Highness, or How High according to the Jockey Club, is a fifteen year old OTTB that (local, not NJ) A is giving to me. She’s had her for a couple of years, but she doesn’t fit in her halter horse breeding program really, and she’s trying to downsize her herd.
Highness wasn’t super successful in her racing days (though I’ve never won 17k by running laps, so who am I to judge) and she spent some time as a broodmare on the Appaloosa farm where I bought Copper as a yearling (and where NJ A used to work). Highness has had two colts in the past-both handsome, athletic boys who were very easy to get along with. She is very easy to get along with as well (or she wouldn’t be moving in…) and an easy keeper. She has been used in walk/trot lessons previously and was leased to a lesson student who’s grandfather used her to move cattle on occasion.
She is bred pretty well- even I recognized several horses on her papers and my knowledge of racehorses is limited to Disney movies. So with Secretariat comes Bold Ruler of course, but upon further inspection she has another line with Bold Ruler, this time crossed with Shenanigans, the mother of Ruffian. That’s all on the top side. On the bottom she has Northern Dancer and, way back there, War Admiral. Despite her papers being covered in horses famous for being fast/producing fast, Highness never broke her maiden (won a race) in 46 starts. She was certainly owned by some determined people, but if I paid 19k for a yearling, I’d probably try to make that investment pan out as well.
When we first brought her in, she seemed ouchy when we touched her, but it looks like she’s just sensitive to grooming/having her back/belly touched. If you just brush her with a soft brush, she’s fine, but anything more firm and she twitches and acts annoyed. L and I were both meh about getting on her after seeing how sensitive she is, so I had A come out and show me how she goes. Apparently she’s just really thin skinned, because A tacked her up as if it were no big deal, lunged her briefly, and then rode her WTC out in an open field with the rest of the herd without issue. Due to all of the racing, she does seem to get a little zoom zoom after cantering, especially if you let her pop over a couple of cross rails, so she may be a bit more than I’m used to, but I do need to practice cantering something that isn’t trying to kill me (other than Paige).
So now I have a retired racehorse who looks decent over jumps and I’ve never jumped anything more than a 12″ trot pole. R and L are out of town for a week, so I may drag Highness in the barn and try to get to know her more while they’re gone. I’m not brave enough to ride her out in the field when I’m at the barn solo, but she should be fine in the barn, and it’ll give me a chance to get more used to her.
So OTTB people, any suggestions on calming the zoom zoom? She isn’t remotely interested in doing anything stupid (rearing, bucking, etc.), just wants to get places quickly. 😉 I’m thinking lots of circling is in our future?