Ensign's O'Hare, known to his friends as Midget , is a 14.1 h.h Standardbred pacer who didn't make it on the track.
I bought him from my college professor after seeing an ad for him on the SPHO Classified ads. It was an amazing set of circumstances, as I graduated back in 1989. Turns out Midget's sire,was Skipper's Ensign, the stud at the school when I was there.
My main interest is pleasure driving, but Midget was also started under saddle before I bought him.
|The Standardbred is much underrated as a pleasure horse. They usually have wonderful dispositions, and a strong "work ethic" which causes them to try very hard to do what their owner or trainer asks them to do. Most of them are quite good with children. Midget had never been around children before he came to live with us, but we only had him for a month when I used him to give 4 and 5 year - olds pony rides for my daughter's birthday party. He wore a hat, and remained calm despite being whacked in the butt by little feet, balloons, and flashbulbs going off in his face.|
|This past spring, I introduced him to the wooden cart, which sounded different and weighs more than the metal cart I had been using, and certainly more than the jog carts used in race training. He took it all in stride, without batting an eye.|
The majority of Standardbreds today are pacers. The pace is what is known as a lateral gait. Both legs on the same side move together - forward and back. This is different from the trot which is a diagonal gait. At the trot, the horse's legs move in diagonal pairs. ( front left with hind right etc.) Most pacers need special racing hobbles to help keep them at the pace. They usually trot when not hobbled, however some horses pace free - legged ( without hobbles). Often when a race - trained horse is stressed or unbalanced, he will revert to pacing. This can be trained out of him, or with horses that pace all the time, it can be used to "gait" the horse. Standardbreds often do a running walk or similar gait which is a broken - down pace. Many riders encourage these smooth, fast gaits for trail riding
One of the best times I have had so far with Midget was the first ( and so far only) show we went to, the National Standardbred Show at the HorsePark of NJ this past Sept. We did incredibly well! Midget behaved wonderfully and it was a moving experience to see so many Standardbreds; bay and brown, chesnut, grey and roan competing in Western, Hunt Seat, Dressage, Jumping, Driving and Game Classes.
|The Versitility of the Standardbred
Here I am at the show, with my friend's mare,Frani. Frani competes in eventing. She didn't bat an eye at Midget's cart!
Pick a Standardbred & Pick a Winner !!
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