Day #19 - Advice for riders with similar horses
Training and riding a Standardbred successfully takes patience. And more patience. And then more patience on top of that. Did I mention patience?
Standardbreds are super easy to train. And they are also the hardest horses to train. Why you ask? They are easy because they have such great attitudes. At the track (or in training for the track), they have seen it all. They have the mentality from the Morgan and the athleticism from the Thoroughbred. You can literally walk and trot them the first time you get on. Standardbreds have the best work ethic I have ever seen in a breed.
But they are also difficult to train, especially if you want to compete and do well. Walk and trot is easy enough, but once you start asking for the canter and more advanced movements, they need to understand balance and connection to the bit. Obviously, Standardbreds are not trained on the track to move like a dressage horse...so really it is a matter of "re-training" and re-muscling them. They CAN canter, but because they are gaited horses they will always have a tendency to get lateral. I began taking lessons in 2008 because I KNEW that I needed help to bring Dreamy (and now Reva) along. It would have certainly taken less time if my instructor rode my horses for me, but I am proud I have done their training myself even if it has taken double the time.
On the lower right side, click on "training" or "riding lessons". I have written many posts since 2008 about the training successes and difficulties with Dreamy and now with Reva. It has been a journey like no other. I have learned to be a better rider. I have learned that while it would be a whole lot easier to ride dressage on a fancy breed, it is infinitely more satisfying to do it on a Standardbred. I am certainly not the best rider out there. I am a true adult amateur who has to fight with her (short and stubby) body to do what I want it to do. I do not have great timing and have to really think about what I am asking my horse.
I have written about cantering, my frustrations, more frustration, the difference in a Standardbred's outline, and even when things come together and it makes you cry with joy. I started my blog as a way to track Dreamy's progress, but I also hope to help other Standardbred owners out there. If I can be successful, anyone can be! It just takes hard work, determination, and a really wonderful breed. :-D And LOTS of patience!