Jasper Goes to Town

Yesterday our racehorses at work all shipped down to Woodbine for the beginning of the racing season. Seven of them are experienced racehorses. But Jasper is brand new to the big time.

He loaded up on the trailer with no real fuss. His eyes were big, and he zigzagged a bit in apprehension. But he loaded up and stood quietly. I heard later that he’d handled the trip fine, and unloaded calmly at the track. The biggest issue was that he thought it was completely CRAZY to have his hay tied up in a net hanging outside his stall gate.

He went out this morning for his first tour of the place. To the sand ring, which is quieter and slower than the big track or the training track. My boss tells me that he was absolutely fabulous. He went with Soupy (an older, and very calm mare) and jogged around about half a dozen times.  Three horses cantered past at one point, and he got a bit alarmed and stopped. But otherwise he never put a foot wrong.

Jasper is a bit of an interesting case. When he was seven days old, he fractured his shoulder. No one saw it happen. He just came in lame from the pasture.  He had to be kept on stall rest until he was a year old. He tormented his mother constantly while she was still in the stall with him. She was so sick of him by the time he was weaned that she never called to him even once when they were separated.

When he arrived at the farm (from the foaling farm), he was the scrawniest, weediest looking little guy ever. His head was much too big for his body. He’d been kept on very short rations to try to keep his energy level below explosive. So he was quite underweight.

Once he was cleared to be turned out (carefully), we started feeding him more. And he grew. And grew. And grew some more. He’s three now. And over 17hh. Grey. With a great huge long stride. He doesn’t look particularly fast when you watch him gallop. Too big, and too long-strided to give you an impression of speed.  It will be fun to see how he comes along as he gets fitter though.

Winter…. bleh.

I’m getting pretty tired of winter. We had a little taste of spring last week, but we paid for it with a winter storm right afterwards.

I have, however, been virtuous and have ridden King quite regularly since the end of December. Mostly walking through the snow. It got quite deep, and even after our big thaw, there are still some leftover deep sections. At first, he seemed to find it quite hard work. But now he ploughs through it like a big freight train.

Today I put the heart rate monitor on him for the first time in about a year. It was only reading intermittently, but the highest that I saw was 110. He does get quite damp, but he has a very heavy winter coat, so it’s not surprising.

Speaking of the winter coat…. holy cow. He’s starting to shed, and it’s like a great big exploding down filled pillow. There is hair everywhere. In the barn, on my clothes, in the house. Up my nose…