This has been another fantastic week for my boy Hollywood Vic! Barely a week after our first canter we went for our first trail ride on Tuesday morning with Stevie Lover Boy and Missy! Lover Boy loves the woods so he was a great leader for us, very calm as if he knew we were counting on him to set the tone for the ride! H.Vic just cruised on down the path by his pasture towards the woods with Bubba following us along the fence line, (sweet Bubba, he hates to be separated from his best friend, Hollywood Vic)!
We stepped right over the creek with no problem, over the first log, second log. through the brush! He was particularly intrigued with a house back behind the property and we had to stop to admire such a different looking structure. Hollywood never misses a thing! He is so observant! The owner of the house even came out and got on his ATV and began to start it at which time I began to pray. I was not sure what H.Vic would do! Guess what? The noise did not faze him in the least!! WHEW! I was glad!
Today we went on our second ride through the woods with Lover Boy and Missy. Again, no problem with the creek, stepping over numerous logs, we even stopped to watch Missy and Lover Boy jump some logs. At first H. was afraid that Lover Boy was leaving him and got a little nervous, I think he loves this new follow the leader game! When he figured it out, we calmly sat and observed the jumping, as I explained to him that we would be trying that soon! Then we just walked over the small jumps.
We had a great time and probably would have stayed in the woods forever if I did not have to come back to the real world! Hmmm, wouldn’t it be fun to take him on a camping trip in the forest one day? Spend the entire evening with my guy – could not think of anything better! I feel so lucky to have found such a great horse, with Elizabeth and Becky’s’ help, of course. How lucky for me that his racing career ended when it did!!!
I love my OTTB!!!! Cheri
Elizabeth’s Note:Cheri and Missy are two of my “re-riders”. That is the term used for women who used to ride as children and are getting back to riding when their lives have settled down. Each of these special women has young children and had not ridden for many years. Each one has a deep love of horses and the joy they have brought into their lives.
It is not easy getting back to horses if you were once a serious rider. You cannot go to a trail riding stable or take a lesson on a school horse and feel the same excitement you did as a child. Our “Friends of Bits & Bytes Farm” is a way of easing these “re-riders” back into riding. We use off-the-track Thoroughbreds who are still learning their new careers as sport horses. The horses and the riders need a slow and methodical approach to learning new skills. The environment needs to be safe and have someone who can give direction and encouragement. With this, almost anyone can retrain an OTTB if the horse has been properly selected for temperament and soundness.
You will see many women on this site who have gotten back to what makes them happiest – HORSES. Some of the riders have taken many months before they can canter or go out of the arena, but they do, when they are ready. If you read enough of these stories you will see a common thread: ex-race horses are easy to train if you take it slowly and do not scare them or yourself. If you are too timid to try, then please do not. These horses look to their riders for confidence. A fearful rider will create a fearful horse.
By taking it slow and doing only what the rider is confident doing the horse learns and gains confidence in himself. This confidence is seen in my re-riders as the months go on and they expand their skills and riding territories.
We are extremely proud of all the women who have purchased our horses – directly from the racetrack or from our farm. It is beautiful to watch the bond grow between horse and owner. Thoroughbreds especially bond with their owners and have a strong desire to please. Hats off to all my “re-riders”! You have made me very proud to be a small part of your success as a horsewoman!