I don’t have to tell you it’s cold. Unless you live in Texas, where it’s apparently seventy, and then I’m not actually telling you anything BECAUSE WE’RE NOT SPEAKING RIGHT NOW. HMMPH.
Look, it’s my own fault I live in New York, I know, I know… but really, 16 degrees? Is that necessary? I ask you.
It’s so cold that omg omg here are ponies wearing sweaters.
But luckily there is so much excitement on the Interwebs and so you never have to go outside. You can just sit inside and read your computer. To help you in that task, here’s a run-down on what’s going on in the world of Retired Racehorses…
The Retired Racehorse Training Project finished season 2 with a slightly modified approach, giving four OTTBs 100 days of schooling at Steuart Pittman’s Dodon Farm. (Last year, as the Retired Racehorse Trainer Challenge, each OTTB went to a different trainer, which meant we saw four different approaches to retraining racehorses.)
The RRTP seeks to show off retired racehorses as desirable athletes who can be retrained for a variety of disciplines, instead of poor sad rescues as a lot of people like to characterize them, and for that, Retired Racehorse Blog is deeply appreciative!
Here’s a great quote from the write-up in The Chronicle of the Horse:
The training challenge is somewhat modeled after the 100-day testing for warmblood stallions, Pittman explained. He noted that most of the spectators in the stands at the Expo probably weren’t yet ready to tackle retraining a Thoroughbred off the track, but he hoped it would become a goal for many of them. “I want them to be inspired to learn to ride better, so that they can get the same thrill that we do on these horses,” he said. “Watching these horses inspires people to ride better, which is good in itself. It’s not just about placing more horses; it’s also about improving horsemanship.”
Improving horsemanship in the United States is rapidly becoming a hot button issue, as national fixtures like George Morris bemoan the current horse show model of Learn To Pose On A Push-Button Pony, which isn’t exactly producing world-class horsemen (although it is producing a lot of framed eight by tens in corner offices).
To put it bluntly: broken wrists and turned-out toes might produce a blue ribbon at a big hunter show, but they’re not going to get results on a young horse of any breed or history. Who are our future trainers, then?
CANTER Mid-Atlantic is reporting a banner year, helping nearly 150 trainers and 350 horses at six racetracks in 2012, according to The Blood-Horse. Those six tracks are Pimlico, Laurel, and Bowie in Maryland, Charlestown and Mountaineer in West Virginia, and Delaware Park in… well, I’m not telling you, just guess.
CANTER Mid-Atlantic is run by volunteers. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, maybe you can get in on the CANTER action. Check out their volunteering page. Then, as a reward for your altruism and community spirit, visit their available horses pages and get yourself a sweet new ride. You deserve it. It’s cold outside. Treat yoself!
2013 is the Year of the Foxhunting Thoroughbred, and I’m pretty sure someone ought to declare it the Year of the Foxhunting Natalie, too. I was so distracted by the LUXURY FOXHUNTING HOLIDAYS advert on the sidebar of this web page that I nearly didn’t read the release. But I summoned all my strength and persevered. The Masters of Foxhounds Association is joining the club and offering Thoroughbred incentives for 2013.
Executive Director Dennis Foster notes that some of his best hunting horses have been Thoroughbreds off the track. “They are one of a kind and the only breed that has that second wind when other breeds give out. The Thoroughbred contribution to foxhunting goes beyond just ex-race horses. Their influence on other breeds makes them the most important horse in foxhunting.”
Hunts and hunt members who use registered Thoroughbreds are eligible for cash and prizes (via the Jockey Club T.I.P. program) and there are also ESSAY contests! Fun!
And, finally this author has a new blog post at Equestrian Ink in which I wax poetic about Saratoga and how much I miss summer and how I wrote this novel set in Saratoga, blahblahblah. You can read it if you want.