All Things Horse

Forty-seven Years Of Horse Experience – At Your Service!

Frilly – My American Standardbred

The American Standardbred:

She knows when I’m happy
She knows when I’m comfortable
She knows when I’m confident
And she always knows when I have carrots.
~Author Unknown

Woodmere Frilifili

Woodmere Frilifili is very precious to me. I fell in love with her a good three months before I first saw her. My niece, Amanda took her from the CDP (Charlottetown Driving Park) a year ago, last April, after I acquired the three year old filly. About a month later, she sent a photo via FaceBook and I got my first glimpse of my precious one. She was the most gorgeous thing on four legs and she was no less then perfect in my eyes.

Frilly was a high stakes pacer, superbly trained and flawless in her conformation. However, she was a failure on the track. When she reached the 1:10 mark, she would break stride. Why? Well that is the ten thousand dollar question! Perhaps she disliked pacing or racing or being forced into a situation she didn’t ask for. Perhaps it was as her farrier said, she had a soft hoof. Or perhaps she had growing pains.

Whatever her reasons for failure, they do not change the fact that Woodmere Frilifili is a perfect specimen of the American Standardbred, (in my own opinion). She has the racy body shape which is clearly indicative of the tasks she was bred for.  She has a delicate, lady-like head, reminiscent of that of a Thoroughbred. Some Standardbreds have common heads with relatively long ears and a flat or slightly Roman nose profile.  Frilly has very long legs and flat, strong muscles.  She has a deep chest and her haunches appear slightly higher then her withers.

Generally speaking, the American Standardbred stands around 15hh, although some may be a couple inches either way.  Frilly is almost 16hh. She is a tall one.

American Ideal

American Ideal

It is usual that the American Standardbred is bred primarily for harness racing.  There are two very distinct types of Standardbreds – trotters and pacers. The pace is when both legs on the same side move together in harmony. The trot is when those same two legs move opposite one another.  The speed of the pacers are often faster then that of the trotter. The pacer also outnumbers the trotter in North America.

Although the American Standardbred is bred primarily for harness racing, they also tend to make excellent riding horses. Because most are well handled from a very young age, they become exposed to many situations and the transition to saddle horses is not normally difficult.  Retraining a Standardbred may not be the right activity for everyone but for those who do the task, find it more then rewarding.

Horse owners can appreciate the Standardbred as a horse suitable for any sport. There are shows that exist for Standardbreds to show off their abilities and even some shows have classes that gaited Standardbreds may be shown in.

The American Standardbred began it destiny in New England in the mid 1880’s.  The name Standardbred comes from the qualifying standard time a horse had to cove in one mile or 1.6km, to be considered for the breed registry.  The breed developed from a mixture of many breeds of horses that trotted, paced and raced under saddle as well as in the harness.  A Thoroughbred race horse named Messenger is thought to be the foundation for the breed.  He and his progeny took the lead in setting the standard in Standardbred.  Breeds such as the Thoroughbred, Morgan, Clays and some extinct pacing and trotting breeds made up the American Standardbred, each contributing their desirable racing characteristics.

Pacers often “amble”, or “singlefoot”.  This gait is very comfortable to ride.  The pace stride can also be ridden and is

Twisted Frilly

Twisted Frilly

very soothing for people with bad backs. Frilly has resorted to the pace only once since leaving the track and even there it was only for a step or two. At this time, we are working on her not spooking a the sight of the ocean, not an easy task for her high-strung personality.  We are also working on the first steps to jumping. Perhaps my darling Frilly will like that.

Frilly is not my first American Standardbred, though she is one of the finest bred horse I’ve ever had.  Mighty Anna was our first horse. Mother bought her off the track when she was fifteen years old and pregnant for her two young daughters, my sister(12) and I (9). Mother was scared of horses and rarely went near her, so the mares care was left up to two very small, young girls who knew relatively nothing about horses. The next year, on June 12th, Mighty Anna gave birth to a beautiful bay colt which we named Dancing Moonbeam. The name came from both of us, Audrey naming him Moonbeam, because he was born under a full moon and me, I wanted Dancer after Northern Dancer.


May 6, 2009 - Posted by | horse breed | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Wow,this is great! I had no idea you have so many talents. I lived on a ranch for many years, raised 2 children and all of their friends too. My late husband was a cowboy, I was a city girl from Los Angeles. What a match! It really was great I loved the ranch and everything that came with it. I do miss it. I love this site!

    Love and Blessings,

    Comment by AngelBaby | May 26, 2009

  2. If you want to vote for me all you have to do is click on the button in the post, that is all you have to do. It is easy, just the way I like it! LOL!

    Thanks for stopping by, I always enjoy your comments.

    I hope everything gets straightened out for you and things settle down.

    Love and Blessings,

    Comment by AngelBaby | May 26, 2009

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