Helene and I have started on yet another new project with Standardbreds. We began taking her racehorse CC Mister C (aka CC) out on training trail rides. Helene rode him one time at home and the very next day we took him out to the Assunpink with miles of trails, large fields, and hills for what some consider to be a bit of an unconventional training method for a harness racer. Riding racehorses is very popular in Europe, especially Sweden, and is growing in popularity in the U.S. as well. It switches it up for them and gives them a break and some variety.
CC was a total champ the first time we went out. Helene rode CC and I rode JB. CC acted like a seasoned trail horse. He was very brave and willing. We trotted a few miles through the cross country fields and up and down the hills. We all got our workout in! It helps CC, builds muscle for me, and gives JB lots of extended trot practice. He has been doing the most gorgeous extended trot, flicking out his feet and everything. Well, I should say it feels gorgeous to me and Helene confirms it is since she can see it LOL. We also went to the lake, which JB loves. He wades like in a hippo and splashes us all. CC was a bit skeptical at first, but after a few minutes followed JB in and stood quietly as JB splashed him over and over. This is the reason people own Standardbreds! You could never take your still on the track or just off the track Thoroughbred out on trail and have them be perfect on the first time.
He raced two weeks ago shortly after our first trail outing and came home a winner! After that Helene's husband, Jeff, a well known catch driver, who of course drives CC, jumped on board and encouraged the riding to continue. We went twice last week, increase our trotting time, which gives the boys quite a work out and has been great for me too. It helps me build my legs with all the miles of posting and two point, which is something Renee and I have been working on. I even rode JB English for one of the rides to build me up even further.
We rode the boys in the Assunpink today, but CC races tomorrow so we kept it to a leisurely walk, with just a short spurt of trotting up one hill, when JB decided it was necessary to stretch a bit. Fingers crossed CC brings home another win tomorrow! He is up a class and coming from the 7 hole, but Helene and I still have faith!