Equine, RRP ‘19

Go Time!

It’s officially past Dec 1st, which means it’s on like Donkey Kong for Eli so we can be in contention for the ’19 RRP. Trainer applications open Dec 15th.

For the non-horsey types reading (hi, mom!) the RRP is the Retired Racehorse Project. It’s held in KY in the beginning of October and is a great way to showcase what these awesome horses can do. Part of the rules is that the horse cannot have more than 15 rides before Dec 1st. Since the last recorded work/race cannot be before (for example, for this year) July ’18, this levels the playing field for all the competitors.

They have several different disciplines from trail to dressage, but Eli and I will (hopefully) be accepted into the Eventing portion of this adventure.

I wanted to make sure we stayed well under our maximum amount of rides, so while I did hop on straight off the track to evaluate the dude’s mind and soundness… he’s been enjoying the last three weeks or so doing mostly nothing but eating.

Sorry, bro.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to pop him on the lunge line before swinging a leg over, since it was ALSO only about 20* for the first time in a week and a half. Wild baby was wild. Until he wasn’t.

Turns out being fat means the wind comes out of your sails a lot faster than normal.

There was a lesson going on in the indoor, so to avoid any unnecessary collisions, I hopped on and then we watched.

Take notes, you heathen.

Eli happily stood patiently during the entire lesson, which was somewhat shocking to me, and I was super grateful to the trainer and rider in the ring who let us hangout.

After the lesson was finished we headed to the rail to see how spunky he was going to be… I’m fairly convinced I’m going to have to rechristen him as the Elephant because it was a bit like trying to squeeze frozen toothpaste out of a tube.

He was more interested in the other horse schooling, and the flowers, and jumps, and poles, and -insert thing here- than actually trotting in a straight line. He never actually spooked at anything. He just had to touch it all. It was like trying to get my toddler through the grocery store when he insists on walking “by me, no mama!” (Alone).

At this rate we’re going to have to petition for a western pleasure class, since slow and stretchy seemed to be our jam. Judges be damned if none of it was actually in a straight line.

I’ve also started kicking my own butt into gear at the gym and in the kitchen. *sob* Good bye deli pizza… hello smoothies.

I’ll share my workouts as I go, so I can hold myself accountable and share some of the things I’ve been doing to develop my own damn self into the athlete I expect my horses to be.



So much of the process when getting horses like I do, is spending a ton of time figuring them out. I have made 100% of my own horses my entire life, and I seriously enjoy the process. Both the boys right now are lovely, quirky, creatures. Figuring them out has been like a puzzle to me. Jake especially, since he has a significantly more sordid past than Eli does.

Problem child.

I recently stumbled across a quote on Pinterest that made me do some soul searching about how I think about my process.

Much of what I do is transforming these guys into solid citizens, so they can move on to good jobs (except Jake, he’s around forever). I am constantly wondering why they aren’t learning this or that or the other thing… and this quote is really helping me to switch around my internal dialogue when it comes to some of their quirks.

Eli with his head shyness. He doesn’t need to learn to let me touch his ears… he’s already tried to learn that and was led astray. He needs to unlearn that I’m not going to misuse the trust he gives me to force him to do something.

Magnawave has helped SIGNIFICANTLY!

Jake, with his bucking. He knows how not to buck. Now that we finally have a solid reason behind it, (he’s cold backed) and a plan to help him; it’s now on me to help him unlearn some of the habits that have been created while we were figuring it all out.

For my mental process, at least, it’s much easier to think of it as unlearning some of these quirks than it is to think of it as retraining. Maybe I’m just an eccentric duck, but it seems to be working with both of these monsters much faster than when I just tried to train them not to do something. Then it seems like an actual transformation instead of just fixed.

I’m going to trust them both that they can unlearn just as quickly as they learned and I will (eventually) have two wonderful, fun, solid citizens!

What do you think? Retraining or unlearning?