Golden Dove is proving to have the amazing brain I value as the most important characteristic for ANY horse. She's going to be a super horse for a very lucky person when I'm ready to sell her in a few months. Her ground manners are already stellar which means she came that way so she has a solid foundation.
I introduced her to the mounting block this weekend and she did everything I asked including leading from the right and tolerating Freja crowding her space.
The mounting block might not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind that Dove raced 88 times and galloped countless more times in workouts. A racehorse isn't typically mounted standing at a block but rather the rider is given a leg up - often while the horse is already moving.
That's why introducing a mounting block to your OTTB is a key step early on in retraining. And don't just walk them up to it or wedge them between the block and a wall to force them into standing still. Instead, teach them to yield into the block. This will build their confidence and help you establish control of their body. Most importantly, don't worry about getting on the first few times. Just get them used to standing relaxed before you add mounting. Make the act of approaching and standing next to a mounting block a relaxing, stress free and rewarding experience, and then do the same exercise at less traditional mounting objects like fences, tree stumps, truck bumpers, etc - all with safety and comfort level of your OTTB being the number one priority of course.
Slow and steady wins the off track race :-)
By Kyle Rothfus
This blog is dedicated to providing insight about OTTB re-training, Thoroughbred pedigrees and general equine care. You can also track the progress of horses I have for sale through posts here.