The Manner To Which He Has Become Accustomed

I’d like to know who started the myth that thoroughbreds at the track get no individual attention and are largely ignored when they’re not being worked. Lucky probably spends a good deal of time wondering why, precisely, he is not worked for a maximum twenty minutes, they bathed, poulticed, wrapped, hand-walked, and put in a stall with straw up to his knees and a full haynet 24/7. He’ll take being turned out on grass, don’t get me wrong, but there are times I suspect he’s wondering about this whole no-frills thing.

He is slowly getting the hang of jumping, or at least he appears to. However, while he’s going forward without stopping as much, I do notice a trend: he’ll clear each “fence” (6″ and 9″) on the first pass, and the second time he’ll go ahead and knock the rail down. He is CAPABLE of picking up his feet, but it’s as if he decideds “Nah, it doesn’t hurt enough hitting the pole to make it worth more oomph.” Considering, though, that he is now by and large not screeching to a halt before each pole, carefully examining it, and then leaping from a standstill when no alternative option is provided, I’ll consider it an improvement. We even had a little cantering after the rail, which is nice. And Sunday, he picked up the canter from the walk on the left, and hit the lead, and with a minimum amount (about 1/4 the ring, which is minimum for him) of huge trotting he picked up the right. It is not a slow round canter, but it’s a three-beat canter that keeps going forward. Improvement.

Monday, because I found a bite or rub of some sort just back of where the girth goes (it’s not a spur mark; I don’t wear them) I decided let it heal up, so instead Lucky had another spa day. Since the B.O. had Show Sheen and detangler around, we decided to do Lucky’s hair, or at least, make it all clean and shiney. Since I’m not braiding any time soon, who cares, right? He seemed quite pleased with his detangled tail–it makes a much more efficient fly whisk that way. The Show Sheen and detangler were on hand because Lucky is going to be missing his roommate for a few days. Dino is off to the county fair to be displayed as an example of his breed. I’m sure he won’t let this go to his head.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Louise
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 15:08:50

    Yabutt, there is one thing that Lucky doesn’t have to do any more, and that is run. For that, I think he is everlastingly grateful. I wouldn’t put it past Mr. Smart Guy to jump the first time to figure things out, then knock the rail down, because it’s less work.

    My Hennessy was smart like that. Oh, not when it came to work, she had me all figured out and knew just how to exert the least possible energy to make me happy. But, she was very territorial in her stall. Whenever a horse would go by, she would kick the wall. At first I worried about that, because she could hurt herself if she kicked just the wrong way. Then, I noticed that, before she kicked, she would put her foot back to the wall, measuring. So, she knew exactly where that wall was, and exactly what to do to get the most noise without hurting her precious self. Gawd, I loved that mare.


    • The Author
      Jul 27, 2010 @ 15:46:49

      If I take him out on the track, he knows exactly what to do, and I think he’s hoping “Hey, gallop a half mile, then I’m done, right? We go back to the barn, I get a bath, I get ten quarts of oats (in his dreams), I’m done. Right?” (Wrong, but thank you for playing. Not that the weather’s permitted any galloping lately. He probably wouldn’t care, but I might pass out.) I think he is picking up on things like cantering without a fuss and swapping leads if I ask mostly because if he does it right, we stop! Now if he just figures out we will go over the nice straight rails fewer times if he DOESN’T knock them on the ground, we’ll be getting somewhere.

      He’s smart AND lazy. He’ll figure that out.


  2. houndblogger
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:37:51

    About the jumping … my OTTB is an excellent jumper, but, now that he knows how to jump, apparently he feels insulted if you ask him to jump small things. More often than not, he’ll just plow through any small jump in the lesson ring, like, “Gimme a break. You call THAT a jump?” He starts paying attention at about 2 feet, when he really seems to be having fun.


    • The Author
      Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:19:43

      I would think this, as my old OTTB was profoundly lazy until you either pushed the height up or put something “interesting” under the rail (haybales, for example), but Lucky is hesitant to jump anything much higher than 6″ at all. Though he is getting better. I think it may just be a matter of time, but isn’t everything with horses?


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