Sunday, March 22, 2015

Retired Racehorse Project

In all of my infamous spare time, I will admit to having taken awhile to starting my blog for the Retired Racehorse Project this October. However, I will do my best to catch you up on where I'm currently at with my lovely young mare, Sandipat!

I am fortunate to have a wonderful owner in Carolyn McCann who has supported me on a couple of other OTTB projects in the past, as well as owning my competition horse Caliente 'Cali'. So when Sandi came to my attention, I got in touch with her about potentially partnering with me again. This was a big (17 hh) well built LOVLEY type. Totally screamed eventer :) When she first came on the market, she was more than we were looking to spend, so I kept an eye on her to see where she ended up. She was quite sassy in her jog video
(another sassy mare? I needed it... haha), so you had to look past that as to what she'd be with some miles under her belt. Well, after about a month of stalking, my Facebook friend and Jen Ruberto posted her again at a lower price point. I have a huge respect for Jen's eye on horses, so after messaging back and forth a bit, I made an offer. 

Her Original Canter Photo!

Now, anyone who knows about buying a horse off a picture and a short video... you never quite know what is going to walk off the trailer.  But in the middle of the night the day before a horse show, Sandi and ALL 17 hhs of her self strutted off and into a stall. She was everything I'd hoped for and more and I was thrilled. 

Fast forward about a week or two, and I let Sandi hang out in our big mare's field here at Full Gallop Farm in Aiken, SC where I'm SO fortunate to be based out of. A friend of mine down here, Kate Cummings, offered to help me a bit with hacking Sandi out while I was full speed ahead with my competition horses. I'm hugely lucky to have had such a great first few rides on her, and I was able to see just how exciting this young mare really is... 

As my few horses got rolling, I took over riding Sandi full time in mid Febraury, and we haven't looked back since. My goal for Sandi this October is to show her off as well rounded, relaxed, and the event horse ANYONE would want to compete. I want her to be brave, rideable, and fun. So I have used this spring and the incredible facilities that Full Gallop offers to work on hacking through water, across ditches, tons of hill work, lots of road work, all to aim her at having an incredible base of fitness heading into the summer. She will do her first HT at Spring Bay here in early April at the Horse Park as her first introduction to the environment that comes with the facility so I can see how she reacts and tailor the rest of my summer around that. 

She certainly already enjoys water!!

She says she deserves all the cookies for making short work of her XC schooling yesterday!

My typical schedule with her right now looks something like this for a week:

Day 1: 10 mins of walking around the hills, through water ext. 20 mins working on circles, outside rein, steering, and transitions. 
Day 2: Fitness - 10 mins of walking, 10 mins of trotting (utilizing hills, road work to tighten tendons, and the varied gound) and 2 slow canters to work on her canter without craming her into a small space
Day 3: O/F work - From small grids of trot poles, to xs 3 strides to a small verticle, some cross country work trotting small logs. I make a big effort to make sure I ride her as softly as I can, encouraging her to CHOOSE to jump the fence not FORCE. 
Day 4: Hack Day - walk trot canter slowly and relaxed around the whole property, allowing her to use her neck and body to learn balance
Day 5: Dressage work  - I work in a dressage ring so she begins to learn the boundaries and her balance in a smaller ring
Day 6: O/F work - Sometimes I will use SMALl courses to teach her the thought to keep looking for the next fences! 

She shows bravery, incredible athleticism, ( Read : I need my trusty C4 Belt to hold on to for all XC schoolings, and I think I saw the top of the flags yesterday ;) and I cannot wait to see where this season takes us! She LOVES the attention, cuddling, and is So personable. As soon as I can sort out where our Stadium school video is,,, I will up load it!!! 

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