Tale of Two Horses - Rescue/Rehab/Retrain/compete - The Horse Forum
View Poll Results: What best describes your first endurance horse
Former rescue 1 11.11%
Purchased as an experienced endurance mount 0 0%
Raised him/her myself 2 22.22%
Bought healthy and trained out myself 2 22.22%
Bought a healthy trail horse and converted him/her to endurance 3 33.33%
I just borrow a friend's 1 11.11%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 11 Old 04-30-2014, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Thumbs up Tale of Two Horses - Rescue/Rehab/Retrain/compete

Ok, since I'm healthy and able to train new horses for the first time since 2002 - we decided to sell the two 14hh & 14.2hh gaited horses that hubby and son (now 5'11" @ age 15) trail rode. Simply, the hubby has gained a lot of weight and son just grew - so they were both way too big for those mares. Had not done it early because I was too disabled to even think about finishing out new horses for them - and our price range dictates buying fixer uppers... But now I've been healthy for over a year and my teenage daughter is ready to learn training techniques... So we felt it was time to get back into rescue/rehab/retraining again. (made my living in my 20s doing this)

So I found two fixer uppers. Figured it would make a good thread for people who want to get into RRR to follow. I'll try and post new pics every two weeks or so. (BTW these pics were after 6" of rain in the last 24 hours...)

Goals: 1. get them in good condition/health
2. get them dead broke enough for the boys to trail ride
3. get them in shape for either Big South Fork or Skymont AERC
4. get hooves in condition to do the LDs totally barefoot (like my other mounts)

Shado: the black TWH mare with single sock. Purchased two weeks ago. Has already gained 50 lbs. Needs 150 more. 6 years old & 15.2 hh. Very GREEN. Obviously never ridden much. Moderately spooky around moving cars & water. Would kick out when we first started riding her and asked for her to go above walk. Also camel walked badly and over-reached with hind. Stumbled often. Had been shod for the first time just 8 weeks earlier.

Solutions: Wormed before she got off trailer. Has indoor kept round bail in paddock. Fed 2x daily with no mollases grain mixed half-in-half with sugar beat pulp + alfalfa pellets. Rode her by herself 5x per week for 1-2 hours just in slow gait (with bell boots) on our little country road with two short steep hills & two creeks. Had friends slowly drive vehicles back and forth. By the end of two weeks she was almost locked in gait, collected at the walk, beginning to canter on comman, no longer over-reaching and causing herself to stumble, and not freaking out over cars. Had farrier pull shoes last Sunday - so now she'll go down to 2-3 workouts per weeks mainly in turf obstacle course for the next couple of weeks.

Socks: Black SSH with four white stockings. 12 year old mare, 15-15.1hh. Only needs to gain about 50lbs to get a good covering over back. Built short backed and deep barreled. Perfect horse to carry a heavy husband. Was already barefoot but appeared to have gone a long time since a trim. But hooves looked sound. Purchased at auction on Friday - test rode her on Sunday. She IS locked in gait with nice headset and is fairly bombproof. However, she has obviously had beginner riders on her and developed a lot of bad habits (trying to pull reins out of your hands, meandering down road side-to-side. Fights the bit - obviously used to a more severe one. Going fast at first and refusing to slow down until 2 miles later)

Solutions: When I test rode her and she wouldn't slow down - I kept turning around and doing another lap on the road until she finally realized that walking might be a good idea. She will now be rode every night it is NOT storming by my advanced riding daughter. None of her bad habits are dangerous. She just needs a month of constant work under a rider who lets her get away with NOTHING. She is on the same weight gain regimine as Shado. And the farrier trimmed her up on Sunday as well.
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Last edited by 2scicrazed; 04-30-2014 at 11:48 AM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-30-2014, 02:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Colorado
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They definitely are "Fixer uppers", but it sounds like you know what you're doing! I look forward to keeping up with your progress (:
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-30-2014, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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I guess I like my horses taller than you do! Sounds like you have a very good game plan. Keep us updated. =D
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-30-2014, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Corporal, my main mount is a 13hh Spotted Saddle Pony. And don't tell her she's a pony when she's in the front of the pack :)

It's been a looooonnnnnggggg time since I've ridden/trained anything over 14.3hh. Feel like I'm almost back on the KY tracks when I climb on the TWH.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-02-2014, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Arizona USA
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Wow! They are so pretty, even at this point. Bet they'll be stunners with plenty of TLC. Sounds like you have a great plan. Respect, from me to you! Persevere!

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post #6 of 11 Old 05-04-2014, 06:56 PM
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Englewood, FL
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Good for you, its very rewarding to bring a horse to its potential. I currently have a "project" though his main issue is he has too much go and has no idea how to rate himself as he was rode hard on barrels most of his life. I rode him for the first time today since I've brought him home (a week ago) and in short time he was walking calmly both directions on the buckle and halting appropriately. Good luck with your girls and keep us updated!
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-05-2014, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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The older I get, the better the 14 handers look to me!
good luck with them!
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-07-2014, 09:56 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
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This is awesome. I'd love to do something like this when I grow up. Glad you are feeling better. Thanks for starting this thread. I would like to finish an endurance ride one day.

Vagabond, There is nothing wrong with a tall horse after your mounted. . . And once you are safely back on the ground. As a 200 lb. 58 year old I'll take a 15h barrel over a 17 h rail every time given the choice.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-14-2014, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Well, Shadow has gained weight and muscle nicely. She has turned out to have a natural narrow build, but with a perfectly flat back. Great for a bareback rider. Did a 16 mile 'at speed' endurance test on her after she had good base trail conditioning. She conked out at 14 miles and we walked the rest. Just got in Epics for her. And boots didn't effect her wonderful gaits at all :)

Going on a 'family horse vacation' for a week. Think two hours of riding per day with a 300 lb hubby on her back will advance her endurance dramatically under a featherweight rider :)

Socks on the other hand, is a hoss! Passed her 16 mile speed test with plenty left at the end. She's built big, but with a backbone. So I'm having to use a saddle during training as I try to lock her in gait. She's one of those that boots throws off gait. If I can't straighten the gaits out - next step is to slap shoes on her.

I'll be riding her daily during our vacation. And my family prefers consistent slow-medium gait during trail rides. So I'll know in a week if shoes are in her future. Gaits wonderful barefoot, but she has gotten sore over rock. So it's either boots or shoes now.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-04-2014, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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Took Shadow the TWH to my favorite training park for a solo test yesterday. She's now in f/b epic easyboots whenever she's being ridden, since she showed tenderness on backs at end of weeklong trail riding vacation. Been in fronts for a month now. But she's one of those hard fitters with wide hooves - but short from toe to heel. So she's an in between size. I'm using pads to help the fit. However in muddy conditions, I've had a rear spin around on mile eleven of last training ride.

Knowing I might have boot spin in the back, decided to do this endurance test at 'turtle pace'. Boots stay better in gait than canter. Figured I can move her up in speed as hooves grow and fit gets better. Plenty of time before Big South Fork or Skymont.

First lap of 12 miles in two hours went great! No issues at all. While she was eating/drinking at trailer - another rig pulled up and three Arab types unloaded. I eyeballed them, wondering if they were AERC riders too. Well the man answered my question when he noticed my epic boots and asked if I was into endurance too.

Long story short we hooked up for my final eight mile lap. It was the first time I'd asked my green mare to ride with unknown groups and constantly switch positions. There was some tail swishing and pinned ears - but no direct aggression. She also proved to be the calmest of the group as every one of theirs did some typical Arabian spooks/refusals and she never joined in the fun.

The last mile of the lap they took off at a gallop up a hill. Shadow finally convinced me to let her run (proving she wasn't tired after 19 miles). Sure enough in five strides one boot came off and another spun. I knew better! Grrrrrr. But she was a champ, grazing on twigs while I put them back on.

No cantering for another month! At least she can keep up with their Arabs in gait - even if she'd rather canter :)

Meeting up with same group on Monday. Daughter and I are training Socks the saddle horse - and Hope our 'top tenner'. Socks is getting shoes that morning - since boots turn her into a trotter even after a month to get used to them.

So everything's going great for the two rescues! Still on track for fifties this fall :)
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health , problems , rehabilitation , rescue , retraining

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