Despite being saddled at 18 months and racing for 1 year, my mare has NOT been ridden since her retirement from the track. As stated in a previous post, she is in the midst of a physical and emotional rehab journey. But even once she is a proper healthy weight and has a clear mind, I am not quite ready to ride her yet.
I do not have much experience riding thoroughbreds, let alone one that is freshly off the track. Though I began taking riding lessons at an early age at a friend’s backyard barn, I had to stop soon after due to health issues. When I picked up riding a few years later, I spent so much time bouncing from stable to stable in pursuit of the “perfect” instructor and lesson program that I didn’t retain many riding skills in each move.
However, my mare is still getting exercise through lunging. A foreign concept to both of us, we picked up this new skill pretty quickly. Below is a peek into a recent lunging session.
A few things to note: the rainbow colored cones act as both a physical boundary as well as a visual marker for both horse and owner. The poles are placed strategically to allow my mare to learn to engage her hindquarters, as racehorses tend to favor the front 2 hooves. It’s difficult to distinguish in this photo; however, the lunge line contains sections of neon colored duct tape to act as a visual aid for me to know where to place my fingers. The line itself is lightweight, so it rests comfortably in my hands. To prepare her body again for eventual riding, my mare is tacked up in a schooling saddle and a bridle with a 5 ¼” d-ring snaffle bit.
Please note that while these tack and equipment adaptations work for us, they may not work for others. As I have stated previously, you have to adapt to you and your horse’s INDIVIDUAL needs.
What are some of your favorite tack and/or equipment hacks?