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.