Its almost time to back Starbucks (that means get on his back)! He's getting better about all things preparation- he's lunging great, lets me stand above him and wave my arms, and lay across his back. He's much more comfortable wearing tack, especially with the bit in his mouth. He's still nervous when there are other horses being lunged or ridden in the ring, he can't seem to figure out why those horses look so different! He's still reactive when there are noises or anything else going on behind him, but he improves each day. He seems happy to be engaged in work and learning a job.
There is more exciting news though, today my new horse arrives!
Joe is a 16.3h 5 year old TB gelding. He's well bred (Chief Seattle x Outflanker), and although he's 5 he only raced 5 times when he was a 3 year old. He's a plain bay with a small star and a good mover. A cursory google search revealed some photos from his racing days, including a conformation shot from when he was a yearling. He won $5000 on the track, and then was turned out for 18 months until I found him. Not all thoroughbreds need or get time to decompress after a racing career, but it certainly never hurt any of them. His body has gotten a chance to rest and recover, and his brain has had time to come down. The beauty of ex-racehorses, and one of my favorite things about them, is that they have seen so much at a young age. Horse shows will be no big deal for him, because there is less hustle and bustle there than there is at a racetrack. He knows how to go (anyone who has started young warmbloods will tell you that 'button' doesn't come preinstalled!) and stop, and he bathes, lunges, ties, loads, clips etc. All the groundwork has been done, and I'm simply going to have to retrain him to be a riding horse instead of a race horse. Piece of cake!
I found him in a field about an hour and a half away, watched him get lunged and ridden, then vetted and bought him. Wait, did I just buy another horse without sitting on it? Oops! I'm not worried about it though, this guy is kick-along quiet, and I think he'll make up into a great hunter prospect. He's got a big, slow, rocking horse canter, and as he was lunged over fences he got the hang of it quickly. He needs about 300 lbs right now, his feet badly need to be done, and his dead summer coat needs to fall out. I'll get him cleaned up though, and by spring he'll be a different horse. I will post pictures when he arrives this afternoon, and I'll be blogging about both his and Starbucks progress in the coming months.