Monday, July 28, 2008

I love it when we're all on the same page!

I've mentioned Bessie before. Bessie is a ten year old AQHA mare with a baby at side by the VLC. She's now owned by a 12 year old who is eager to start riding her. We know Bessie has been ridden, but we don't know the extent of her training, so I'm trying to refresh her memories!

Last week I started saddling her up. I started with the hunt saddle, reasoning that the smaller and lighter choice is always the one to start with. The first thing I had to do was go back for a bigger girth. The 48" that fits the VLC wouldn't even begin to reach on Big Bessie. Fortunately I had a 56 that came with the saddle. Yup. That fit Big Bessie. Good grief!

Baby was highly interested in the saddle. Bessie ignored it and kept eating.

So, since that went well, next session we progressed on to longeing, which was far more exercise for me than the horse. Bessie just didn't see any reason at all to actually trot. That was way more work than she was interested in. (Pets tend to resemble their...trainers?) We got her going both directions but she showed very little motivation. Baby, however, showed a level of motivation similar to Smarty Jones, blasting around the paddock at mach 10 while her mother trotted sedately on the longe. (It's always so much fun working them with babies still on them. The best part is when you start riding and they cut you off continually!) If anybody has any brilliant tips for training a mare who's still got the baby on her, feel free to share!

I put a western saddle on her this time. She kept eating.

Tightened the cinch. She kept eating.

Put a bridle on her. She made faces like she'd never worn one, tried to go back to eating. I removed it and decided we'd tackle wearing a bit another day.

I snapped reins to her halter and got on her. She kept eating. This mare and I are going to get along just fine.

I have to post another pic. How pretty are they? I love this mare and the baby's better than the mother. Baby, however, is scared of the halter so we are now working on desensitizing her to the halter, ropes, etc. in preparation for halter breaking.

Honey and I are getting busy preparing for the SAFE show on August 23rd. I was originally going to have that be the VLC's debut but I am so busy with the horses who HAVE to get ridden right now (Honey and Bessie) that he has fallen by the wayside a bit. That's okay. We'll get to a show yet this year, but I'm going to let this show be Honey's day. It's more appropriate for her to go to a horse rescue's show anyway as she was a free cast-off from a breeding farm, not an expensive show prospect who was never in any jeopardy like the VLC. Friends watched me ride Honey last night and I got to show off how she halts from a trot and stands perfectly still with the reins pitched away. We've been working on that! Her neck-reining is also coming along super well. Karen, I need to get you some video. I actually have this coming Saturday off from work so I may prevail upon Josie to haul a few up to the local public arena for me so we can get some good video for a change, not to mention getting Honey out to a new location before the horseshow.

As for the VLC, we have introduced ground driving and I agree it is a great tool. It is hard to balk because you don't like wearing a bit when Mom is behind you and able to growl at your big shiny butt. He is getting better about it - it will just take time. While he is very quiet in most respects, once he has decided to be a drama queen about something, it takes time for him to get over it. The first challenge was the cinchiness - now he's over it. The second challenge was moving off while mounting - he's about 75% over that. The third was the feet, and he's on his way to being over that. Now we have the bit. Mind you, this horse NEVER bucks, spooks, or does anything really bad under saddle. He just occasionally says "nope, don't like that, gonna pout and have a hissy fit."

On another note, seeing someone else ground drive him made me want to make him into a pleasure driving horse. Man, he is so pretty. I know he's mine and I sound like a typical mom, but he really is that pretty! Again, hopefully I can get some pictures this weekend or better yet video. :-)

Josie also ground drove the SSG, who tried to pull the bolting off maneuver that way...and got shut down hard. What a wonderful teaching tool! She is going to keep up with that and try to get him back on track.

Meanwhile, Kyra put in some ground work on my naughty yearling, who is full of beans and can definitely use it. She loves him and has already taught him to pick up his feet perfectly - now they are working in the round pen and on leading without any pushy moments.

So that's my update. What's yours?

Oh, and I just have to post another picture of Bullwinkle because I loooove him. :-)


Redsmom said...

I've got Dude at home alone for a few days while my daughter is at camp with her horse. I got a snaffle on him and have ridden him in it twice. He told me he will work just fine on the buckle and to please not fuss with it too much. I admire you for doing ground work. I hate it!! But, I need to do it to get Dude in shape to canter properly. He's a big fat pasture poof. Better go untangle that lunge line. Some elves or something tangled it up when I wans't looking.

hope4more said...

Oh Bullwinkle is soooo cute, so is Bessie's little one. How fun you have so many cuties.

Stelladorro said...

We just got home from State Fair, and brought home a 2nd in hunter under saddle. It was an amazing show, and the competition was insanely tough for just being state wide, so I'm very pleased. This was Stella's first show where she had enough training under her belt to actually be competitive, every other show I've taken her to has been just to gain experience trotting around the arena in a show environment. I told myself before the class that if I went top 3, then I'd sign her up for the Arabian Royal in September... Looks like I'm digging out the entry forms! :)

Karen V said...

I can't wait to see video! I can't wait to come and see her in action in person!

It's only 4 weeks away!

*note to self - BRING CAMERA!*

robyn said...

Working on the giving-to-the-rein-on-the-side-of-the-neck thing (otherwise known as neck-reining). Dang pony is so smart! After training my "duhh" TWH ("M-O-O-N, that spells 'Santana'!") it's very refreshing to have a horse that picks things up in minutes, as opposed to many weeks!
I realize that I'm much better at recognizing a try, but honestly, my TWH isn't the brightest bulb in the box.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Stelladorro - major congrats!!!

amarygma said...

You're only making me want that baby even more than in the last post.

I've been catching up on my own blog, and planning and plotting for de-herdbounding the Doodle.

Any recommendations on good books about longing? I know the NH stuff, and he's done it and is bored with it, and I don't want to just add obstacles, but think AND lose fat.

SammieRockes said...

You should just start the Related to VLC Club!

My BBG and I are doing good, he was very stubborn after three weeks off though. He quickly got a smackon the neckand it was all better. Before summer is over in August(I have it all booked-so excited) BBG, I and some friends and their horses are going camping. We are heading to Fort Valley Stables for the weekend in Shendoah valley for some scenic rides and a change of scenery. Plus I think Rebel misses hills.

My farrier dislikes Rebel because Rebel(Like the VLC Club) Hates his feet being messed with, and tryed to tell me to try Dacs Broodmare stuff, he says in two weeks he'll be a different horse. haha, too bad I love my horse stubborness and all! Im not gonna feed my horse something to change his whole personality when he only has a few minor issues.

which_chick said...

Updates on Project Horse: We walk, trot, and canter under saddle. She also backs up, stands nicely for mounting, and loads on the trailer. She carries saddlebags at all gaits without getting upset, tolerates having another horse ponied alongside her (for like an hour at a time). Oh, and she goes quietly and calmly (by herself) across creeks that require several strides of wading knee deep.

She's been down to the bridge and up the hill on the other side and back twice now with just her and me. (Yay!) That's 4 miles round trip (!!) by ourselves, out in the real world and along the (very quiet) paved road. Traffic is not a problem for her.

On the down side, she clipped one front heel (a little blood but nothing life threatening) while trotting under saddle on Sunday. I think mostly the clipping was a case of long legs on a short backed young horse who isn't fitted up with all her riding muscles yet and I should NOT have asked her for more trot. I did ask, though, and she gave. And she clipped. It was my fault. I fucked up. *sigh* She felt so solid, though, I thought she was good to go. Dipshit award for me, I guess.

Current working plan for fixing the clipping thing: bell boots (for some protection) and lots of unhurried walking up and down hills for better butt muscles and improved balance. If anyone has any other ideas to try, I'm open to suggestions, too. (Horse is unshod but trimmed, works barefoot at the moment.)

verylargecolt said...

I will just send Kyra out to you. She can teach anything to pick up its feet. I have decided we are going to market a video series called The Hoof Whisperer and make a zillion dollars. :-)

Sagebrusheq said...

Amarygma, there are many such books. Certainly you can't go wrong with Susan Harris: "USPC Guide to Longeing and Ground Training" : in print, affordable, and the Pony Club gets a cut of the proceeds.

mlks said...

I've had to work a couple of different mares who still had unweaned babies. All of our horses live out in pasture, which sounds similar to your setup.

One option was to take the mare into another pasture or into the arena and work with her right beside the fence of the baby's pasture. Of course, when you're doing this, you have to be very, very aware of the baby's behavior and general level of upset at being separated; sometimes you have to alter the training plan and get the mare back into her baby's pasture posthaste. However, often if the baby is out with other horses besides mom, you can get a nice 15-25 minute training session in.

Option two is to ride in the same pasture as the baby. This works better with either a ground person or someone on another horse that baby's comfortable with. This way, if you've already established a "stand off" cue for baby (really, you can't start establishing your own space around the babies too soon...after reading your blog for awhile, I can't help but think you agree with this), your second person can keep the baby at a perimeter away from mom.

If it's just you in the pasture, you'll have to work on your "stand off" cue from horseback...without spooking your mare. Though, from what you've described, that doesn't sounds like it's going to be a huge issue! Sounds like a lovely horse.

Hope this is at all helpful...

a beautiful disaster said...

the silly little mare has been doing really really well, a friend and i have been splitting the rides on her so she gets variety and neither of us gets over loaded. friend has been doing a lot with straightness and yielding to leg pressure, i've been focusing on balanced transitions (esp up to the canter) and slowing within the canter (no collection, i ask her for more speed and then rate her back - we need this skill for when she gets excited jumping). she did have a week of two weeks ago cause she got herself beat up in pasture, but before that i had jumped her (with one of the barns trainers being eyes on the ground) and she was awesome...we did a ton for warmup and then did 2 ten jump courses, with very little drama (and she even needed leg for the last course). i am planning on jumping her again wednesday, and hopefully she will not disappoint.
Buddy has been good, but last week he was sour after being stuck inside two days in a row due to rain...lots of very athletic hopping around, but in between the interruptions he was very good. yesterday i was working at a show all day, but my friend and i free jumped him in the evening (3 foot i think - he's so dang cute its too bad he doesnt behave better) and then i hopped on to cool him out. i don't think he's ever been ridden in a halter before and it was his 3rd time bareback. he was really good but he didn't get stopping with only one "rein" (he did neck rein really well though :) )
all good here i suppose :)

sharon said...

I use your blog for motivation to ride my three year old and I have let it lapse a bit whilst the kids have been off school. Back to reading the blog now for the kick in the pants I need to get my gelding going again as it have been a month since I rode him. He is so like the VLC (except in looks) as he is also fairly quiet (read lazy) but really doesn't like the bit. I am now using a bitless bridle as I gave up fighting for a while in order to actually teach him other stuff. It is so much easier when they are not totally concentrating on the bit and are actually listening to you.LOL
Anyway overall you have managed to inspire me as I was also a bit scared to get him going and I haven't had anywhere near the riding experience you have had so I figured it was okay to be scared and if you could do it, so could I.
So thanks for the blog.

sharon said...
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Sydney said...
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Sydney said...

All VLC's baby is adorable. I adore buckskins. I really like VLC's conformation, he makes a good daddy in conformation and colour.

What I do with my mare when she has babies (this is her 5th foal and last she had this year) Baby gets a tieing lesson in plain view of mum until about 5 weeks where we begin to go out of sight for short rides. By the time baby is to be weaned he/she ties amazing.

which_chick said...

This evening, Project Horse and I went out for the aforementioned power walking of local hills. I took along Project Kid and her pony. Project Kid, who is twelve, brought along a new bit "for better steering" on her pony. It looked exactly like this. (Her mother, who doesn't do horses, was with her when she bought it.)

I first saw this contraption hanging out of the mouth of Project Kid's pony, so didn't get the full effect, not being able to see the twisted snaffle mouthpiece. The shanks and gag action alone, though, were enough to put me off. I was like... NO. I made her take that... that... *thing* off and put the pony in the pony's usual bridle.

Project Kid is now angry because I treated her like a child. *sigh* I don't think I was in the wrong, here, and neither does Project Kid's aunt, who owns the pony in question.

I'm also kind of pissed that the tack store lady would push that sort of foolishness on a twelve year old kid, but then the tack store lady's sixteen year old kid rides a (*very* unhappy) part arab pony in the same damn contraption.

equus said...

Funny about Kyra and the hoof whisperer skills! My non-horsey husband is consistently able to pick up the feet of the most stubborn, spoiled horses I've ever been around. Drives me crazy :)

SouthernBelle said...

I want to know what kind of grease you put on Bessie to make her shine so fine.
If a 12 y/o didn't already love her I would sure want that sturdy-looking Big Bessie.

rockymouse said...

I've been having the best days with the green 12-year old mare. We've been doing lots of w-t transitions, weaving around yuccas, big circles and the like in the pasture. Cantering under saddle is difficult for her - probably because she's not in shape. Today, success. We got a canter fairly easily (for her), went a few strides, came back to a trot (faster trot than I wanted, but I wasn't going to be picky), then back up to a few canter strides and down to a trot again. This is a big deal for us.
What a good pony!

summersmom said...

Wow I thought I was the only one that rode my mare still with her baby! I actually posted on a myspace forum asking for help with her and got my ass reamed up and down for trying to get her to move forward at a walk and trot. They basidcally told me I was abusing her and her baby by even THINKING of riding her. Anways.....
I am a fairly new rider which means I'm even newer with having a mare with a foal. I was lucky in that I imprinted the foal right off so by the time I started riding for small amounts of time when she was 6 weeks old she was already halter broke. I started at first tying her while I groomed mom so I could watch her in case she pulled back or got scared and kept lengthening the time she spent tied. I then moved into the arena after grooming and would tie the baby to the rail with a long enough lead to watch mom but not get in trouble. I would lunge for 15 or 20 minutes and always keep my eye on the baby and stay close so she would be okay. After she stood well for that we progressed to lungeing for 15 minutes and then riding 20 or so. Still watching her. Sometimes a friend would walk her around in the middle of the arena while we worked on the rail. Her reward for being a good baby was being untied and getting to race around the arena full tilt.
I just weaned the filly and the week before I did that I would put the filly in a stall facing the arena and ride my mare while the filly paced. We started with 15 minutes and slowly worked up to an hour or more. Then one day I left the filly out in the pasture, rode the mare and mommy never came back. It went fairly well, although in my blog I did write about her jumping the fence when the barn owner walked her by without thinking about it.
Sorry so long!

Anastasia said...

mlks said...
This way, if you've already established a "stand off" cue for baby (really, you can't start establishing your own space around the babies too soon...after reading your blog for awhile, I can't help but think you agree with this), your second person can keep the baby at a perimeter away from mom.

OK, I'm just about to embark on the same thing as fugs, working a mare after time off for having a baby. Baby is two and a half months and very social, some handling but no formal training yet. I think having a stand off cue is a great idea! I'm curious to know how you go about training such a cue (I can think of a few ways, but I'd love to know what has worked).

LongBranchFarm said...

We (my friend Khandro and I) hitched Merlin, the almost three year old Paso/Arab cross, up to his buggy for the first time last night! I didn't have him bridled and was just planning on leading him around. He stood like a rock for hitching, and walked off with no problem. He had one "it's TOUCHING me" moment with the shafts bounced against him, but I stuffed a carrot in his mouth, and he was fine after that. We walked around the yard a couple of times, did some turns and walk/whoa's, and then we unhitched. No fuss, no drama, nothing. I love this horse!!!

Sydney said...

I always use a big semi truck tire to tie baby to. It gives them some give so they aren't wrenching on their poor head in their playful leaps of joy (or frustration). I've never had one of my babies (now older) pull back when tied. Tieing when they can't take the barn down with them is an amazing tool. I just wish some of the people I train for would do it when the horses were young instead of waiting till they are 5 and able to kill you.

Sydney said...

Sorry, I meant the tube of the tire. Like one of the ones you use for tubing, but it's been patched too many times to keep anyones ass afloat.

nccatnip said...

I finally have something to contribute!!!! A few trail rides on Reddi then home to work on me in the english saddle with her. A couple of sessions in the yard, some things to work on but felt really good to get on and actually have a GOAL!!!! Finally some names of trainers popping up for me and had someone test drive Blue- Not scary at all so I think I will feel okay getting on.
Also got permission to use the timberland across from my house for trails.

icepony said...

The SOG is getting better and better every day, even though I don't have nearly the time to work with him as much as I'd like. I, too, am getting better about being a weenie, but much slower progress than the SOG, lol! Issue by issue, here's how it's going:

Tying - After numerous ugly pull-back-break-rope-or-halter incidents, started just dropping the leadrope through the barn door handle. Seems to work okay, but doesn't solve the problem. Since he's now gotten used to standing there quietly, tied him last session to VERY sturdy post. No issues - stood like a good boy. I know better than to think it's over, though.

Bridling - Used to take 45 minutes; by the time I got him bridled, I was too rattled to get on him. Now bridles first try, every time. Used bribery. It worked. Sometimes cookies ARE majikal!

Lunging - got tired of the drama, the near-death moments (for both of us), and the disrespect. Went to free-lunging, first in the round pen, now in the arena. Free-lunges like a dream 90% of the time. Will change directions with a turn IN instead of out (that was a HUGE issue) 85% now. I was chuffed: BO stopped by to chat the other day and we "showed off" - she was stunned at his progress. Yeah, I felt pretty darn good about myself! LOL

Actually riding - Tried him bareback in just a halter. He was good, but we're both too bony to be comfy that way. Good to know I can in a pinch though. Riding Walk/Trot and working on long and low for now (in arena). He's actively seeking the bit and looking to please.

As for me being a horrible Arenaweenie, we actually rode OUTSIDE THE GATES for a whopping 8 minutes day before yesterday! 6 of those were spent trying to convince myself that I CAN sit in the saddle instead of hovering tensely 1/4" aoove it. He, of course, was fine. I'm convinced he thinks I'm an idiot, and he's training me. He might be right.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>>As for me being a horrible Arenaweenie, we actually rode OUTSIDE THE GATES for a whopping 8 minutes day before yesterday! 6 of those were spent trying to convince myself that I CAN sit in the saddle instead of hovering tensely 1/4" aoove it. He, of course, was fine. I'm convinced he thinks I'm an idiot, and he's training me. He might be right.<<

I hear you, I hear you, I hear you! I always think the horses are laughing at me.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

And which_chick...holy CRAP on the bit. Glad you shut THAT idea down!

BritnieAnn said...

Yeah!! Love to read the great updates, and see the cute foals of course!! Sounds like Bessie is gonna make that 12 yr old very happy.

Serena said...

Ground driving is the Greatest. Thing. Ever. A lot of the good cowboy trainers over here in I-dee-hoe spend weeks ground driving before they even get on anything. Takes away most of the rodeo.

badges blues N jazz said...

VLC.. I posted this on your FHOTD blog as well. Hope you read it!

HEY FUGLY, I remember you posting about knowing lots of good horses for free lease/cheap/free etc. I am just on the Canadian side of the Oroville border. I am searching desperatly for a games horse for my 13 year old daughter. I sent you an email with HORSE WANTED in subject line if you know of any? I've been looking for 2 months and CANNOT find what we are after. I am fine with homechecks and signing contracts, I just need to find her a good games horse to get her confidance back on. Long story.. let me know please

mlks said...

All of our horses (theoretically) have learned our version of the "stop / stay" command; in many ways, this in itself is your "stand off" command.

Hand gestures can vary, provided that you grasp that it's your subliminals / body language / eye contact that are backing up the hand gesture (in other words, if you don't think the horse is going to stop and stay, the horse doesn't think he's going to, either).

We use a rather literal gesture: holding up one hand somewhere between shoulder and head level with the palm facing the horse. (Very much like a policeman directing traffic.)

Basically, when you're approaching your horse in pasture, get his attention first. Make sure he's looking at you / has acknowledged you in some way. Approach from roughly the front / front-side (if you approach from the rear you are encouraging him to move away from's not that you can't eventually do this with a well-trained animal, but it's not setting you up for success with a greenie). If the horse stops grazing, lifts his head up, and looks at you, release the pressure on him by stopping your forward progress for a moment and dropping eye contact. This release is the reward. Then you can gradually approach using press/release based on the horse's body language, etc.

With the babies, or any rude horse in pasture, when they start pressing your space (oh man, the super curious foals are way cute), make yourself into a bigger presence. This might mean puffing out your chest, raising your arms...start with more subtle "bigness" but be prepared to move into snarling, arm-flapping, ass-of-self-making bigness if the horse continues to act as though he's going to come right up on you (or over you). The instant the horse moves off from you, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and ignore the horse. That's the reward.

Eventually, the moment you make pointed eye contact with the baby, or hold up a hand, or take a step toward baby, baby will (reluctantly, often) either stop moving toward you or stand off.

Hope this helps! Sorry I get wordy...

anitahorse said...

For horses that pull back when tied, try the Blocker Tie Ring

This tool has really helped my wild PMU colt learn how to stand tied without him yanking his head off himself.

Samantha said...

I haven't posted in quite a while, but I thought that I'd give an update on how things are going with my own young gelding.

He's now got about 50 days on him and we are working nicely w/t/c (his canter = *drool*), riding outside the arena, tackling trail obsticles (fake bridge, gates, etc.) and trotting over ground poles and small caveletti.

He's got an awesome "woah", is developing straightness and consistency when backing up, has a strong grasp on leg yields and is beginning to learn shoulder-in and haunches-in. He's been consistent at picking up the correct lead in the canter, and is now beginning to reach for contact at the walk.

I train horses and teach riding for a living and I'm always "fixing" the horses that other people have damaged. It's so awesome to have a horse who is so much more than just a clean slate - all of the manners and voice training, the ground work on the lunge, long lines, in hand, at liberty - all of it has helped create this wonderful horse that I just can't get enough of.

As we were cantering the other day, the both of us just having a blast - I was just so thankful that I didn't let our accident scare me off of him. I'm still recovering physically, but I'm so greatful that I had this blog to read or I might still be recovering mentally as well.

Thanks Cathy and all the rest!

Mary said...

Nike and Alex had their first naughty ride! Bike, mostly to the fault of Alex, did a bolt-n-buck that lasted about 5 strides. Alex stayed on, pulled her around and settled her down. I think *I* was more upset then they were!!!! But they pulled it together, and quickly, then moved on. Alex tensed up at the same spot it happened, but pushed through and they didn't have a problem again. Nike is coming along SOOOO well! And very little of it was done by me!

She is lunging at w/t/c both directions, halting, rolling back, bending, moving off of pressure (that was a tough one to teach her), yeilding hind and fore, backing, riding on the rail AND down a trail, loading herself, standing for mounting/dismounting (another challenge for her), riding western/english/bareback, trotting in hand, starting side passing and schooling over ground poles. He's also teaching her tricks like bowing, standing on a box, nodding and counting. This was all taught by a 14 year old who didn't know more then how to lead a horse 2 years ago!

The only problem...Alex has hit puberty and he is growing faster then I have ever seen. He is about to out-grown his beloved pony who stands at a solid 14.1 hands. He is almost 5'6"! I don't know what to do!!!

Redsmom said...

Mary, keep training that pony -- a well-trained, well-broke, pony is always going to be in demand as they are, in my experience, very hard to find.

barngal said...

I still don't know how you do it all! Work all the time and then find time to do all your training!

I have been riding BCG as much as possible. He is going through a stage right now where he is showing the attitude of "make me do it" and he seems so bored with ring work. We finally got our trails cleared so he been taken on those, crossing the creek, going up and down hills, seeing deer and loving it. In the ring I've introduced ground poles and no problem. We have been doing these in our lessons but he has been a bit of a klutz. I think now though, he has the idea.

Our lesson yesterday got messed up with a bunch of pony kids coming so I kind of worked around them for a while but BCG saw one pony he went wild for. When the pony was getting ready to canter we moved to the center of the indoor arena to give him room. BCG wanted to follow and when I didn't let him he threw a fit and went straight up!! We were all shocked. I took him outside to the ring. Then he started something new, throwing his head down to the ground to try to roll in the sand. The heat was intense and the horseflies were out of control. He was soaking wet and had only trotted and they were swarming him. I really wanted to try a canter since everyone was inside I had no audience. He knows what I want and for some reason he doesn't want to do it and throws a hissy fit. I was able to canter both ways with proper leads. We were also able to trot over two cross rails. That is fun for him.

I guess every youngster is different although I'm hearing stories that are very similar to mine so I want to believe there is hope for my horse whose favorite word is "ho". We'll get that canter yet!

moosefied said...

MKLS: thanks for posting that about the "Stay" or "stand off" cue. I will need to teach my foal that when I get him. He is a big friendly foal, and I like that, but I don't want him to think it's okay to crowd or push people.

mlks said...


Absolutely. You want them to be curious and friendly without being pushy. That's great that you have a friendly baby coming.

The fun part with extra-friendly foals is that you can play with the "come here" command as a way to make them feel loved. That way you're INVITING (sorry about the all caps...I'm shyte with HTML) them to come and get brief "pets", so they don't feel like you're always pushing them away.

It can make the "stand off" / "stay" easier for them to take.

Good luck with your foal!

Mary said...

Redsmom: Oh, no, Nike isn't going anywhere...EVER! The ONLY way she would go anywhere else is if my entire family died (knock on wood) and that include my mother and my niece. I have 3 back-up homes in my will for my 3 horses. These 3 are lifers...period. The most I would consider, after she is well into her training, is a lease. But she stays on my property unless that PERFECT lease home comes up. I think what I need to do is ride her and have someone take a picture to see if I look like a moron on her...for size reasons. She IS 14.1, I'm only 5'4"...but, I'm "fluffy". Actually, so is she!

For now, Alex is a bit long for her, not too bad, but he's nothing but skin and bones. She would walk through fire if he asked her. She trusts him and loves him. For now, that is what they both need. So we'll leave things as-is...for now.

HOWEVER...if anyone is in MN and has a greenie for sale with a good head, please let me know! Grade/Registered/Male/Female/Fat/Skinny/Older/Younger/Purple/Black/Whatever, doesn't matter. Just SANE and started!