Merry almost-Christmas horseforum! Yule for my Heathen brothers and sisters. Party! Just sitting here bringing you some new content while listening to TSO's "The Lost Christmas Eve". One of the most epic Christmas albums in the history of rock. It's Ian back again with some new horses! I recently scored this volunteering gig with a local horse rescue. Was getting a little complacent handling my same horses all the time and decided I needed some new blood, and these nice people are kind enough to let me work with some of their rescue horses. I'll refrain from naming names for now, as some of these horses are still involved in open police cases (most are seizures), so I don't want to give out too much info. The boss has given me the green light to show some of this stuff though, so here it is!
I purposely want to gloss over this horse's background. The reason has to do with something called "the anchor principle". You can look this up, but basically it means that first impressions are tough to get over. So if I dwell excessively on the things that they've told me about this horse, I'll only be perpetuating it. Part of becoming better with horses in general is learning to embrace the present moment with the assumption that so long as that's taken care of, the future will take care of itself. Solution-oriented. Suffice it to say that he's a police seizure, his previous situation was not good, and they tell me that he's nervous in general and especially with men.
Same old story as in every corner of the globe. It's not a problem though. Problems are temporary. Very soon they will fade into the background. These horses just need some clarity. Once they understand what's expected of them, they will come around. I take that to be a foregone conclusion. It is inevitable. That may sound like a very confident claim, but to assume any less of the horse's inherent good nature we may as well just hang it up now. If he did not have the capacity and the desire to get along, we would be toast.
What I'm doing here is attempting to develop a simple, straightforward system to quickly evaluate a horse, identify his sticking points, and get enough of a general feel for his 'horsenality' (lol) to devise a training plan that will move him forward. For this I'm using a 22' long lead rope. With this one tool you can both evaluate him and prepare him to be ridden. You can teach him how to operate around you, move his feet, reach into touchy places on his body where you might not want to put your hands on a strange horse until you got to know him a little better (and he you).
You can see from Day 2 to Day 7 that he's already showing quite a bit of improvement. They actually do ride this horse, and there a lot of less-than-perfect horses that are ridden. I believe that this is because horses have a deep sense of responsibility in general and will go to incredibly great lengths to get along even if it's right on the edge of what they can take. That's one of the qualities we find so valuable in them. There is nothing inherently wrong with this horse. I like him quite a lot. All I'm doing here is trying to help him become better, because I know that he has the capacity and the desire to do so. Because I know that when he lets go, he will feel so much better. Every day we get a little closer to turning that corner. It's just a matter of time. :) -Ian