Thoughts on a Racehorse

Good morning Readers!

I’m currently sitting on my little balcony, enjoying the early morning sun. I’ve put in some lavender and rosemary plants recently, and the aroma is heavenly out here. I’m sure you have read the title. This morning I’d like to write to you all a little about the real life Flynn. Now, it may seem from the book that the transition to skinny rescue to eventer was a little quick. That was on purpose, I didn’t think readers would be terribly interested to hear about the real reconditioning of an off the track thoroughbred, which involves a lot of long, slow walks, and spooking at plastic baggies blowing in the wind… Maybe someday I’ll do a short bridge book, talking about how Sarah rehabilitated Flynn, if there’s any interest.

The real life Flynn showed up much like he did in the book. Skinny, with a dull coat, and several large sores from rubbing in the trailer. One major difference between the two was that I did NOT hop on him the first day. Although he settled in nicely at the farm, I spent the first week and a half doing only ground work with him. I walked him on long trials to get him exposed to the local areas. I taught him to lead, turn, back up. He had no lunging skills whatsoever, so we worked a lot on that. And we spent more time than anything just hand grazing and enjoying each other’s company.

When I did get on him for the first time, it was fairly uneventful, in that he completely did not understand how to do anything. I ended up having someone lead me around like I was on a children’s pony ride. He learned more and more, and we were able to add some of the basics in like “turning” or “stopping” (you know, the important things). Even after I started riding him though, we still had a focus on ground work, and we spent a majority of our time outside of the arena, going on long trail rides. He desperately needed muscle build up, and I was worried about frying his brain from too much arena work.

Flynn has not yet competed in his first event, but there’s no rush for either of us. My greatest concern is taking things slow with him, and giving him a great foundation. I have no doubts that we’ll be out there before you know it, tearing up the cross country course. In the meantime though, I’m taking a little bit of advice out from Denny Emerson on restarting a racechorse. Denny recommends walking, walking, and more walking. Because you can’t do much with a horse that’s not fit. Wise words Denny.

Until next time, Readers. Enjoy your weekends, and think about hitting the trails with your own ponies. It might just be a nice break that you both could benefit from.

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