I used to have a copy of Tom Ivers’ book The Fit Racehorse, but somehow it got lost. I managed to find an affordable copy recently, and have started reading it. It could have been written yesterday – that is how little racing has changed! I figure I will plan ahead and be sure I know what I’m doing as far as interval training, long before Oz is ready. I also found my digital copy of the Kikkuli Training Method of Horse Training, by Dr. A. Nyland. It is very interesting. Most interesting is that all early conditioning is done by leading the horse – either from another horse, or even a vehicle. This part makes a lot of sense to me and I will be doing it with Oz. I will be following the Kikkuli Principles as well. Of course Oz is not going to be a war horse, so the training will be adapted for racing. But I have already seen the value of resting, and understand that first we stress – not too much! – the body, then give the body time to adapt. And I know that doing the same amount of exercise over the same distance does not develop additional adaptation.
What is different about the Kikkuli training method is that the psychological effects of training are always being considered. And I totally agree with that.
Oz is already ahead of most other TB babies, in that he is out 24/7 moving, and moving over uneven terrain so that he must be aware of where his feet are, and also he will be more flexible than a horse always on flat ground. He is confident enough to gallop up and down real hills, not just rolling ground. And since he lives with mature horses, some of which have raced, he is not intimidated by galloping in close quarters or by older horses. Another way in which he has an advantage. He has had no steroids, his hooves are nice and short and well formed. He has not been treated roughly, so his spirit is intact.
He will be gelded next spring. This year he was interested in the girls – they smelled so good! But the mares were not having any of his baby attention and told him to get lost. He has adapted and is no longer interested. I imagine that will change next spring. I would like to keep him intact – but that is only because I truly love the minds of stallions and the fact that they are thicker skinned, braver, etc. However, it would be unkind of me to remove Oz from the herd, which is truly his family. Even if I got a gelding or two to live with him, it would not be the same. It would just be selfish of me. Besides, I sure do not need any more horses!!
Interesting days ahead!