Hoover and Kat

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Hoover and Kat

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        07-16-2008, 04:22 PM
    Hoover and Kat

    I'm Kat. I'm 25, and just started riding lessons last August. In October, I went down to Athens to a rescue to look at a horse. He had been there since May, a slaughter rescue. He was still thin, and had been born with low pasterns. He was in a pasture with two other horses who constantly beat on him; he was covered in cuts, bruises, and had a huge hematoma on his chest. He had thrown the last girl who rode him. When I met him, he laid his head on my shoulder and sighed. It was like a light bulb went off; this was supposed to be my horse.

    Hoovey is a standardbred pony cross, 14.1, about 900lbs. We just celebrated his 9th birthday in May. He had been trained by the Amish for driving, and has some saddle training. His past owners beat him, especially around his legs. He came to me refusing to pick up his feet, biting, and confused. He didn't know how to be a horse. He had no idea how to play; he would run away from the other horses when they asked him. He was a mess, but I never gave up on him, and neither did my trainer.

    The History:
    Hoover received ground training in the spring, after a particularly nasty incident where he tried to hurt me in stall. He came at me biting and striking, and pinned me in the corner. My instructor had to come in and rescue me. He flew through the ground training, and is now very happy and content. He knows what's expected of him.

    I'd been trail riding him for a while, since I got him. I rode him around the farm first, and he responded well to me, so we did some trails with my instructor. He used to get worn out by the end of the trail, but now he gets to the end wanting to go more. He's recently felt good enough to canter, and kicks up his heels when I let him.

    I probably should have started this journal when I got him, to chronicle his progress. He has come a long way from the scared, angry boy I picked up in October.
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        07-16-2008, 04:33 PM
    Recently, I switched Hoover from a full cheek snaffle to a mechanical braided nose hackamore. He loves the new setup, and will turn his head and wait for me to put it on. He used to fight the bit. The problem is, he's now refusing to turn in the hack.

    Last Thursday, I saddled him up to work on turning. He was being contrary about walking straight, and got all turned around in the middle of the arena. I asked him to turn around. He refused, so I went down on the rein. He pulled and fought me, side and back stepped, and then lost his balance and went over. We both hit the ground hard. He came to check on me, but I was so upset I pushed him away. (I'm the meanest Mommy ever )

    I talked to my instructor for a while, to understand what had happened. About twenty minutes later, I got back on Hoover. I was told to turn him with my legs while asking with the bit. We worked on that for about fifteen minutes, my leg on the side we were turning to back against his flank, and my other leg up against his shoulder. I did have to heel him a little, but after fifteen minutes, he was controlling from his mouth and my knees, without the legs needing to be involved. We ended on the good note, going through the cones with me praising him.

    He's my smart boy, even if he does have horsey ADHD.
        07-29-2008, 12:27 AM
    On Sunday, I went up to ride Hoove for the first time since I lost my instructor. I barebacked him, and he did wonderful. He remembered all his turning cues, gave me a little trot, and even walked with me back to the barn without a halter.

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