Training Journey so far

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by Wild at Heart, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    Hello everyone. Since I'm hoping to be on here more regularly now, I figured I'd start a thread to track my progress with both my 9 month old filly, Ren, and my 14 year old mare, Roxy.

    Ren:
    I've had her since October, so about 3.5 months. She's incredibly sweet and she'll often nicker a greeting when she sees me. When I got her, she was only semi halter broke and only had her feet picked up maybe a handful of times. She currently stands around 12.5 hh and is supposed to grow to be 15 hh. Her breed is unknown/wild horse as her parents were in a wild herd.

    While I've had her, I've been taking my time with her training and just letting her be a baby for the most part. Though once she turns a year old and spring/summer hits, then I'm going to really get to work with training her. So far she knows how to do is disengage her hindquarters, is halter broke and rarely plants her feet anymore, backs up, and dropping her head plus I've introduced her being tied. Also been working on her giving her feet. She isn't bad with it, and even the farrier said she was amazing for her age, but she does have the occasional tendency to try laying down to get out of it. Though a small poke in her side gets her to stay standing.

    I've also worked with swinging the rope around and letting it swing over her and she doesn't care. She's also fine with me touching her anywhere and everywhere. She often follows me as well, sometimes to the point it's almost annoying when I'm trying to do something in the pen lol. She also lets me drape my arm over her back and squeeze her sides a bit. So I'm going to start working on draping both arms over her back. I did that once and she started to back away from that so definitely need to work on it. Though I've also slung a saddle pad on her and she didn't care in the slightest. She didn't even bother to check it out and I didn't even have her in a halter or lead rope. She could easily have run off but she stayed which is pretty good.

    So the next few things I'm going to start on is improving her dropping her head, flexing her neck, pivoting on her hindquarters, and teach to send off.

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    Roxy
    She's a fully trained horse, but her and I just have to establish a few things between us to get a stronger bond. I've had her for about 3 months. She's a thoroughbred and stands at about 15 hh.

    For the last month and a half, she started to pace when I'd come to field and also pin her ears when walking around me. She never kicked or bit or threatened, but would never stop to get pet and occasionally would start to walk away or turn her butt to me if I went to catch her.

    So a few days ago, I started to chase her off if she was pinning her ears around me and would stop once she'd face with a friendly face of ears forward and didn't turn her but when I approached. This morning, for the first time since the first month I had her, she actually greeted me at the gate with her ears forward and actually stood still to get some petting and loving in which is great. I doubt this completely over yet, I'm sure she's going to try the ear pinning a few more times before she gives up on it since that's the kind of horse she is. She has to make sure you really mean it.

    Also, to establish myself as above her in the pecking order so to speak, I'm going to be working on her ground manners. She really doesn't like to disengage the hind end when asked, so I'm going to have to get after her with that. She backs up decently though and follows well, though has a naturally fast walk.

    I'm actually going to be trying to find a saddle for her this week. Then hopefully her and I can go for rides at long last. Can't wait for that!
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    Other
    So what kind of stuff would you guys suggest to do during the winter season? I'm struggling to come up with things due to living in north Canada, on a farm. So I have plenty of snow around and also a lot of ice. I only have the field the horses are in and otherwise no riding ring and not really any trails due to all the snow build up. There's also not much space to do anything in the field since the horses have a small section they hang out in and have a few trails in that small area and everywhere else there is several feet of snow/ice mix.
    So any suggestions you have are welcomed.

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  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Sometimes you don't do any big dramatic work but you still can get a lot done.

    I'd get the broken wood thing in the first pic, and the pallet leaning on the barn, out of the horse area, and look for any other hardscape in their areas and remove it.

    They usually leave these things alone and don't get hurt on them, til one day when they get startled and aren't looking where they're going, or start feuding with each other over feed and get to kicking, or whatever. A vertical pallet against a wall seems pretty safe but in fact I have seen a horse put a foot through one, get it stuck firmly on her leg, and run through a wire and plank fence dragging it in a panic. Some accidents are rare and unlikely, but still have a knack for happening when you least want them to. And what should result in a little lost hair and a few scratches, seems to follow Murphy's law on some random Sunday, and end you up with a permanently crippled or dead horse.

    Babies are particularly able to get in trouble on things you've had in the same place for 40 years, or never, ever thought a horse could possibly be so dumb as to hurt himself on. But as a wise old not-so-politically correct horse woman told me about my young horse, "If you can keep him alive til he's five, you done your job."

    I'd make very sure my fence had a good hot electric line on it to keep horses away from the fence. Especially in winter they will get a leg through any fence section that's leaning or keeping them from tufts of grass. I'd make very sure the fence line was good and hot and look at my ground rods to be sure they got a good strong zap, even when things are frozen, so they stay off the fence. I'd make sure my gates were good and not loose or leaning. A hot line across a gate is never a bad idea. They often lean on gates.

    I'd rake up some of those frozen manure balls where the horses linger a lot, and throw the frozen ice from the water buckets outside of the horse's area. You might save yourself some bruised feet or an injured fetlock or pastern. Young horses often wind up having their legs grow crooked or their hooves get distorted if they get hurt and have their weight off one leg for a while.

    As far as working with the horses, have you got a barn, lean to or shelter for them? You can often get with a baby in such a spot, and just turn him, back him up a step or two, just do little bits of things, a step or two, for just a couple minutes a day, and get a lot done. You can teach him to take a step forward when gently tapped with a whip.

    I've found a little goes a long, long way with them.

    I'd set up some poles and make a narrow 'stall' for the baby and get him used to enclosed places. If I had an ice free area for a trailer and vehicle, I might load the baby into a stock trailer with the other horse and feed them in there(I would not put a horse in a trailer unless it was hitched to a vehicle, though, as otherwise the trailer can shift very badly). That goes a long, long way to winding up with a horse that's relaxed in a horse trailer.

    I'd get a syringe and squirt apple sauce in the baby's mouth so he's easier to give oral medication.

    I'd get him used to boots and bandages on his legs, and I'd lift his feet - and hold them up a little longer, and a little higher, each day. I'd be sure not to skip the hind feet because as horses get older they often get bad about their hind feet if it isn't done every day.

    I'd accustom him to being tied up, though I'd be careful not to go to extremes with that. Don't want him getting hurt. Just tieing him up for a few minutes would be fine, just so he gets the idea that he doesn't get anywhere by pulling back.

    And I'd be touching him all over. Getting him used to lots of petting, playing with his ears, getting a look at his teeth, and so on.

    You might want to have a look at that bump on the inside of the right hind fetlock. Keep alert for signs of any joint swelling or irritation. That can sometimes happen if they get too much concentrate feed. Some youngsters need pretty careful feeding at that age to avoid joint problems.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
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  3. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    The wood has been cleaned up since those pics were taken. I mixed in both old and new pics so some are from when I first got them and some are of a week or two ago. But I appreciate all the tips anyways with that and the feed.
    As for the training, I've done that, but she's so smart that she gets bored quickly if the same thing is repeated too frequently. Generally by the third time I get her to perform the action, she knows it perfectly and even if I leave days or a week or two until I ask for that action again, she does it perfectly as though there was never a break from doing that particular thing.
     
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  4. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    Weather hasn't been too nice yesterday or today which is too bad. I also spent yesterday in the city an hour away to do some shopping since I live in a small town with VERY limited shopping options. To give you an idea how small this town is, the first swimming pool here is just opening in about a week or two. We do not have a bowling alley or most any other fun things similar to that.
    Anyways, so between being in the next town over and working today along with the weather, I haven't been able to do much with the horses.

    Ren
    Just been working on picking up her feet for the most part. For the last 3/4 days, I've especially made sure to pick up her feet in the mornings when the horses are eating breakfast since I have a little bit of time before having to go to work and such. She's gotten a lot better and will give her feet but still occassionally wants to take them back on her time. But figured I'd especially work on refreshing her on how to give her feet since tomorrow all the horses are getting their hooves trimmed which will be Ren's second trimming ever.

    One thing I love about Ren is how every morning she's always the first to greet me. She comes all the way to the gate and since I apparently don't get in fast enough, she has to stick her head through the fence to nuzzle me since she's too short to reach over the fence lol. She's the absolute sweetest horse I've ever had and is so affectionate and unbelievably calm. I think she's bonded to me more than she has with the other horses as well since she'll tend to chose to follow me and watch what I"m up to rather than hang out with the others. Only time she'll leave me is if something else temporarily catches her eye, or if Roxy comes over and tells Ren to leave. Despite that though, Ren always finds a way to circle back to me. And if Ren does ever happen to be worried about something, she'll hide behind me. She sometimes will use me as a barrier between her and Roxy since she knows I'm higher than Roxy in the pecking order so Roxy won't try anything with me. Though Ren doesn't do that too often. Either way, I'm glad she sees me as a source of comfort and protection. Means she trusts me which is always a good thing.

    Roxy
    Working with Roxy is somewhat put on hold right now. She must've slipped on the ice a bit or something cause her back end/hips area is bothering her and her back seems out. She's been sore and tender in that area and I also notice it when I ask for her back feet. While she'll happily allow me to pick up and clean her front hooves, she always fights a bit when it comes to her back hooves. Also, in some of the latest pics I've taken as well as what I've observed in person, she tends to keep her back feet always tucked under her and in kind of a stiff looking posture.

    She also isn't trotting around and in fact, refuses to go to faster than a walk which is unlike her. Especially since it was snowing this morning and every time it's snowed, she's running around and kicking up her heels and trying to get Ren to play with her and run around. She'd buck, toss her head, and prance around. But lately, in the last few days, I've noticed she's stopped any prancing/fast walking that she'd normally do. And just reading her body language, I can tell she's not feeling too good.

    So I'm hoping she isn't in too much pain when she gets her hooves trimmed tomorrow. But either on Friday or on Feb 5th, I have a chiropractor scheduled to come out and work on her. I'm sure she'll feel much better after that. So until the chiro appointment, I'm not going to do much with her as I don't want to accidentally cause her more pain or make move in a way that makes her back even worse.

    Other
    Managed to find some shims when I went to the neighboring town and I'm hoping to try that with a saddle I found. The saddle fits her perfectly except that it's slightly too wide and the pommel is too low. But it was suggested to me to use some shims to adjust the saddles fit so it works for Roxy. And the shim pad comes with 2 different shims so I can adjust how much padding I need. I'm really hoping that this will work out but at the same time, I'm not holding my breath. Basically, I'm hoping for the best but preparing the worst type of idea.

    Also went an animal rescue/adoption center where a lady takes in both dogs and horses and occassionally some other animals. I'm hoping to volunteer there roughly twice a month to learn what goes on with a rescue like that. She also had a tack store since people tend to donate horse equipment which she can then sell to help raise money for the rescue. I went looking in there and ended up getting a surcingle. I got it for 2 reasons. 1, to help Roxy with getting over her cinchiness and 2, to have it on hand and ready for when Ren's older and is ready for that part of training.
    Along with that I got some hay nets so that I can now hang up their hay since otherwise they pee and poop on it when it's on the ground :/

    Last side update. I finally managed to get myself some salt to put on the ground to help get rid of the ice. There's an area that I could use for some training but due to the ice, the horses can't really walk properly and even I struggle at times to keep my balance. So it's high time to put down some salt and get a workable space once again.


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  5. Lopinslow

    Lopinslow Senior Member

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    if you are using a hay net with holes this big, make sure you hang it up high enough a foot could not get stuck. this is way too low.
     
  6. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    Today there was rearing and the farrier got kicked.
    Now that I've got your attention, I'll explain what exactly happened today.

    Early this morning, I got Roxy and brought her to the driveway and tied her to the fence there before going back and getting Ren and then tied her next Roxy. There were some cute moments with those two and I'll share some pics. Was a sweet moment while we waited for the farrier to show up.

    When the farrier arrived, we went with Ren first. She seemed to remember the farrier guy and as he approached, started to back up a bit. (for some weird reason, she doesn't really like men in general anyways)
    Anyways, she soon settled and he picked up her first foot. She tried to walk sideways or away from time to time, but wasn't too bad. She was an angel for her back feet, but then when he went to her last front foot, things changed.
    She stood still for a bit, but then tried to back up or go sideways and when that didn't work, she decided it was time to rear. I made her back up after she did that and after that, she was an angel once more.
    The thing is, I even worked with her on her feet for the last week or so and she was fine. I was able to pick them up, wiggle them, and even tap on them with my hoof pick.

    I think what Ren's biggest problem is 1, she's only used to me handling her, so is unsure when someone else handles her cause she's pretty much perfect when it comes to her feet for me. 2, for whatever reason, she doesn't like men. She will tolerate them being around at times, but often if a man reaches out to pet her, she starts walking away. And I know it has nothing to do with her past since I met the previous owners and talked to them. So I guess I'm going to have to work with her being around men and find someone who's also willing to work with me to teach Ren to listen to other people as well.

    Also, when she reared, due to a few things, one of her hooves clipped my left hand/arm. It's been really sore all day with slight discoloration in some spots and a small blood blister. So that's a fun side effect from this morning :p
    Though I know she wasn't doing it to be mean. She just got a little stressed and unsure about things.


    As for Roxy, I warned the farrier ahead of time that she'd be touchy when it came to her back feet due to how much her back is out. What she used to do to me was just stomp her one foot if she was feeling a little touchy, but since I've bonded with her a bit more, the most she does is swish her tail and give me a certain look if I touch a tender spot.

    However, when the farrier went for her back foot, she actually kicked him in the back of his leg. Not hard enough to hurt him, but enough to show she wasn't in the mood for a stranger to work on her foot. The farrier gave her a bit of a smack in return (nothing too harsh) and she didn't kick him again. So he was able to work on her foot, but also held it lower than he typically would to avoid hurting her too much. She did pull away when he went for her other back foot but at least didn't go to kick him again.

    Otherwise, she was good. Turns out she has some other issues with her feet due to past farrier trims though from before I got her. One of her hooves has a touch of white lime disease enough that he had to scrape a decent segment out. One of her other hooves was trimmed a bit too short and straight, and others were a bit too flaired out. There was also that had a crack near the top of the hoof.

    Current things to improve on Roxy:
    - getting her hooves back in proper condition
    - put on a bit more weight
    - gain some muscle mass
    - get a chiropracter to fix up her back

    So ya, today's been interesting.

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  7. lucky_pine

    lucky_pine Senior Member

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    Do you have a trainer or knowledgeable person helping you out?

    And 12.5hh isn't a height. A hand is 4 inches. Is she 13.2, or are you saying 12 1/2 which is 12.2?
     
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  8. Lopinslow

    Lopinslow Senior Member

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    I agree, find someone to give you some lessons. And for your farrier's safety, twitch or have the vet out to sedate the horses until they can safely be trimmed
     
  9. Garfield70

    Garfield70 Senior Member

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    Please do NOT tie horses to things that may come off if the horse pulls. Like that wooden hand rail or the flimsy metal gate.

    Agree with the low haning hay net. That's dangerous.

    Is that a cribbing collar on the TB?
     
  10. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    There is a trainer here who's willing to give me a hand when I need it.
    And I don't know much on the measurement system, I just found an online converter and that's what the result was when I put in what I measurement I had and it converted it 12.5 hh.

    The horses don't need to be sedated. Roxy only reacted the way she did because her hips are badly out so she's very sore and has had bad experiences with strangers in the past so the combo of the two made her more nervous to have him back there. Also, like I said, she didn't do a serious kick. Just one that basically says she doesn't want that. And I do have a chiro arranged to come out to fix up her back.

    And Ren is fine, she just needs to be exposed to both men and strangers more often to get her to behave better for the trimming. Between her first trim and this one, the farrier even said she was really good for her age since most of the time horses her age that he's worked on are way worse. And I didn't get seriously hurt either. A day after and my hand is totally fine, not even a bruise like I first thought there might be.

    I wouldn't have tied the horses there if I thought it was unsafe. Both are calm and non reactive to things. Plus, I was there so if for some weird reason something would have gone wrong, I was right there to deal with it. Not to mention, I only had them there a few mins while waiting for the farrier so they weren't there a long time.
    Also, none of the metal gates or fencing there is flimsy. I guess it might look like it, but it's a lot stronger and sturdier than you think.
    Hay net just slipped cause I didn't do a knot right, and doesn't typically sit quite that low and I did fix it.
    And yes, it is a cribbing collar. It's a bad habit of hers so she has to wear it most of the time which was a habit of hers from long before I got her.
     

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