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Our new standbred for endurance - Long

We have found a horse for my husband!  He retired his
QH/TB cross from endurance about 4 years ago because
of arthritis, and fully retired him to be a pasture
ornament the end of last year.  He has been hesitant
to look for a new horse since he felt that it would be
impossible to replace Major.

We recently looked at some Standardbreds off the
track.  Mike wanted a big, bold moving horse.  He
found a horse that he described as having "loads of
potential", an 8 yo 15.3H New Zealand-bred STB who was
retired in favor of younger, faster horses at the
trainer's.  Surprisingly, he had clean legs & was
completely sound after racing as a pacer.  When I went
to look at thim, I saw why he was still sound.  He had
the straightest, best legs & feet on any horse that
I've ever seen!  Poorly muscled topline, but no worse
than I'd expect after harness racing.

He's been under saddle about a dozen times now and
he's learning quickly.  He started out with his head
high looking for the bit (typical stance for a harness
horse), stiff (can't bend in those shafts), and a
little unbalanced with a rider.  He's starting to
bring his head down to look for the bit and he's
learning to bend & give to leg.  Mike's learned that
to encourage him to pick up a trot, he can take him
over a single ground pole.  He simply <can't> pace &
get over the pole.  Once he's trotting, he holds it

He's thinner than I'd like to see.  About a 3.5-4 on a
body condition scale.  At the track, he daily feed
ration was 16lbs of 14% pellets (~ 3% fat) & 4 flakes
of grass hay.  No grazing at all.  Here he's been
introduced to free choice hay and we're slowly
introducing him to grass since our pasture is so lush.
 We expect to start reducing his grain in the near
future & we've already changed him to a 12% feed with
6% fat.

Buck is very personable - really likes people & to be
the center of attention.  He has one annoying habit of
clicking his teeth & gnashing when he's stressed or
confused under saddle.  As he's gaining trust in Mike,
this is getting better.  I'm guessing this was a
response to the stress of racing.

As soon as our farrier can come out to put shoes on
him, we'll start taking him out on our trails a
little. (Very rocky trails - have to have some foot
protection.  None of our easyboots are the right size
for this guy.)  We plan to take him on his first
overnight camp out in the middle of July.  I'd love to
see him try his first ride this fall for the
experience.  This is a first for us - taking a horse
whoi has a reasonable base of work and training him
for endurance.  We've always saddle trained new Arabs
& started from scratch.  It will be a challenge to
decide how fast to let him progress.

Mike is motivated to finish restoring our road cart &
sleigh now since we have a driving horse again!  I
can't wait for Christmas & snow!  Time to polish up
that harness!

Linda Flemmer
Blue Wolf Ranch
Bruceton Mills, WV

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