Thoroughbred Makeover Diary: ‘We Are In Good Shape’ with Shanghaied

Aftercare
Melissa Perrin-Keithly with her husband, Oliver, and Shanghaied. (Melissa Perrin-Keithly )

My mantra this month is “WE ARE IN GOOD SHAPE.”

With only five months until the Thoroughbred Makeover, our training continues. So far we have met our goals by going off-property to lessons. Shanghaied and I have ridden in two clinics successfully, and we have a show coming up the first week in July! I am happy with our ground fundamentals and Shanghaied’s level of fitness.

It was a week of supporting Shanghaied’s overall health by getting all of his spring vaccinations, a new Coggins test and a new worming schedule. Shanghaied’s hooves are very healthy and newly trimmed! I am hoping his feet will endure the summertime footing and arrive barefoot to the Makeover.

Shanghaied (Courtesy Melissa Perrin-Keithly )

In the back of my mind are some of our overall training goals for October and beyond. We want to improve Shanghaied’s top line, and encourage his confidence outside of the arena over obstacles. We want to show him a few times this summer to experience the energy of the show grounds – and trail ride him and take him swimming!

This month I felt like maybe I am not doing enough, not putting enough time in the saddle, not working on improving Shanghaied’s top line enough. Doubt and fear can easily be a setback if I allow them to take over. But the truth is we are all doing what we need to do.

My goal setting is very achievable and realistic from now until October. I am grateful Shanghaied is so trainable, in good health and sound! I am riding, eating healthy, practicing yoga and mediation while balancing our very busy life. Pop Pop is working on his balance and fitness for riding.

So any time the doubt arises, I breathe and say, “WE ARE IN GOOD SHAPE.”

After all, our focus is not just to make it to the 2019 Makeover and compete; it is to provide Shanghaied a healthy, sane and sound post-racing career for life.

Pop Pop Oliver is doing his part in Pennsylvania, taking weekly riding lessons at a beautiful farm. He shows up every week and rides his partner Comanche. His lessons are layered with horsemanship skills on the ground and in the saddle. He had to learn how to catch, groom and tack his buddy Comanche the first day.

Pop Pop is getting a very condensed version of what some of us have had a lifetime to learn and experience. By week three he was riding without his stirrups and posting. He told me he is finding new muscles. He goes every week because he is committed to the Makeover, but more importantly, he is committed to Shanghaied and his future as a riding horse. With this I say again: “WE ARE IN GOOD SHAPE.”

I am inspired by Pop Pop’s dedication. I am encouraged by Shanghaied’s work ethic and willingness to venture out to the trail. I am writing this with tears in my eyes and I am so thankful to be a part of our team! I am so thankful to be part of a bigger group of Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover Trainers!

So when doubt creeps in… I will look at where we started, where we are now, and where we are headed and repeat, “WE ARE IN GOOD SHAPE!”

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