all in Aftercare

This month I am backing up a bit to talk about a vital issue that needed attention before Arktikos could begin his retraining and start the journey to the Thoroughbred Makeover.

Taking on a Thoroughbred off the track can have many challenges. The first challenge that everyone faces is helping a horse that has been in intense training and consuming a high-octane diet transition to a different lifestyle. Looking beyond that universal need, there often are other issues that need attention before one can begin to retrain their horse for a second career.

What type of animal can put you on an emotional roller coaster, shake your confidence and question your decisions…. then bring it all back in less than an hour? A horse. I’m here to tell you, no animal can do this better than a horse. Especially a retired Thoroughbred horse. This month has been a whirlwind of rights, wrongs, then really bad wrongs, and then back to super right.

With taking the leap to apply to the Thoroughbred Makeover, I knew I would be committing to a journey that would not only challenge me in the short term, but have a long lasting impact on my horse(wo)manship and a deeper love for the breed. Triple Crown season is upon us, the Makeover is approaching, and summer shows are right around the corner.

Arktikos is in the 2020 Class of the Thoroughbred Makeover, so I untied the ribbon on the package last year to begin preparing. Early on I found an easygoing, curious, young horse with a baby brain. I began working on dressage basics with him. He was quick to respond to the leg and learned to go forward and yield quite easily. We worked on basic transitions and simple leg yielding to build balance, obedience, and suppleness. He was calm and happy for grooming, tacking, and in his work.

Injuries — they can happen to any horse at any time but for many, seeing that a racehorse retired with a “bowed tendon” or a “bone chip” can scare them away from taking on the horse for a second career. 

While ideally a racehorse retires sound and almost immediately goes on to a second career, most injuries don’t limit a horse’s career choices once they’re done healing. 

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