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We Are Flying Solo

January 20, 2013

Through The Chute

Inspired by the ongoing Retired Racehorse Training Project's 100-day challenge, I decided to coerce ask Amber to help me build a jump chute for Encore yesterday.  We'd just put together a simple crossrail-two strides-oxer and see what he had to offer.  I figured about 30 minutes or so?

Horse time does not equal real time.

We managed, through Operation Material Hunt, to devise a very professional chute (I could only find 3 barrels) and, quite satisfied with ourselves, turned Encore loose to have a go.  I began by leading him through, then let him trot through on his own, then added some ground poles.  He quickly figured out the route, so I added the crossrail first on its own.

Ummm, yeah, cleared it, buddy!

Simple enough, so I added a single pole to the second jump to make a small vertical.  Encore put his brain to the task immediately and found a much more efficient way to complete the task.  PS I am sorry, I cannot figure out how to turn off the autoplay of next video in Youtube.  It's making me insane.  If anyone knows, let me in on the secret!

After a slight modification to our construction, we were able to explain it was a JUMPING chute.  Then I added the back pole to the oxer and he amused himself at will!  Although he insisted in staying near the fence on the muddy half when there was perfectly nice footing 12" over, sigh...

Once he got the game, he quite enjoyed practicing!

Finally, mum lets me do something fun in the arena!
 From then on, it was just a matter of raising the poles and see how he went.  He didn't even have to start trying until we got to about 3'3", sheesh!

We finished around 3'7" to 3'9".

I'm not sure he'll have the scope for Training...or Prelim...or whatever.  Since this is the best he can do when he's a bit fat and out of shape.  Another racehorse (not) ruined by three years of racing...

A crying shame...that jr. is AWESOME!

I could stop here and say everything was wonderful.  But any of you who have read for a while know that one of my core rules is honesty:  training isn't a path of a sunshine and roses and I, for one, am very grateful that horses are forgiving creatures and don't shun me for my errors.  I hate that I make them, but I try my hardest to learn from them, which is why I share them.

Because then, proceeding to make the most basic training mistake of all time, I registered that he was jumping a bit tired, and somehow allowed sneaky brain to go, ok we'll just go one more hole.  Sigh.  You'd think I'd have learned by now.  Poor Encore's butt was t.i.r.e.d. and the correct thing to do would be to take epically awesome, stop, and stuff horse with treats.  Alas, I yet again let my horse down by not listening to myself.

Bless his trying heart, he jumped it!  Well, mostly.  His front half easily cleared all three feet and eleven inches of poles.  Unfortunately, his worn out bum dropped his hind legs after the first pole of the oxer, so he took the back rail down quite spectacularly.  But it was an unfair question really and one that I know should have waited until he was stronger.

So we then had to rework through the chute over a much simpler 2'6" oxer just to make sure he hadn't lost his confidence.  He was a very good boy -- so much so that as Amber and I were disassembling the chute, he kept coming through it, despite our attempts to wave him off!!  We had to throw all the poles on the ground in a hurry just to prove to him that we were done!

I'm so proud of him and ECSTATIC to see that he shows no signs of his strained ligament from last fall.  Now it's just burning fat and building more muscle.  Oh yeah, and finishing PT and neither of us hurting ourselves again.  Yeah, that's all...


  1. That's so cute he kept trying to jump when you were dissassembling! I guess that means you didn't make a dint in his confidence. :)

  2. he just lopes over those! so cute.

  3. Rofl, I think he's good, Lisa! He's such a good little worker, Amber and I just didn't want to get jumped over!

    Thanks, Kate, it was so much fun watching him do it! Giggling abounded...

  4. Awwww - great videos. It's so obvious he loves having a job :)

  5. Sweet! I love how nonchalant he is about the whole thing. (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes bad decisions from time to time!) Thanks for sharing!

  6. you know he really has nice form and tons of potential for jumping. I love the second video where he stopped to chat before getting back to business.


    That said.

    In oder to embed videos without it, you have to go to your youtube vid as it is visible to the public instead of accessing it through your profile. Then you can 'use old embed code' and all is well. Soo annoying.

  8. Thanks y'all! This was the first time I'd actually free jumped a horse and it was a blast!

    And Dom, ahem, I saw you recently got a dang good-looking bugger yourself!

    SB, thank you -- and I agree with the zealotry of your hatred, drives me nuts. You can turn it off when you view the videos ON their YouTube page with the little infinity symbol in the top right but that OF COURSE doesn't show up on the imbed.

  9. He looks fantastic! What a good boy!

  10. He was having a BALL!! Loved it, and he is so SHINY, such a pretty boy.

  11. I know, I'm so excited about the shiny, it took sooooo long!

  12. Piece of cake for him. Encore is looking great!

  13. He is so cute! I like how he snuck by the oxer the first time.. smart! lol

    What a cut jump he has!!

  14. Thank you! It's much easier to stand back and admire it, than to sit up there and try not to screw it up!!!!