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Writer needs some expert "horse knowledge"

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        12-26-2013, 08:25 PM
      #41
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bjnick    
    Hi Everyone, I hope this message will get noticed without starting a new thread......after much thought I've settled on either a brown Lusitano stallion or possibly a Friesian. Here are my latest duffer questions:

    * the mane: I see all these spectacular manes for display, but I'm going to assume that these are the product of careful preparation and grooming.......and that in its natural state it would look considerably different. What would the mane look like if it had been neglected for, say, 6 months or so? (yes, I've revised the "abandonment stage" to about 6 months.)

    * the girl, on her second meeting with the horse, manages to lure it over with some oatmeal/Molasses cookies. I researched "treats that horses love" and that was right up there. Yes? No? Is that a treat almost no horse could resist? How many would she give the horse without risking it overdoing it?

    * I want her to be able to give it some sort of grooming that the horse will tolerate (enjoy?) Something regular, and normal, that any horse that's been around people will submit to naturally; but still, something that can "lovingly" be done. After the treats, the horse will submit to this.

    To be clear: the refined back story is that the horse got loose only about 5-6 months ago, the fault of the dad who is "not all there" at this point and left a gate open or something- and the half-owner who is taking care of it for his friend (who is out of state for a few years- long story) has been desperately searching for it all this time. But the area around consists of thousands of acres of semi-rugged country with river canyons, hills, forest, etc, and it's not an easy task. The girl finds the horse, and notifies the half-owner, who gratefully retrieves it. (It sounds simpler than it is; trust me it will make sense.)

    * Once the horse is back under proper care, and she is visiting it, what is something- a grooming procedure, for example- that an experienced girl might be permitted to do on a regular basis? Doesn't have to be something fancy; just something that is regularly done for the horse's well-being, the health of his coat, etc.

    Thanks as always!
    This could be just me but I feel like the second meeting would be pretty fast for the horse to approach the person let alone TOUCH it.
    As for grooming, well at the ranch we let anybody and everybody who wants to do basic grooming, like brushing and picking hoofs but all are horses are dead broke so an experienced person with a not so broke horse would probably be able to tell what was to much for the horse by their own judgement. But I'd say again, basic grooming and depending on how experienced and the level of trust with the horse, fixing the mane which would probably involve some trimming.
         
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        12-27-2013, 12:07 AM
      #42
    Showing
    * the mane: I see all these spectacular manes for display, but I'm going to assume that these are the product of careful preparation and grooming.......and that in its natural state it would look considerably different. What would the mane look like if it had been neglected for, say, 6 months or so? (yes, I've revised the "abandonment stage" to about 6 months.)

    For the most part, yes, those super long manes require hours of care and pampering per week to keep looking like that. However, some horses who are natural mane-growers will usually have a nice mane even without much care. Just look at some of the wild mustangs running the ranges. There are some of them that have massive manes that look recently groomed even though the horse has never been touched.

    Providing that he didn't wear any of it off or get it tangled on something and ripped out, likely the worst they'd have to deal with are some knots which are easy to work out with a bit of baby oil or show sheen.



    Anyway, some horses are prone to getting what are called "witch's stirrups", which are basically sections of almost braided hair that form a loop in the horse's mane. From what I've noticed, the length of the mane has little to do with whether or not the horse get's them. I've seen them in long manes and short manes. I've also got horses with massive manes that never get them.




    This guy was my horse for a while. He never received any special care for his mane at all. He spent much of his life in a pasture and, other than the spot on the middle that he rubbed out on a fence, that is the natural length with basically zero care.



    * the girl, on her second meeting with the horse, manages to lure it over with some oatmeal/Molasses cookies. I researched "treats that horses love" and that was right up there. Yes? No? Is that a treat almost no horse could resist? How many would she give the horse without risking it overdoing it?

    Yes, most horses would greatly enjoy a treat like that. As far as how many she would give, I'd say no more than a handful. If they are larger, maybe 2 or 3. If they are smaller maybe 5 or 6. A healthy horse, that little bit wouldn't pose a health risk (you'd have to feed a lot to get to the danger level), but most folks only carry as many as they can fit in one hand or fit into the pocket of the coat/sweater they are wearing.


    * I want her to be able to give it some sort of grooming that the horse will tolerate (enjoy?) Something regular, and normal, that any horse that's been around people will submit to naturally; but still, something that can "lovingly" be done. After the treats, the horse will submit to this.

    Brushing, brushing is always good. Not only do most horses enjoy it (or at the very least tolerate it), it's good for their coat and relatively simple to do. It something that every horse person knows how to do and it's a good way to earn a horse's trust. After all, if you can find their "spot" when brushing them, then they'll really enjoy it LOL.



    * Once the horse is back under proper care, and she is visiting it, what is something- a grooming procedure, for example- that an experienced girl might be permitted to do on a regular basis? Doesn't have to be something fancy; just something that is regularly done for the horse's well-being, the health of his coat, etc.

    Again, brushing is about the most basic and still the most necessary thing that can be done with a horse.
    smguidotti likes this.
         
        12-27-2013, 01:37 AM
      #43
    Started
    You might consider researching grooming techniques and the "steps" involved. It can be as simple as running a coarse brush over the horse's coat to knock off the worst of the grime, or as complex as this: Horse Grooming 101

    Many horses do enjoy being groomed. Both of my mustangs love being groomed, and they were previously entirely wild. It really does make for a good "bonding time". My younger mustang will actually "reciprocate" when I scratch his neck and his shoulders just so, twitching his lips and stretching his neck as though he were grooming me in return (horses will sometimes groom each other). Grooming was our big "breakthrough" when I was gentling him -- he found out that being handled and touched all over by humans could actually be a really good thing! After he accepted being groomed all over, he was much much easier to train and work with going forward.

         
        12-27-2013, 06:23 PM
      #44
    Foal
    Once again, thanks so MUCH for the great feedback and knowledge. Before I write the final version I will definitely, absolutely review the grooming techniques so that I describe them well. I want her to demonstrate (to the reader, and to the characters in the story who know the difference) that she knows what she is doing, and has more than casual knowledge.

    Samstead: the 'back story' on the horse's being lost is that he was very well cared-for for almost four years before he got out. He was handled every day. Does that change your thought on this?

    The first time the girl sees him, he's in a little meadow, at the far end, and he looks at her, watches her, but then slips away into the forest. The second time, she finds him there, she is very patient, very quiet, still, just talks to him gently and sweetly for quite some time, and then slowly and without any attempt to force herself on him, she holds out the treat.

    The horse cautiously watches her, then starts to come over, still watching her warily...... and then finally takes the treat. Then another, and another. After awhile, she risks a little caress, then works up to a little more. After quite some time, maybe an hour or so of this, he allows her to brush him.

    It "feels" right to me, but then again, I am not a horse person. Any wisdom/feedback appreciated.
         
        12-27-2013, 08:34 PM
      #45
    Super Moderator
    My sons walking horse has a fairly long mane and I rarely comb it out. I tried to braid it the way a lot of people do to see how long I could get it to grow but I think I did more damage then good so I leave it. She does get some windblown tangles that take on the appearance of an intricate braid as it's whipped around in spiral with thin strands wrapped and knotted. They take some time to loosen and undo with my fingers (combing would rip them) but the mane itself maintains really well. Her tail, along with one of my quarter horses is very thick and actually drags the ground. A few times I've pulled briars or twigs from them, once I found a strand of wire tangled within but for the most part, they maintain themselves.

    I had a neighbors horse end up at my house once and he was covered from head to toe with briars. It was awful. They were going through a messy divorce and although he's never admitted it, I believe her husband turned him loose. It took me hours to pull the briars from his mane, when I was done it was just a little frayed and maybe somewhat thinner but it was still about the original length. My fingers were so pinpricked and sore they hurt for days though!

    Sierra's mane (you can actually see the waves where we untangled it before my son took his ride):

    I'm having issues with my attachement for some reason - I just wanted to add that 5-6 months on it's own is not a long time so I see nothing wrong with the girl getting close to the horse after only the second meeting if she took her time. If the horse had not been neglected and had no reason to fear man - then I can see it. Yes.

    I once boarded my horse at a place where two horses had been put out to pasture for over ten years. They'd been fed but had no farrier work or handling. I was able to tack up one of the mares and ride her at the walk trot and canter out of the blue one day. She remembered her training. She was rusty - but it was there.
    bjnick likes this.
         
        12-27-2013, 11:56 PM
      #46
    Showing
    Nick, you aren't far off in your reckoning on how she could approach the horse. Most broke horses who are accustomed to human contact won't become feral, even if they go months or years without seeing a person. Like has been said, he might be a bit cautious but that would mostly be because he didn't know her.

    After a treat or two and a gentle touch somewhere, he'd likely allow her to slip a halter on right then...unless he had a bit of a skittish temperament to begin with.
    bjnick likes this.
         
        12-31-2013, 03:52 AM
      #47
    Foal
    Really great information.....thanks a lot! Exactly the kind of thing I need to know.
         
        12-31-2013, 04:57 PM
      #48
    Showing
    I watched a "made for little girls" tv movie whereby the young girl of maybe 11 or 12 "tames a wild blind horse. It's been captured, of course, and is running around a fairly large paddock. Father warned the kid to stay clear since the horse was wild. Anyway the kid goes into the paddock after dark, gets on the horse bareback with no bridle or halter, they race to the other end, clean a 5' fence and run off into the moonlight. End of movie. The writers had no idea the effect this would have on future equestrians. I wish I could tell them as I've had a few. When their mind is locked on this romantic notion, it is blocked to learning about horses as they really are.
    bjnick likes this.
         
        12-31-2013, 05:05 PM
      #49
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Saddlebag    
    I watched a "made for little girls" tv movie whereby the young girl of maybe 11 or 12 "tames a wild blind horse. It's been captured, of course, and is running around a fairly large paddock. Father warned the kid to stay clear since the horse was wild. Anyway the kid goes into the paddock after dark, gets on the horse bareback with no bridle or halter, they race to the other end, clean a 5' fence and run off into the moonlight. End of movie. The writers had no idea the effect this would have on future equestrians. I wish I could tell them as I've had a few. When their mind is locked on this romantic notion, it is blocked to learning about horses as they really are.
    I would have loved that book when I was 12 or 13. Saddle A Thunderbolt, Flicka, Thunderhead, The Green Grass of Wyoming, Black Stallion... all of them. Gosh, I adored the Saddle Club TV series (never read the books)....
         
        01-01-2014, 04:54 AM
      #50
    Foal
    Darn! That was my ending! Oh well, back to the drawing board.......
    farmpony84 and smrobs like this.
         

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