From starting gate to starting over.
When restarting an off the track thoroughbred (OTTB) at Blue Bloods, we begin with the base of the training scale: rhythm, relaxation, and connection. At the bottom is rhythm and tempo. Creating a relaxed horse who is stable and balanced in the walk, trot, canter is our main priority. Relaxation mentally and physically can be challenging at times, but is well worth the time and effort. Trail riding works wonders for this important step! Once that has been established, we can focus more on a steady connection in the bridle and simple lateral work. The training scale is an excellent guide for all disciplines, english and western.
At Blue Bloods Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement each horse is treated as an individual and their athletic ability and skillset is carefully considered when we begin the retraining process. While some of our thoroughbreds progress quickly others may need more time to settle in and adjust to a new atmosphere and method of training. We do not "retrain" each horse for a specific discipline because the potential adopter may desire to do a different discipline. Instead, we work to establish the basics which are essential in any equine sport.
Amber Wyatt Photography
Trail riding is an important part of the retraining process. It exposes the horse to obstacles such as creeks, bridges and ditches which can be a new and exciting challenge for horses that have only been trained to race. Trail riding is also beneficial for building muscle and stamina in a low stress environment and allowing the horse to negotiate a varied terrain.
The horse's ground manners are also taken into consideration when they enter the program. Unnecessary or pushy behavior is corrected firmly but absolutely, not with harsh punishment. We find that calm, confident handling each day is the best recipe for success when creating good manners on the ground.
"In riding a horse we borrow freedom." -Helen Thomson