Then, now and how: Share how cafe you've come with your horses
Hi, horse people! I want to hear what you've done with your boys and girls. Anyone willing to share what a horse you've had was like when you got him, what he's like now and how you got/are getting there? I'm a new horse mama (3 months), and my boy amazes me all the fine, but we have a lot of work to do. I'd love to be inspired by what you all have done. Brag about your babies for me?
Selena and I have come a long, long ways together.
I'll keep it short xD I made a huge thread about this awhile ago but I gotta run here in a minute...lol
I bought her several years ago as my reining horse. She was just about to turn four and had won money in reining. Never been outside the stall really, was told she was NOT a safe trail horse. I started trying to show her in reining and one day she just went crazy...Bucking, jumping up and down, rearing, refusing to go in the gate...Just a complete nightmare! I couldn't believe the horse who was the laziest thing I'd ever ridden had turned out to be crazy.
So we went to work...We had a lot of ups and downs, including several trail rides where I was about to be in tears and give up on her. She went crazy on me every time I wanted to do anything, even just lope a good circle.
Well we made a lot of adjustments. We had her teeth done, had her chiropracted, switched her bits, and then from there we worked hard. We eventually got through it. I attribute a lot of it very highly to us starting to run barrels. It was something she enjoyed, and she become just a much better horse. She learned to run, she learned to have fun, and while she's still got the most attitude of any horse I've ever ridden I wouldn't trade her for anything. I ran her at the Pendleton race this year, have let kids on her, we trail ride a couple times a week with no issues, pony colts, went to State in Reining this year, we gathered cows and roped, even entered dressage/hunter under saddle classes.
I got Ollie at time in my life where I was giving up horses to gotto school.
August 2014 will mark our 3rd year together and so much has happend since then!
So far year one was the roughest, had a rough time finding the right fit barn/trainer wise and eventually ended up moving not only him but myself with him to my old trainers house...where I ride when I was 11 (21 now) before that great move we battled through a tough first winter when he had pneumonia and almost had to be hospitalized or put down but 6-7 months of slow coming back, meds a good move and tons of TLC made a difference!
After moving both of us back to Vashon island we diagnosed that he has a very torn up sensitive tummy and very prone to ulcers we got him on tagment that makes all the difference in the world!!
Last two summers and last winter we rode in 6+ dressage clinics with two amazing outside trainers who know how to push us hard!
This summer I entered and rode him in his first two schooling shows here on Vashon and we did great!!
From being on the forehand, BTV, not using his back, never been on a trail ride, defensive and explosive we are now preparing to be rock stars in the show arena at both training and first level this year!!
I took my foal that was born on our farm and trained her myself. Last October she was getting weaned, and by this October she is a multi national champion, and placed 7th at the world championships. :) She just turned 18 months old, so we have a long way to go. She is a total "DIVA", and has always been a ham for attention. She loves going to shows and strutting her stuff. I loved working with her from the very start, she has a lot of the same personality from when she was a baby. Though she is very talented and a delight to work with. :)
Hmm, to keep things short and relatively simple, I'll stick with the 3 of mine I've accomplished the most with.
First off, Denny. When he was 3, he was sent to my Dad to train (this was back in '97) because the owner's "cowboy" boyfriend had tried to start him and had gotten hurt when he got bucked off. As a result of that and other problems with the owner and her "trainers" the poor boy ended up being abused. Every time he would flinch or spook whenever they were handling him, they would hit him. Owner witnessed one man break a front tooth out with a 2x4 and that's when she decided to send him to Dad for training. When he came to our barn, he was a terrorized, frantic mess. Whenever Dad would step in the pen with him, Denny would ricochet off the fence and the barn and even Dad himself if he got too close. He couldn't be caught and if you roped him, he was a nightmare to try to put a halter on (to the point that he would run backward blindly until he tripped over something, rear up, or paw at you).
Due to time constraints for Dad, having just been elected Sheriff and going to school 7-7 M-F and working the street pretty much all other hours, he didn't have the chance to do much with him. After a while, I took a really good look at him one morning when I was feeding before school and decided that I wanted to ride him. That afternoon, I came home and got to work. I don't know if it was the fact that I was a girl or if it had something to do with the fearlessness of youth, but I never had a lick of trouble training him. He crow-hopped once about 2 weeks in, but that's it.
He was the first horse I ever started from the beginning by myself. After I'd been riding him a few months and had him about as bombproof as he would ever be, Dad called the owner to say he was ready to go. She said that she couldn't afford the training bill and asked if he would take the horse as payment. Since he knew I'd fallen in love, he agreed LOL.
Anyway, after several years spent together, Denny was just about as trustworthy as any horse a person could ask for. He spooks at nothing, will go wherever you point him without hesitation, and he'll give his whole heart to complete the task you set for him. Only problem? He's super chargey and hot tempered; one of the results of being trained and ridden by a silly teenager who was more concerned with going fast than actual training LOL. BUT, in spite of being tricky to ride, he was always there for me when I needed him...and still is.
Best 16th birthday present ever :)
This was the last time he was ridden. He hadn't seen a saddle in well over a year when I decided to carry the flag in the homecoming parade on him (I never got any pictures of that with him before).
Then, there was Dobe. He was adopted as a 2 year old by some family friends before they realized that wild mustangs are actually wild LOL. I bought him for $125 as a completely untouched 3 year old stud. I figured he would be a good horse to buy, put some miles on, then sell on. I never counted on he and I clicking the way that we do.
Brought him home on a Thursday and by the next Tuesday, I was riding him w/t/c through cattle. He was extremely spooky at the start, but he was always happy to be moving out and have a job to do.
Now, I can do anything on him I want to. I trust him wholeheartedly and he's saved my bacon more than once LOL.
This is right after he first came home. I got a 5 year old paint stud at the same time and Dad and I would switch off and ride one then the other to keep them both going at the same time. This just happened to be one day when I was on paint and Dad was on Dobe.
He's a superb little ranch horse. He'll drag anything you put a rope on or break tack trying.
(forgive his wonky movement in this pic, the rope had just come tight and I was asking him for a forehand turn. That's why his left hind is reaching out forward and to the side instead of straight forward).
And he's a ton of fun to use while sorting or loading stubborn yearlings. With him, I don't have to carry a whip because if they get too close, he'll bite them. He's bitten several who charged him hard enough to take the hair off.
(you can tell by my face that he got a good sized chunk of that one)
Finally, there's Rafe. Took in his momma for free only to find out that she was in foal to a QH stud. Rafe was born on my place, so there's no real relevant history that he overcame or anything like that, but I'm always proud to say that 4 and a half years ago I had this gangly little newborn foal
Now, after some time spent on training (most of that this summer after I started him under saddle in about May) and a very effective lesson in manners from Dobe when he was a weanling, I have a 4 year old, 16.2 hand, 1500 pound horse that I can trust to take me for a calm and uneventful bareback ride after having not been caught in the last 2 weeks. He's never offered to buck, he's had very limited spooks and all of those have been minor, and he's learning to go anywhere I point him with courage. He'll sidepass and spin like an old pro, work gates, pick up the correct leads, neck rein like a champ, doesn't bat an eye at having a rope swung off him, and has even held a cow on the end of a rope to load her in the trailer. He's a bit lazy and it does take a lot of work to keep him responsive to my aids, but other than that, he's an absolute blast to ride...I think mostly because I know I can trust him.
He'll never be a good cowhorse because he's simply not very fleet of foot, but he tries his big ol' heart out.
I'm really proud of my little mare Baby Girl and what we've done this past three years.
Back track to three years ago: I had been riding a dead broke old TWH mare in preparation for my first CTR for several months. The day before we were to leave, my TWH got terrible girth rubs. It was decided for me that I would instead ride a green four-year-old mare who had never been anywhere before. She had two weeks on her at the trainer and no riding after that for months. I was 14-years-old myself -- green but foolish confident. No matter how much she pranced and reared at that first CTR, I sat pretty and smiled. I rode with a pair of women, one on a slow steady horse and one on a spunky Arab. Baby Girl was prancey and pissed from being held back, so I went with the other lady and her Arabian. We cantered a few trails, and she made a monster of me. I lived for the thrill from then on.
Of course, BG almost got pulled at the last P&R (she was in terrible shape!), failed every obstacle, and checked out sore and lame. But I was pretty sure I could fix that. All of it.
I bought that stupid little four-year-old and trained her myself. I put hundreds of training miles on her. I taught her there was more to life than kick and pull trail riding. We learned, together, sidepassing, spins, turns, backing, transitions...
On the cusp of starting to get good (for all our hard work, we were still rather horrible), BG bowed a tendon during a competition in Virginia. We thought her career was over. I didn't give up. I turned her out to pasture for a few weeks. I got back on that fall and we walked for hours. Walked and walked to build back up that tendon.
We came back next season. We started doing 50 mile rides, just to say we could. Mid way through that year, we discovered BG had PSSM after she suffered a near fatal attack. For the second time, no one thought we'd come back.
We came back very strong. We had her PSSM under control and rode the hell out of the southeast. What started out as a green kid on a green horse training for CTRs with no supervision became a dream team. We won National High Point Spotted Saddle Horse, a National Championship, and multiple Open sweepstakes. We hope to win High Point Horse and High Point rider for the nation. We have one more ride to go this year; fingers crossed.
Wow, these stories are awesome!! And they're sooo encouraging! My baby boy, Sam, is a little stubborn and only wants to be on the trail, but he's being a real sport and we've already gotten much better together. I bought him because of how sane, confident and in-your-pocket he is, and even though those the last two carry some issues, I think we're working toward a point where he'll let me be in charge and we'll have avoid time even when we can't go outside. He also has arthritis and might have navicular disease (still unclear on this), so hearing about your success despite health issues is also awesome to hear.
Sorrel and brighteyes, you have done awesome work with your mares!! I love that you've helped them become safe and ironed out the bad habits without dulling their spirits :) That's what I'm hoping for with Sam.
Oh vair oh, you're a pro! I can't see myself starting a baby OR working with a "diva," so starting that beautiful girl is super impressive :)
Klassic, wow, it's amazing that you got Ollie through the health issues alone — you deserve a medal for also making him a great horse on top of it!
Smrobs, I'm stunned as usual. You're a rock star. Denny's story is heartbreaking; he and Dobe are lucky to have found you. And Rafe is gorgeous!! He's totally my type with that big ol' head :P I wish I could bring Sam to you for a week — although you'd probably only need an hour!
My mare (and first horse) was my lesson horse for years before we bought her. Even before that though she would not pick up the canter AT ALL, no adult could ride her, and there was (and is) NO leg cues. Before we were offered to buy her, the barn manager decided to send her off to training to 'fix' her, never minding the fact that in all the years I was the first person she hadn't gotten off when I wolloped her with my legs one day. Well long story short 6 trainers later and 6 restraining orders against my mare (which I still have! ) they filed her as a lost cause and the lady sold her to us. I take my mare every where, and I always know that she'll do what she needs to do to take care of me. She was a born and bred ranch horse who to my knowledge had never seen a parade or highway but the first time she did either she did so like she had done it her whole life. I come off of her for whatever reason and she stops dead in her tracks and waits, heck she even parked out over me once which saved my butt from being trampled by a runaway horse. She went from being unhappy in her job to having a functioning relationship with her rider and being a phenomenal horse. And you know what, I haven't had a single problem with her, even after all those trainers were paid thousands of dollars and got bucked off ride 1.
My mom's horse was rescued by the same BM at a local rodeo when his owner got off of him as a two year old, denied him water for at least 24 hours and then tried to beat him to death when he bolted and collapsed under some tethered horses. The lady "peacefully" told the guy to pack his stuff and leave and then put the horse away in a stall. She soon found out that as a two year old he wasn't even halter broke and the only touch he'd ever known had been being beaten, when the vet came out he said that the horse had about a 5% chance of living due to the severe dehydration and concussion. It took her years to rehabilitate him but when we bought him he was a pretty nice, albeit, spooky horse and has a forever home. Well he threw my mom twice and while she was recovering we found this trainer who was always referred to as the "crazy as all heck horse talker". Well out of options we took him to her and after another few years she turned him around to be ridden again, still spooky. We moved out to her place and for the next 3 years let him sit in a pasture with a herd of horses and relearn how to be a horse. When I was 15 I asked my mom if I could bring him back into work and with her grace (and my trainers steadfast teachings) I started bringing him back to work. First problem was that the western saddle scared him, so did being lunged. Forget calming down, he got hyped up. Through long hours, and mistakes me and him muddled through it, and then came the process of actually doing something instead of letting him run it out.
I was always fearful of taking that first ride on him because I didn't want to mess him up even more; in asking my trainer I always got the same response: "He'll tell you when he's ready." One day I offered him the bridle and just as I opened it he dived down and put the bit in his mouth on his own. That same day I hopped on and walked/trotted around on him. Over the next few years I made it a point to ride him every day for at least an hour and regardless of how bad he still spooked I did my best to stick on (he's only gotten me off once so far!). He taught me a lot more than anyone ever could have about sitting a horse, calming a horse, and learning when to push and stop. One day I finally broke down after hearing that he had been trained in dressage once upon a time, and despite my half hear ted attitude towards english I bought an all purpose english saddle and put it on him one day. I didn't have a single spook out of him and his bolts calmed down. Heck just to see if he remembered anything I did some half passes (or side passes.... my terminology is still a little lacking on that one!) walk and trot, and he remembered it all. I found a dressage instructor who did higher levels who came out to watch him and was just amazed at how well he moved, and thought. Even more so for him being a 16hh paint/mustang cross who's always afraid of the same scenery, but when asked to can carry himself like a warmblood. When we were forced to use a double bridle on him (long story, but just to reassure people it was only for a short time and he had worn one in the past many times), he taught me how to ride in one. He forgave my mistakes and willingly put up with my initial fumbling and didn't spook at all.
Where we're at now is complicated. His spooks aren't too bad but sometimes he has what I call flashbacks and will blind run. I always have to watch him and his canter is so unbalanced that it's ridiculous but he's got a special place in my heart. He's the only horse I've ever met whose given it his all under saddle and even when he's quaking in fear (literally), he still tries his best. I don't care if he can't do trails, or be a horse I can not watch, or even be a horse I can take out of the property, he's still wonderful to me for how much he's overcome. I do know that no matter how tough times get he's always got a home with me (as does my mare) no matter his or their quirks. Quite frankly he can live out his days as a pasture puff for all I care. I think he's earned it.