American Thoroughbreds, that is.
As the previous owner of two ex-racing thoroughbreds, in my opinion there is nothing better for eventing. We all know they can be sensitive, and a little flighty, but so what? The most athletic ones can run around a cross country course twice and still be ready for more. The Retired Race Horse Training Project agrees. Their newest initiative is called the “Trainer Challenge” and all three professionals chosen to participate have eventing backgrounds (and have successfully trained OTTBs in the past). Ever heard of Erik Dierks? Thought so. He will join Kerry Blackmer and Tiffany Cattledge on January 22 at the Maryland Horse Expo, where each will pick an off-the-track horse from a preselected group to train over the following month. At the Pennsylvania Horse Expo, February 23-26, the horses will be presented by their trainers before a panel of judges led by Jimmy Wofford, who will recognize one trainer for his or her performance and award a grand prize. During the training period weekly updates will be posted on the RRTP website, where you can read more details about the challenge. This is a great initiative that will hopefully bring more exposure to the plight of unwanted thoroughbreds around the US and remind potential buyers that great horses can be found here if you take the time to look. [COTH]
That’s not all that the RRTP has up its sleeve: their new website is filled with helpful resources and databases to make your thoroughbred experience as painless as possible. Want a thoroughbred but don’t know where to get it? They have a list of farms and organizations that specialize in selling ex-racehorses. Bought one but need help with the training? Click on their trainer directory to see a listing of trainers state by state that are experienced with ex-racehorses and will help you with your new project. Already a proud owner? Put your horse into the “Bloodline Brag” database, which aims to trace the traits of prominent bloodlines and help identify those that produce more successful offspring. You can search individual listings or bloodlines and see average scores in areas such as soundness, movement, and trainability for each. The Chronicle reports that the database went live three weeks ago and already has 300 entries. This is a cool site and definitely the most organized one of its kind. Go look, and go ride a thoroughbred. [COTH] [RRTP Home]
Moving onto the hunter world, the George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions continue today and USEF live coverage begins at 8:30am ET sharp. Yesterday Anne Kursinski stepped in to teach the morning flatwork session while George recovered from an untimely illness. I watched part of the morning session online- if you’re missing out on lessons while your trainer is down south I recommend checking it out. You can also watch the afternoon videos and set up some of Beezie Madden’s jumping exercises to take away the indoor arena blues. Recordings from yesterday’s sessions are still available on the USEF Network. [COTH Day 1 Recap] [USEF Livestream]
The USEA announced that Bit of Britain has doubled their usual Monday discount for USEA members for the next two months. Instead of the usual 5% discount, members will get 10% off all online purchases every Monday beginning January 9 and ending February 27. To get the discount just put your USEA ID number in the coupon code section of the order page. [USEA]
In Australia University of Sydney professor Paul McGreevy is working on a new study to measure horses’ breaks with quantitative data. He and his team are using a technology called “ReinCheck” (get it??) to measure the pressure exerted by a rider on the bit. The study aims to measure the level of tension necessary for a deceleration response and identify horses that are more likely to bolt uncontrollably. McGreevy hopes the study will help inexperienced riders understand the importance of a light hand and prevent accidents. [Horsetalk]
Two top British show jumpers, Sultan V and Talan, have been sold to Saudi Arabians in the past three weeks, just before the Olympic re-registration deadline on December 31. Sultan V’s rider for the past five years, Bruce Menzies, told Horse and Hound that he was “absolutely gutted” and that the lose of the horse he produced was a “massive blow.” The pair had been on many people’s shortlists as a London contender. The sales have caused a bit of a stir: Horsetalk’s Laurie Dixon and the Telegraph’s equestrian correspondent Pippa Cuckson have written thought-provoking blog posts for their respective publications. [Horse and Hound] [Horsetalk] [Telegraph]
Your daily War Horse link: Meet Finder, the film’s main four-legged star (and off-the-track thoroughbred, see above links!). Remember that scene in Seabiscut when Biscut rips a would-be jockey’s shirt? That was Finder. Quite the celebrity now, isn’t he? [The Pilot]
Best of Blogs:
And finally for no reason at all:
That’s all for now, EN, happy Thursday!