100 Day OTTB Challenge

I wanted to say a word on this blog before the big Prodigious Challenge happens. For those of you who don’t know, our local TB racetrack has sponsored a 100-day challenge for 5 selected trainers. I was selected as one of the lucky 5, and I will find out at the end of this week who my bequeathed OTTB is. First, the trainers will watch videos of the horses, and we get our draw numbers for our horse picks on Wednesday. This makes me very excited and it feels like Christmas for a 10 year old! Who doesn’t dream about standing in a lineup of horses, tapping fingers on lips with a studied look. Finally, I make up my mind and say: “I want that one”.   And Wallah!!! Like magic, I get that horse.

Two of my students pointed out that I was already full on training rides every day… and while that is very true, this Challenge is something that I firmly believe in. I want very much, to show my support for this new program at Emerald Downs and help prove that there is a very valuable place for OTTBs in our current horse sports. And I will find the time for this ride, even if it means losing some precious sleep.

As excited as I am to ride and train my Challenge horse, I am also really excited to watch two other trainers who were selected: Mark Bolender and Chesna Klimek in particular. I know and understand the eventing, dressage and hunter/jumper world. But, I am really looking forward to learning more about extreme trail riding and natural horsemanship training that Mark and Chesna practice. I’ve watched some of the videos of Mark that are on Youtube and they are awesome and inspiring (bridleless!!). None of my current horses could even come close to competing that Extreme course!  Chesna has some great videos of her with her Haflinger horse (see here). Clearly, both are great trainers as they have their horses in a calm, understanding state where happily do what is asked of them without stress or worry. I’m hoping to learn from their blogs how we do things differently and/or the same. I think you should watch some of their videos and think about why they would chose a horse for their sport that is different from why I would chose a horse for 3 day eventing? Clearly, extreme trail riding needs a coordinated horse who is confident, calm and thinking. But not necessarily one that has fantastic movement to win in dressage!

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