you can tell that he came from a small stable by his extreme good manners. The other day a piece of the roof over the well rattled as I led him past and he shot forward – only to stop on a dime when my hand came up – I wasn’t going to step on you, I swear!

So I decided to give him an opportunity to be naughty or at the very least to blow off some steam, and after doing our ten minutes of trot and some nice long rein walking, capped off with some giraffe impressions when the photographer came sloshing out through the mud, I nudged (kicked) him into a trot and prepared for a gallop.

The thing is, I don’t usually gallop (canter, sorry) an OTTB for a very long time. Like, a month. Or more. But I galloped him when I first tried him, and he wasn’t naughty at all – and, I have to admit, it’s been a very long time since I galloped a racehorse and I was rather looking forward to it.

But he was lovely as only Final Call can be, it seems. Unflappable and professional, he stretched out when I asked, my hands high up on his neck, seat just lifted out of the saddle, and came back and shortened for the turns when I sat down and dropped my hands again.

Oh don’t worry, I promise to let you know the second he does something dreadful!



Filed under Final Call, Stereotypes, Training Diary

8 responses to “Nothing Like a Gallop

  1. Barb Fulbright

    Sounds like you two had a nice ride!

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      We really did. If I was hoping for a little more speed and rambunctious behavior, that’s just my own crazy side coming out. The horse is mellow and relaxed, and so far it really seems like the sky is the limit. There’s a hunter pace in May. . . .

  2. Ha! Excellent! Isn’t funny how when we expect the worst, they are at their best? Ahhh…yours is a wood chewer too? Egads. I think Gabe will have his run-in completely eaten by spring! He doesn’t crib, just eats it! I think he may be part beaver. The dang beast gets nearly 40# of hay a day (as much as he can possibly eat, he is never without hay), yet still he eats the wood. *shakes head* Silly boys.

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      I really don’t know what it is about Thoroughbreds and eating wood – because they ALL seem to do it at some point in their lives. I once had a sixteen-year-old take it up. The foals do it from day one, and now and then one turns it into cribbing, which is always a bummer. I’ve resorted to electric tape fence for most of my paddocks to keep it at bay. Change the feed, change the minerals, change the routine – nothing matters!

  3. juliaeverheart

    I just came across your blog. I have a 6 year old OTTB that came off the the track at Finger Lakes, NY. He raced six times with 1 win. He’s one of those TB’s that has very little aggression, which makes him a perfect match for me. He’s a mellow guy and he’s changed a lot of people’s perceptions of ex-racehorses.
    My blog is
    I would love to be listed under your Thoroughbred blogs section if you would like to include me! Thanks!

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      Julia, thanks so much for joining us! Baron looks like a total doll. You’re still in a nice early stage of training so it is going to be fun to keep track of your progress!

  4. I’m glad you like the excitement! I’ll send you my babies to start! I once tried riding racehorses at a training barn in Camden, South Carolina and I lasted one day as a rider! My dressage instincts kept telling me to slow down and the trainer kept screaming “don’t hold that horse up!” The next day I told him I would rather groom! Even grooming was the hardest job I ever had in my life. When I got home I would walk in the door and would frequently lie down on the floor instead of walking to bed and my roommate would find me there hours later (not kidding!)

    • Natalie Keller Reinert

      Oh Suzanne, too funny! When I first started for my favorite trainer, we did paired dressage work with the yearlings each morning before taking them to the track. For some reason I was always slower than my partner. I can still hear him calling, “Come ALONG Natalie, come ALONG Natalie!” in his lovely Irish accent… Now grooming I loved. I would do that again in a heartbeat. Maybe you were at a crazy barn that worked you too hard? I always thought the hours were amazing -something like six to three thirty every day, depending on the barn. The best place gave me five horses of my own, then moved me to an annex barn where I had eight horses and the barn to myself. I listened to NPR and kept my barn spotless. Dream job.

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