Sunday, May 31, 2009

Turbo's Story

Turbo is my new project. Trudy and Andy got him to replace their giant gelding that died last summer. Stretch, the horse that died, was a rescue and his internal organs were just too damaged. He had a heart attack and died in the night. Turbo came to them from a lady that got divorced and couldn't keep him. She did Parelli with him. SOoo, basically he was a 7 yr old that was terrified of any movement made by a human, lunging, brushes, and didn't know how to stop or steer or that legs have "aides".

They rode him at a play-day and it was quite evident he had no clue what to do. He didn't buck or rear or anything, but was just frustrated and confused. They were told to put a bigger bit on him. The horse doesn't neck-rein, yet they need a BIGGER curb bit? Didn't make sense to me. I had them bring him to my house for a few months. We rode him in a snaffle and dressage saddle in the arena. He was definitely very green, but not mean. After Melissa went home for the summer, I had to work him by myself. I went back to basics. I put a snaffle on him and from the GROUND, asked him to give to each side to the bit in combination with pressure on his side where a leg would go. I did that for about ten minutes, then walked him in the arena doing it more walk/halt. We worked on his whip fear. I got on. He did NOT stand at all. He would just leave. I got on and walked/half-halt to walk and back again until he was sharp at it. We walk/trotted. He is easy. We backed. Harder, but he didn't blow up. Just moved his head a bit trying to figure out what to do.

I rode him a couple times, then my friend Michelle came over. She needed a good confidence boost, so I put her on him and she walked him around, then trotted. Then cantered! He won't take his left lead, but he doesn't run through the fence. He actually doesn't go very fast. He can be hard to stop just because he can't quite coordinate his feet well enough. Just takes him more room.

So, now she's put several around the block rides, and a couple trail rides on him. She's in love with him and he adores her. In a few short months and really not that very many rides he has gone from shying when you go to brush him or move hair from your face to falling asleep while being groomed. He hasn't pulled back since he got here, and he had at Trudy's when she first brought him home. You no longer have to go looking for him in the paddock, he'll come to the gate when you call.

The crowning achievement was last weekend at the calf-sorting. Trudy rode him. He plunged right into the cows, no spooking. He took care of her and steered and stopped and everything. She was about in tears she was so happy.

All the people she was talking to told her she just needed a gag-bit meant for barrel racing. Well, after rides with me and Michelle, she is happily riding him in a snaffle. A bigger bit does NOT replace proper training!

Lastly, we are now working on neck-reining. Since he is going to be Andy's horse he needs to go easily just neck-reining. He is steerable, but doesn't have the refinement I want to see before I send him home. Hopefully in the next couple weeks we'll get there and then he'll go home to Andy and Trudy. I'm so proud of him. He has come SO far.

Stormy's Session

It's been a few weeks now, but I worked Stormy the crazy filly one afternoon last month I think. I spent 2 1/2 hours with her. We went through all the ground stuff; lunging, scary bag on a stick, rope tossed over her, etc. I was able to put a bridle on and off her doing it in steps. I did rope in the mouth instead of a bit and after that she took the bit easier. It took a while and lots of patient persistence, but I was able to get the bridle and bit on and off without unbuckling it and putting it on like a halter. I tacked her up and did scary stirrups and and everything else I could think of. She's not scared of any of that. She hates the bridle, but isn't actually scared of it. Nanci showed up, so I had her hold Stormy and I stood in the stirrups, laid on her back, then sat on her and had Nanci walk us about 6 steps. I called it good and got off and she didn't even spook about that. I untacked and brushed again and then brought out an extension cord and desensitized her to it. I used the plastic bag and made scary clipper noises and rubbed it all over her. Then I got the clippers and rubbed her shoulder with the, and trimmed her bridle path. I held them in front of her so she could see them in hopes of doing her muzzle and she reared and struck. Of course. When I got her calmed down I held up the clippers off and she reared and struck. After a couple times I caught what her "tells" were and started disciplining her at the first signs she was thinking about rearing/striking. It worked. I was able to get her to sniff the clippers. I felt harsh, but I'm NOT going to stand for being struck at. That is WAY too deadly.

A few days later Melissa took her to the stables and worked her in the round-pen and said she had no issues, so it must have made a difference. Monty hasn't done anything with her since and the session proved to me AGAIN that she is really to aggressive for me. I don't know how to handle it correctly and safely AND I don't want to die. Especially not by the hooves of that psycho horse. I've worked her several times, she has all the "scary stuff" down. She's NOT scared. She's just scared of PEOPLE and wants to kill them. I can't fix that, I'm not agile enough to dodge hooves nor strong enough to wrestle her around when she gets violent. I don't know any other way of handling something like that, so I'm obviously NOT the one who should be training her. Being nice and trying to do bonding things hasn't made her less violently aggressive. She needs a real trainer at this point. Hopefully by the fall Monty can afford that for her.

The Canceled Show

So, the show that we were practicing intently for was canceled. I was so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to post for a while. Then I got busy. So, now I have no excuse and show be posting regularly again.

Our new show is in 2 weeks and it will most likely be the only show for the season. It is an actually Dressage show, so I am appropriately horribly nervous.

Dazzle and I have been doing a lot of riding, but not Dressage practice. We have done several trail rides, practiced in her bitless bridle that I plan to use on her on the Trail Ride in July, the big Chief Joseph ride. We did a calf-sorting last weekend. So, good stuff, but not technically Dressage practice. So, for the next two weeks, that's ALL we're going to do. I have the arenas mowed and re-lettered and we're ready to go.