Introduction (or what should I do now?)
 
 

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Introduction (or what should I do now?)

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  • Japanese word for "what should i do"
  • +what to do if your horse was badly treated and is now terrified

 
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    02-13-2011, 10:48 AM
  #1
Foal
Introduction (or what should I do now?)

Hey all. First post here. I need some advice. I live in Japan, and just started working on a ranch (well, barely a ranch). A local doctor started up a ranch (Yu Yu Bokujo) because her son responded well to horse therapy (30 year old with a mental age of about 12), and it is basically run by people with no experience at all.

My background is in the restaurant industry. I am one of very few pizza consultants, and have a successful career in the business, but in 2010, I spent over 6 months on the road (including a 4 month contract in Singapore), and am tired of being away from my family. This job came up, and I was hired solely on the basis of having rode horses when I was young.

The main trainer has worked there for a year and a half (no prior experience), and the other is nearly useless. There is a nurse who is on staff for handling the day care, but she just turned in her resignation. I am hopping for a better replacement, which should happen.

So... on to the meat of the problem. I bought "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Horseback Riding", and in the introduction they have a few things that they give as bad signs, ie, if you see these things, turn around and walk out. Most of them are part of the Yu Yu Ranch. My first week there, I saw a girl with autism thrown from a horse (a horse coming from behind scared it and it jagged to the side) and that resulted in a hospital visit w/MRI and x-rays. 2 Other kids fell off the platform because one of the horses hates that place and steps away when people approach.

That first week was rough. It is now my 5th week. In the mean time, two new horses arrived from one of the best ranches in Japan, and their head trainer came down for 3 weeks. The third day he was here, he pulled me aside and said that he would have turned around and left if I wasn't there. The new horses are a 2 year old mare and a 5 year old gelding, both arabians. The other 6 horses on the ranch are all sullen (I am sure they were handled badly with a trainer who was heavy on the whip, as they shy away from any contact). The two new horses, Mei and Daiko, are awesome. They teach me something new every day, and are always ready to give a little nuzzle.

The trainer did an awesome job, but one of the horses still tries to bite me when I get close, and stomps when I groom her. She snaps at the kids who come for horse therapy as well. Is there a way to help her trust people again and get rid of that biting habit? (if you read this far that is question 1)

Mei and I bonded the moment I led her off the truck (It was a 5 day trip from Hokkaido), and I would like to do her training. Daiko is 5 and was trained to be used in endurance competitions, and they plan on using him for advanced riders. Mei is the 2 year old and they plan on using her mainly as a horse for leading handicapped children around the corral. Where do I start?

That is about it. Give me the benefit of the doubt here in your answers. Don't tell me to quit. I took an 80% pay cut to do something I wanted to do, and learn something I have always wanted to learn. If you have a question about my horse knowledge, err on the side of thinking me an idiot, well not an idiot, an intelligent guy who knows nothing about horses.
     
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    02-13-2011, 11:13 AM
  #2
Weanling
First of all congrats on staying on but if you want to learn then you should change to a different place. It sounds like the owners are at the same stage as you are in: learning. So how can you learn more from horses who doesn't know anything at all. I'm not saying quit! Maybe get someone who you know is good with horses and knows a lot about them to walk a day with you at the ranch. Personally I think this place is going to bankrupt sometime soon with all the accidents they are having.

From what I understand you don't know a lot about horses. You're not ready to train a horse yet. As the saying goes don't take a bigger bite than you can chew. Right now you can only fit a baby spoon ful of horses in but you want to fit in a whole building. This doesn't work.

I'm not saying quit but you should start looking at your other options because unfortunatly this place is not going to get you where you want to go.
     
    02-13-2011, 12:43 PM
  #3
Weanling
Maybe I missed something in the post, and I appologize, is this a hippotherapy stable? I worked at hippotherapy stable for about 6-7 years, and worked with the horses and helping to aquire new therapy horses. What we did with out horses was keep them exercised ourselves. If they were nippy or badly behaved on crossties, moving around was ok, but biting, kicking, or being really nervous they were not bought, it is a danger to the kids. When we taught horses who had the right personality for therapy horses we had one person sit on them and another lead and do a mock lesson. We would have the rider lose their balance, lean back, clap, swing their legs around, play with toys, have sidewalkers (some horses get nervous with two people walking on each side of them). Then work on whatever they were nervous with. Some horses we had were amazing therapy ponies but just couldn't be used in certain lesson, one hated bubbles and another was terrified of the camera flash. Other then that they were perfect. I think its great that you are staying on, I loved working at the therapy barn, I loved seeing the kids progress and working with the horses. Are there any experienced trainers in the area that could help you out?
     
    02-13-2011, 01:02 PM
  #4
Yearling
All due respect and all but it sounds like you are waaaaay over your head and where the heck is a cowboy when you need one?

The fella that you are working for would be better served importing one and let the folks that make Pizza.

You just can't figure all this out from a book without gittin a few broken bones along the way.

The folks you are working for seem to have enough money to get someone from the states that knows there way around a horse and help set up a program that will be safe for all involved.

Good luck
     
    02-13-2011, 04:42 PM
  #5
Super Moderator
You are in waaaay over your head. It would not be so bad if you were the only one putting yourself in danger, but you have the responsibility of disabled persons than need a competent program.

It is my professional opinion that none of your horses are suitable even if you were a trainer. The older endurance trained one might work with training, you do not have that experience.

You need to see if you can get these people to:

1) send you to the states to learn more about therapy horses, proper facilities and therapy programs -- and then ---

2) let you acquire older retired horses in the Far East that would work for your program or import horses that are suitable.

With anything less, someone is going to get hurt or killed. Since they are throwing money around, they just need to put their 'program' on hold and throw some of it in the right direction.

Good luck.

Cheri
     
    02-13-2011, 04:52 PM
  #6
Weanling
So wait are you saying the horses you are using are spooky, biters etc...Well if so that is very dangerous! Especially if that is a place for less than able kids. You would not even have those type of horses at a normal riding school.
     
    02-13-2011, 07:12 PM
  #7
Foal
Yep it is hippotherapy. The Japanese word for it is different (a poorly pronounced version of animal therapy). The problem horse is named Goal, and all of the accidents I have seen were with that horse (spooked and stepping away when people get on). 4 of the horses were obviously treated poorly, but aren't bad tempered at all.

I already came up with the obvious advice, but it doesn't do much good at this point. It does sound bad, and I understand where you are coming from, but the owner is hands off and knows next to nothing about proper horse care. She is responsive to suggestions though. The list of things they are doing wrong could go on all day, but it isn't too productive. They didn't even have the kids wearing protective gear when I started up working there last month.

I set up some training sessions at the nearest ranch (2.5 hours away), and 3 of us will spend a week there learning.

My initial feeling was that it is a bomb waiting to explode. Literally the only advice I could give that first week was, "increase your liability insurance". Part of the reason I am there is to make the place more business like, which is actually a lot like the pizza industry. The huge difference, of course, is that pizza isn't going to jump out of an oven and burn you, but the financial, marketing and staff development side is about the same. The owner is a local doctor with her own practice that clearly subsidizes the ranch. Both the trainer and the owner of the closest ranch and I sat her down and talked about the results of a serious injury on not only the ranch, but her own practice as well. It is not a situation of dealing with some bone head who thinks they know everything. Mistakes were made. The owner is open to change.
     
    02-13-2011, 07:23 PM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzamancer    
Yep it is hippotherapy. The Japanese word for it is different (a poorly pronounced version of animal therapy). The problem horse is named Goal, and all of the accidents I have seen were with that horse (spooked and stepping away when people get on). 4 of the horses were obviously treated poorly, but aren't bad tempered at all.

I already came up with the obvious advice, but it doesn't do much good at this point. It does sound bad, and I understand where you are coming from, but the owner is hands off and knows next to nothing about proper horse care. She is responsive to suggestions though. The list of things they are doing wrong could go on all day, but it isn't too productive. They didn't even have the kids wearing protective gear when I started up working there last month.

I set up some training sessions at the nearest ranch (2.5 hours away), and 3 of us will spend a week there learning.

My initial feeling was that it is a bomb waiting to explode. Literally the only advice I could give that first week was, "increase your liability insurance". Part of the reason I am there is to make the place more business like, which is actually a lot like the pizza industry. The huge difference, of course, is that pizza isn't going to jump out of an oven and burn you, but the financial, marketing and staff development side is about the same. The owner is a local doctor with her own practice that clearly subsidizes the ranch. Both the trainer and the owner of the closest ranch and I sat her down and talked about the results of a serious injury on not only the ranch, but her own practice as well. It is not a situation of dealing with some bone head who thinks they know everything. Mistakes were made. The owner is open to change.

He is a solution for ya....

Have them fly you over here to California for a couple of weeks and I will put you through a crash survival horse course and will even send you back with a cowboy hat to boot.
You can start running Western horse clinics in Japan and be the next Pat Parellisan..Ha!
     
    02-14-2011, 12:18 AM
  #9
Foal
I would consider finding some older calmer horses til the younger ones are trained. I wouldn't risk the injuries with children with unruly horses. Good luck to you!
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