So, because of his unfortunate accident, Cas’s first day riding was delayed. Usually, if I get a horse off the track, I like to keep them working. Thoroughbreds have such a work ethic, I think it stresses them more to suddenly not work, than it does to keep working, even in a different way.
Being a cautious person, I decided to lunge him first. And this is when I first got a glimpse of his personality. I’m no horse communicator, but even I could tell that, when I picked up the lunging whip, Cas disapproved. ‘Oh no’, his face said. ‘We don’t do whips.’
So Cas was lunged without a whip.
Then I got on. No fuss. Walk, trot, no problem. The next day – outride. No problem. Schooling, no problem. Never in my life have I ever had an OTTB this sensible. Yes, there were the normal racehorse issues – straight line problems, steering malfunctions, bending inability. But no bucking, no spooking, no galloping off.
I even tried him bitless at one stage. On outrides as well. The reason I stopped was because I didn’t enjoy the lack of hand/mouth contact. It felt dead and incommunicative. I didn’t stop because of lack of control. This is one clever horse – he had voice commends down pat after a couple of days, anyway.
I do want to give a shout out to his trainers – the Prestages in Cape Town. This horse loves people, he even, unlike any other OTTB I’ve had, knew what carrots were. He had been treated with kindness and respect during his racing career and it showed. Thank you guys for a wonderful, confident, relaxed little horse.