|Ellie getting ready to head over to get her work in.|
When a foot of snow falls, like it did over much of the Midwest the past few days, it’s hard to imagine that the Canterbury Park racing season is only a few months away. Yet it is and we’re getting horses ready to run – and not just in warmer climes, but here in the heart of winter.
I spent a good part of the morning with our 2-year old Minnesota bred filly Elusive Edition (Late Edition-Mystical Elusion) who is learning her trade at Rhone Thoroughbreds in Chaska, MN under the watchful eye of seasoned pro Russell Rhone. The main training track is still buried under snow, but a temporary oval has been set up nearby to allow the horses to go out in sets of two in order to get their foundation miles beneath them.
Ellie was tacked up and went out mid-morning and did several laps clockwise before turning to do several more counterclockwise. Give the rudimentary nature of the temporary setup, she really can’t stride out as much as you’d like to see, but then at this stage she doesn’t really have to – she just needs to build up stamina and muscle. Let her bone build strong and true. Learn her lessons on how to be a racehorse and what will be expected of her in her career.
|The season comes whether you're ready or not - so out in the show she goes (the track and path are clear, of course).|
There was a lot to like about what I saw this morning. She kept her head nice and still during her work. Her ears were forward and her mind on what she was doing. As she approached a small flock of seagulls I was a bit concerned about how she would react when they flew off in her face. She didn’t so much as flinch as she jogged on past. She untacked quietly and cooled out nicely. The nerves that she exhibited during her first weeks at the training center have dissipated and she has settled in nicely to a solid routine. She appears to love to work and has a good mind in her head – two things you simply can’t train. Another thing you can’t train: when she turned to go counter-clockwise she caught a glimpse of her older work mate and immediately wanted to rush off to catch up. She’s competitive and what’s not to like about that?
We will march through the last few weeks of winter and we’ll watch our average temperatures start to venture above freezing and stay there. More horses are coming in every day to get ready for the summer and before you know it, we’ll be ready to spring the gates on opening day 2013!