As you know I have a thing for Thoroughbreds. It seems I surround myself with other people who feel the same way.
Meaca came to his owners through the Philadelphia Park Racehorse Rehoming program, Turning For Home. This is a program in place that allows racehorse trainers to responsibly rehome horses that aren’t fast enough for the track or have become injured to the point that racing again is most likely not in their future. Check it out!
Meaca, known to the Jockey Club as Meadow Cat. His sire is the well- known horse, Storm Cat.
Meaca Has Been At Our Farm For A While…
Meaca has been at the farm for a while now. His bright chestnut color, blaze face, and socks have become a fixture at the farm. He is a very inquisitive and energetic horse. Which has now led to a bit of a problem when he is ridden.
His owner does not live nearby and only gets down to the farm once a week or so. Since Meaca spends the rest of the week being his mischevious self, as you can imagine he is pretty full of himself. He has a very high opinion of himself and sometimes likes to think he knows better than his rider.
Meaca has not had much formal training since retiring from racing. That though is about to change.
Horse Less Rider Seeks Horse
It just so happens that my friend Megan, who owns a paint pony. She is no longer able to ride him due to arthritic changes in his feet. She hops on horses at the farm every so often but missed having something to ride regularly. She is the kind of rider that enjoys working with a project horse. Meaca definitely fits into the project category at this point. So this works out for both horse and rider.
We hope that by Megan riding him more regularly than his owner can, we can make some progress with his training. That way he will be more fun, and safe for Mollie to ride him when she gets down to the farm.
The first ride went as well as we could have expected. It was just a nice easy ride. Time for Megan to get used to him and for us to see where he stands with his training.
He did walk, trot and canter. Even picked up both leads. No drama except for some pinned ears when asked to go forward. I will give him a pass for that for now since he is out of shape. Once he gets into a routine I wouldn’t think this would be an issue.
What Are We Working On
Going forward into contact is the first thing. We want him to learn to carry himself correctly and go in a frame. With his hind end pushing forward, back up and head d.own.
Having started off life as a racehorse he learned to respond to contact totally differently than we want him to now. Mollie rides him with pretty loose contact, so Megan asking him to go forward into the bit and stretch down was something new to him. He did well for his first go at it. You will see his head flinging around in the video. What we are going to teach him to accept the bit. Go forward and softly stretch down into the contact. This is not something abnormal for a former racehorse to need to learn. I’m sure Meaca will pick it up easily as he gets into a regular routine,
” He Feels Like Riding A Board”
One of the other comments Megan made was he feels like riding a board. Another thing that we would expect from a former racehorse who hasn’t had much of a second education.
We need to teach him to bend, to move away when he feels leg pressure. To soften his ribcage, lift his shoulder and withers and shape his body and bend when Megan puts her leg on. Again, this isn’t something we would expect him to know how to do. He has a lot of forward movement that he is ready to use.
We are going to have to teach him to use all that energy to use his body correctly and respond to the rider’s commands.
Once we get him going a little better on the flat we plan to work on his jumping. He really loves to jump, but again doesn’t know how to contain all his curious energy, which sometimes causes bad behavior. Bucking and running, that sort of thing.
I think that by the time he gets that good flatwork that he will channel his energy and focus on the jumps and be a fabulous jumper. He definitely has the athletic ability!