Each Trainer and RRTP President, Steuart Pittman, has his or her own "Page" of blog entries with embedded videos. Access each trainer's page by clicking on their name below.
Kerry Blackmer - Kerry has Four X The Trouble, aka Tempyst, owned by Robin Coblyn
Tiffany Catledge - Tiffany has both High Level, owned by Jim Falk, and Solidify, owned by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue
Eric Dierks - Eric has Brazilian Wedding, owned by Pat Dale
Steuart Pittman - Steuart gets to post commentaries, plus he occasionally posts about Bodiddle, the horse owned by Lorna Starkey, that didn't make it to the Trainer Challenge
This Trainer Challenge is way too much fun for me to just sit on the sidelines and observe.I will, therefore, share my thoughts about what we are seeing.
I was supposed to have an alternate horse to train, but Tiffany won't let me pick up Solidify because she can't decide if High Level is sound. I think she's just greedy. She can't let a good horse leave her farm.
Lucky for me, I have some nice horses at home to ride. The newest addition is Bodiddle, the horse that was left out of the Trainer Challenge due to concerns about his ankles. He arrived Friday with Laury Parramore, and my job is to teach Laury to teach Bodiddle about his new job. If the first four days are any indication I predict that Laury will bring Bodiddle to the PA Expo and do their own little demo to show the Three Stooges that even amateurs with full time office jobs can make magic in four weeks with a good horse off the track! Bodiddle and Laury are kicking butt!
I find it interesting myself to watch how the Three Stooges, I mean Trainers, go about changing the balance and shape of their horses. They all explain it differently, but my guess is that they all will do it similarly.Each horse has already learned to carry itself in better balance with a respect and a focus on the riders' legs, hands, seat, and weight.
If they are like most horses off the track, they will get the basics quickly and then learn new ways of moving at all three gaits within the boundaries that the riders establish. That won't make them perfect, but it will make them very rideable.
The frustrating part for most of the people following this Challenge is that most don't progress this quickly with their own horses. The reason for this is that they probably don't ride as well as Kerry, Eric, and Tifanny. Effective riding takes thousands of hours on scores of horses with good instructions and high standards to develop, and good riding is the secret to training horses under saddle. If the take home message is "Learn to ride better," that's fine with me. We all need to learn to ride better. It's what our horses deserve.
Sensitive, intelligent horses with the foundation of racing progress very quickly with skilled riders. They progress less quickly with less skilled riders, but that's ok. They end up worse than they were when they came off the track if they are ridden by people whose skills are not yet up to the task. That doesn't mean those people should give up. It might, however, mean that they should develop their balance and tact on a less responsive horse and find somebody else to work with their green Thoroughbred. Then there are the horses off the track who will pack anybody around as long as they stay out of the way. There is as much variation among Thoroughbreds as within any other breed.
So please watch carefully the way these trainers ride and how their horses respond. Refrain from making judgements about the pace of training. Good trainers let their horses tell them when it's time for new challenges.Watch with an open mind and you will learn. That's what I intend to do as well.
- Steuart Pittman
The RRTP is a charitable organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax deductible pursuant to applicable laws. Our mission is to facilitate the placement of retired Thoroughbred racehorses in second careers by educating the public about the history, distinctive characteristics, versatility of use, and appropriate care and training of the iconic American Thoroughbred.
Funding is needed to maintain and expand our internet services, conduct our Throughbreds For All events, produce educational videos, and finance our presentations at horse expos and other high visibility public events. We do not use donated funds to care for individual horses. That work is done by the farms and organizations that we serve.