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.

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