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

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

Starting these blogs is the hardest part of writing them, for me.  I always think that I should start with something catchy.  Something that will take up a little bit of space in a blog that should be around a thousand words.  I’m the direct type, and I don’t get too fluffy.  I get on Google, and I can’t find exactly the quote that I want, so I’m on there for a long time.  Turns out, lots of my favorite quotes are from Dr. Seuss — I mean, who can’t relate to Dr Seuss, right?  He was pure genius.  

I however, am not.  I like writing these.  I love when they post and I get to see the comments and the feedback from all of you.  It’s really fun to have a chronicled diary of the journey that I’m on.  I’ve never journaled or written in a diary before.  Each time I write, I go back to my last blog and see where I left off, what I’ve already said.  You learn a lot about yourself when you write.  I’ve learned that I’m very serious, that’s for sure. I also find myself wanting to say some of the same things over and over. 

We’ve taken a right hand turn with the postponement of the Makeover and are focused now on the Real Rider Cup.  Our videos are due by the end of the month and I’m waiting to be able to pick up my silks to ride my jump round in.  They’re currently at the track.  How cool is that?!? I’m working on my biography for my bio video.  I have too much to say to fit it in a minute!  I guess no one should be surprised.   Since the event is virtual this year, they’ve sent out the jump course that we have to set up.  I’m so happy that I won’t have to go fast!  It’s a little simpler than if the event was live.  There are only eight questions, including a broken line, and an in and out that goes from oxer to vertical.  We don’t ever do that in the hunters, it’s always vertical to oxer, so that should challenge my mind.

So what’s up with Talk Show Man, you might be thinking?  He’s AWESOME!  We’ve been trying to have some fun with the ground work.  See, he still knows he’s in charge when it comes to the trailer, and while I can load him on my own, I’m working on being more confident in my ability to fix him when he’s not perfect.  To do that, we get to do some fun ground work.  He’s learning that it’s not always hard to be respectful; it can be really fun!  Yesterday, he thought it was more fun to stand up there, on the mounting block, and eat peppermints than it was to get down.

Photo courtesy Lindy Gutman.

The hound walking has turned to cubbing as the air in the early morning has chilled.  Originally, I didn’t plan to really start hunting Talk Show Man until next year, but since the Makeover has postponed, we’ve started.  He’s been as good at that as he has at everything else that he’s tried — seems to love being out and has, so far, been pretty easy to ride.  He’s still just getting the hang of it, but he gallops in a group and pulls himself up when the horse in front of him stops.  When one gallops up next to us, he asks to race, but he has still been really easy to stop.  He’s only been out three times, so he’s just now going to start to “get it,” but he’s so much fun so far.  

Photo courtesy Lindy Gutman.

We’ve also been working towards our 250 hour award in the TIP Recreational Riding Program.  Our 100 hour award came a couple of weeks ago, and now I have a second of my favorite ever hats!  They have some really great prizes and it’s free, so if you’re trail riding your OTTB, you should definitely sign up.

Photo by Lindy Gutman.

As for this fall, we’ll do our Real Rider Cup video this week. I’m starting to get excited about it.  Talk Show Man’s racing silks that I will wear will be the actual ones that he wore while winning some of his big races.  Since he comes from a smaller owner, there are only two pair. I’m working on something that will make my bio video super cool, I think. I really hope that we can win something that I can talk about here. 

The horse shows are slowly starting back, socially distanced, and I’m hoping that we will be able to qualify for the TIP championships before the first of the year.  I’d like to have that out of the way for both of our horses.  My awesome trainer has asked if she can ride Riley in a local hunter derby next weekend, and I take that as a huge compliment since she has lots of choices…and he’s only been jumping since spring! He gets braids and a shadbelly and everything

Paper Chase season is starting back up. Most of the spring chases were cancelled.  I’m looking forward to getting Riley to more of those.  It’s starting to look more and more like I might be a two horse girl again for fall and hunt season, as Fullback seems to be slowly getting more comfortable.  That’s great for a lot of reasons.  Obviously, I can’t wait to have him happy and comfortable and at full strength.  It also means that, if I hunt on Saturday, I still have a horse to Paper Chase or horse show on Sunday!  

I’ll confess.  I hate the fall.  While beautiful and comfortable and colorful, it’s the season of impending doom.  We live in Maryland, and I hate cold weather and dark afternoons.  I hate seeing your breath in the air.  I don’t like the crisp air and the frozen ground.  Starting now, September, I await spring and mud and warmer temperatures that signal that winter is ending.  As I write this, there are 183 days until spring.  I’m counting.  Yet still I’ll ride.  I’ll ride because, in spite of the cold, I love it too much not to do it.

I was telling a good friend yesterday, one that likes my writing, how unnatural this is for me.  I read lots of articles and blogs and many folks are much funnier and clever than I.  I write from brain to fingers.  I put on paper exactly my thoughts at the time.  I love sharing this journey, and I hope that you are all enjoying following us.  Please, reach out if you’re thinking of retraining your first OTTB.  I’d love to help from a rookie amateur standpoint.  I can talk about Thoroughbreds all day!

Until next month…

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.