Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Back to riding and so far, so good...

A beautiful post-storm sunset (and a soaked outdoor arena).

...knock on wood!  I resumed riding Limerick regularly the week of the Kentucky Derby. I have ridden her an average of twice a week since that time, all in the indoor arena.

I don't remember the last time I rode her regularly. It was probably late last summer, before the avalanche of problems and snow of fall and winter. This means she is out of shape, and given her age--23--I have been easing her back into regular work very slowly. My primary focus for now is getting her to move forward nicely and use her back. That's it--no fancy footwork.

Since the insects are bad and she can get worked up in the outdoor arena during the first few rides there, I have not yet ridden in that big sandy oval and I am really missing it! The indoor arena is okay but it's small, spooky, and full of endlessly squawking pigeons and starlings. And frankly, boring.

I was going to ride in the outdoor arena this evening but isolated thunderstorms moved through earlier, drenching the area yet again, so it's probably an unusable quagmire. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dental appointment today

Limerick had her annual dental appointment today. After her teeth were done, I waited for her to wake up then gave her a liniment bath, which she greatly enjoyed.

A wicked storm rolled through an hour later and I sat outside the barn for a while and watched it pass by.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Limerick rolling (but not bucking)

In April, Miss Lim demonstrated the roll-n-buck combo, a favorite of feisty horses of all ages.

The other night she demonstrated the leisurely get-the-bugs-off-me roll, and I was there to get a video. I think the fact she managed to turn herself 100 degrees without getting up is pretty impressive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Deaf individuals in the harness racing industry

Last week I ordered Barbara Livingston's Standardbred Old Friends from the Harness Racing Museum. In correspondence with museum director Janet Terhune, I learned of deaf harness racing driver Ricky Macomber Jr., who  became the all-time leading driver at Hoosier Park this year, and deaf harness racing groom Risa Tanaka.

It's rare to find other deaf/hard-of-hearing individuals in the equestrian world, and I've never heard--pun intended--of any such individuals in the Thoroughbred racing world. The fact there is a harness driver that is deaf is just amazing to me!

When I interact with people, I rely heavily upon lip-reading and body language observation to understand what is being said to me. A hearing aid allows me to hear pretty well but the nuances of human speech are beyond its capabilities. Therefore, my powers of observation are key in conversation as well as all other areas of life.

This applies to being around horses. I observe their body language and watch carefully for any unexpected movements. When I'm riding with others, I pay close attention to those around me. If I'm inattentive and there is a problem in which galloping hoofbeats and shouts are the only precursors to potential disaster, then that may not bode well for me.

Which brings us back to deaf harness driver Ricky Macomber. In the fast-paced, potentially dangerous job of driving Standardbreds in harness racing, it's amazing that he has the skills, talent, and intuition to not only compete, but do so at the top level of harness racing. Kudos to him.

Click the links to read articles about Ricky Macomber and Risa Tanaka.

Ricky Macomber search results in Standardbred Canada
Ricky Macomber donates to Indiana School for the Deaf
Determination Leads to Opportunity in Harness Racing (good info about both individuals)
September 2011 issue of Hoof Beats, which mentions Risa Tanaka, groom of Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn
Risa Tanaka: Long, strange trip

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Limerick says, "Good luck, California Chrome!"

Here, she reads Tim Layden's latest on California Chrome for Sports Illustrated. You can read the article here.

Here's hoping history can be made.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Horse Racing Nation: The Ladies (and Gentleman) of Our Mims Retirement Haven

Hundreds of miles away from the hope resting upon California Chrome as he walks the shedrow at Belmont Park, and a stone’s throw from where blue-blooded mares produce foals that may one day carry the same hope, is Our Mims Retirement Haven. Nestled in the rolling hills north of Paris, Kentucky, the Haven is home to nine senior Thoroughbreds--eight mares and one gelding.

Continue reading at Horse Racing Nation...