Standardbred Values and Trends ______________________________________________________________________________
I once heard a person say that Standardbreds would be more valuable if they were ridden during their racing career. Riding a
Standardbred that is currently racing might prove to be beneficial to the
horses conditioning, or physical and emotional well being if needed to help
it’s performance on the track. It is not
likely to happen unless an owner can afford to get someone to do the riding, or
the racehorse is owned by the backyard trainer/owner who can bring the horse
home for R&R. Some horse’s owners
are not around during their training.
The trainer has enough to contend with in the busy paddocks, riding the
horse is normally not part of the contract.
some Standardbreds have actually raced under saddle.
that change your mind knowing your horse raced with a rider instead of a driver
I am an
English hunt seat rider, my husband is the racehorse trainer/breeder. We speak different languages when it comes to
working with our horses. We try to bring
the worlds of harness racing and English Pleasure together to help prepare our
Standardbreds for their next adventure in life. We are teaching our horses some
of the simple basics that they “ might “ not have learned at the track.
Sounds like fun and it is! You’ll soon want to pull your hair out when
your trainer husband does not see the need to slow the horse down before
getting into the jog cart. Whoa means
halt. I do not mount my horse while he
is still moving forward. I expect the
same from our Standardbreds. With a bit
of simple training, our Standardbreds understand the word “halt”.
might question why your new Standardbred appears “off” when you lunge him in a small circle. Some Standardbreds can’t bend on a 10 meter
circle, so they will hop from time to time. The first thing that comes to
mind is, ” my new horse is lame !” Not
likely. He cannot travel in a small
circle if he has never been asked to do this. It simply means he is not balanced.
I bet your Standardbred has some questions for
you also. “Why am I making such
sharp turns?” The track is an oval and most people think
they are bending on this path. That is
an illusion. They are held snug in their
jog cart or sulky and glide around the track at lightning speeds! They are incredible athletes, but are not bending while racing.
the Standardbred for a moment. Look at
these photos and see if you (the Standardbred) can bend on a 10 meter circle
while in your cart.
It seems quite impossible while wearing your harness.
also heard people say , “you cannot get a Standardbred to bend.” My
reply is simple, “ If a fly is on his
rump, he will promptly remove it with his nose.”
Your Standardbred is a horse, and a horse
A few simple bending exercises will help your horse become balanced and flexable. Be sure to find a trainer to help you get started. Most
breeds go through training in order to bend and travel properly on a ten meter circle,
it just does not happen automatically for any breed. Muscles need time to
conform to a new way of going. With time and a bit of patience you will
have your new Standardbred bending for that apple in no time!
~On the Bit~
English style of “on the bit”, compared to the harness racing style of “leaning
on the bit” can be rather confusing for your new friend. It can also prove to be rather annoying to
the new owner if they do not understand how a horse uses the bit for balance
during racing. Standardbreds are trained
to move fast when racing. They hollow
and learn to run against the bit. Many
new Standardbreds have no problem getting on the bit, but for some you might
need to help him understand that he can relax with the bit. Try a French snaffle so he has a harder time
grabbing the bit, he will relax and have something easy on the mouth and harder
are intelligent and are quick to learn.
If he pulls, or roots, don’t give him anything to lean on. Just loosen
your reins and soon he will hold himself together without relying on the bit
for balance. He will not pull if he
thinks he might fall on his nose. If you
pull back and try to fight, you are enabling him to continue to lean on the bit for balance. It is always best to get a trainer with
experience to help get you started.
“ A Horse is a
Horse, of Course? “
non-racing Standardbreds are saddle broke and are already involved in a variety
of disciplines from Dressage to Hunters.
You might also confuse them with other breeds, they do not all look
alike. They come in many colors and shapes. The warmblood riding in the
dressage ring might really be a Standardbred!
Who would think!
Let's change the subject and talk about trends. This story will
lead back to our beloved Standardbreds.
What horse is in style today? The Irish Sport Horse, the
Warmbloods, if I left out your breed, please do not be offended. I love
all horses, I just do not understand
people. Many people need to follow the
new trend, be it clothing, cars, or horses.
The Thoroughbred was the new trend in the early 80’s.
A TB on the track has a rider (jockey/trainer), but the horse is a
runner that knows one thing. Run, and run fast!
I leased a TB mare and owned a TB gelding so I experienced the
pleasure of thoroughbred ownership. I find the Standardbred to have a
milder temperament but both breeds are
green under saddle and both need training to become pleasure horses!
The Standardbred would be more marketable if people took a bit of
time to look at the breed. People turn
away from them now, but years ago Standardbreds were the trend!
Hard to believe, but it is true. STB's were owned by
Presidents, loved by all and celebrated in song, lithographs, books, and more!
Your trotting horse weathervane is modeled after a famous
Standardbred named Dexter, son of the great trotter Hambletonian.
Dexter was frequently driven in
NYC by President Ulysses S.
What made people turn away from this breed?
Pleasure driving is now becoming incredibly popular. The Standardbred is a phenomenal driving
horse . Other breeds are also involved
in driving, but can be quite costly!
Please remember this. The
Standardbred is a driving horse that has incredible stamina for endurance
driving or long pleasure drives.
Standardbreds are also competing in driving dressage. The Standardbred has the “engine” that
produces the thrust for the working trot.
Seeing a Standardbred move forward is a beautiful site.
Standardbreds have been tainted by a few who feel the need to air
their comments at shows, or even on Internet horse forums.
It saddens me to read the posts, and I will not reply. Most of the time after careful reading , it
is obvious that the human is to blame for their bad experience.
Clear your mind from what is trendy today because it will not be
It is OK to not want to own
a Standardbred, but please learn more about the breed before tarnishing the
image of a horse that is intelligent, willing to learn, and simply beautiful in
their new lives after racing. Many
Standardbreds are seeking new homes. Get
to know them before you pass judgment on one of America’s finest breeds.