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.