Thursday, September 11, 2008

Off to school!

I said I was going to do it and I have...I believe I finally found an AQHA trainer that I trust to finish my VLC and do it fairly. Great facility, weekly lessons are included, and there was not a single bit in her tack room that I object to. The worst thing I saw was a slow twist, which doesn't bother me. It's the thin wire "tongue slicer" bits I object to. Like this. If anybody ever put this on my horse, I would have to kill them.

Anyway, he is off to school November 1st! I am excited about it even though he won't be at home and I'm paranoid about that. But I'll have my weekly lesson so I'll still see him regularly. Right now the game plan is just to do a thirty day evaluation and then give me things to work on for the rest of the winter at home. Then he'll go back in the spring, closer to show season. Money is always a factor, and I like that this trainer is willing to work with a limited budget. She made a lot of good points I'd already thought of about how it makes more sense to go to bigger shows and fewer of them and to start him off at the local open shows and keep it cheap and not take him to an AQHA show at all until he's super solid and has a very good chance of doing well. I really felt like we were on the same page, and every horse in her barn was happy and looked great. I didn't see a single pinned ear.

I figure I've got him as far as I can go without possibly making a wrong turn - he walks, trots, lopes, halts and backs. I can ride him around bareback in a halter. He is still somewhat one sided and doesn't like to bend to the left, and sometimes has balky moments on left circles. He also likes to drop his shoulder that direction. All the methods I know for fixing that are probably not the ones we want to use given that we want his head to stay low and his neck to stay flat. It's time to turn him over to someone who is an expert at what he needs to do and can also watch me ride and pick on me.

I think I'll always be glad I started him myself though - I got what I wanted, which is a very calm, easy horse who's never had a bad experience about riding or a reason not to like it. Now I just need to fill in some of the training gaps before he leaves - like teaching him to clip, as he's expected to know that and I admit I don't own a pair of clippers at the moment and haven't even tried so far. (Fortunately, I can borrow!)

So how far did the rest of you get with your projects? Did you decide to get some outside help? Did you decide just to haul in for lessons or get a friend for a second pair of eyes to assist? Who actually made it to a show this summer? (I tried, and then they decided not to allow stallions, and they didn't have stalls so there went that idea) Did you accomplish as much as you meant to? More? I got everything done on my list except the trail riding - not surprising, that's the hard one for me because I freakin' hate trail riding, even on trained horses much less taking the green one out to see what happens! But on the plus side, he rides absolutely great bareback and I hadn't even meant to try that at this point.

(hmmm, there was more to this post and Blogger ate time!)


Shadow Rider said...

I have done a lot of trail riding, finally found a home for my OTTB project, and recently picked up two more to work on. A 18 h 6 yr old Clyde sweetie, and a 16.1 12 yr pld cranky perch broodie who tried to take my farrier's head off.
The Clyde I'm riding myself, the Perch mare I've actually contracted a trainer to come 5 days a week for a month and pick her feet up. EVERY F'ING DAY until she get's over that mareish nonsense. Then I will be schooling her as she is totally green. Other than the feet she is nice to work with so I have good hopes for her.

verylargecolt said...

>>the Perch mare I've actually contracted a trainer to come 5 days a week for a month and pick her feet up. EVERY F'ING DAY until she get's over that mareish nonsense<<

I hear you! I am SO GLAD I got some help with the yearling and the VLC's feet...they are both fine about them now, but needed someone with a better back to get them on the way to accepting it. They just needed a "head start" with someone stronger than I am, and then they both came around nicely.

Aelfleah Farm said...

My project is coming along PERFECTLY!!!!

I finally got around to actually puting my 4yo to the cart yesterday.

Open bridle. Plenty of distractions in the arena (including a goat that thought the cart was a jungle gym adn an orphan colt that decided the cart was the perfect excuse to tear ass around). Walk, trot, stand, back. Everything just as good as it was during ground driving.

Today was more of the same.

Tomorrow we go out on the road since my arena is too small to do much trotting.

mugwump said...

I quit being a trainer and am riding the trails! I love I would say I have achieved my goals this summer.
Good for you Fugs. I have always maintained the way to own and enjoy a show horse is to do as much as you can by yourself, then work with a trainer that lets you ride.
You'd be amazed at how many people don't even bother to take the included lessons.
It'll be fun to hear how things progress for you two.

Stelladorro said...

Well... My big one was to get Stella to tie, as I find it fairly pathetic that my 5 year old is incapable. I thought we had her to the point where she wasn't pulling back, but she still tests things... and broke the ring off the trailer doing it. I'm not sure what else to do, she stands tied when she know she can't break it, but she tests everything new... We did manage to get to several shows this summer and were in the ribbons, including a 2nd at State in Hunter Under Saddle, which was the highpoint of the season. Unfortunately, she's still very heavy on her forehand at the canter, and I've hit my limit in trying to fix it. I'm not knowledgeable enough to try anything else, so I think it's time for a trainer to come in. So she's going to get 30 days put on, and then she's going up for sale. No fault of hers, but I'm leaving for college next fall, and I want to put her up now so I have time to really find the right buyer for her.

Shadow Rider said...

Yes, I am a 5'4" woman with a bum leg, no way I am wrestling up this 1600 pound mares dinner plate feet, and dodging kicks on one good leg. Nope, quite happy to pay a nice strong guy to do the muscle work. It's actually the farrier she tried to nail, he is awesome with difficult horses. He is what I would call a true 'Natural horseman' just a guy who has spent his life with horses and has common sense. When she tried to kick him (when doing the back feet), he simply backed up, got his rasp and kept touching her until she finally stopped kicking. No shouting, no swearing or hitting, just 'Ok, we can stand here all day while you kick, or you can let me trim your feet.' Took 20 min to do the first foot, 10 to do the second.
She will come around.

Laura Crum said...

I am an ex team roper, ex cutter, who now loves trail riding as much as I ever loved these events. So though I didn't set a goal, I've achieved something by coming to terms with the fact that I don't want to compete any more, I just want to move through the green world, enjoying my horse and the landscape of the place where I live (and my kid, when he rides with me). Its been a great learning for me that this is what makes me happy right now. But I wish you all the fun in the world in the show ring and with your trainer--I certainly had plenty of fun with that, too. Good wishes to the VLC on his show career.

which_chick said...

I got most of the stuff I wanted to do with Project Horse done this summer. In March or April of this year, I started with a largely unhandled mare who didn't know what a brush was for. She'd never picked up her feet on request. She was halter broke -- led and tied without a problem -- once I caught her. She'd also been dewormed and deloused on a regular basis.

Now, she is easy to catch, easy to load into a trailer, and easy to groom and tack up. She can be handled all over her body, does not kick, is not headshy. She is good for the farrier and can be bathed without drama.

She walks, trots, and canters under saddle without any issues. She will pony another horse beside her. She has been ridden in the dark and in the pouring rain (with cars coming alongside and splashing us) and in high winds. She's fine under all those conditions. She is traffic safe, does not bat an eye at rain slickers or saddle bags. She crosses wide (twelve feet or so) chest-deep creeks without any hassle. She's been ridden extensively, alone and in groups, along roads, in fields, through the woods on trails and cross country where there are no trails. Under saddle, she goes where she is aimed and the protest balks have pretty much died out. She's light on her cues and has decent brakes. She does not get hot after cantering and will resume a flat walk without an argument even if she's been run pretty good. She hauls well and stands quietly even when tied for long periods. (No pawing or fussing.) She's also been to one show (fun show, just timed events) and we won three dollars at the flag race.

I'm hauling her up to the state 4-H competitive ride this weekend, where we will ride the course (25 miles or so) as "sweep" -- noncompetitive but the full distance. I am not expecting any problems there and I've conditioned her for that so that she'll be able to go the distance.

The competitive ride is graduation for Project Horse. I'm pretty much done with her after that. I could do more (teach leads, start her over cavaletti, etc.) but there are other largely unhandled (kinda lead and will stand tied, can be dewormed and deloused) young-adult horses (three, four, or five years old) in the field waiting for someone to put some value into them.

I've got my next one picked out and taught to be catchable already.

loneplainsman said...

I, too, have been exploring the great outdoors - though as I lack a trailer we have not left the PROPERTY. Still, more than this arena-baby was willing to do in the past. NSVLG has been doing well though he's had some minor spooking problems every time we run into a PONY. I know other people have this problem but it's still seems silly to me. Two days ago we went into a field that had a pony tied at the back of it. NSVLG spooked. Today I was in an arena and a full sized loose horse appeared at the top of a hill, right above us. NSVLG didn't bat an eye. It's very strange.

But apart from that I'm very pleased with where we are! Rode bareback for most of the summer - I can sit ANYTHING now! - and just finished making my new saddle which should be a good compromise between bareback and saddle riding. I would like to hit a couple of trails and find some cows to chase before it snows, but otherwise I think I'm on track! =)

Karen V said...

You know...even if you NEVER took VLC to a trainer, you would STILL have a damn nice horse! I have NEVER met a kinder, more willing three yr old. He is only going to get more amazing with refined training. And the fact that itty-bitty YOU would crawl up on that monster is something to be envied!

Kaci is being rehomed this Friday. It got to the point of do I need to thin the herd or do I need to hold out for more money. Thinning the herd and finding him a good home won out over wanting the cash that I KNOW he is worth. This grand gentleman will go back to work and teach Kimberly the ropes. I DO have some reservations, but I think it will be a good match.

Sunday, I'm saddling Heddy. Gonna see what I get. I have no clue how to ground drive, but we can do some "stuff" on the ground. Since she's only six, she has a whole lot of life ahead of her. She and Honey and Joy are all horribly mothered up. The work will be good for her.

Dobbs, my adorable red Smooth Town son with the old stifle injury, is much smoother and looser, his limp is not as noticeable. Even the farrier mentioned that whatever I was doing was helping.

loneplainsman said...

BTW - great job finding a trainer to help finish the VLC! You both deserve the best!! =)

moi123 said...

My goal with my 3yo Arab colt was just to see how far we could get without rushing anything for him physically or mentally. He was mostly unhandled before I got him on Easter of this year, which was perfectly fine by me. He's a complete sweetheart and generally wants to please with the occasional "I don't wanna" colt-fit thrown in for good measure.

Things we accomplished:
-He can be touched all over without fuss (major hangups about face/mouth/ears when I got him)
-He can be bathed without *too* much dancing around
-He picks his feet up on command (although we're still fidgety with the trimmer when his feet are held up for more than the length of time it takes to pick a hoof)
-He leads nicely even when mares are trying to tempt him or when the nasty gelding is challenging him over the fence.
-He ties (although cross ties are still a hurdle we've yet to overcome, tie to a post or wall and he'll stand all day)
-He loads in the trailer with minimal fuss (I don't have many opportunities to practice)
-He accepts being saddled
-He accepts being ridden both bareback and with a saddle (we've only done walk and some minimal trotting so far)
-We found head gear that he doesn't flip out in and can actually listen to - a plain nylon halter with reins. Anything else, bits, rope halter, sidepull, etc. he flips out and acts like its *way* too strong for him to handle and he just fights like mad

The general hope is that I'll be able to take him trail riding next spring and to some of the smaller gaming shows. I'm not sure if we'll be there training wise or if the vets will okay any or all of it development wise, but that's the vague goal at this point.

a beautiful disaster said...

no time this morning for a novel, but I have to say that the slm has been back in the riding school for two weeks and doing great. she has also gained a ton of muscle and looks amazing! mission accomplished :)

Huntseatrider said...

Aww, yay! I'm so happy that you found someone to finish him! I talked to my trainer about people in your area and he said he would be more than willing to help you... but I guess that won't be needed. :)

Lol. My summer project went up to GA with my trainer's daughter. From what I hear, he is going "back to school" sometime next week. I miss him!

ezra_pandora said...

At the end of spring (april) I finally gave one last try on a trainer. My mare is 7 and had never been ridden. We had two previous trainers who put in a little work each to get her further, and then she had breaks in between because of various reasons the trainers could not train anymore, but she still wasn't to the point of riding. I could sit on her, but moving was the issue, but I think it was more of my issue and fear of the unknown, what would she do? Well, in comes new trainer boy and voila, less than 30 days later he's got me on her (very tensly at first, which wasn't good because she fed off my energy) and then 60 days he turned me loose, told me to keep riding her as we worked on in lessons and to put miles on her. I was a part of the whole process because he came to our barn and I made sure to be present at almost every single lesson. I think I only missed like 2 or 3. I had lessons during the training process and thankfully since his girlfriend gives lessons at the barn, he was usually around, or I could email him with problems and he'd either give me advise or come out if warranted.

Now in September, month 6 from the start, I will be going into my first show next weekend. The trainer originally thought it would be at least a year before she'd be even close to this point. I don't know if we will do any good, or if we will end up just riding around AT the show to get her used to that environment, but I'm ecstatic. Trainer totally thinks she is ready. He's been watching when he's out there (training another crazy horse at the barn) and said he's amazed at the difference from when he left us after 60 days and now. He suggested that I enter into the open show that's at a barn about 5 miles from ours. She's quiet, slowed down tremendously, keeps her head low, actually stands quiet while we stand and talk instead of pawing at the ground and dancing around like she used to. That made me feel really good. I was also able to start taking her out of the arena and into the open hay fields where there are paths cut around. That was going good until her and our other old mare decided there was something in the scary woods at the back. We think it must have been a coyote, deer or racoon or something. That was not fun when they decided that, but we are working through it and she trusts me enough to not totally lose herself. So, that is how my little mare's training went. I wouldn't have done it any other way, unless I could have found this trainer first.

barngal said...

You are very lucky to find someone you can trust to work with VLC. Also, you get a chance to still have a hand in his training while he is there by having lessons each week. I hope we continue to hear about his training and talk about ours. You have had such a good experience with VLC with him being so calm through everything you have done. Hopefully he stays that way and it's not the calm before the storm. We have had a bit of that!

We haven't progressed as far as I wanted but it's mainly due to taking the time to work on our very old money pit house! Hauling to lessons went well, but other than the experience of hauling to a new place I really wasn't getting a lot out them so we're taking a break for a while to work
out some issues with BCG such as bucking while cantering. We have an appointment with a chiropractor just to check things out to make sure there are no problems somewhere. We are now cleaning up the remnants of "Ike" so BCG and his training are kind of on hold for even a few more days. He is only three so I really don't feel that bad about what we have done. On a positive note though, he hauls well, adapts to new surroundings, tries almost anything, loves adventures. He is liked by the farrier and vet and because he is 16.2 and growing that is a good thing!

NYCowgirl said...

I have to give you major props for holding out for a trainer that will use humane methods, has a philosophy that matches yours, and includes YOU in riding your horse while he is in training.
When I bought my weanling (five years ago), I did all of his ground work myself - grooming, picking up the feet, clipping, standing in the crossties, leading, lunging, etc. myself. I also taught him showmanship (squaring up, walking/trotting off with me, backing up, pivots) as a weanling. The showmanship stuff prepped him for showing in that event (he is now a showmanship machine) and also helped to establish manners.
As a late two year old, I moved him in with my trainer/instructor of 20 years and we broke him out TOGETHER. She helped me with long-lining and tacking. I was the first one on his back and she lunged while I rode. None of my gelding's training was done without me. None. I am so grateful to be able to join my trainer in my horse's training.
At any rate, my boy is now a happy, healthy five year old with points in both Paint and Pinto. This past summer we won our Paint showmanship at State Fair under both judges and placed quite high in my hunter under saddle classes. We ended up with Overall Open English Year-End high point in our open show circuit (along with Equitation, pleasure, and showmanship high points). I'd say our training methods have worked out well for us. :)
I also keep in mind that I am ALWAYS training my matter what our interaction. I also know the value of changing up the scenery - I don't school endlessly in the arena. Although I DESPISE trail riding, I take my guy out every so often (especially after the show season to refresh his mind). I also go out and just groom or do showmanship with him. Keeping things fresh and different keeps him from getting sour.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Nycowgirl - Thank God, someone else who despises trail riding!

Honestly, I've never gotten into it. I find it boring. I am one of those people who has to have the Ipod on to make myself walk enough at the beginning and end of a ride. I want to get going and work, and trail riding to me is like hours of boring cooling-out time, punctuated by the occasion spook and bolt thanks to some small and unexpected forest creature, LOL!

NYCowgirl said...

I hear you! I was coersed into going on an all-day (UUGGHHH!!!) trail ride a few weeks ago with my trainer. I was promised wine and dinner at the end...yes, a bottle of alcohol is the MINIMUM bribe required for trail riding.

Nancy (aka Tony's person) said...

My goal for the summer was to work on the trot--I was scared of that speed (for a variety of reasons). So, I took lessons once a month starting in June and then practiced the rest of the time. It was great! I now have a wonderful, consistent trot out of Tony, better and softer communication, my seat, hands and legs are better & my confidence is up. I've even cantered a few steps without abject terror. I did a number of trail rides (the best one yet, happened yesterday!). And this Saturday I'm taking him to a fun show (I'll likely never do more than that level). So I did reach my summer goals & more--and have things to reach for through the winter.

la mexicana said...

While I never posted my goals on the site, I have been working with a bunch of rescue horses since June. My goal was to get them under saddle and adopted before winter sets in. I have also been working to get Petersburg Knight sound and usable.

The great news is that last weekend we hauled 9 horses to Reber Ranch for "Ride for the Cure". It was a 24 hour event to raise money for Cancer Research. Most of the rescues did great. One mare got kicked in the trailer and, as a result, did not participate much in the ride. One horse has an adoption pending. Some of the rescues were actually adopted earlier in the summer and were not able to attend.

Petersburg Knight also went to the ride. He was ridden by a few different people and did great. His feet are looking and feeling great. He is almost completely sound (just a little tender on large rocks and sharp gravel).

There is one filly at the rescue who has been a little difficult to train. She will continue her training through the fall and winter and hopefully will find a forever home by spring.

I will post pictures and a link later.

quietann said...

I'm not a good enough rider to be involved in training a horse under saddle. And with recovering from my fall, I need to work on myself more than anything. The broken, left side is weak and sort of scrunched, so I am compensating with my right side... too much.

With Feronia, all I'm doing is walking her, with very light contact. We do a lot of walk-halt-walk transitions, serpentines, the occasional change of direction, sometimes as a turn on the haunches or forehand, etc.

I had my first lesson since my fall yesterday, on Trump. He's the horse I fell from, but it was not his fault at all. So I had a WTC dressage lesson with Feronia's trainer, and OMG how embarrassing... She was trying so hard to get me to still my hands, and I just couldn't do it for more than a few strides. I have to say that when I could, Mr. Trump was so lovely and light in the bridle. Hopefully the trainer won't restrict me from riding Feronia... are my hands *that* bad?

Char said...

Haven't heard much from me all summer because my lame gelding has been lame ALL SUMMER LONG!!! Therefore, NONE of my origional goals have been accomplished. However....

After calling in a specialist ferrier, my lame gelding is no longer lame - YAY! I've ridden him twice so far in the past week since he is FINALLY sound. The week after next I'm taking him, mom's mare and mom for a camping trip at our local saddle club. There will be fun shows, trail rides, meals with other horse-people and should be TONS of fun. This is also our very first camping experience with our horses. (We're having a dry-run in the back yard this weekend... :) )

Also, on ride #1 I dealt with his "spooking problem". He spooked, twirled, backed into my mom and her mare....and that pissed me off. I finally got up the guts to stop hanging on for dear life and gave him a swat and yelled, "IF I'D PUT SPURS ON YOU'D HAVE HOLES IN YOUR SIDES YOU D^CK HEAD! NOW QUIT!!!!!!!" Amazing. He stopped, sighed, and mosied on as if the gig was up and hasn't spooked since - and he's actually had reasons to.

Damn horse. lol I'm just glad he's back and doesn't hurt anymore... :)

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

>.Petersburg Knight also went to the ride. He was ridden by a few different people and did great. His feet are looking and feeling great. He is almost completely sound (just a little tender on large rocks and sharp gravel). <

I can't wait to see pictures, that's such wonderful news!

MsFoxy said...

Well, Ms Foxy has been battling the lameness issue still, so we have not gotten anywhere. I do have the new farrier trimming her and her feet are looking better, but I believe she is still lame. Pasture sound, but I doubt would hold up under work.

But after her recent blowup being lunged while saddled, I have decided to give up for now and just bring her home to mow the lawn. We have the fence up and the shelter ready.....have a few odds and ends and need to get hay and then will move her here in two weeks.

I have no idea what the future will hold for Ms Foxy! But for now, she can just hang out at my house. I can continue to spoil her rotten on a daily basis and spend some time paying off bills. Maybe someday I will move to another property and get her a buddy. She is usually fine by herself, but I do have a horse and a donkey across the street. If she stands at the edge of my property, and they stand at the edge of theirs....they are about 20 feet apart, so she should be okay.

Not what I had planned a few months back but life changes and I think staying in retirement (temporary or otherwise) is the best choice of action for Ms Foxy.

AbbyAugustArabian said...

I hate those stupid toung slicer bits. I got accused of stealing one at my old barn, but my horses were in happy mouth and 3 piece snaffles. Why the H would I want to put a tounge slicer in my horses soft mouths.

What do people think they are going to accomplish with a twisted wire bit anyway besides making a mouth sore? What is the frikin point of them? Can somebody tell me what properly trained horse would need a twisted wire bit?

robyn said...

You wouldn't have to kill the trainer. You'd just wrap that sucker around his nuts and p-u-u-l-l it tight...

My big brag is that my pony has learned that when I do a half halt, sit deep, and exhale, he is to stop. No rein pressure--yay! This is doing wonders out on the trail when all he wants to do is go-go-go, and the half halt thing is helping him to remember to slow it down.
I'm grateful that he's so forward but now we're working on controlling that forwardness a bit, w/o taking the fun out of him.

robyn said...

Nycowgirl - Thank God, someone else who despises trail riding!

Honestly, I've never gotten into it. I find it boring.

heh--you never rode w/ me before. Both of my horses move out (no walking here, unless it's over rocks or on a downhill), and neither one spooks. My TWH doesn't like overnight packs (I think they make people look too weird), but neither one is bothered by crossing water or bridges, mountain bikers, dogs, baby strollers, joggers, giant rocks, little animals, rattlesnakes, etc.

Last year when my Icepony was still very green I took both hiking, went w/ a non-horsey friend--big mistake, as she got intimidated well into our hike and refused to continue leading my TWH. I was leading and riding the pony (who didn't spook at ANYTHING). So I had to ride the TWH (bareback and w/ a halter) and pony the Icepony. At one point we met up w/ 4 other riders going the other way--I explained that I had a green horse, and would they mind moving off the trail so we could pass. Despite all the crap (tiedowns, martingales, big bits, etc) they had on their horses, only one of them was able to get his horse off the trail. So I had to take mine off (difficult at that section of trail). I had more control over my TWO horses w/ only halters on them, than these four asshats had w/ all their gear. I think that says alot about my boys. =D

t said...

I, on the other hand, would rather be on the trails than in the arena. :)

Inspired by this blog and the FHOTD, I decided it was time to put some time on our underused/undertrained gelding in hopes of finding him a new home or becoming a backup ride for me. Although he had spent time at a trainer in his early years, he was in need of a big time tuneup -- was hard to even get him to stand for the farrier. He had totally became a pasture ornament.

So I spent the last 45 days working with him in the arena. Whoa, go, back. Walk, trot. Serpentines, ground poles. Even solo rides around the property. My most frustrating issue is the "go". Sometimes it is hard to get him to move out. My proudest moment, on the other hand, was when he stood quietly for the farrier when his first shoes were put on.

Let me say that I am not a trainer. I like working with one, but doing this myself isn't a life long goal, but found the small successes rewarding.

We had a recent setback with a bucking incident. Although probably not true, in my eyes, it appeared to come out of nowhere. He hasn't been a bucker before and not only bruised my pride but shook my confidence a bit. Surprisingly, I don't think I am necessarily scared of him, but do have some concerns about about getting hurt again.

No matter what I decide, the last 45 days have brought him to another level -- obviously not there yet, but I wouldn't be embarrassed to show him to someone if they were interested in taking him to a level that I couldn't.

moosefied said...

My goal was to get a horse, "maybe someday in the future when it would be a more rational decision." And suddenly now I have this wonderful, sweet colt foal. In between worrying over every little thing, I am astonished that I am so lucky.

I really, really wish FHOTD and VLC huge success and happiness. You have inspired me to take this risk and to see what a good idea it was. I also hope to keep learning things from other readers and riders. I will need it.

icepony said...

I actually went back to the original goal blog and checked...and found I was too chicken to even post real goals!
I have to say that I have not ridden nearly as often as I had hoped to. I had some major financial issues since getting the SOG, and had to "cowboy up" and get a second job. Am now working a day job AND a night job, and trying to learn how to juggle sleep requirements to handle both. BUT...
My gelding, who was a headshy, depressed, freakazoid whack job when I bought him at the end of March, is now a downright nice horse to be around. He can be groomed all over, have his mane and tail combed out, hooves picked, and (most days) will tolerate flyspray with a minimum of fuss. He now has a sense of humour, has gained about 200 pounds, and stands nicely for the farrier. He free-lunges like a gentleman, although we are still working on downward transitions. He has not bitten or kicked out in over 2 months. He comes when (or before!) he is called. And yes, although minimally, I HAVE ridden him, and things have gone fairly well for the most part.
So I'd call myself "somewhat satisfied": I do know that if disaster occurred and I had to sell him tomorrow, he would have a much, much better chance of not becoming a steak on a plate in France. There are still miles and miles to go with him, but I'm doing my utmost to assure he's happy and healthy, and we hopefully have many years together to accomplish our goals.

tmlabradors said...

I have an APHA mare that I didn't show this summer due to me being let go from my job, BUT I've got 3 shows lined up for this winter. I have done almost all of her training myself, and now, since I've decided to go the reining route, I've hired a trainer/instructor (which so happens to board at the same place I'm at) so help me get her started on reining. She's a coming 4 year old, and I want to do this slowly, so this fall we're going to some open shows, maybe not even enter in any classes, just ride around, but gain experience. Our show facility that we will be going to has a heated barn, wash rack, warm up and show pen. I'm super excited to just get her exposed!!!!!

Serendipity said...

Had two basic goals this summer: The first was to become comfortable enough riding my trainer's very forward-moving retired show hunter/jumper to ride him in a class. I'm intimidated by his size and power, even though he is an angel with way more show experience than I will ever have.

The ride felt horrible. My leg was all over the place, Al was mad at me because I was fiddling with the reins, and I was sure the entire crowd could see I was way overhorsed. But we did pin fourth out of sixteen. (Bloody western judges, the three who beat us were all Wenglish.)

My other goal was to ride the redhead in the pastures again.

He's found that if he bolts with the bit in his teeth, he can stop me from turning him by holding his head straight up and keeping his neck rigid. Scares the shit out of me, and pretty much ensure that I can never trust him outside of the ring.

This time I rode him in a hackamore, and he didn't give me a single problem. I want to try out one of the Cook's bridles, I think Fatass would like it.

amarygma said...

Well my goal as a noob was to be able to lope and canter around. I can, just not on my horse. Dante became herd-bound in ways he never was before, and will buck when longing the canter which I thought we were over meaning either a) he's sick of longing, although I really don't do it for very long b) he's so nervous about not having his friends his breaking point of fart/buck is lower or c) his lower breaking point plus physicality. I had originally planned to be able to ride him back to old barn for a weekend at some point this summer but he doesn't see it as going towards old friends but away from new.

Revised plan is to canter around on other peoples horses so that I'm better for when the doop will do it, and also get the chiropractor out, and likely some winter training by someone who's loping seat I like and her horse is very willing (but not a terribly smooth arab shhhh).

The horse noob blogging has helped too, so that goal was met.

Claire said...

I'm afraid this isn't really relevant to the VLC, but it is relevant to how training affects a horse!

I found out today that many of the lesson horses at my stables are sold to them because they are 'naughty'. They're all mixes - a bit of thoroughbred here, a bit of cob there - and are cheap because of their behaviour. They then get retrained into lovely, good-mannered, obedient horses who can be ridden by intermediate and experienced riders as well as total beginners and children. Obviously they'll never be top class, but they're perfect for lessons and the better rider you are, the more you get out of them, and most of them can compete in local shows. They get a good working life, good care, and a home until their death.

It just goes to show that the right training makes all the difference to a horse! I would never have guessed that any of the horses I've ridden had once had behavioural problems; some have had their quirks but all have been safe for a beginner like me to ride and they've all been well-mannered on the ground.

Buckskinchick1983 said...

I did find a trainer I liked. Started to take my three year old there for a lesson about last March. I definately needed the help. We have taken two trail rides so far. We have plenty of things we still have to work out. I feel like we are coming along. I don't think I spend enough time on Quest.If I could afford it I would go more than once a week, the expense is an issue.

equus said...

july, 2007, i upgraded a green-broke, 11 yr old, half arab. a co-worker had owned this horse for two years at that point and had tried to sell him since march, with no luck, so he was going to a sale where kill buyers frequent. at that point, dusty was 14 hh and weighed in over 1000 lbs. now, who do you think would have bought him at that auction? well, i had gone out to see him that march to see if he would fit into my beginner's riding program as a lesson horse, but saw that he was not suitable for that. when i found out she was sending him to the auction, i said i would buy him. he turned out to be much greener than i thought, so i spent last fall and winter working on ground manners and doing ground work, especially getting him used to things over his head. he was very afraid of being mounted and we worked on that alot. well, 10 weeks ago i went off him and received a concussion and whip-lash. i am in my late fifties and, let me tell you, falling off at this age is no walk in the park!

so i knew i needed help with him and enlisted one of my boarders and a friend's 16 yr old daughter to ride. the change in dusty is remarkable. we just started canter work with him and he is doing well. i have only been on him once since i fell and my nerves definitely affected him. it was a good 10 minutes before he started to relax. i rode another 10 minutes and called it quits. i need to address this fear i have built up regarding riding him. i am ok on everybody else, but don't want to ride him. crap. anywho, i have decided to also break him to cart and see how he goes over small fences. he would be a pretty child's hunter pony.

all-in-all my upgrade project has been a success. in ten weeks of riding, he has become a fairly solid under-saddle mount whose future is bright. what a difference a year makes!

la mexicana said...

Here are the pics, as promised. They are not all there yet since I am waiting for some to come in.
Link to Ride for the cure pictures

Reba and Trina are really nice mares looking for an upgrade. Kamaal is a purebred arab gelding that is probably the smartest horse I have ever met. He is "for sale" - you can visit the Serenity website if you are interested in a new horse.

moosefied said...

Equus, just to let you know, in my view you are very gutsy. I'm a few weeks shy of 50 and I would not attempt what you are doing with a horse from an auction. IMHO, your fear is totally reasonable. I hope you feel better soon.

equestrian_librarian said...

My goals were to work up to trail riding my pony Morgan and showing my TB at a local dressage show. I'm pleased to say that I ALMOST achieved both. Sadly, my TB had lameness issues that prevented our work from progressing, although we were almost there - trailering to the instructor's barn for lessons (new thing for him -- he did GREAT), etc. On a happier note I've had wonderful rides these past months in the woods and all, on my pony. Poor guy is now getting dressage training when he'd probably rather mosey down the trail! Actually we had our first lesson with a dressage instructor yesterday and it went very well. Beloved TB is getting chiropractic, TLC, slow gentle work (arthritis is major issue) a feed change to lower carb, higher fat feed, and other things to make him feel better. Overall a good and bittersweet summer.

LuvMyTBs said...

Goals:Well it's always good to have them,even better if they get accomplished.

The Mins:My now huge 16.3 4yr.old TB gelding.He has really progressed with his flat work and is solid and consistent at all 3 gaits in both directions.(He was not started till last summer and has only been ridden this year since May).This Sunday we will take him out for his first trip on the trails/cross country with his buddy Mohawk and 2 other bombproof
steady eddies.My goal for him is just to get out there and see what he does as well as work on W/T/C transitions if he can manage to not blow through or past the group.
He will then be ridden alot more as we ride well into Nov.-Dec.He will also go to his first schooling show in Mid October just to get his feet wet in that setting.

I'll post back here to let you all know how we do.

kippen said...

Hi Fugly,

You should try going on a trail ride on my Thoroughbred Hank. I promise you that it will not be boring. He gets as excited as a Labrador puppy, has a huge stride and does enormous jumps sideways when he shies. If you have a velcro bottom and a decent set of hands, he is really good fun!!!

Sagebrusheq said...

Huh? You mean summer's gone? That explains the temperature drop around here.

My day job pretty much curtailed Merlin's concentrated training. And when I wasn't pounding nails there were plenty of other chores wanting attention. I rolled up miles of old wire, cleared a bit of forest for fencing material, and made a stab at getting old fields burned, plowed, and re-seeded. I thought to put the last task off for a year but after seeing what came up in the spring -and the price of hay hereabouts- I decided not to defer.

When work slows up a bit I'm going to take a few weeks off to visit friends and relatives scattered around the west from Idaho to California and pick up the last of my junk in Utah on the way home; standards, rails, and some machinery. Then I'll get back to riding regularly.

As it was I got in a few rides on Merlin early in the summer. He never scared himself into bucking, my main concern, and I trimmed his feet once, so I'm happy. Sunny's coming 4 now and I'll spend some time with her when I get back and ride her and Merlin through the winter. I'll get back with my instructor about then too when Merlin gets a little condition. He's been turned out in hilly country so he's not too far gone and as the feed thins out he'll have to work harder and harder to make a living- it won't be like pulling one out of a stall or paddock to get him toned up. He still comes running when I show up so that's a good thing.

For the sake of my young student I've taught Molly to longe with side reins. This is my old HT mare and she's turning out to be a pretty good schoolie, to my surprise- just confirms I was the problem all along. I've been riding her sister as need be during lessons and so getting a little schooling in on her on the sly. It's amazing what you can accomplish without moving around much, depending on the problem: hers has always been patience. BTW, it's pretty neat having a student who's gonzo about horses, I think I'm enjoying it as much as she is.

Actually I have been afforded a little more time to ride but only very recently, and only one handed- and the right one at that, pretty awkward. I severed a few tendons in my left hand 3 weeks ago and was forced to postpone some some carpentry for a bit. Yesterday though, they put me into a new abbreviated brace that gives me back the use of some of my fingers and thumb, so I can work again- and use my rein hand. Cool. I've never hurt myself in any truly debilitating way before and this was a real eye opener-little things like cooking and getting dressed. Tacking up and getting my boots on was the hardest part. On the plus side, I learned to roll a one handed cigarette pretty quickly.

That's been about it for me, a couple of aimless rides a week. No complaints from the horses with that schedule.


PS: Trail, boring? Why school but to enhance riding out of doors? Well, I guess an art gallery is a dull place for a blind man.

Nadika said...

I made it to 2 shows and I trail ride all the time... my youngin' is an awesome little trail horse! And he's coming a long exactly like I want him to.

Esquared said...

My two projects went well. We don't have a trailer so that's no showing for us. But both of them are very calm and ride out in the open bareback. And the one with the least time (maybe 15 days or so of saddle time) is doing the best as he evidently has alot of natural talent for reining maneuvers and western pleasure besides being the attentive overacheiver that he is.

Pipkin said...

Yes, we finally got to it Sunday. What is it? It's cantering on the trail without me freaking out! Yay! we rode at the expert rider pace, which was cantering a lot more than I am usually comfortable with, especially since I am known to hit trees. And Pip can dodge like a barrel horse, and I kind of ride like a not a barrel rider. but we lived, the only accident was me getting stung by a hornet. Happily it wasn't him, as then both of us would have been hurt.

cutthecrap said...

I had the formerly ridden TB mares that I was going to reintroduce this summer.

Best laid plans and all well.......

I ended up with severe thrush and possible founder on both mares from spring grass. They have been put on dry lot and grass hay diet. We have separation in the hoof wall, which I was beating myself up over(and still am) for them being too fat. But my 2 yr old, not fat, active and healthy filly has separation too.

So this summer I had fat, grumpy, sore footed TB mares. I even bought Boa Boots for all to help with the after trim soreness. Daily medicating and the long wait for good hooves to grow back.

Maybe next summer.

cutthecrap said...

I also have a dilema.

4 yrs ago we had a Paint stallion. We had 5 foals total by him and then decided the market and horse world in general was too bad. Stopped breeding sold or traded the stallion and all the mares except my TB girls(2)and one of his foals. Yes this is my confession.

Sold the babies to what I thought was good homes without being able to read the future, it was hard and frustrating. The people that come out are SCARY. Anyway I quickly found out I didn't have the heart and I lost my faith in people. So far of the families I have been able to stay in contact with, no problems.

One of the babies is a 3 yr old this year. She has been crippled by her owner, permanently. She might be able to have half her hoof nerved, shoes and pads and be light trail OK, maybe. I am going to make an offer to take her back for free. We will see how it goes.

I know it is said here all foals you produce are ultimately your responsibility. My question is what about all the idiots that cripple them and then are too cheap to take care of the horse.

This is not a whine about poor me I am getting a crippled, care for it for life horse. I am VERY frustrated and disappointed in this owner. I will gladly take this filly back, especially because the owner is going to try and sell her as a broodmare. It sounds like they aren't even going to try the vets advice and treat her.

Any way to end this book, if I get her back my goal will be to make her servicably sound. She will never be able to handle hard duty work, but by god is my witness!!!LOL, I will figure something out. Hopefully it will work out for this filly, what she has is smiliar to navicular so I have to believe I have some choices out there. She has pedal osteitis.

Rip me if you have to, I'm a big girl.

cutthecrap said...

Oh and I also am learning to keep the mustang roll on my horses feet in between barefoot trims. I am hoping to take in some barefoot trims clinics next year to make sure I am not doing any damage.

So not a totally wasted summer.

cutthecrap said...


A specialist looked at xrays of above filly. Hairline fracture of the coffin bone, bar shoe for 3-4 months, confined to small pen.

Prognosis is excellent.

Thank god the vet sent the xrays off for another opinion. No banishment to the broodmare band and we are going to work together to get her better.


PolkaDots said...

I started my TWH filly myself, having NO real training experience and having never worked with a young and unbroke horse before. It's been an interesting experience! She's one of those super-calm, happy-go-lucky, wants-to-please horses, so everything has gone OK. We recently accomplished my major training goal- I wanted her to be a good Competitive Trail Riding horse, and we competed in our first CTR about a month ago. She placed 4th for condition, and we placed 2nd for horsemanship, with a whopping 97% score!!! She has exceeded all my expectations and we are going to another CTR next weekend, wish us luck!!!

To be a good CTR horse, IMO, a horse must be first and foremost calm and safe on trails. The horse must be well broke, so that she will travel on a loose rein at all gaits, stop without resistance, back up willingly, as well as sidepass, turn on forehand and haunches both in hand and under saddle, and be willing to trust the rider if asked to do something strange, CTR obstacles often involve asking the horse to do strange things! The horse must tolerate having the judges handle her all over, including picking up and holding the feet, and must be OK with being passed on the trail, left behing, and riding away from other horses. Calmly crossing bridges, mud, puddles, creeks, streams, and rivers, dealing with all manner of scary things like livestock, traffic, etc, are all in a day's work.

What's reassuring is, all these qualities I have taught to my horse, are all the same qualities that would make her easy to sell to the average middle-aged-beginner-to-intermediate rider home. I intend to keep her for the rest of her life, but if something should happen, and I had to sell, I have confidence I'd be able to find her a good home.

PolkaDots said...

I have a question, for Fugs and everyone in general- do you have written instructions for your family, should you get seriously hurt or killed and suddenly they were responsible for your horses and other pets? Who would get them, and is that person aware of your intentions? Would they be cared for by someone who knew what they were doing? What would their ultimate fate be? Would your well-meaning but ignorant survivors send them off to an auction? If your family kept them for sentimental reasons, would they still get the level of care they need?

I recently wound up in the hospital, near to death, and it has brought to my attention the fact that although I'm still young (27), I could have an accident or illness and be gone tomorrow. Although I had spoken with my husband before about what I would want him to do with the horses should I die or be permanently incapacitated, I have been motivated now to put all my wishes in writing!

Now, there's a letter addressed to my husband, and another to the rest of my family, with instructions to open only upon my death. Among the many other things in there, are a set of complete instructions about how I would want my horses dealt with- who among my friends might be interested in them or be able to help sell them, what their real market value is, and complete instructions on who, what, and how for feed, vaccinations and worming, hoof care, veterinary care, to insure they're well cared for until new homes were found.

What about you all? Have you considered this? Have you made plans and discussed them with the people who would be expected to carry out your wishes? Don't forget your other pets, too!