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ACTION HEROES

When you think of "Action Heroes" what usually comes to mind are the superheroes -- Superman, Batman, G.I.Joe -- but out there in the real world are heroes, too. They come in a variety of shapes and colors and species. Here are some stories of Standardbred Heroes. Don't miss the Standardbreds at Work page dedicated to Police Horses. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

When I was a city youngster, I got to visit the racing stable of my parents' friends. I wasn't really horse-savvy, but was allowed to take the mares for "walks" around the fairgrounds where the stable was located. I wanted to ride so desperately that I pestered these poor friends until I was thrown up on the back of a 3yo stud colt, driving reins set in my lap, and sent around the barn. Johnny Lee Hal was his name. He was scared and so was I but we safely navigated around the barn and came back to the owner and stopped. I'd never ridden bareback and barely had ridden at all. Johnny had never had a human on his back and was a "racing-fit" youngster.
.....Michelle Staples


Something like that happened to me about 25 years ago, while out on a fairly large trail ride and heading home. My Sweet William (Bill) was walking so fast he was way ahead of everyone else. Suddenly, two kids on Quarter horses raced past us, one on each side of Bill, he took off at a racing trot. I froze and apparently yelled "NOOOOOOOO" (they heard me way at the back of the ride) and Bill went back to the walk! I did nothing else. I love this breed!
.....Debbie and Mercedes


I returned to riding Rose after a month-long break. She's much stronger than when I last rode her, and just as sweet as ever. We rode at a walk and trot in the riding ring, played with moving sideways off my leg, and did some shoulder-in. She didn't even breathe hard---a huge improvement in her fitness level!

I decided to try some canter. She went beautifully to the left, but kept picking up the left lead while going to the right- I'm sure this is my fault. Anyway, it seems that I am far more out of shape than Rose at this point.

I lost a stirrup, then lost my balance, and she was so smooth that it all seemed to be happening in slow motion. I actually sorted through my options mentally, while staying very calm (a big accomplishment for me)-- "Do I fall? Hold her mane? Try to recover the stirrup? Do an emergency dismount?

Finally I said, "Whoa", in a tentative voice, without even picking up the reins, which by this point were flopping loosely on her neck while I held them near the buckle. And she did! Whoa! From a voice command only! No reins, nothing from my seat, because it was halfway out of the saddle anyway.

Rose just came to a calm, quiet halt from her calm, smooth canter, and waited for the next request. And I didn't fall. I knew she was a treasure of a horse!
.....Jenny in MD


When I went to look at Hoss, it was with the intention of getting a good quiet horse for my hubby to accompany me when I ride my loopy Thoroghbred. I met the trainer and followed him to the paddock. It was a rough paddock that looked like straw was growing.

Knowing that he had been off the track for a month, I knew he would be pretty rough looking. Sure enough, he had hair about 2 inches long and I could see all his ribs. Oh well, at least he was "let down"! I had taken a friend to trot him out for me, but, of course, he paced, so I couldn't tell much about his movement.

The trainer offered him to me on a month's trial and if he didn't work out he wouldn't be "dogged" [sent to the killers], he would just be turned out again. Within 2 days of having him home I knew he would be staying here forever. He has the sweetest temperament of any horse I know.

In the last 12 months, we have been trail riding, had lessons, done an intro to endurance weekend, parades and lead-outs at the biggest harness racing meeting in Australasia. I am in the enviable position of being able to do whatever I want now, because I know Hoss will just give it a go.

Today we're off for a natural horsemanship clinic and then we will be in training for harness classes at a local show in 2 months time. In the next 12 months I am hoping to get a start in standardbred classes (led-in and under saddle) at shows and open dressage competition.

The picture of Hoss was taken after he was under saddle about 2 or 3 months and just typifyies him. We did some pony rides at the track during the races on one of our visits. He loves kids
.....Shirl in Ausralia


I don't think I've ever told the story of how we bought [Plum Rum] Peanuts, my husband's Standardbred trail horse (the one who is now 32 and out with the yearlings). We weren't in the racing business at that time, and just getting back into horses. Some friends of ours had heard about him and the 4 of us went to try him out.

The only saddle available had a very short latigo strap, so the guys just "Mickey-Moused" it to work. When Tom, our friend, went to mount, the saddle slipped clear around Peanuts' belly. Peanuts just turned his head and looked at the guys, as if to say, "You guys sure you belong up there?" So funny! Right away Keith knew this was the horse for him. We've never regretted it. If you're interested, Peanuts has a webpage.
.....Debbie Willey
UPDATE!! Peanuts has passed over "The Rainbow Bridge"


In our quest to keep ourselves from the 'same old thing' blues, my horse Rory and I have started jumping. As we're both slightly less than excited about working in a ring, we focus on jumping anything/everything in our path as we follow the numerous trails here in Southeastern New Hampshire.

Last week we decided to stay cool, and try some of the jumps that have been built out in an oak grove. The shade of the grove makes it a nice place to get away from the hot sun. We were experimenting with some natural jumps created by a young girl who rides cross-country, and on our last jump I lost my balance. My foot came flying out of the stirrup, and before I could even yell 'whoa', Rory came to a complete halt. He stood very quietly while I readjusted. It was a marvelous step in our relationship.

Rory is an ex-racehorse who has been rehabilitated for over five years now. He has always proven himself to be level-headed and gentle, but can be quite a fireball. This is just one of many times he has 'taken care' of me. What a guy!I love my horse!
.....Rosalyn and Rory


I have a little story about our Mr. Trippy. I had him out to the farm doing some ground work with his riding bridle on, just letting him see everything and everyone out there. I was holding him and talking to my brother when "WHAP" something flew through the air and clipped his ears! My great nephew who is 13 was trying to pitch some leather gloves to his Dad who was standing on the off side of Trippy facing us. He missed, hence the ricochet off Trippy's ears! He never even FLINCHED! We could not believe it! My nephew looked at me and grinned and said, "Hey, he's pretty calm, isn't he?" This from the guys who ragged me before his arrival about another "wild race horse" I wouldn't be able to handle, etc. Trippy isn't perfect yet, but he's a VERY reasonable boy and his former owner had him pegged exactly right. He checks out things, snorts a bit and sniffs, but doesn't just spook at everything.
......Barbara Abbott


On my daughter's 6th birthday, I took Midget out and gave rides to everyone in the cart. He hadn't been out for two weeks, as I have been so busy getting the house cleaned, shopping for party stuff & presents etc. Then I ended up in the hospital overnight last weekend with a violent stomach flu that left me pretty knocked out.

Anyway, I had the harness cleaned and the brass polished to a mirror finish - ( I HIGHLY recommend "Flitz" metal polish!) and went out about 1/2 an hour before the guests were to arrive to find the FILTHIEST horse I ever met! I worked up a sweat trying to get the dirt out of his winter coat.

We went out to warm up in the field. It was near perfect weather with blue skies and a nice breeze, and Midget was perfectly happy to trot slowly. Soon our little guests and their mothers started to arrive. Midget was never so perfect! He stopped and stood perfectly for each "load" to climb in and out.

We took two kids at a time for a nice jog down the short side of the field and back. He got the hang of it after one trip! Stop next to the house, stand for several minutes, jog down, walk, turn in a wide half circle, trot back, stop at the house ... it was in the low 70's, so he was a bit warm and was glad for the stops. Only those who have ex - racers and other high-energy animals can truly appreciate a horse learning to stand -- Without pawing, figeting, backing, or walking off. It has taken 2 years, but he "gets it" now! Then I gave one of my friends a ride along with her 2 kids. Quite a load in that 2 wheeler!

Get this - I had replaced Christy's swing with a ghost pinata for the party. Midget was parked right in front of it and looked right at it without so much as a flick of an ear.

The cart rides were a big hit! The last 2 birthdays I had the kids ride him, so I wanted to be a bit different this year. It's so funny to hear the kids say " he's going so fast!" when we are jogging so slow, he's almost ready to drop back to a walk!

Needless to say, lots of extra carrots for that performance. I wouldn't sell this racetrack reject for a million dollars! I can't put a price on such a trustworthy horse. He is the first one that I have owned that I would dare to do such things with.
.....Nancy W




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