Not exactly the challange I was looking for, but... - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Not exactly the challange I was looking for, but...

As some of you know, I've been keeping my eyes open for a project horse. I was looking for a younger gelding, buckskin or paint, 15.2 hh minimum, and either a barrel, reining, or western riding potential. I wanted something that I could finish, that's what I do best & that's what I enjoy.

What most of you don't know is that my mom had a riding accident this past weekend (minor compared to many), but at 64 it still landed her in the hospital with a rib broken in 2 places, a hematoma above her pancreas, and 4 stiches. The majority of the damage was caused by a metal trail sign, NOT her horse thankfully. Otherwise, that horse would be no more if my dad has his way (which of course upset my mom AND my daughter, so the horse is safe for now). After talking with my mom, it sounds like the horse didn't spook AT something, but reacted poorly to a bug bite. The area where they were, is notorious for nasty horse flies.

Since my mom, won't be able to ride for at least 8 weeks, she asked that I work her horse once I'm cleared from the doctor from my ankle surgery (hopefully in 2 weeks). Normally I've avoided working with my parents & their horses like the plague. Nothing against them, but they have the same mentality as my daughter. If it comes out of MY mouth = don't do it, question it to the point of exhaustion, argue with everything I say, etc. And they admit that, even if I say the exact same thing as a "trainer", they don't believe me Anyway, since the money that I had saved for MY project is now going towards house repairs, I guess it's better than nothing, right.

Here's a little history (as if this post isn't long enough already, lol). My mom had knee surgery when I was a kid and once she started riding at age 43, has always ridden 14.2 hh or smaller. All of them being abuse or neglect cases, as the drawn to them, good or bad. Truth be told, she's the type that can get a horse back to health better than anyone I've ever met. My mom bought Cherokee around 7 years ago, and fell in love. She had been severely abused, and the marks were still visable when we looked at her (she had already been removed from the abuser). She was in good physical condition, but mentally she was petrified. ANY amount of pressure would send her into a shaking fit, thinking she was going to get hit. It took me over an hour to get her to just walk forward. I didn't think she was a good match for my mom, especially since she's 15.1hh.

We went to look at another horse in the pasture after we put Cherokee back. That's when Cherokee sealed the deal for my mom, she followed her around. To this day, she will NOT let anyone just walk up to her, let alone follow someone, except my mom & now my daughter. Yeah, my mom wrote the check that day. Cherokee came home a week later.

My parents are what I'd call....content beginners. They have their way of doing things, and unless it's an ABSOLUTE safety thing that I catch them doing and get after them for, I've learned to just them do things their way. The only way their horses ever leave them is when they pass away. So if they do things unconventionally, as long as it's not a safety thing, I leave them alone. And Cherokee is perfectly content with that arrangement, so it worked out well. Except for the height issue.

Here's where my challenge comes in. Besides keeping Cherokee in shape, and working on her topline to improve her swayback, I'd like to teach her to lay down so it's easier for my mom to get on & off. The 2 use a mounting block now, and that works great when there's one around. But like this past weekend, my mom was unable to get back on after she fell and had to walk to help rather than get back on & ride to help.

I THINK she'll be a great candidate to learn it, especially when she realizes what it's for. BUT I've never tried something like this before. And I want it done right, thankfully I don't have a time limit.

So there it is in a novel, lol. I will now learn how to CORRECTLY teach a horse to safely lay down for the rider. NOT the challenge I had planned on by ANY stretch of the imagination.

Wish me luck

"Just because I don't do things your way, doesn't mean I don't have a clue"
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 03:22 PM
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Be careful with this. You don't want the horse laying down at the wrong time or off cue.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
Be careful with this. You don't want the horse laying down at the wrong time or off cue.
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That's why I'm being careful about this.

"Just because I don't do things your way, doesn't mean I don't have a clue"
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Worked with her for an hour in the round pen for the first time tonight. At first she didn't want to be caught, so I just shadowed her and didn't let her graze. Only took about 5 minutes to get the idea I wasn't backing down or just going to give up. This issue I knew about and was planning on working on.

Then a new issue surfaced. She has no concept of space. While her shoulders were where they were supposed to be, her nose was always at my arm & pocket looking for treats. Mom isn't happy about my new "no treat" rule. Any bets on if she follows it or not?

Once I got her in the round pen, I just spend some time rubbing all over her. Then we did some free lunging. Other than not wanting to canter, it went very well. After about 20 minutes, she was facing me & was able to follow my shoulder. Everything was very relaxed, and a few times I thought she'd fall asleep, lol.

I used my palm on her sides & shoulder to see how well she moved away from pressure. She's not perfect, but she has the basic idea. Just needs some fine tuning. When it came to lowering her head when I placed my hand on her poll, I got nothing. At least her head didn't fly up, so that's a good sign.

So for now while I research how to teach her to lay down, we'll perfect the moving away from pressure. AND get her in shape. She's a little round, lol.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-05-2013, 09:30 PM
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Rather than actually going all the way to the ground, would it be feasible to maybe teach her to bow or park out? I don't know if that would get the stirrup close enough to the ground.

Anyway, at least you aren't just stuck with no horse to work with LOL. I'm sure your mom will appreciate it.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-06-2013, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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I know parking out won't be enough. My mom is 4'11" and she used to have a 13.3 hh arab, that was difficult for her to get on. And that was almost 20 yes ago.

I'd never thought of trying a bow to see if that would be enough. Will definitely try that first....when I get to that point :)
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-08-2013, 01:19 PM
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Stacey Westfall makes an excellent dvd about how to teach this, going through all the steps with a perfect horse and a never done it before horse.
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