Retraining a Racehorse - Moonfire (Week 6)
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   12th Sep 2010   •   9,210 views   •   25 comments
During this week I did very little work with Moony, since I was recovering from a bad crash on Monday and Tuesday. I rode him on Wednesday, but then on Thursday he had a bout of mild sand colic. We had the vet out and got him drenched and luckily he was fine the next day, only once again I could not ride because I suddenly found myself too sick to do much more than lie in bed or sit at my computer. Thankfully my friend was going out to the horses, so I asked her if she could check on Moony and give him a bit of lunging, which she did. Apparently he was perfectly healthy, so it seems the little bit of colic did him no lasting harm.

Retraining a Racehorse

On Saturday morning I dragged myself out of bed, sick as I was, to get ready for the little practice show I had planned to attend. To my absolute dismay, I found that my darling brother had used up all the hot water, so I was doomed to start my day with a rapid cold shower that left my teeth chattering so hard I was sure they would crack. I got ready as quickly as I could, then dragged myself out into the wind and rain to fetch the horse.

I arrived at the plot to find him standing around in his lovely thick rug and sulking about the weather, but he perked up instantly when I came up to him with a halter. I caught him and trotted him out briefly to check that he was sound and healthy, which thankfully he was.

Once we were ready to depart - the time came to load Moony into the box. I had planned to work on this the week before, but as I previously explained, there simply wasn't time. It took as a little while, but with a lot of patience, calm coaxing, and the lure of his haynet (Which he seemed to think would taste better than his breakfast hay) we eventually managed to get him in. He was quite good - a little reluctant and nervous, but he didn't freak out or pull away, so I think we'll be able to conquer this problem without too many fireworks if we just spend a bit of time on it.

We arrived at the show late, and the 60cm class was already finished, but thankfully they agreed to wait for me to do the 70cm class. I quickly unloaded Moony and whipped off his rug, then tossed a bridle and saddle on him and set off to warm up. At first he seemed a little excited about the new place, but he soon settled down and worked nicely.

After a short warm up, I took Moony into the show arena. They were letting everybody do 2 jumps to practice before jumping the course, as it was a very low key training show meant specifically for bringing on the horse. As such, I took Moony to hop over a jump. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going for one of the most difficult ones first, and Moony had a slight wavering of courage that ended up in a confused refusal. Understanding that this was my fault, I took him over an upright first, which he jumped happily, then popped him over one more spread before starting the course. Since we were a bit rushed, it was an untidy course as we weren't properly in synch, but he got round and he didn't try to refuse anything, so I was still very pleased with the round as far as young horses go. He had 2 poles down, but I think the main reason was that, as I had only had time to walk the course on horseback, I didn't know the stride - so I didn't know how to ride it and ended up bringing him in on '4 and a half'.

We did the 70cm course again after that, and this time it was much smoother! I was very pleased with the entire round. Once again, Moony had a couple of poles down, but this time it was simply because he was bored with the height and being careless with his hooves, as is typical of him. He ended up placing 3rd in the class.

After that I had some extra time on my hands to get him working properly in the warm up. I got him coming into the bit and working nicely despite the new place and awful weather, and was even pleased to find that he willingly struck off on the left lead for me a few times with little fuss. I was pleased with the way he was going, so I chose to enter the 80cm class as well.

Now THAT course was something worth writing home about! Moony was super! He had a stunning, smooth round with lovely powerful jumps and just... Wow! The horse went really well, and I simply couldn't be happier with him. I believe he had 1 pole down - but the poles really don't concern me at this stage. We can perfect all that later. The point is: The foundation is there. It also means that Moony is perfectly comfortable at 80cm, meaning that he is now ready to start graded jumping, which I plan to do next month after a little more practice.
Moony won that 80cm class, despite the fact that many of the other entries, though in a similar league to him, had been in training quite a bit longer than Moony's comparatively short 1 month and 23 days.
His pasterns are really dropping badly. I think maybe you should take a break from the jumping. I know it's your horse and you want to get him jumping well. If you watch the video his pasterns are touching the ground in the front and in back at the canter, and even worse when landing from jumps.

I wish you all the best of luck with him.
  Sep 12, 2010  •  5,286 views
Fox Crest Stables  
ForcesOfNature - Thats because this horse is a late 3yr old who has been off the track for less that 2 months, who has NO leg protection at all over fences and who had worked once that entire previous week. His legs aren't holding up to it and I'd give him about 3 more months of this type of 'training' before he breaks down due to a bowed tendon or other leg problems.
  Sep 12, 2010  •  5,352 views
I think it's great that he's coming along so well and I respect that he is your horse and you know him best, but I also agree with Foxie and ForcesOfNature: he is young and his bones and tendons are not as hard as they should be for jumping.

Good luck with him, though.
  Sep 12, 2010  •  5,585 views
I agree with the others, and I do think that three is way too soon to be doing courses like that, let alone jumping. I know Thoroughbreds grow fast, but I wouldn't even think of starting my horses on jumping until the age of five. Maybe trotting some poles lying on the ground or cantering them, but his pasterns do look like they're touching too much. I do see him breaking down after much more of this jumping. Been off the track for less than two months?? Honey, I'd take it a little slower with the jumping. Just my opinion.
  Sep 13, 2010  •  5,566 views
No Walkin Farms11  
She's a had a vet and her instructor out to see Moonie. And both of them seem to agree that what she is currently doing with him is fine for the horse.

Get article again Polo. Glad you and Moonie are feeling better after being sick. =)
  Sep 14, 2010  •  5,641 views
Fox Crest Stables  
MBs, people have the right to agree and disagree with whatever they choose.

Why make a big deal? Because the welfare of the horse is st stake. "Polo also helps train horses, wins in shows regulary, and knows her stuff." I PROFESSIONALLY train horses for a LIVING so I think I know a bit more about it than someone who simply 'helps' train a few horses here and there. And no, while it isn't up to us to decide how she treats and trains her horses I do feel it necessary to point out the rather obvious facts that display themselves so willingly in these videos. For instance the fact that the horse barely knows how to jump and flings himself up off his shoulder over every fence. The fact that he has no leg protection what so ever. The fact that he's not ready for those heights, obviously, as he's knocking rails in every class. The fact that the rider gets him in either too deep, or far too long for each fence AND when positioned in front of a short line she cannot see her distances and su
  Sep 14, 2010  •  5,717 views
No Walkin Farms11  
I never said the vet saw her ride Moonie. Polo said in a previous article that her vet came, checked out Moonie and during that visit she asked him about jumping Moonie. And the vet didn't seem to think that what she was doing was a problem. As you pointed out, vet's deal with the consequences of people's actions. Wouldn't a vet advise against an action that would hurt the horse unnecessarily, such as jumping the horse too soon?
  Sep 14, 2010  •  6,162 views
Fox Crest Stables  
There is a difference between starting a horse over fences and working him over fences EVERY time you ride. When a vet says its ok to start the horse over fences they don't mean to start jumping them excessively. If a vet approved this horse to work over fences like he is right now I would find another vet in a heartbeat. I train and ride 1.25m+ jumpers and I work over fences twice a week out of the 6 times I ride those horses. It is HIGHLY unsmart to work a young horse over fences excessivly, not to mention at this height. I have 4yr olds from off the track that I've just started over fences who are only worked up to 3 times a week over fences and even those are only small crossbars. If this vet has approved allowing a young horse working over courses of 80cm in height then I look down uopn that vet.
  Sep 15, 2010  •  6,238 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Foxie, I think you made your point. I don't think there's much more you can do, short of going to South Africa and stealing Moonie so Polo can't ruin him. And I'm pretty sure that's illegal. ) I wouldn't suggest it anyway.

Again Polo, Moonie is gorgeous. =D
  Sep 15, 2010  •  6,082 views
L u n a r  
I Dont really get your all's pastern thing I think its just how the horse move. I do however agree that Jumping him every day at this height, could hurt him, I am only allowed by my trainer (Who used to ride very very competitively and worked with George Morris for a while) to jump 2-3 times a week and I usually only jump about 2"3 on normal days and around 3' (If Im lucky) on my lesson days (Once a week) My horse is a four year old.

Whatever you wish to do is your decision but Im just sayin' He's really really cute and it be a shame if he broke down, especially if he is a prospect your planning to resell.

And I bet he'd really love it if you bought him some protective boots.
  Sep 16, 2010  •  6,094 views
Fox Crest Stables  
NWF - Obviously i haven't if he's still being worked like this.
  Sep 17, 2010  •  6,238 views
Foxie....How do you know that he still is? Polo might have seen the comments and switched her riding routine...or maybe she just hasn't been on to see what you all have said.

Also He is NOT any of your horses.....Sure it would be terrible if he broke down....But all you can do is give her sugestions on what to do....But it is her horse and she wants to sell him for a if he breaks down and becomes worth less it is her loss.
  Sep 17, 2010  •  6,079 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Foxie- You're just determined to pick a fight, aren't you?
  Sep 17, 2010  •  6,082 views
No Walkin Farms9  
Foxie- I'm sorry. That last comment was uncalled for. I've had a bad day and your last comment rubbed me that wrong way for some reason. Again, I apologize. I know you want what you feel is best for Moonie but you can't force Polo to change how she's training him no matter how often you post on her articles, how much you write or what you say.
  Sep 17, 2010  •  6,082 views
Foxie and more- You are all very rude!
He was going to race anyways, no matter if he is developed or not. And I personally think racing is harder that jumping.
Moony is doing a good job and Polo is great also!
  Sep 18, 2010  •  6,103 views
Inactive Member  
I thought we had put all this rudness behind us! Have any of you propley accessed Polo's riding and spent enough time with moony so you know everything about him? No, you havn't, only polo has, therefore, SHE knows best what is good for Moony, not a bunch of stuck up snobs that think they know Polo's horse better than she does! So back of and stick to your own stables!

Polo- Congrats on the show, you looked great!
  Sep 18, 2010  •  6,104 views
Sophie, that was very uncalled for saying that we are stuck-up snobs and think we know everything. You're saying we don't know the horse, so we don't know everything about him. That's correct. (Yet, I don't see a post where a person says they know everything about the horse or they know it better than Polo does? We're only concerned because he's young and not ready for such jumping....without protective boots....flinging himself over those jumps in a non-graceful manner.) But you don't know us, so why call us stuck-up snobs when you don't know anything about us? Contradicting yourself, much?
  Sep 18, 2010  •  6,087 views
Fox Crest Stables  
To whoever disagree's with my comments: I've shown, competed and trained hunter and jumper horses for almost 16yrs now. I know what it looks like when a horse is pushed too far too fast and that's pretty much what's happening to this horse. I know you all worship the ground this kid walks on simply because of how high she jumps, but take a second to actually think of the facts of these articles and then show me the logic in them. Show me one week where this horse was only worked only on the flat and where it was worked consistantly. Show me one week where this THREE YEAR OLD was NOT jumped. Show me one picture of this horse jumping where he is balanced, round and in correct form. Show me one video where this horse DOESN'T knock a rail, chip in or jump flat. And then after you fail at that show me where ANYTHING that I've said is incorrect. And then, once again, after you fail at that perhaps you'll be enlightened ever so slightly so that when you see these 'articles' you'll take them a
  Sep 19, 2010  •  6,354 views
Training a horse to jumping takes time. You don't just get a horse off the track, (a three-year-old) jump on its back, enter a show, and fly around the course. That's very unprofessional.
  Sep 19, 2010  •  6,087 views
Geeze guys, its like your trying to tear each other to shreds with these comments! I'm not pointing fingers or saying who's right and who's wrong but you guys do need to be less agressive.

Once again, I'm not saying everyone is but some of you are and I think you know if your one of them.
  Sep 20, 2010  •  6,078 views
lol.....if only everyone would agree to disagree rather than trying to prove who has more experience or talent the world would be a far less agressive place!
  Sep 20, 2010  •  6,079 views
It's not a matter of disagreeing, or a competition of who has the most talent or "skills" with horses. It's a dangerous situation to be jumping a three-year-old over almost three foot fences. It's not debatable subject, although it may seem like it.
  Sep 20, 2010  •  6,086 views
Inactive Member  
Spyricale- Sorry if that offended you, I wasn't aiming it at you in particular, but you really are being very hard on Polo! I beleive in that if you have nothing nice to say, dont say it at all, only say it if you think that what someone else has said was wrong and hurtfull. Polo is an amazing rider by the look of the video. I think everyone should quit being so rude and just learn something from what Polo is doing whether you agree with it or not and if you think she is doing it wrong, stop reading the articles and write an article about how you would train these horses and if we disagee, we will comment on your article in the nasty manner you have been comenting on this article and lets see hw YOU like it!

ImaCoolCowgirl- Totally agree
Polo- Don't let the negative comments get you down!!!
  Sep 22, 2010  •  6,104 views
Sophie, you seem to have a problem telling everyone to shut up. ^^ Sweetie pie, there's a lot of things in life you still need to learn. One of them is accepting others' opinions. If you disapprove reading my comments, don't read them.
  Oct 4, 2010  •  6,005 views
If you disapprove reading my comments, don't read them.
  Oct 5, 2010  •  5,090 views
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