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Old but new rider!

This topic contains 30 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 31 total)
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  • neiceybug Original Poster neiceybug
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    Hi, my name is Denise and I am not sure where to go from here. I need to give you a little background. Sorry that it is a little long.
    I started on a pony when I was 6, western. Gained experience and ended up with my own horse, western, when I was 10. Had him until I was 16 but he died unexpectedly. We then moved and unfortunately the way things went I was unable to have a horse of my own. I have still gone trail riding and gone on dude ranch vacations in New York and Colorado. I am a comfortable trail, field western rider. I am not a professional and I did not train any of my horses. Though my pony was abused and I learned on him so I at least learned patience and how to hold on! hehe
    I have a friend who is boarding her horse at a farm(she rides english which I have only had about 5 lessons when I was a child) but there is a mare there that the girl who owns her had not ridden her in months and she gave me permission to ride her. Though she told me she is western.
    I met her and brought her in from the field with my friend. The first time she came in from the field and followed us was only because of being with my friends horse and she just followed. My friend saddled her horse and I put her in cross ties and just groomed her and got to know her. She was great in cross ties. And she responded well to me. I found her sweet spots while grooming and she was leaning into me for more. :o)
    I have done this a few times. I also saddled her and put a bridle on her without actually riding her. Just seeing how she would react. A western saddle and tack.
    I still had not talked to the owner, though she faxed me a form that she asked me to sign to make sure I wouldn’t sue her if anything happened.
    I have groomed and walked with her a few times.
    She stands great in cross ties, loves to be groomed. Will even pick up her hooves with no issues ( well, I have to talk to her and coax her sometimes)
    I only get to be with her 3 days a week.
    I finally decided to try getting on her back and ride her in a pasture that is enclosed. She fidgeted a little but as soon as I put my foot in the saddle she actually stood still. She walked and trotted, but she is definitely not western. I figured that out right away. The poor girl had no clue about the signals I was giving her and almost had a fit when I tried neck reining her! LOL I do not know English so we are sort of at a stand still.
    I finally sort of talked to the owner. She is 4 years old. 3 on the track, 1 off. She only knows track and pasture. The owner still insists that she is western. She may take a western saddle but knows no western reining.
    She comes to me when I walk in the pasture and she sees me and I call her, but sometimes she has to show her independence and run off and buck and rear. She then will come back too me and let me clip her lead and bring her up to be groomd. I have been on her back a couple of times, I have also walked with her. She has excellent manners and loves my attention.
    Apparently She has been used to just being left alone in the field with the other horses for the last 4 months or so so because the girl who owns her fell off her trail riding and hasn’t been back.
    When I take her by herself she gets very fidgety. When I ride/walk her (even though I am on her back can’t really say I am riding her because she doesn’t seem too know even the basic commands, though I don’t know english hardly at all, but she accepts me and will at least walk, whoa and stand for me) but we are with the other horse she boards with.
    I have been grooming and working with rescue horses the last year to get back into being around horses.
    My question is, where do I go from here? This is not my horse and I can’t afford to have my own at this time. But I have the opportunity to treat this horse as my own and I have actually fallen in love with her! But we are at a crossroad. I think I need someone to at least come in and evaluate her and I but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a horse that is not mine.
    I know nothing abut training a horse, other than my pony, my horse Peanut was already trained when I got him. I just needed to work with him on how I was as a rider.
    As I said, she will walk with me, follow commands, let me groom her, as well as pick up her hooves. Saddle her, bridle her and is not crazy in any way,(when I have her confined) but she clearly knows no western signals and even the basics that I know of english she doesn’t seem to know! She had a beautiful back though and feels good to be on. Oh and my profile pic is with her! Her name is Lightening, but I call her Pretty Girl!
    Ok, I told you this was long. What are your suggestions? LOL There are probably going to be lots of suggestions and I look forward to hearing them all.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    First: Welcome to the Forum, Neiceybug, as well as back to the world of horses! Nice looking mare, sweet face, kind eye : )

    You will certainly get a lot of info here! Pick and choose what works for you.
    My reading comprehension suffers a bit so I will do my best to keep up with the question. Where this mare is only off the track for a year, and is hardly four or five, you are absolutely right that she is NOT Western OR English trained, she is racehorse trained (and still a baby ): that’s a whole different book to learn from and teach thru. She will do best with a trainer that is familiar with transitioning a race horse into other disciplines. It is no wonder that the poor kid went off on a trail ride with the horse… hoping she is ok but kinda glad she has not returned for another adventure just yet. Nothing good will come of it under the current conditions. No good for the horse or rider until they are both better acclimated and trained to the ways of general riding. Establishing this in a more clinical environment will help as well, safety-wise.

    I would suggest staying as low-key and simple as possible with her for now, keep doing things the way you are so far as it seems to be connecting with her. She is young and unsure, seeking direction and re-assurance. By all means ride but keep it slow, simple and be very VERY consistent in your aids/cues: use the same cue for walk, EVERY time, until she gets it. Ask for the walk (tho better to establish Stand/Halt/Stay halted first; ), if you don’t get what you want, stop quietly, stand for a count of 3 ( so the “stand” command is clearly for STAND and that STAND is the desired and correct reaction) and start again with the SAME cue (which is why STAND is best taught first). Progress from there with patience and CONSISTENCY. Do this with every new cue. Do not rush. Different cues, same lesson format. You are teaching a language. Try to keep the warm and fuzzy cooing and conversational chatter out of the work set until you are done so as to keep the vocabulary lesson between you and the horse clear and easier for her to catch on to..

    Most of us here will tell you to glean what you can from a live trainer as the internet is full of useful info but only if one is the ultimate professional and can decipher the real info from the egotistical hyperbole and innocently wrong so commonly offered .. I know you have stated that money is a bit of an issue, and where you don’t own the horse, priouritization is smart and fair, so even if someone else’s trainer comes out to work with a different horse, ask if you can audit the session, maybe ask a question or two. Many trainers can be a little tight in what they will “give’ away as it IS their income when advising, afterall it IS their CAREER! but more will be happy to answer the occasional question or two if approached. The barter system among fellow horsemen is also a possible option to consider.

    Unfortunately, bona fide training requires hands on, live and in the moment as the moments change so quickly and with little to no apparent reason in the horse’s mind. The only effective assistance in those situations is having someone right there at the time. We will do our very best to help you out but the best advice in the long run, and likely from most of us, is some semblance of a connection with a live trainer, however brief the sessions might have to be.

    The mare can be taught Western or English and if it is English that YOU desire, take a few lessons (spend the money on you first, you DO own you : ) on another horse somewhere so as to learn a bit of the language before you try to teach it.

    I sincerely do hope something comes out of this for you, horses can be such wonderful companions as well as activities, teachers, students, family, pests, angels, imps and robots, etc., and will display at any time, for any reason, any and all of types of Life’s expressions. If you’ve never had kids, you’ve got one now : )

    Enjoy!

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    neiceybug Original Poster neiceybug
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    I forgot to mention that I would really just like to be able to get her and myself comfortable enough to ride the trails with me! Thanks for any suggestions on where to actually go from here. I know the biggest thing is to show confidence, love and affection.

    pheets pheets
    Topics Started: 5Replies Posted: 475

    Establish a common language between you, then go where ever you like : )

    Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Hi Neiceybug!
    It sounds like you have a strong start on a very long and involved process. But you are right to stop here and ask some basic questions.

    It begins with relationship – and builds from there. Most horses will go either way with tack (English or Western) with just a little cue training. Neck-reining is relatively easy to train, until your mare gets it, western riders call it “plow reining”, separate your reins and ride her this way. It’s better for her anyway as direct bit contact will improve her ability to understand your cues for transitions in speed – it is important to teach those cues with light pressure as heavy hands make a hard-headed horse. I would prioritize (as Pheets suggested) the lessons you need her to know and not try to teach too much at once. The secret to training is there is no secret. It’s simply repetition and consistency – firmness and fairness. Every single time you are with her you are her trainer; she is learning from you each time you interact, both the good and the bad.

    That said, you are not equipped to teach her to be a safe western trail horse; you need a trainer to work with both of you because the money you save may be medical bills or vet bills (if she is hurt when you ride her, who pays for that?). If she is the mare you want, you may negotiate with the owner the cost of some of the training, but be advised that if the owner wants her for a trail horse, you may be investing in training a horse that will make her more attractive to her current owner and less likely to be yours in the long run. Training her horse for the trail, when you have no standing for recouping those expenses (the owner can suspend your use at any time), could be putting yourself to a lot of time, trouble and expense when you would not be the person to reap the benefits.

    Get a lease in writing. Negotiate terms for training expenses. Consult with a few trainers (get recommendations) and get an honest estimate on the costs. Ask yourself if you are willing to make the emotional and financial investment under such precarious conditions – this would be the difficult part for me.

    Then if you are comfortable with the terms, proceed with training. You will be able in a controlled environment to train her basic cues if you are consistent; the problem is that riders who lack experience generally also lack consistency. You have exactly three seconds from when a horse does something wrong to correct it. Mixed signals produce frustration and confusion in both the rider and the horse. It would be simpler and safer to invest in a ‘good’ western trainer for this mare to help establish the basics. But the basics are only the beginning.

    Do basics alone make a good trail horse? Because the trail horse has to accommodate far more stimuli than a race horse or show horse, training must incorporate desensitization to noises, unexpected movement, even to colors (usually black and white are the main problems as they affect perception). If you have a bridle path that you ride everyday and don’t take her anywhere new, you may be able to train her to accept the basic pattern of it – but should a bird fly up or a deer dart into your path – your horse’s reaction may be to rear, buck, and/or bolt – even on the most clearly familiar trail. Those of us who have ridden all of our lives would find that precarious, and ride that horse hoping that our confidence would help to calm and secure the horse. Do you have that confidence? Hours and hours of sweat equity and repeated miles help that horse to gain confidence with the unexpected, and moving her off too quickly into the unknown is a recipe for disaster. You can inadvertently train her to be fearful with just a few bad experiences.

    Safety is paramount when working with horses because we can be badly hurt very quickly with no bad intentions from the horse.

    All of the tough stuff said, let me encourage you to pursue your love of horses, it sounds like you have a great feel for them and have a lot to offer the right horse. If it is this mare, then I hope you will be able to take steps to own her to insure your investment with her, or at the least to lease her; give yourself some legal footing and protection before you start. Then get professional help to make the transition from race horse to pleasure horse quickly and safely.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    naturalpasture
    Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 61

    I agree with everything that has been said. I also find it very helpful to think about where my horse is with things and then decide what 1thing (sometimes 2) to focus on when I work with that horse next. Take small steps.

    These training videos really helped me. I would definitely recommend you watch them. They are free and done by a good, trail horse savvy horse trainer! (Don’t skip any in the series – they build on each other.) She really breaks the training down to a step by step process. She also does some desensitizing as well.

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Welcome back to the world of horses! And congratulations on your choice–the mare appears to be as smart as she is sweet-tempered.

    You have gotten excellent advice so far from others on this forum. You don’t want to lose your heart to this mare when she belongs to somebody else, or to have her trained to the point where the owner is tempted to sell her. Since the mare has received training, the owner can ask for more money. Where do you live? The only reason I’m asking (and you don’t have to answer here) is that there used to be many trainers who specialized in transitioning TB race horses into useful citizens. But now–with the economy in general and race horse breeders in particular–I would bet that the trainers still doing this live around race tracks. Ask around. Ask the trainers working with other people’s horses. Since most racing TBs ended up in hunter/jumper barns, I don’t know how knowledgeable these “specialty” trainers will be about training Western, though.

    I have to say how amazed I am at this mare’s willingness to work for you, trying to figure out what you want! That’s a wonderful asset in any horse. Nurture it!

    Would it be possible for you to and the owner to co-own Lightning? I know you said you can’t afford a horse, but can you afford half of one? That would mean you would split her board costs with the owner, but the owner would have to split the price of a trainer with you, and since you’re a co-owner, she can’t sell the horse out from under you. As Mapale said, there are legal issues that you need to resolve, and the sooner the better. Good luck and please keep us posted!

    neiceybug Original Poster neiceybug
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    Wow! Wow! I am so glad I joined this forum! I was just looking to buy a halter and lead, feel on Smartpak then the forum. What awesome advice from everyone! First off, thank you all for responding. I have kind of been going back and forth on how to handle this whole situation and you have all brought up good valid points from working with Lightning to working something out with the ownner.

    I am currently living in Owings Mills Md which is right around the corner from english race horse farms in Hunt Valley. I grew up on the outskirts of Philadelphia in the Bucks County area of Pennsylvania where I had my pony Popcorn and my horse Peanut!!! I married raised 2 girls and a boy. Got divorced, remarried gained 4 stepsons and worked to make them all a family. Raised 2 dogs from 8 weeks old after the kids started leaving! (I was lonely in the afternoons with all the kids growing and leaving hehe) I am telling you all this to let you know that I feel that I have patience and love enough to work with a horse like this.

    Though the main reason I do not have the ability to buy a horse at this time is I still work full time and I don’t feel right buying a horse and boarding it with out being able to at least stop in everyday to see my horse. Also, we are looking to move in the next two years to North Carolina. So we have a lot going on.

    That being said, I really like the idea of trying to work with the owner and writing up a lease agreement (Lightening is owned by the young lady and her boyfriend) That would be the best for our situation. I have had a hard time getting her to call me, she has actually only texted me. I did sign a form giving me permission to work with her and ride her as well as to “ride and work with her at my own risk”. I am afraid of the fact that if she is afraid to ride Lightening because of her fall trail riding her, that she will find someone to buy her and that will be that. But for now, I am just enjoying her and still feeling good that she actually let me on her back!

    I also have started talking to a few people I know and seeing if I can find a trainer in the area where Lightening is boarded (she is boarded in the Sykesville Md area) have them come out to give me some pointers and maybe evalutate her for me. I would prefer to ride western, but I still am not sure what her owner would prefer. And I don’t wish to train her a certain way only to be told that I did something wrong!

    I know this is going to be a long process and just spending time with her makes me extremely happy. I look forward to the time I can go back to see her. I already know I am becoming greatly attached to her but I feel that the attention and love I am giving her is only going to benefit her even if the owner doesn’t wish too include me in a leasing procedure.

    I am going to take everything you all have said and put it to good use! And I am sure I will be back with more questions.

    Again, thank you Pheets, Mapale, Naturalpasture and Joan Frye for your great advice and I will keep you posted if nothing else.

    Joan Fry
    Topics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324

    Hi, Denise, I’m glad you found our advice useful! You might want to use 5-10 minutes of your time together to teach her how to lead using a halter and leadrope. As a kid I rode hunt seat, switched to Western, and then dressage, where I have remained for the past 40 years, even while trail riding. Almost every rider I know, English or Western, uses a cluck or a kiss to mean “let’s go,” and a “whoa” to ask for a halt. Once you do this in a straight line, then you can teach her to start and stop as you lead her in a circle. To turn right, move your right hand under her halter and give the rope a slight tug before you start your own turn to the right. That way she won’t inadvertently walk into you! When you want to turn left, give her a slight tug to the left before you change directions.

    Everything, including what she does under saddle, builds from what you teach her on the leadline. And the best part is, Western riders use these techniques and so do English riders. You’re teaching her the basics of how to be a useful, cooperative riding partner. Please do keep us updated!

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Naturally, I will agree with everyone. I would add that, when teaching her leg and rein cues, try to use the word for what you want her to do. I have done that successfully with many horses – if you longe her, she will have to react to the words anyway. As for the “she isn’t really my horse” part, I just went through a similar situation. Get a written lease (I didn’t, but that is a different story) that spells out your rights and your responsibilities to the horse, as well as those of the owner to you. Leased my boy for about a year, at the end of which the owners gave him to me, because they were so thrilled with the improvements in his looks and ability, as well as the obvious fact that he was loved and cherished. Not every story ends so well, but some do and I hope you have a good experience. Groundwork is very important, so do try to do as much as you can – longe line, long reins, and in hand (halter or bridle), as well as behavior in the barn, wash stall, etc. If you cannot afford a trainer, is there anyone else at the barn who could help you? As a boarder, can you ride in lessons (if they have them there)? Just having someone watching you, and offering direction can help. Sorry if this is incoherent, but I tend to write things as they flit through my mind else I would forget the half of them! Many former racehorses make the transition to riding horses happily and easily, partly because they have a lot of experience with new situations, different riders and lots of noise. You can ride trails in any type of saddle, and start with direct reining (my horse has learned the difference between left and right, so you could teach her neck reining once she masters that concept). She should already be familiar with the command “hold back”, which is common when hot walking, and other very useful words are (some will be obvious) walk, trot, canter, circle, reverse, halt and back. Don’t just ride around a ring in a large circle – incorporate figure 8s, small circles, riding on a straight line down the center, riding diagonally across the ring, and bending around poles, barrels, jumps or anything else that might be lying around. That will help her with flexibility, as well as keep her from getting bored. There are many things you can do without a trainer, but of course having one is a great help. Keep asking questions – most of us have experienced nearly everyything and are happy to offer suggestions. Most of all – have FUN!

    It is never the horse's fault

    neiceybug Original Poster neiceybug
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 7

    HELLO EVERYONE! HOPE YOU ARE ALL WELL TODAY. SO JOAN, I HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE VIDEOS YOU TOLD ME TO WATCH. VERY INTERESTING AND I LIKE THE WAY SHE WORKS WITH THE HORSES!
    I ALSO HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SOMETHING THAT I COULD PRESENT TO THE OWNER AS TO WHAT LIMITATIONS I HAVE AND WHAT I CAN DO. I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW HOW THAT GOES! HEHE IF SHE EVEN ANSWERS ME!
    ON ANOTHER NOTE, I WORKED WITH LIGHTENING TODAY, FROM THE GROUND AND I AM GLAD THAT I HAVE DECIDED TO REALLY WORK WITH HER THIS WAY FOR A WHILE. SHE SHOWED ME HER “SPOOKED” SIDE TODAY, AND I WAS KIND OF GLAD I WAS NOT ON HER BACK!
    IT STARTED OUT AWESOME, BOTH HER AND BEN (HER PASTURE BUDDY) ACTUALLY CAME TO US AS SOON AS THEY HEARD OUR VOICES!!! NO CHASING THEM AROUND THE FIELD TO GET THEM. YEAH! TOOK THEM UP AND TIED THEM TO GROOM. ALL GOOD THERE. SHE STOOD FOR ME, BACKED UP WHEN ASKED PICKED UP HER HOOVES FOR ME (THANK GOODNESS SHE WILL EVENTUALLY DO THAT AND HELP HOLD THEM, THAT IS SOMETIMES HARDER WORK THAN MUCKING THE STALL). MY FRIEND TOOK BEN DOWN TO THE ROUND PASTURE TO RIDE HIM AND WORK WITH HIM. I KEPT HER WITH ME UP BY THE STALL AND WORKED ON STANDING, BACKING UP AND JUST KEEPING HER AWAY FROM BEN WITHOUT HER BEING FREAKED.
    FINALLY I WALKED HER, MADE HER STOP ON WHOA, MADE HER STAND THEN WE CONTINUED TO WALK DOWN TO THE ROUND PASTURE. MY FRIEND NEVER CLOSED THE GATE TO THE FAR PASTURE BUT NO WORRIES AT THIS TIME. I CONTINUED TO WORK WITH HER DOING THESE COMMANDS AND TRYING TO BE TOTALLY CONSISTANT WITH THE COMMANDS. SHE DID VERY WELL WITH ME ON A LOOSE REIN. UNTIL A HAYSTACK BLEW IN FRONT OF US WITH THE WIND! SHE FREAKED, BUT I WAS ABLE TO CALM HER AND GOT HER TO STAND AND RELAX. TOOK A FEW MINUTES, BUT ALL WAS GOOD THEN. I ALSO NOTICED THAT IN THE WIND THE END OF THE LEAD WAS WHIPPING AROUND BEHIND ME AND THAT STARTLED HER! ALL GOOD, WE WORKED WITH THAT, THEN MY FRIEND HAS ISSUES WITH HER HORSE AND SHE YELLED AT HIM REALLY FORCEFULLY AND THAT WAS THAT, TOTALLY FREAKED LIGHTENING. I TRIED TO CALM HER AND SAID WHOA AND STAND, BUT SHE PULLED THE LEAD OUT OF MY HAND AND THAT WAS WHEN I WISHED THE GATE HAD BEEN CLOSED, CAUSE OUT SHE RAN. SHE ONLY WENT A LITTLE WAYS THOUGH AND I WALKED TO HER SLOWLY BUT STEADILY AND CALLED TO HER. ASKED HER TO STAND. SHE KEPT WATCHING HER, BUT I WAS TOTALLY SHOCKED SHE WAITED UNTIL I GOT THERE AND GOT THE LEAD AND THEN WALKED RIGHT TO ME AND PUT HER HEAD ON MY ARM! I STROKED HER AND WAITED A FEW MINUTES THEN WE WENT RIGHT BACK TO THE PASTURE AND CONTINUED JUST WORKING. SHE FINALLY SEEMED TO BE MUCH MORE RELAXED AND WORKED BEAUTIFULLY AFTER THAT. SHE WALKED TO MY KISS AND SAYING WALK, WHOA’D AND STOOD WHEN I ASKED HER TO, THOUGH WHEN I STARTED JOGGING TO TRY TO GET HER TO TROT SHE JUST SPED UP HER WALK AND LOOKED AT ME AS IF I WAS NUTS! HEHE
    IT WAS THEN TIME TO TAKE HER BACK UP TO THE STALL AREA. I ACTUALLY TOOK HER LEAD OFF AND ASKED HER TO WALK. SHE WALKED WITH ME AND THEN STOPPED WHEN I STOPPED. WE DID THIS A COUPLE OF TIMES TO THE TOP.
    WITH HER FREAKING OUT, I REMEMBER SOMEONE SAYING IN ONE OF THE VIDEOS I WATCHED THAT THIS COULD BE A SIGN OF HER BEING IN PAIN, BUT I DON’T SEE ANY SIGNS OF ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
    ALL THE TIMES SHE DID WHAT I ASKED, I PRAISED HER AND STROKED HER. I TRIED TO KEEP THE SMALL TALK OUT OF THE ACTUAL COMMAND PROCESS.
    SHE DEFINITELY SEEMS TO WANT TO PLEASE AND DEFINITELY SEEMS TO LIKE MY ATTENTION AND WORKING WITH HER.
    THANKS FOR ALL THE GOOD ADVICE AND I AM TRYINIG TO FOLLOW ANY AND ALL THAT MAKES SENSE TO ME AS WELL AS WHAT I FEEL I CAN HANDLE.
    I AM ALSO LOOKING INTO FINDING SOMEONE TO JUST HELP ME EVALUATE HER.
    THANKS AGAIN AND I TOLD YOU I WOULD KEEP YOU POSTED.

    Attachments:
    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Glad things went well for you. A couple of points (I have worked fairly extensively with Thoroughbreds throughout my life) I would make are to always close gates everywhere, and remember that OT horses have had a lot of experience with being handled, by grooms, riders, vets and farriers. What they mostly have not had is being ridden for any purpose other than exercise and racing. Groundwork is important in establishing your relationship with her, but she should already know whatever she needs in that facet. There is no telling what might spook a horse – mine doesn’t mind rocket launches, but is afraid of ghosts. Literally.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: typo

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Joe-Joe, LOL! You owe me a new computer screen or at least a clean towel – just lost my coffee all over mine. I can vouch for the truth of what you are saying re the ghosts and rockets, but you are so hilarious how you describe your gelding. Too funny. You and Pheets are the experts with racehorses and transitioning them, and offer good insights on how they are treated. Yesterday I ran across an article in one of my horse magazines about a OTTB that only turned on one side. The trainers’ response was to describe exercises to strengthen the weaker side. It’s interesting how the track affects training.

    Thank you, Denise for the update! You handled everything beautifully – and it speaks well of her trust for you that she did not try to escape and actually took relief when she was near you after she calmed down. IMHO, the best response to a spook is half-release. The first reaction of most of us is to grab hold of the horse tighter. I release slightly and go with her a little and then rein in. It panics the horse that she cannot flee, so letting her have a bit of movement will calm her, and then I try to direct it rather than control it. (Think of it like turning your car’s tires in the direction of the slide on ice.) This is especially true when my horses spook on the trail, because a half-release eventually quietens the need to bolt. If the horse has the sense that she has the option to move it makes it less necessary to use it. Of course if the horse yanks free, you don’t have that option, but as she gains in trust and you learn her fears, her spooks will be easier to predict and you can prepare to go with her a bit. This is how you desensitize as well. You are desensitizing her fear of being bound to you. As you introduce things that are scary – to her – you build on that trust by getting her safely through it. You scored a point in that direction today!

    Here’s where I caution not too much too fast. Repetition. Consistency. Build a firm foundation. OTOH – once she gets it don’t let her get bored. Move on, but only add one or two things at once, and always refresh old lessons from time to time (this is best on frustrating days – give yourself a positive note to end every session).

    You have lots of opinions to sift through – my advice also just being opinion – take what works and leave the rest.

    I hope the owner is willing to put some things into writing for you – she asked for a legal waiver and you complied – apparently she appreciates the concept that people need to spell out responsibilities. Don’t omit a discussion of liabilities for costs for injuries to the horse. I hope she is grateful that you are so kind to Lightening. She should be.

    Lightening is so fortunate that you are taking the time to work with her – and she genuinely seems trying to please. A willing horse is a treasure. Continued best wishes .. ~M

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Mapale – where and how do you want your new screen delivered?

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    LOL! JJ! What good would it do – in another few days you’ll say something else funny and I’ll be back to square one. (I’m still laughing about witches don’t cross water). I just need to put the coffee down, and then read your comments. The fault is all mine.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

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