Monday, January 19, 2009

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Lots of updates!

The VLC is back to 100% sound after a regimen of handwalking, hand-backing and longeing on a big circle with lots of walk-trot transitions, so I finally got to ride him a few days ago and was reminded again how much I love him! He hasn't been ridden since October, I think, and he stood perfectly still for mounting and did not move off until I asked (hooray! That was a tough thing for him to learn last year, but it stuck!). He then walked off on a loose rein, ignored the other horse in the arena and generally rode just like he always did. He was so lazy that I had to threaten him with the rein ends to get a jog but that's typical with him - he fires up as he gets fit. When he is unfit, he is a marshmallow who just wants to walk. Personally, as an older, chickenshit rider, I think that is a FINE, FINE, FINE quality! It's great to know that any time he has to be laid off and not work, he will come back LAZY. The rehab period had another nice benefit - he has learned to back on a perfectly straight line, as well as back around circles and corners and make turns. I think we've inadvertently set him up for trail class!

Now of course I'm back to the original for his show career. Wouldn't you know it, the trainer I liked sends horses to ... *sigh* Cleve Wells. Now, that person may be completely innocent and not know anything about him other than that he's a big name and wins. The trainer I like is a long, long, long way away from Cleve. Still, now I am nervous again. I imagine what I would do to someone who put spur tracks on MY colt or broke HIS jaw and I'm pretty sure I would go to jail for it.

Friend #1 says to send him to a dressage trainer. While I can find one of those who isn't abusive, you guys have all seen my VLC (pic below for those who may not have). He just isn't built for it. He's built for AQHA pleasure. That's his niche. That's what will come easy to him.

Friend #2 says send him to the original trainer. I saw nothing wrong in that person's barn (true, I was VERY impressed and didn't see ANY unhappy, thin or marked-up horses) and we all have some shitty friends (also true! I would not like to be judged based upon everybody I've ever come into contact with in the horse world. I worked for some eeevil bastards in my youth.). But he'd be far enough away at Original Trainer's that I couldn't check on him all the time and I am just too nervous. And I don't want to be anybody's paranoid, pain in the ass, nightmare client, either. If I'm not 100% comfortable, I'm sure we'll both be happier if I just don't do it.

Friend #3 says to just do it myself. I've noted before that my major reasoning for not doing it myself is (a) I have a lot to learn - I haven't shown in so many years that, back then, we were still "seesawing" to get head set and (b) I have bad show nerves. I don't always think logically, I make mistakes because I rush things like transitions, and if we get to the point of jumping, forget it because I don't see distance well enough to make a horse look pretty. My horse deserves better than that.

So now I am toying with a variation on #3...I am going to meet with a possible trainer this week and see if I can put him there, take lessons on him a lot and do most of the riding myself, and then have her ride him for shows. If she is comfortable with that, it might be a compromise that I can live with.

I've also decided that at some point this year (might be spring, might be fall, we'll see how other things work out), I want to send him out to a friend in Eastern Washington and have her guys put 30 or 60 days on him just using him on the ranch. He LOVES cows and he LOVES to herd things, despite his size. He herds the smaller gelding he is turned out with. He is way too big to ever cut and I don't think he has the acceleration to rope, but I think that mentally, he would absolutely love the experience and it would make him into the sort of solid, do-anything trail horse that even I would like to trail ride.

And yes, I will start calling him the May when he actually is! For now, he's still a three year old to me. :-)

I'm curious, who has a horse in training or going to training this year? How did you decide on a trainer? How much information do YOU need to feel comfortable that your horse will be safe and that you will get what you pay for?

The Big Gold Yearling (hey, he's not two til March 4th!) is out to pasture with a TB colt and they are enjoying their life of rolling in the mud and biting each other in the neck. I'm thrilled because the TB likes to RUN and that has gotten my colt into a lot better shape without putting him into a formal work program. The eternally ribby, gawky yearling look has gone away and now he's round with a butt and some muscle tone! He's still growing like a weed. I think he's going to be bigger than the VLC. He'll come back home this summer and get to work learning to be ponied and wear tack.

I am hoping that Thai (above), who is still out rehabbing with KarenV, will be amenable to being used as a pony horse. My goal with her is to fit her up, teach her to neck rein and use her for that. She's sound and normal weight now thanks to Karen - just waiting for spring to bring her back to this side of the mountains and put her to work!

Lucy has an admirer! Lucy, the Crabby Old Bat, and the yearling are all pasture boarded at the same place, and the lady's adult son loves Lucy. Lucy, surprisingly, loves him too. She is still very wary of most people but will let this big guy come right up and catch her. He is going to ride her when weather permits and see what he thinks. Cross your fingers - Lucy really needs a person of her own! She also just loves the pasture board life - she thrives on it and has no trouble holding good weight in a herd. She would very much like to stay right in the herd she's with, and if he adopts her, she will. For now, she is muddy and happy and probably the most relaxed that I have seen her since we got her. All efforts to ID her have failed - her tattoo is simply too illegible. We know she is 15 this year and that's all we know. Lucy is below. Love that front end. Jeez, people, who bred that? She's 100% sound, though!

The Crabby Old Bat is also muddy, happy and delighting in the fact that she gets to rule a small herd again. I tried keeping her separate with Lucy and Belle and she would have none of it. She needed to rule over the barn owner's geldings and walked through the fence repeatedly until we gave up and let her. Now she is happy. She has a 17 hand Seattle Slew bred OTTB gelding for a boyfriend, and the two of them hang out together and kick anybody else who dares to come near. She's also the best weight I've ever seen her, and I credit a lot of that to finding really mud-free pasture for her this winter. Even with all of the rain we've had, the place she's at is high and mostly dry - it runs off right down to the road - there's mud but none of the deep, sucking stuff that aggravates her old joints and causes her to drop weight from pain.

Belle and Clover are with another friend as Belle wasn't doing well out with Lucy and Buffy. Belle isn't a "herd horse" - she likes to be treated like a princess. Her teeth are so poor even after a floating and extractions that we have switched her to alfalfa pellet mush along with Clover. The two of them live together and gimp around happily, waiting for their slaves to bring them their warm mush! I actually dewormed them the other day without drama from Belle. That is a first. She normally rears, strikes and makes a huge drama out of it. Maybe you can teach an old dog - or an old-ex-broodmare - new tricks!

My January training project is going to be my February training project. Sly finally returned from the fairgrounds but our arena is still too wet to use. I may try to do some ground work in the gravel parking lot, but for the most part, training is simply pushed forward to whenever I have a safe place to ride again.

I went out to visit Libby, the VLC's filly from last year. She is in that gawky yearling stage and gave me a little grief about catching but after that, she was wonderful. She stood quietly tied to the fence and let us pick up her feet, groom her and shampoo her tail. She's much more "huntseat-y" looking than her dam and I think she's going to turn out pretty cool!

That's my update. How is everybody else doing? How's my baby moose? :-)


Mark said...

It is really good to hear about contented old farts and progressing young ones.

I am not Mark, I am Moosefied, but this computer says I'm Mark and I can't change its mind.

The baby moose, Bullwinkle, is up to 600 pounds, healthy, athletic....and showing explosive behavior that frankly scares me.

I have been very reluctant to put my legs in the water knowing of the shark frenzies that can occur on these blogs. But here I am, admitting that I am a dumb middle aged woman who bought a foal and is now lost.

He's friendly, he's not scared, but he has been truly blowing up when asked to work, and neither sharp correction nor changes in task have any effect. He battled Julie, who is neither timid nor inexperienced, until they were both soaked with sweat in 28 degree weather. He even reverted to fighting her AFTER doing the task well and getting praised...his response to praise was to rebel more. His response to sharp rebuke was to explode more. He's done this with me but I thought he wouldn't pull it on Julie. He did.

No one likes to hear about bad news or personal weakness but I am honest so, I guess it's open season.

valueofaloonie said...

Wow! I am so jealous after seeing that picture of the VLC. I have a sneaking suspicion he's going to clean up in the show ring. ;)

Also, I'm hoping someone on here will be able to point me in the right direction. I'm looking for a good Western pleasure trainer in southern Alberta (preferably near Calgary) who works with adult beginners. I have a friend who wants to get back in the show ring after some years away, but we haven't had much luck finding someone so far.

BMGallop said...

The VLC is so beautiful! I love looking at pictures of him. He must be so much fun to ride. I wish I could have a VLC baby some day...

"I have a sneaking suspicion he's going to clean up in the show ring. ;)"

I totally agree with that. I can only imagine what it must feel like riding into a giant arena with a horse like that. I'd feel like I could win anything.

BMGallop said...

"No one likes to hear about bad news or personal weakness but I am honest so, I guess it's open season."

Honestly, it's a bad thing when you don't admit you're having difficulties with something because then there's no opportunity to get outside help.

No one should ridicule someone who admittedly is having problems with something like that. It can be really hard and nerve wracking to work with a foal from scratch. No worries!

Mark said...

I didn't really mean to sound so mean. I'm not mad at anyone but myself...and also I am embarassed. But I am alarmed by the way the colt was escalating, working himself up. No one was being harsh with him. Even afterward, when I went to hot walk him, he started to explode again. He did calm down finally and we dried him off. I expected some rebellion, but not this escalating, almost hysterical anger.

mulerider said...

I have a 3 1/2 yr old that is about ready to start under saddle. I really, really don't want to do it myself because 1) I'm old, fat, and out of shape and 2) I'm a big chicken. However, the owner of the sire of my gelding has pretty much convinced me to go with something like what you're considering. He insists that the best person to handle my gelding's training is the person that knows him best - and that would be me.

I'm going to keep him at home and start him myself, at a glacial pace and spending way too much time walking around in the round pen, no doubt. Then, I'll find a local trainer that I can work with.

I'm also signed up for a "How to Teach Your Horse to Drive" clinic next month. I'm thinking that maybe my little chicken self would be helped by teaching him to drive - more then the ground driving I would do anyway, I mean - before I start riding.

clara said...

you should send him to trainer x lol

Ponyice said...

When I sent Kelly (5yr AQHA about 120 days under saddle total before training) off for training last Oct for 60 days I went round and round about who to send him too. I finally sent him to a girl trainer who is my height (I'm only 5'3 )who does WP horses but also does just basic training. She is about an hour from me at a nice home facility where she gave me the gate code and an open invitation to come out anytime but lessons had to be scheduled of course. 60 days did him so good, but he started being a butt again after Christmas vacation(not near like he was) and the trainer came out Sunday to my place for a lesson which is nice for small issues, which we worked thru. I never thought he would be WP material but after 60 days with her I can see what she means about him having potential for small local shows and fun stuff. I will probably keep riding him for another month or two and then send him back for more training with her, as I now have more confidence in me and him as I am a older chicken shit :)

Lolas said...

valueofaloonie, do a search and see if Pat Ross is still out near Okotoks. I've heard she works well with adult amateurs. No first hand experience with her though...

Lolas said...

Oops, that should have been Bragg Creek...

Shibass said...

I vote for do it yourself and have people critique you and film you so you can see what you need to improve. JMO but atleast you will know what is happening to him.

robyn said...

The VLC looks fab! I'd go w/ Friend #3's advice too. I've been working w/ a local trainer w/ training my Icelandic (he's 5 1/2--I've been working w/ her off and on for the last year). Her focus is classical dressage and TTEAM, which works very well together. The most exciting thing is that whenever I have a lesson w/ her, things actually CHANGE--I see changes in the pony's way of going by the end of the lesson. I've learned a great deal, and am far better off doing it this way than trying to do it on my own. This woman is in demand for clinics all over the US and Canada, so I squeeze in lessons when I can.

I am considering putting him w/ an Icelandic trainer in Colorado Springs (2 hrs away, so too far to visit often). I will research the person and find out more, get some recommends before I make any decisions on that. I do need more help getting his soft gait solid, and I'm not sure this current trainer will be able to help w/ that. But she does have a good knowledge of gaits, so I might just be able to stick w/ her, esp. since I have no plans to show, so his tolt doesn't have to be perfect.

It's been warm here--60s for the last couple days, to continue for a couple more. Poor little Icelandic has been so hot, I'm going to have to redo his trace clip, clip his underwoolies shorter. When I ride him, I can imagine how I'd feel running around in a down suit. Just starting to get him back into shape after a month off, so lots of walking and trotting, some gaiting, a bit of canter. I really want to get him out and use him this spring/summer.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Important point about the baby moose - he is not a gelded moose yet. That is scheduled in the near future and it may change his entire attitude.

Now let's slow down - what causes the explosions? What does he not want to do? What is he rebelling against? What is he good about?

For example, is he fighting the idea of:

standing tied?
leaving his pasture buddy?
going somewhere, like into a wash stall?
picking up his feet?

Lisa said...

So glad to hear VLC is doing well. I was going to suggest the variation on option #3 before I had even gotten to that part in your blog.

I think that's the route I'm going to go with my filly... er, I mean mare (she'll be 4 in February-- Eek!). I'm trainer shopping right now. My main focus is finding a trainer who won't feel the need to rush her or me. I'm thinking of going with a dressage trainer only because all the H/J trainers around here jump them young, jump them big, and jump them frequently. I don't think my almost 4y/o needs to be grilled repeatedly over 3' courses right now. There's plenty of other things we could be working on until her joints are done maturing.

Good luck everything!

Deer Run Stables said...


Option number 3 sounds reasonable, but only if you are confident of achieving your training goals for the VLC, since that is the first priority. With professional instruction, I suspect that you probably are, but I know you've expressed trepidation about finishing him yourself several times on this blog.

Another interesting approach might be to talk to the original trainer about her association with Cleve. Whether her response comes across as anger, defensiveness, ass-covering, or genuine horror might give some real insight into her character.

Moosefield, There's no shame in stepping up and asking for help. I would echo Fugly's question about details-- what tasks? What does blowing up look like, exactly? Also, I'll throw this observation out there, though many may disagree with it.

Horses are very seldom "angry". They are prey animals. What humans, who are predators, label as "anger" is almost always either complete terror, or dominance behavior. I can't say for certain without seeing video, but from your description of a young stallion who isn't afraid of people, it's probably dominance.

Again, many on this blog may disagree, but you don't win dominance games with a 500+ lb animal through physical means; you win them through psychological means. Babies are really, really tough. They start out as very nearly a blank slate, but they are far more adaptive and quick to take advantage than an adult horse. Also much more reactive (less impulse control), which is a survival mechanism for a young prey animal, because they're more vulnerable than an adult.

Advice: find a trainer who has well-behaved babies (maybe someone who shows youngsters in halter, or (gasp!) a natural horsemanship trainer, and enlist their help.

As for me, this year (once the weather co-operates), it's time to start really having fun with my parents' Friesian cross gelding, who was started in harness and who I lightly started under saddle last year. He is now coming four:

The palomino Andalusian/Arabian cross gelding who graces my avatar gets to start in harness in the spring and light riding in the fall-- he's coming three:

My beautiful baby girl Bella (3/4 sibling to the gelding above) is coming two, so she gets to start ground driving this summer:

Wasn't she a precious baby?

And lastly, my goal is to get OUT of Parelli Level Three and INTO Parelli Level Four with my long-suffering Levels horse, Tucker. Because half-pass at the trot and canter and flying changes every five strides can't be THAT difficult, dammit, and that's really about all we lack.

Heh, speaking of dangling one's legs in the shark tank-- please don't laugh *too* hard at that last one. It was only our third time bridleless... and taken some time ago, at that. ;-)

Good to hear updates from everyone!

Mark said...

Thanks to all for your observations.

FHOTD: Good points. The blowups have occurred either when I try to lead hiim away from the grounds, or when trying to keep him moving in the round pen (walking) and stopping and changing directions.

Deer Run Stables: More good points. He is stubborn, trying to be in charge (dominance is probably the motive). The scariest part, though, is that he escalated even after doing the changing direction well and gettiing praised. He never became soft, never lowered his head or licked/chewed, never pointed an ear at the trainer.

When being lead away from the grounds, he freezes and balks, rears/hops, and sharp correction has no effect. Again no attention on me, no softening even if he walks well for a minute and get praised. He just resumes fighting.

I will try to find someone, but trainers around here mostly don't work with weanlings.

Deer Run Stables said...

A few thoughts:

Even in dominant horses who aren't afraid of humans, separation anxiety usually has an element of fear/desperation involved. A horse who truly accepts the human as the leader is not herd bound, because when he's alone with his human, he's still "with the herd". Young, dominant horses are often herdbound, because they do not consider being with a human the same as "being with the herd".

From the young, dominant horse's point of view, a human who he does not particularly respect is trying to take him away from the herd/his stable/whatever his comfort area is. He, instinctively, does not want to go. He uses the strategies that he would use to move a submissive horse out of the way, to try to get away from this human-- rearing striking, charging, barging through pressure.

Instead of moving away, the human gets angry and corrects him, which, in human speak, usually means jerking, slapping, yelling, or hitting.

Now, the horse is trapped with an *angry* (and maybe frightened) predator who he does not respect, and who has separated him from his comfort zone. Now that the person is angry and frightened, he or she seems even less like a leader that this horse might want to respect and follow.

Thought number two:

If it were me, coming in to work with this baby, I would start by establishing basic communication (move forward & backwards from pressure on the halter; move sideways from pressure on the neck and flank; pick up feet; lower head on command, etc) right in the comfort area where the colt wants to be-- the stable, paddock, field... whatever the situation was.

Then, when that was solid, I would stash a pan of feed someplace quite close to the comfort area, but ideally out of sight, and I would lead the colt to the pan of grain or cookies, let him eat it all, and lead him back and let him go. I would keep doing that, moving the pan each time, gradually farther away, until in that colt's mind, I became this fabulously intelligent leader who always knew where the very best treats were hidden, and led him to them.

When the colt's response to seeing me with a halter was "Oh, boy! Where we gonna go to find the cookies today, boss?", and when he would happily follow several hundred yards to look for the goodies, then I would start leading him out with no goodies some of the time, and goodies some of the time, and eventually get rid of the goodies altogether, and maybe just stop for a good scratch and a bite of grass every once in awhile.

In that colt's eyes, I want to be the wise and beneficent leader who makes life happy and easy for him, and who is more interesting and fun to be with than his boring old pasture mates.

Of course, that's just me... YMMV. :-)

NB: This approach wouldn't work for a horse who freaked out and pitched fits because it was terrified, but many dominant horses are also very food-motivated, and this sort of thing fits the bill for them perfectly.

Princess Jess said...

I also vote for talking to trainer, and seeing where she stands first.

Plus, if she includes lessons with training, you will be pretty involved in his training.

And he'll tell you if he's not happy.

If she defends him, then just politely tell her that you will take your business elsewhere.

Then the next step would be option #3 if option #1 fails.

Mark said...

Deer Run Stables:
He does do very well with handling, leading, picking up feet, lowering head or turning to the side with light pressure----on the grounds. He is a sweetheart on the grounds---that is, until we tried the longeing. I appreciate the further suggestions. I will reinforce all these skills on the farm grounds, and move more slowly to walking him a little ways out, then back, then a little further out.

I am also thinking that we tried to teach too much at once in the round pen. I think dominance is definitely a real issue here, but also overload on the colt's mind, and your idea about his lack of impulse control is very insightful, too.


Deer Run Stables said...

My pleasure, and I hope some of it's helpful. The youngsters are my passion-- I wish I wasn't hundreds of miles away.

You'll do fine. It's a tough stage to deal with, but you'll get through it, and he may indeed have a real personality change after his brain surgery.

Just keep yourself safe, and keep plugging away at him! :-)

Kathryn said...

My 4 y/o (oh my, I wonder if I should say 5 now?) rescue mare is now officially going under saddle. She's put the 500 or so lbs on that were missing, and she's even starting to muscle up.

I've been trying to decide what to do with her training as well. Initially, I've had an acquaintance of an old trainer get her started. That's how I usually pick a trainer, get recommendations from people I trust and then take a look at the person's personal horses/record, etc. I also put my ear to the ground and listen.

Anyway, this woman has done a great job getting her going and I've been able to drop in and help or watch or whatever 2-3 times a week. Now I'm thinking I'll take a couple months to play with her on the buckle and then send her to "my" show barn (h/j) in late spring or early summer. That barn is totally fabulous, and I picked it the same way--recommendations from trusted friends, ear to the ground, and looking at the horses/records. I have never heard ANYONE say ANYTHING bad about this particular trainer or barn, which is saying something since they are pretty BN for this area. It's not inexpensive but man, the peace of mind is worth it.

Mark said...

Just wanted to add: I found my current boarding place and barn owner Julie, who has raised and done ground training on babies, through a vet tech. Vets may sometimes be reluctant to say much, but sometimes vet techs can be a good source of information about who's doing what in the area. I feel lucky to have found Julie.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

I agree with Deer Run's analysis of why he's doing what he's doing. That's what I thought - he simply doesn't want to leave his buddies. I agree with the approach of moving him further and further away by stages. It is challenging though. There are 2 groups of horses that are really, really, really herdbound - babies and old broodmares who aren't normally ridden. Both groups tend to bond like glue to their pasture-mates and separating them can be a challenge even for a very experienced handler. Again, they're a herd animal and a prey animal and safety is in the herd, so you are asking them to go somewhere that feels less safe so it makes sense but you still have to establish that they have to listen to you even when they are scared (it definitely carries over later, under saddle!)

Karen V said...

I'm going to toss my two cents worth in on the baby moose - He's in with another weanling...right? He was weaned VERY early (in my opinion) and didn't have the benefit of being reprimanded by mom or the boss mare. See if you can put a cranky old ex-broodie in with him and the other kid. Sometimes learning manners from an older horse does a world of good.

Now, as for the trainer - my neighbor paid $5,000 for a VERY well bred, 2 yr old barrel prospect. He was still a stallion. Not halter broke. She couldn't even get CLOSE to him. He's never had his feet done. Never been haltered even. In order to get him to the trainer, they had to run him up a chute and into a stock trailer. Just what we're finding at auctions for $50 right?

She sent him out to a trainer for 60 day - SIXTY days. (Yeah, I know - 2 yrs old is way too young, but hey, it's her horse, not mine)

The colt (Hustler) came home a little spooky, but rideable. She doesn't work so has a lot of time to put into him, 20 minutes or so under saddle, but LOTS of fussing - winter blanket, fly mask, in the trailer, go for a ride, etc.

That is who I'm sending Millie to when it's her turn. She's 2 yrs old in April. A year from now(ish), she'll be going down to him for 60 days. Then she'll be turned out for the summer. Whcih brings me to trainer #2.

His name is Rawley Stanley and he's in Hermiston, OR. He specialized is reined cows horses - sort of like what Mugwump does (did?). He had my colt for 30 days before I was overcome by life. I brought home a NICELY started colt. I did drop in a few times and Zeke's face was all scabbed over. That concerned me, until I went down to watch Rawley work him. All the scabs were self-inflicted by the colt because be was sort of a dork. I watched him do it. So I'd take another horse to Rawley.

As for Trainer #1, I'd have to ask my neighbor what his name is. (She's in Arizona - the bitch) LOL

altofarm said...

Another vote for letting a good old broodie sort the moose for you. I had a wonderful mare that I was party to helping rescue from her second trip through the kill pen who handled stuff like that for me. She was a strong but quiet leader, brooked no nonsense, but was never mean for the sake of meanness or a bully, and she was very empathic. She sorted out several head cases for me.

You have to be careful to choose the mare -- if she's just a biznitch, she could make the problem worse by bullying him and stressing him, but a good one will teach him respect for boundaries and at the same time build his confidence. A lot of bullying from young stallions is whistlin in the dark to cover up insecurities. In my experience, stallions, for all their bluff and gruff, are very sensitive emotionally and can be insecure -- and cover it up with what appears to be aggression sometimes.

I had a young colt with similar behaviors -- his mama is extremely non assertive. She rules the other broodies but lets her foals walk all over her. This guy was an "only" foal -- he never learned proper boundaries (still isn't great at it but has been running wiht a mixed herd as a gelding and is finally learning). We had some pretty hairy face-offs, about some things that wouldn't really have mattered except he threw the glove down and I couldn't let him win. I gelded him because he charged me one time when I was longeing him -- not an attitude or behavior I wanted to breed into my herd. He also had "hormone poisoning" -- once he hit puberty, his mind was so busy and kind of ADHD-like that training him was very difficult. Gelding helped a lot.

His two half brothers out of the same mare were raised with other, more assertive mares and their foals, and their manners are impeccable. Both are still entire, one is coming four, the other coming two, and both will lead quietly on a swingy rope past a pen full of mares, without taking slack out of the lead rope (just that "boing, boing, look at me ain't I cool" super springy trot, right beside me without putting a foot wrong). The obnoxious brother, whom I bought along with mama as an 11 month old, was a pain to lead, dragging me around and leading in "spirals to the left" which I absolutely HATE -- it took the better part of a year to get him to lead properly. He was also mouthy, grabbing everything and fussing with everything all the time -- he still does that, but is easier to dissuade now.

Letting the moose get some herd manners early will only help him -- none of the other horses have ever really liked my obnoxious now-gelding. Even when he was entire the mares would have nothing to do with him, and his lack of boundaries offended all the huffy old broodies a lot. He has a couple of friends now, as his herd manners have improved, but his lack of social skills really made his life difficult when I introduced him to the herd. I felt sorry for him, but figured he needed to learn, and my bunch of bossy Morgan mares made good teachers for him.

Andalusians Of Grandeur said...

Why is a weanling being worked in the roundpen anyway? There is no point in trying, because fighting with him in there will stress his joints as much as trying to lunge him. I don't mean to sound like I'm getting after you, but using an older horse to sort him out will work much better. Along with brain surgery, a right crotchity old bag will put him right.

mugwump said...

My boss suggested (she's a pleasure person) going to Go to "Forum Toppers" in the box on the upper right side of the screen.
Then you have to sign in.
Go to and say "I'm looking for a pleasure trainer in the xxx area." People will be up front and honest from what I understand.
Personally, I would go with training the horse myself with the help of someone who wins. You can keep learning and know your horse is safe.

icepony said...

I don't have anything to add to the "Moose Column"; sounds like you guys have given good advice.

On the home front, I have to confess to having hired a "nanny" for the SOG (slightly odd gelding) for the winter. I found a gal who rides well, takes lessons, and is kind, and she puts in about 2 rides a week on him. I've been working 3 jobs, and haven't made it out to the barn much, and this seemed like the perfect solution. That's going well.

I played hooky from one of my jobs 2 days ago, because it was 58 degrees, sunny, and not windy (a VERY rare thing in January in WY!) and headed for the barn. Being a die-hard arenaweenie, I was going to ride inside, but the BO intercepted me, and the next thing I knew, we were headed out into the fields! Granted, I weenied out of riding the SOG and had the BO take him, whilst I took the tiny little bottlerocket of an Arab. I got to watch while the SOG put the BO to the test. Fortunately, she passed with flying colors, and he was mostly pretty darn good for his very first trail ride. I'm beyond pleased, but not ready to do it myself yet.

It was a bit of a comfort to hear BO say "He's really a fun ride, but the first 10 minutes it would be reeeeeeally easy to get off him"! My sentiments exactly.

The scary part is that I have committed to actually riding the SOG in an endurance ride in May. Okay, it's only 15 miles, but that's about 15 more than I'm comfortable with outside of an arena! So now I have a concrete goal and definite steps I need to take to achieve it - damned tough to fit up a horse and rider for an endurance ride without leaving the arena, lol!

As for the training issue, that's my solution: I will continue his training, interspersed with rides/lessons with the BO. I would love to send him out, but can't foot the bill at this point.

moosefied said...

Thanks again to all the suggestions.Really, they are all sound. And I WILL call the trainer Karen V. suggested, for the future, and check out the site Mugwump mentions.

Unfortunately, although I do agree about the boss mare, there is no way to add another horse to Julie's small property or to my small budget. I will work on leading him off the grounds and leading in the arena. The only reason for the round pen was to teach "whoa" and "walk" and "stop" in a controlled environment, but I agree with Andalusians of Grandeur (I love the name), it will put too much stress on his legs because he runs on his own. So I won't try to do that now.

I am not sure that I can raise this baby. But I have not given up yet.

THANK you!

Karen V said...

You could always send him over to me for a couple months. I'm got a cranky battleaxe that will straighten him out....