Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cross-Training the Standardbred Endurance Horse

Thursday September 23 2021

Sure, you can break up the trail conditioning miles with arena work (gaaaahhh)(which we do occasionally and somewhat reluctantly), but there’s nothing better than Linda’s Menagerie Training Center to stimulate and broaden and strengthen the equine mind. Sure, your Standardbred has been exposed to so much at the racetrack, so he’s not too spooky, but you won’t find this situation at racetracks.

Because what horse couldn’t use exposure and ‘sacking out’ with a passel of polar bears (big white dogs), tiny dogs, cow dogs, goats, more goats, Ted the Wonder Horse (and benevolent dictator), Hattie the spotted mule (and sweet beauty queen), Hercules the mini-donkey (who follows Linda around while poop-scooping, walking so quietly and patiently waiting for treats), Edna the donkey (and loving steamroller), Hoot the mini-mule (and little sh*t), and, best of all, the biggest training tools of all, 2 huge waddling pigs, Pork and Pig. (Many of these animals choose, or don’t choose, to participate, or not participate, or start to participate then decide to go home in the middle of, Linda’s annual Oreana July 4th parades

It’s such a chaotic zoo, especially when you first walk in the driveway. Your Standardbred will not be sure as to what he should most worry about: the shaggy circling (but friendly) Polar Bears, the milling goats who really would just like a pet, the short and stubby and wiggly wiener dog Booger, the chasing heeling dogs, or - THE PIGS!

Chatting outside with Linda with her Menagerie swirling around, as if absolutely nothing is abnormal, your Standardbred eventually relaxes, and even wants to follow and sniff the goats around a bit. 

But those pigs - that is something a Standardbred might not quite figure out. When Linda calls the goats and pigs to come get a few treats (so that the goats don’t follow us home, because sometimes they go on unsupervised Walkabouts), the pigs ‘run’ toward Linda, slow-motion waddle waddle jiggle jiggle, and your Standardbred will follow their progress with a very puzzled look on his face.

By the time you leave, your Standardbred has a whole ‘nother arsenal of unusual situational bomb-proofing experiences that you won’t quite get anywhere else.

And Willie’s such a social beast he’ll remember that he always has ‘different’ kinds of friends at Linda’s - especially those pigs!

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