Yesterday I wrote about a racehorse that didn’t want to race any more. Today, I’d like to share a video of Freedom, playing in his pasture. Thank goodness he never bucks like that under saddle. I can handle the galloping but the bucking might be too much. One of the funniest parts of the video is Zelda’s amazed expression when she turns back to Curly. You can almost hear her thinking, “damn, I thought I was fast but he’s smoking.”
Freedom is 20 now. He retired from the track at age 6, after 29 starts where he collected three wins, two places, one show and $70,000. He had the potential to be quite a good racehorse. He’s quite well bred and when he puts his mind to it, he’s quite fast. Unfortunately, Freedom spent too much of his energy on the way to the starting gate. He’s always been high strung, and the anticipation of racing probably got him too worked up.
When I first got Freedom he didn’t know much about being a riding horse and he was difficult to ride in company because he insisted on going first. He could throw quite a tantrum when you didn’t let him. I remember taking him to a hunter pace once where I was looking for a partner. After watching his antics in the warm up ring, not a single team would let me ride with him. However, we got the last laugh. We went by ourselves and one the jumping division.
It took me a little more than two years to teach Freedom how to be second . . . or third. It took a lot of practicing and a lot of patience. I thought he’d never be a hunt horse because galloping in a group would trigger his race experience. Of course, he proved me wrong. He turned out to be a great hunt horse and he learned to go anywhere in the field without complaint. He never has lost his excess energy though and in the hunt field he is (in)famous for how much, well, energy he puts out when the hounds are cast. Although he will stand quietly on a loose rein until that moment, I now have a much better idea of what it’s like to leave a starting gate!