Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Neighborhood Posse

A few weeks ago Paint Girl and I took our horses for a ride around the neighborhood.

Sometimes, we catch a glimpse of some of the neighborhood horses as they are grazing or run out to say hello. This one had plenty of grass to eat, but kept trotting up and down the fence line when she saw us.

This little bay beauty just watched us go by.

On the last leg of the ride, one of the horse's we saw was this guy. Or at least, I think it's a he. I forgot to check. Paint Girl is acquaintances with the horse's owner. This horse is a Standardbred. I thought he had such a cute face.

A kind eye and foxy ears, and rich chocolate color. When we rode away, this horse began to trot -er, I mean, pace? He definitely did not move in a normal trot. He also looked a bit off or lame.

I don't think his owner rides him. I don't know anything about the horse. Maybe it is an ex race horse?

I know very little about Standardbreds. Here is some information I found online:

Standardbreds tend to be more muscled and longer bodied than the American Thoroughbred. They also are of more placid dispositions, as suits horses whose races involve more strategy and more changes of speed than do Thoroughbred races. Standardbreds are considered people-oriented, easy-to-train horses.

They are generally a bit heavier in build than their Thoroughbred cousins, but have refined, solid legs and powerful shoulders and hindquarters. Standardbreds have a wide range of height, from 14.1 to 17 hands 57"-66"), and most often are bay or the darker variation of bay called "brown," although other colors such as chestnut and black are not uncommon. Gray and roan are also found. The tobiano pattern is seen in some New Zealand-bred horses.

There are two basic types, trotters and pacers. As the name suggests, the trotter's preferred racing gait is the trot, where the horses' legs move in diagonal pairs, when the right foreleg moves forward so does the left hind leg, and vice versa. The pace is a two beat lateral gait; Pacers' forelegs move in unison with the hind legs on the same side.

However, the breed also is able to perform all other horse gaits, including the canter, and pacers can be retrained to trot.

Do any of you know anything more about Standardbreds? I have seen them offered for adoption on Craigslist.org. Kind of a rehabilitation program. How many years do they race? What do they do when their careers are over? Can they make good riding mounts? Do you know anyone that has one?

Anyway, I am going to check on My Boy this afternoon and see if he can tolerate wearing a bridle with his healing sarcoid. Here's to hoping I can ride him soon!


  1. Wow yall live in a beautiful neighborhood! Where I live in Florida everything is sandy and sometimes dried up from the heat. There is one Standardbred at one of the barns I go too. I haven't worked with him but the horse is very sweet when I do pet him. He is different to have around, I'm used to the Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Small ponies, and Warmbloods haha.

  2. Great photos! I don't know much about racing Standardbreds , but I do know they make a decent saddle horse

  3. That's cool you would want to learn more about STB's. Up here in Maine the only horse racing is STB racing, especially on the local fall fair circuit. I go the races often and every September I marshal the races at our local fair and get to socialize with owners, trainers and drivers. I also have a few friends that have racing STB's and it's a lot of fun to groom for them and help them at the races. Racing STB's on the lower level is much cheaper than racing TB's. STB's are more even tempered for the most part and have longer racing careers. It's not uncommon to see a STB racing into their early teens, unlike TB's. I like the breed for the most part, but training a pacer to canter can be difficult. Trotters are easier stereotypically. Their a very personable kind of horse, travel well and can put up with a lot. After they are retired they usually make great pleasure mounts due to their past life of racing and traveling etc... The transition to riding for pleasure is usually easier for STB's then TB's.

  4. There are 2 wonderful blogs out there about adpoted standardbreds. One is Standardbred Excellence, she is a woman who events with her mare (who is off the track) and is also doing USDF dressage (and kicking butt) with her! The other is Now That's A Trot, and that blog is about another Standardbred who was rescued off the track after 222 races!!! And he is sound and she events him!!!!!!!

  5. I never get tired of seeing trail ride pictures! Looks like you have a lot of horses in your neighborhood!
    I don't know much about standardbreds excpet that they are supposed to be very athletic.That little guy in your pictures sure is cute!
    Do you have any Morgans in your area? A lot of people around here seem to have Morgans!

  6. My boy is a Standaradbred. They make excellent riding horses and great companions. I adopted him through the American Standardbred Adoption Program. I have a link to them as well on my blog.

    The pace is a rather interesting gait and a lot of people do mistake it for the horse being "off" especially if they are moving in a slower pace.

    When my boy paces under saddle, it is a really neat sort of ride and I think it is very smooth (although some people do disagree with me on that).

  7. Interesting post about the Standardbreds. I don't know much about them either, except what I've read or seen online.

    I sure hope My Boy is doing better so you can enjoy a ride together.


  8. Thanks for the tour, and for the information about STBs!

  9. The owner of this Standardbred, whose name is Midnight, says he is saddle broke. But very green. She has had him for about 3 years now. She was going to sell him a couple years ago, but she has a tendency to keep every horse she gets. She has 2 really old Arabians and a Percheron cross also.
    I don't know much about the breed. I think Midnight is very cute and when his owner was talking about selling him, we told her we'd be interested. That was before we got Fritzy. He seems to enjoy his life out at pasture!

  10. Thanks everyone, for sharing your tidbits and stories! I will check out the Standardbred blogs, too! And Paint Girl, I'd forgotten his name was Midnight! ;)

  11. I can't believe how many horses there in that neighborhood! Too cool! I just wanted to remind you too that my Costume Party starts tonight around midnight. You BETTER be there or I'll hunt you down and tickle torture you, the Man Cub will help me. He's been on the receiving end a few times. I'm watching the weather for this weekend. It could be iffy. It's also Father's Day, I don't know if that will matter or not! HUGS to you!

  12. One of my old trainers had a Standardbred that I used to ride once in a while. He was able to both trot and pace. His trot was soooo hard to sit but the pacing was a lot of fun to ride once you got used to it. You really have to let your hips move side to side or you feel off balance. Her gelding was big and she also used him for mounted police duty - looked a lot like the horse in your picture.

    I found him to be a very smart horse!


  13. My aunt used to have standardbreds. I got my grooms license when I was younger through her one trainer. Theres a lot of standardbreds around here, especially old ones kids are now riding once their careers are over. They make wonderful horses. Don't let the description fool you, some of them can be plain old mean, mean, mean. This one mare Armbro Annie that my aunt owned hated men. She would kick the living s**t out of any man that would try and work with her. Then me, just a 14 year old girl at the time cooing and petting and feeding and even driving this HUGE 17.3 hh mare who was branded the meanest horse in the barn. She just had a thing for trying to disembowel men.

  14. One of the blogs I read just did a whole post about SBs, but darned if I can remember which one! It was a good post, too.

  15. What beautiful neighbors you passed on your ride. Looks very pretty there.

  16. Love the pictures! Looks like a good neighborhood to be in!

  17. I don't know from personal experience but I've often heard/read that STBs tend to be quite hardy and hold up well and as such have longer racing careers.

    From firsthand experience I know that they tend to be very personable and good to handle.
    I used to do volunteer work at a stable that gave riding lessons to mentally & physically challenged children and adults. They had a horse that was an ex-racer (STB) and he was awesome!
    I would definately consider owning one.

  18. Very interesting post PG!! I love the pictures of the different horse...I always like to see what everyone else has!!

  19. funny you should ask, and two days before aarene posted some answers! scroll back to thursday's standardbred post, you'll like it i'm sure!



  20. {Sydney}~ My guess is the horse that hated men might have been mistreated by one at some time?

    (Lytha}~ Thanks so much for the link! I read that blog but haven't been over in a few days....but this is my last day of work so hopefully things will get back to normal and I can play catch up! ;)

  21. You live in beautiful neighborhood!Great photos!
    visit me anytime...

    Marina from far
    Argentinian artist!

  22. I grew up in a town with both a harness and a "flat" (Thoroughbred) race track. The harness horses tended to be owned by regular folks, who just loved the horses. The horses trained a lot and I recall races being held over a fairly long season. Most in good form raced every week! The pacers had a special harness to hobble the legs, preventing them from breaking stride from a pace to a trot. They had a lot of endurance to race the long careers they did and for so many races! As working race horses, they really had to pay their own way and I would guess many did. I knew several off the track and some training for the track (our neighbors raced them) and my impression was of a horse that was not "hot" and very trainable. Very different from the TBs I knew and rode off the track. Still, I would submit, racing is a hard life for a horse and the harness horses endured pretty substandard housing in our town. There was a bad fire one winter too...and you know the rest of that story. Very sad, I still remember it.

  23. glad you got in a ride, even if it wasn't too long!!!

  24. Midnight *is* (was?) a lovely STB. What a great face. Thanks for sharing.



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