Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My two in one training project!

If you've read my stuff for any period of time, you know that I believe every broodmare should be broke to ride so that she can have a second career when her producing days are over. In Bessie's case, she was just sold to a 12 year old to start that second career at the age of 10. She's not old, nor are her producing days necessarily over, but she's put three nice fillies in a row on the ground in the past three years, and as far as I'm concerned, her job is done - an easy life of carrots and riding lies ahead of her!

We know Bessie is green broke but that's all the history we have. She was an auction purchase, four years ago. She is papered, so we know where she came from but have few details about her past life. She happens to be my mare Kit's daughter - they came through the sale together. Bessie arrived here on Friday and I let her and the baby settle in for a few days.

Last night, I went up and decided to put my Dr. Cook's bridle on Bessie and just do some basic groundwork. I led her around the field and worked on "ho." She barged past me a few times, and then caught on to what we were doing and was stopping on voice command within a few minutes. Backing up was a little harder - this is clearly not a maneuver you learn in Broodmare School - but she did it.

Then I "sacked her out" with a saddle pad. Threw it on her back, hung it on her head, all over her butt, threw it up in the air. Bessie never moved. So I sacked out the baby. Baby didn't care either. This is not at all a skittish baby. She has no real concerns about Fast Things, Flying Things or Crackling Things. You can touch her anywhere. She's ready to move on to halter breaking and picking up her feet.

I led Bessie up to the hay feeder and put her next to it. Bessie stood like a statue while I laid over her back, put my leg over her, etc. She was great. Tonight or tomorrow, when I have a helper, I'm going to get on her. I'm also going to get a halter on the baby and start working with her in earnest!
And yes, I finally rode my VLC. He knows Bessie is on the property and apparently remembers her. (Do they remember mares they've bred? They must.) So I turned him out in the arena and he just galloped like a fool and hung his head out the end doors and screamed, screamed, screamed at her. He never gets this excited over a mare, and I was kind of concerned it would affect him under saddle. Nope. He was fine. Never whinnied once under saddle and he even stood perfectly still twice for mounting last night (the second time because I dropped something). He was actually a little on the lazy side. He's started pulling an old trick again the last few rides - the attempt to veer into the middle without warning. I don't know if it's general pissyness because I'm riding with the bit (but with the reins loose - I'm still riding off of the halter reins) or he's just hot and doesn't want to work that hard or he's just bored because all we do is schlump around this dusty indoor arena and do figure 8's and circles. Well, not exactly unusual baby horse behavior. I just have to stay on my toes so I can counteract it before he gets off the wall in the first place. I definitely can't complain - one week off and he came back just as if I'd been riding all along. He seems like he'll be one of those horses where you can give him time off and hop back on and it's like he never had a break.
Tonight - more Honey and Bessie!


Karen V said...

Since Heddy is going to be coming back after the filly is weaned, what are the chances that I can talk you into saddling her up and giving me your impression of her?

I just love hearing about Honey. Last night, Kaci did a little head-sling thing and it reminded me of her and how I always thought she was gong to sling her head and crash right into the fence!

(Side note - Joy's crud is back. Any CLUE as to what this stuff is? Does Heddy still have the "dusty" forehead? I'm thinking that it might be related... I had two others - totally unrelated - come out of winter with dusty foreheads) :O(

Hecate said...

Can we get a closer look at your apparent-sidepull-adaptation of the Dr. Cook bridle? It looks like something I'd really like to try.


Josie said...

Heddy and Macy (the filly) have no more forehead "stuff". Macy has a little bit of something on her nose but it could be from playing in the blackberry bushes. It's very different from the forehead stuff. Their foreheads cleared up almost immediately. I figured it was because the extremely long spring rainy season ended just about the day they got here!

Karen V said...

Josie - But we're dry here! I mean REALLY dry! Yesterday we had 3% humidity. I don't get it. Once I got the rain rot cleared up, the only thing that was left was the dusty forehead. On my photobucket, you can sort of see where it was all over her body. (It's the photo where Macy is 2 hours old and standing in front of Heddy - you can see it on her withers)


One more thing...I sent an e-mail to Stephanie....I got the paperwork for the filly's registration. Need a snailmail addy to forward it.

Josie said...

That's right, you aren't IN the wet part of Washington. Very odd. Once we dry out here (4th of July-ish!) we pretty much stop having skin issues. Knock wood!

Stephanie told me she had sent you my mailing address. If you don't have it, post here again and I'll send it to you directly. Thanks!

Karen V said...

I'll check for the mail addy when I get home.

I don't understand what's going on with this mare. In addition to what Cathy has tried, I've bathed in anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, yogurt, Tea Tree cleanser, fungicide, MTG (really oily), Head N Shoulders shampoo, and Marigold shampoo and leave in conditioner.

It's better when I'm feeding Amplify (30% fat) but it's expensive and she doesn't really have a weight issue. The MTG worked also, but it's like putting on baby oil and laying in the sun.

I've got one last thing to try and then, geez, I don't know what's next....

Maryann said...

I'd have to say that horses seem to definitely remember each other even if they've been apart for a few years or more. I have a friend who breeds horses, and now and then, when she gets one back for whatever reason (and it's been gone a few years) they do seem to go to the same favorite pasture mate they had before leaving. As for stallions, some seem to prefer some mares over others. Maybe she was one of his favorites (or since she was his first???) Heard a story about an Arab, Synbad (if you remember him) who wouldn't breed certain colored mares. Stallions can be funny, and finicky too.

Bluebunnysq said...

I've had the same experiance with horses remembering each other. We had bought two mares once and trailered them together.. I could have sworn they hated each other, on did bite the other. Once we got them home they did buddy up as they were the "new kids in town". We ended up seperating them for a year and when we put them back in the same pasture they went right back to being best friends.

My gelding also has his favorite mare. He makes such a fuss when they are seperated. They will even stare at each other over the fences.

we do have a stallion who is Very picky about his mares. The bigger the better in his book. We had a WB mare that he wouldn't leave alome. He would tease another mare then run over to the WB ad cover her. If he doesn't like a mare he doesn't cover her.

mugwump said...

My own horses always are the last I get to ride. Have you noticed that they can sit for a week, and sometimes are better than the last time you rode them?
Either it's the "Good Horsie Fairies" training them for me in the wee hours of the morning, or they can sit and let the last ride gel. Getting to ride my yellow mare would be better though.

Smurfette said...

Well, Mugs beat me to my comment. My youngsters often seem to come back better with a little break. My main issue is how to condition them, and still give them break.

Emilie said...

A little humor: http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2008/07/15/sincerely-mr-ed/

badges blues N jazz said...

Hi Cathy. I read FHOTD all the time and participate in the forum. You have inspired me to start my own blog and I just thought I would share it IF you ever have a spare moment. lol. Keep up the good work with the VLC.

icepony said...

Updating from one of the original "re-riders" and the SOG (Slightly Odd Gelding)...Not sure what's gotten into the SOG lately, but he's been just LOVELY to be around! All the terrible things (biting, knocking me around with his head, etc, etc) have just flat-out vanished, and in their place I now have a loving, outgoing, eager young man.

Instead of wanting to cry at the very thought of getting on him, I can't wait to work with him! I even climbed on bareback with just a halter in the round pen the other day, just to see if I could. (We're both too bony to be comfortable, but he had no objections, and even let me scramble up the round pen panels like a monkey to get on.)

Tonight I rode him like I *used* to ride: we actually schooled walk/trot and worked on stuff! It was pure fun! He's very green but very willing - not sure where to put himself, but has a few clues. His downward transitions are downright nice, but upward ones not so much. Lots to work on, but lots to celebrate, too! Love those "moments of brilliance", lol.

Can't believe I bought this horse essentially by the pound. Lucky, lucky me!

loneplainsman said...

I'll ditto mugs and smurfette. It seems to me that after every 4 day or more trip I've taken, my horse is suddenly *better* than he was before I left. And the longer I'm gone, the better he is.

Maybe I've got new/better ideas or maybe I've just forgotten my bad ideas! Whichever it is it does seem to work.

amarygma said...

I can't wait to move my horse back to the boarding barn and see how he doe with his old friends. I'm sure he'll remember.

Dante gets a greasy forehead. Maybe it's puberty? He is a teenager! ;)

I love that foal, BTW. Want.