Journey to the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover 2021: Lindy Gutman’s August Update

The journey to the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover continues — now slated for 2021. Read on for our sixth update from Lindy Gutman.

The reminder showed up in my email yesterday.  My next blog is due in a few days.  As my path has taken me away from the journey to the Makeover, with its postponement, I was somehow totally caught off guard.  I’m a “type A” planner and I usually write my blogs as they happen, so when they’re due, all I have to do is proof, add pictures, and send.  Not this time.  It’s all at once this time, so let me know how I do!

We’ve been doing a lot of hound walking in the past month, a couple of times a week, and Riley really enjoys it.  The pace picked up a bit last week and it was a little exciting, but he calmed right down as we slowed.  He’s not bothered by the hounds or the large group…there were 54 of us last Wednesday…but the faster pace of the horses in front of him he finds to be lots of fun.  When they got faster today, we stayed with the group in the back to keep it less exciting.  I don’t really know what I’m doing or how to make a foxhunter, so I ask a lot of questions and use some common sense.  I don’t want him to think that, whenever he hears hounds or the horn, its go, go, go, so I make sure that it’s not.  He’s rate-able and I’m just hoping he’s paying attention to where he puts his feet.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to our very first hunter show.  I took him in the 2’3″ hopeful hunters, and he was so well behaved.  Problem is, he doesn’t have to jump at that height. It’s just a canter stride.  Truthfully, he’s not the hack winner, even at his best, and he did not care at all about the chaos around him.  The hack classes intimidate me a little bit, especially on an OTTB, because there can be so many horses in the ring. He just went along, albeit on the wrong lead part of the time, but you can only do what you can do!  I got some good ribbons and left very pleased with both of us.

A canter stride! Photo courtesy Lindy Gutman.

My awesome trainer was his pilot in the 2’6 Thoroughbred division, where he won both jumping classes and was overall champion.  Not bad for his first show!

Much better at 2’6″. Photo by Natalie Mines.

It hasn’t been all fun and games.  Riley can be a turkey about loading on to the trailer, so we are still taking ground lessons.  He’s not at all afraid of the trailer, so I know it’s about his respect for me on the ground.  I really struggled once last week, in the dark…5:30am, trying to go hound walking.  Thankfully, one of my fellow boarders showed up for her pre-dawn ride and was able to help me, or I might still be standing there!  For now, he’s eating LOTS of his meals on the trailer. I take the trailer to the barn with me every day so that he can load to eat.  He’s starting to nicker when he sees that he’s walking to the trailer, so I’m feeling better about that.  

I’ve never really been a goal oriented rider.  Riding has always just been something that I needed to do.  Without it, I can’t breathe.  I can’t be.  It’s hard to explain to those who don’t ride, or those who do it casually.  I live horses.  I need to ride.  I need to be around horses.  They are my soul. I want to be better at it, so that I’m better for my horses, but it’s never been about a particular achievement.  It’s been about the goal of the moment, the class at the show and the right spot at a jump.  It’s just never been a journey for me.  Not until I entered the Makeover.  

The ribbons from left to center are Kate’s! Photo by Lindy Gutman.

When the Makeover was postponed, it changed things for me.  I had not intended to hunt Talk Show Man this year, but with Fullback on the sidelines and no Makeover, I believe that I will.  We have a third field at our hunt club, so we can start slowly.  I hope to have Fullback back to hunt this year, as well, but I’m not sure that I will.

I wanted to do something else with Riley to use his local “celebrity” for more.  Perusing Facebook, I saw notification that The Real Rider Cup was to be virtual this year.  The Real Rider Cup is Anita Motion’s brainchild that raises money for, among other charities, the Retired Racehorse Project.  It’s a 2’6″ jumper course that they will send out so that we can set it up, to their specifications, at our farm.  It won’t be timed this year, since it’s virtual, which fits right in with what I do.  I can ride the slowest, “hunteriest” Real Rider Cup course ever.  And I can raise money for Thoroughbred Aftercare and the Retired Racehorse Project.  I’ll be counting on all of you to donate in our name, wink, wink…

I’m doing it.  I’ll get to wear Riley’s silks while riding him. The link to our bio on their website is hereThe donate tab is active, should anyone feel so inclined.  There a place to enter who you’d like to sponsor. 🙂

I’m so excited to find something for us for this fall that fits with what I want to do, who I want to be.  I hope that we can continue to be ambassadors for the Off the Track Thoroughbred.

About Lindy

Lindy Gutman lives in Westminster, MD with her husband, Adam, two hounds, a mini pig, and three Off the Track Thoroughbreds.  She describes herself as an “amateur’s amateur” and has ridden, in some capacity, most of her 51 years. She balances a full time job in sales with foxhunting and showing hunters at the terrifying, towering height of 2’3”-2’6.”  The Thoroughbred Makeover is her loftiest goal to date. Talk Show Man is her first restart project.