Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Schooling at a show

On Saturday Smarty was trailed to a horse show. He isn’t ready to compete yet, but I wanted him to have the experience of schooling with other horses and being trailed/ridden somewhere new. As usual, Smarty was a rock star through the whole experience. He loaded/unloaded beautifully, had no problem with being tied to the trailed and kept calm with the hustle and bustle of the show. He was perfect schooling in the arena and didn’t think it was “off to the races” with the other horses flying around him.

My goal with him has been to show him on the flat before leaving for college. There are two potential shows I’m looking at taking him to – one in San Antonio July 14 and 15 and another in Austin on August 3-5. We still have some work to do before he’s ready to go, but Smarty should be ready to go on one of these dates.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A visitor and an interview

At the end of May, Mad for Smarty had a very special visitor! Patricia Chapman, owner of Smarty Jones, came to Austin. While she was here, we went to Bel Canto to see Mad for Smarty. Mrs. Chapman was happy to see Smarty doing well. I rode him so that she (and some family members) could see the progress that has been made with him.

This past week, I was a guest on the Horses in the Morning radio show. The two hosts talked to me about the story of how I came to own Mad for Smarty. The interview begins 37 minutes into the show which can be listened to either from their website or by downloading the podcast from iTunes. It lasts approximately 15 minutes.

Monday, May 21, 2012


In the last week, I’ve begun to canter Smarty a bit. Nothing major, just down the sides of the arena. He has only picked up his right lead a couple of times for me, which is fine for now. I want to get him cantering before trying to force him on a lead; he is still figuring out how to balance himself at the gate. He goes just like a racehorse, not surprisingly, and really hangs on the bit. It has been fun so far! He’ll get his leads and learn to work off his hind end in no time.

I worked with an instructor a few days ago who helped me get Smarty going more forward and on the bit, which was great! Since he is still such a green horse, riding him effectively is or utmost importance.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Hello! It’s been a while since my last post and I wanted to let everyone know how Mad for Smarty is coming along. We have been trotting regularly and he is doing well so far. After trotting for a few moments he will sometimes kinda fall apart, rush and drag himself around on the forehand (especially while I’m in two-point) but never horribly. He has never tried to run off, bolt, rush into a canter, grab the bit or buck. I’d consider that a success so far! Smarty is more comfortable traveling to the left and is able to carry himself correctly and stay in a nice, rounded circle more easily. We are still working on the right side!

I’ve been riding primarily in a dressage arena and an open trail area trotting in both places. There are a few places with mild slope on the trails, which I’ve been taking Smarty up and down to try and develop his top line a bit more. had planned to start cantering him this week, but it has been very rainy here and I have not been able to work with him as of yet.

A couple weeks ago I rode Smarty bareback for the first time. I enjoyed it, but I’m not so sure that he did! Smarty seemed a bit thrown off by my lack of saddle and was a bit reluctant to go forward. Overall, he was fine with it with no explosions or strong objection. 

Friday, April 13, 2012


Mad for Smarty’s been looking a little scruffy, so I pulled out a pair of clippers and set to work cleaning him up. As with most things, Smarty was perfect with the clippers. I didn’t do anything major, just cleaned up around the fetlocks, whiskers and bridle path. I don’t think he moved an inch the entire time I was working around him. So yeah! I was thrilled with how perfect he was; so many horses are just awful about being clipped.

I’ve continued to ride Smarty over the past week and have been pleased with his good behavior. Just recently I began taking him outside the arena and around the property, taking him through some trail areas at Bel Canto. He’s been great! And, much progress has been made with him longeing to the right; Smarty has almost got it down.

Enjoying spring

Friday, April 6, 2012

Outside of the round pen

Smarty continues to progress. I’ve ridden him several times since my first ride last Tuesday and he has done well each time. Today I rode him entirely outside of the round pen, primarily in one of the dressage arenas at Bel Canto. Outside of the round pen Smarty was a bit more amped up; very willing to walk forward with little encouragement with ears pricked and alert. As usual, he was pretty awesome about the whole thing. Smarty only had one little freak-out moment when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. I got a few pictures of our ride!

Friday, March 30, 2012

First ride

On Tuesday I rode Mad for Smarty for the first time! He was pretty awesome. All we did was a bit of walking under saddle in the round pen. Smarty stood at the mounting block nicely and didn't try to wall off the instant I sat down. My instructor had Smarty on a lead rope to walk off with him once I mounted and walked with us for a few minutes before unhooking me. My mom and grandmother were there to watch our first ride together (and take photos). He was completely calm and chill throughout the ride with no problems at all. Smarty was walking forward nicely, bending around the circle and responding to my aids.

I rode with a very loose and didn't use much contact at any point in the ride. As he progresses I'll use my reins more actively and plan to work him in side reins down the line. I didn't put much leg pressure on his sides either for the first ride, and will slowly ease him into understanding more traditional leg and rein commands.

Smarty has a pretty good headset all things considered. Right now it is a bit too low, whereas most ex-racehorses have their heads too high. Of course I've just walked him, we'll see if his headset stays nice and low once I ask for faster gates.

Time to develop a top line!