Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thewifedoesntknow Training Blog: Week 15

Part 14 in a weekly series of training blogs about Thewifedoesntknow, a Thoroughbred mare made famous by a viral YouTube video and who is now in training to be a show hunter with New Jersey-based trainer Carole Davison.  
 Ally and her trainer Carole had a week off from being in my blog spotlight, and when I returned to see them at San Sue Acres this Tuesday, some things had changed. Jackets replaced summer clothes. Horses played in the cool morning air, with steam blowing out of their nostrils. Ally-Gator (Jockey Club name Thewifedoesntknow) had sprouted a little bit of winter fuzz. Her coat is still very fine and soft, but it had a velvety feel and a rich color. She put on more weight and muscle since I saw her last. 

 When I photographed Ally's training session in Week 12, I noted that she had gained confidence from her schooling session at the horse show. During her ride this week, I saw that same confidence. Things that were once difficult are now easy. New challenges are met with enthusiasm.
 Trot sets are fluid and balanced. Canter work shows the mare's education and finesse. And the jumping? What can I say... the mare's a natural.

Last week, Ally graduated from cross rails to a few verticals. I love their approach in this photo- Carole has a loop in her reins so Ally can stretch her neck and bascule over the jump. But she did not throw everything away- she has her leg on the mare to guide her to the fence.
The way Ally jumps shows me that she is capable of jumping much higher fences. She jumps with enthusiasm, but never loses her cool; she is focused and very interested in her job.
During their ride, Carole worked on a course interspersed with verticals, cross rails, and single poles. The poles were excellent training tools, because they helped Ally place herself for successful approaches to the jumps. A few times, she found herself in a long spot, but took the distance with the confidence that her trainer gave her.
After their jump schooling, Carole asked Ally for a little hand gallop work. Ally responded with alacrity. All this jumping and cantering is fun!

The chilly morning air gave Ally a spring in her step. She purred excitedly during her ride, and Carole worked with the mare's extra energy instead of fighting against it.
After her workout, Ally was relaxed and content. Although her career has changed, Carole kept the consistent schedule that Ally had at the racetrack. Many Thoroughbreds thrive on a routine, and they are most happy when they are challenged with quality work. This mare is no exception, and it is plain to see that she loves her new job.

Horses and Hope 2013 Calendar
With the help of Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, my 2012 debut calendar contained over 100 photos of auction horses. Thanks to the support of horse lovers all over, it raised nearly $40,000 for One Horse At A Time, helping hundreds of horses in need directly, and untold others indirectly through increased public awareness. Now that we have one calendar's worth of experience to draw upon, the 2013 version promises to be even more exciting, even more creative, and as always, inspirational and positive

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