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April 2013

Snickers

snickers

Snickers is a Morgan Paint. She came to my house to be saddle broke and she finally got over her addiction to my mare, Chloe.  These silly mares bonded from one paddock to the other and didn't want to leave each other.  By keeping Snickers focused and working, she learned quickly.  She came to me well handled and had already been introduced to tack.  Besides working in the ring alone,  we have ridden with an other horse in the ring and have ground driven down the road to get used to traffic and leaving her comfort zone of the ring.

Luca and Snickers

I thought this picture was funny because of my crazy puppy Luca doing laps around the ring.  I always let Luca run around during training a horse.  The horses get used to her crashing through the wetlands next to the ring and flying through the barn.  It is a great desensitizing tool.  Look at Snickers:  she could care less about the puppy and is listening to me.


Horses Teaching Horses

I've mentioned before how much I like to "pony" horses when starting them under-saddle.  I believe horses learn from example.  If a horse watches the other one ridden, they are more likely to accept it.  

Chloe being ponied

Having a great lead horse is a must!  Noodle knows he is working when he is a lead horse.  He teaches the other horse that you can not pass him nor tailgate.  If the flick of an ear doesn't get the other horse's attention, teeth will be shown.  A tailgating horse will get a warning with a swishing tail.  If that doesn't work he can give a nice warning buck.

Once good position is established,  the pony gets used to seeing the rider above them.  This is very important.  While walking or trotting around,  I will lean down and pat the saddle or neck of the horse.  I can toss the rope over them like we do from the ground.  Eventually, I like to take the horses down the road to get some miles on them and get them used to traffic.


Big Changes Make Two Mares Into Soul Mates

I never like bringing more than one horse to the farm in the same week.  I try and space the arrivals out so we can get acquainted and they can settle in a bit.  A new horse has a lot to absorb when it gets to my farm.  I don't need two horses at once panicked and worried about being away from everything they are used to.

 Chloe in stall1

Two weeks ago, in a snow storm,  I brought home Chloe.  She is an eight year old Morgan mare.  Chloe has moved before, but always with her stable mates,  Max and Willow.  Chloe walked onto my trailer, frightened but willing to please.  Once home, I kept her in a paddock where she could see my other horses but not touch noses.  She was pretty good about settling in or so I thought.  

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The following week, Snickers came to my farm for training.  She is also about 7 and has never been off her farm as far as I know.  Again, she was scared but had enough good human interaction to trust her owner onto the trailer.  I put Snickers in a stall that looks out to the other paddocks so she knew she wasn't alone.  She ate her hay for about an hour and then I put her in her paddock.

Chloe and Snickers were now near each other.  Over the fence they shared stories and instantly bonded into bosom buddies.  Once in the ring and working they were pretty good and focused, but the time they spent separated (from the paddock to the stall) was nuts.  These girls could not focus.  They couldn't even be brushed in the cross ties with out a misshap.  I am always amazed at how much mental build up goes into basic horse training.  I knew a few days of a routine would break their bond,  but it feels like forever when you are in the moment.  By day 9,  each one could stand in the cross ties with out diarrhea or whinnying,  major milestones as far as I am concerned.

Like sending your child to camp,  a traveling horse is learning more than boondoggle.  Interaction with or with out others is a big deal.  A well traveled horse walks off the trailer with confidence.  This is what I am finally getting with Watson after two years into travel.  It is a lot to ask of a horse for the first or second time off the farm.  Patience with this aspect is why I enjoy starting horses and for some,  bringing them to their first shows.  It's not always about the ribbons.  


Watson's New Girlfriend

My friend Elise came over to ride the other day.  We have been trying to set this up forever, but either work or bad weather got in the way.  The planets finally aligned and we got together.  I have a few horses at my farm at various levels of training and choosing the best match takes some thought.   It's not only about matching rider to horse, you also have to factor in which horses will do well together.  I had never ridden with Elise and wanted her to have a good time and hopefully come back!   While Noodle is a great horse, he can be rather boring.  No one has really ridden Watson but me.  I know he's a great horse,  but would he prove to be a good one for a new rider?  

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Watson proved to be a great horse for Elise and we had a wonderful ride.  Elise not only groomed the heck out of Watson, she also pulled his mane.  I am very appreciative of her help. We will now look professional for our first show April 27th.


We Need Names!

Dobush Farm got two not-so-little pigs.  Many people think you shouldn't name an animal you are going to eat.  I disagree!  While these two girls are going to be enjoying a great life on Dobush Farm, they will need names.  Help me out.  Last year's were Laverne and Shirley.  Any suggestions?

New piggies