The Journal of Roux and Gus! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-30-2013, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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Location: New Mexico
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The Journal of Roux and Gus!

I love reading the journals that y'all keep on here and I have been inspired to start my own for Roux's training and Gus's feet!

Earlier this summer I was looking for an older dead-broke gelding for my mom and I stumbled upon Roux. I just fell in love with him after I went to see him but I walked away. I went home and told my fiance about him with the hope that he would talk me out of it but he was just as interested in Roux as I was. The next day I took him with me to look at Roux again and when we left I had a new horse!
Since then I have discovered that Roux is one of the sweetest horses that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He is the first to run up to me from the pasture, he loves to be groomed and loves attention. But he is not perfect! Hence the training blog.
The first time I got on him after he was home he bucked when I was mounting. He did it once more the week after. Then a few weeks after that he spooked really hard and threw me! It was so embarrassing I haven't been unseated even with the greenest horses in years!! It caught me completely off guard (isn't that always the case). I landed on my sciatic nerve and I wasn't able to get back on. The next day I actually went to the doctor they were concerned I had broke my pelvis but luckily I was ok just diagnosed as a bone bruise, sprained shoulder, and bruised ribs.
The next Monday I had to have surgery (unrelated to the accident) and wasn't allowed to ride for a while, Dr. Orders. Which was great! Because I have been able to focus on getting back to basics and ground work!

Today we worked on a few things. It was his second time lunging with me and he did great. I am really enjoying his progress. When we first started he just wanted to lope the whole time. Today we worked at walk, trot and lope in both directions. I work really well clockwise and am terrible counter clockwise so it was a big improvement for me as well!
When we first started with the tarp he would just tremble and shiver if it got to close to him or touched him. He also was not too sure about walking over it. Today I was able to open up the tarp all the way and drape it over him and get him to walk. The wind picked up and blew it off him and he didn't even flinch. He also didn't think twice about walking over it. After that I gave him a bath and spent about an hour grooming and fussing with his mane.
Then we walked through the barn! (Normally we walk around the barn). Ok I know that should not be a big deal. But Roux doesn't really like walking by other horses he doesn't know especially when they are poking their heads out at him. He is also an "out-door" kind of horse and doesn't appreciate being closed in yet. It would break his heart to live in a stall I'm sure. He didn't refuse to walk in there at all. It was a great step for us!

Under saddle Roux is 85% perfect. I like to do most of my saddle training on the trail I know this isn't the way everyone likes to do it this way. He is very alert on the trail but he hasn't spooked or been scary at all. Roux did not know how to neck rein at all when I got him. That has been the biggest thing we are working on training wise so far. He works off of leg cues really well and has a great foundation with most everything.
My analysis of him thus far is that he really has trust issues and low confidence. My approach is getting him to trust me completely and boost his confidence in himself.

I will be back in the saddle soon! This is a picture I took of him today:

Gus is the horse I found for my mom. He is a solid horse that I trust completely. I would put any one on him with compete faith in him. I think I found the perfect horse for my mom to get back into it.
When we got Gus he had shoes on all four feet. While he has really good quality feet they were overgrown and I wasn't happy with them. I began the process of transitioning him to a healthy barefoot hoof.
The first thing I did was to take off the shoes. His front shoes were to completely different shapes and he had a hind shoe on one of his front feet. I am not going to judge or second guess another farrier's work but we are going in a new direction now. After the shoes were off I took off a little length and gave him the best "mustang roll" I could.
Since then I work on his feet little by little every week. Getting a horse off shoes is a slow process that I think is better not to rush. He has never walked off soar after I have worked on his feet, which I am really proud of. Almost all the old nail holes are out and his fronts are starting to look more uniform. Gus has very upright feet so I am working at correcting some of that as well.
I predict that it will take 4-6 months to get him to a really great hoof. If any one is interested I can post more about my thoughts and experiences getting horses off shoes and knowing when shoeing is the best option.

Thanks for reading! Any comments and advise are welcome
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-03-2013, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: New Mexico
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I was able to spend a few hours with the boys on Friday and my mom was able to join us after she got off work.

The first thing I did was figure out what the heck was going on with that tooth- see thread "Bad Tooth." I would have bet the farm that it was cracked. So I started poking around in Roux's mouth to see if he was tender or if there was an infection and the "cracked part" popped right off! I was shocked and underneath the tooth was white and shiny. So problem solved! After crushing the part that came off I think the forum was right, calcium deposit. So I will be more proactive about Roux's teeth and see about a cleaning.

I had ridden my mom's horse Gus earlier in the week since she hadn't been on in a few days and it felt great so although I am supposed to "take it easy" for 6 weeks out of surgery I decided after lunging for 30 or so minutes I would saddle Roux and see how it went.

You have never seen a horse stand so well as Roux. He may have some problems but standing is not one of them. He just is the most patient horse when it comes to tacking up. So after saddling him I lunged him a bit more and then bridled him and walked him to the middle of the arena.

I was a little hesitant to just jump right on so I did a few mounting exercises and he was fine with all of that. So I got on and we just sat for about 3 minutes. Roux was pretty relaxed and I want him to stay that way. Then I got off walked him a little and got back on. I rode for about 15 min (by this time it was getting dark) and we worked on neck reining at a walk.

All in all a pretty successful day!

Gus's feet are coming along nicely and I haven't needed to go over them in about a week. Poor old Gus hates hates hates flies and mosquitoes. We had a month of record breaking rain and the bugs are really awful. I normally use a fly spray with sunscreen to protect their pink noses but it was not cutting it so I bought a product I heard advertised on the radio called Cedarcide. And it actually seems to be working great, it is all natural and I can even spray it on myself.

I haven't needed to buy flymasks in the past but this year I had no choice. Gus accepted his with no second thought while Roux was less than impressed at first. Now however he bends his head down when I put it on and doesn't mind at all. The masks I bought also have UV protection which I think is good especially because Roux has a blue eye which can be sensitive. They have been wearing them since mid- june and look fab!

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post #3 of 17 Old 09-07-2013, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New Mexico
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My horses live in the same town as my mom which is about an hour and a half away from me. I commute there 5 days a week for law school. But on the weekends when I don't have to be at school I don't generally go out there, so this week I didn't drive up there on Monday either. On Tuesday I was stressing out over a project due on Wednesday so I had to focus on school. Luckily when I can't make it out my Mom and brother check up on the ponies. Blessed.

So I wasn't able to do any riding this week. First it was sooo hot this week. The two horses in the pasture with my guys were sweating under there fly sheets. I don't put fly sheets on our horses but Roux was sweating under his mane (which is looooong and thick) so I braided it up for him to try to help. And I took a bucket and a sponge wet them down and cool them off. I thought it would be too nice to make them work in the heat so we didn't do much. I am looking forward to fall.

Gus's feet didn't chip or anything in two weeks, so now I am ready to start lowering the heel. After I get his feet adjusted I am going to measure him and get some Renegade hoof boots for him!
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-08-2013, 01:01 AM
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Pretty fly masks!! Looking forward to reading more!
Roux likes this.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-09-2013, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New Mexico
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Roux's first solo Trail Ride!

So today I had the afternoon free (how nice!) so of course I chose to work with my pony! I didn't have a specific goal in mind for today I just thought we would continue where we left off and see where we go from there.

We started by lunging, then put the saddle on and more lunging, then a brief ride in the arena and then SOLO TRAIL RIDE! I don't know what got into me just that Roux's confidence with himself was really high and I wanted him to go with it!

Our trail ride lasted 1 hr and 18 min and we did 3.58 miles total (according to my GPS). We have done this particular trail before but we have never ridden without another horse. Roux did amazing he never spooked even when a coyote bolted out right in front of us! We mostly did walk but trotted a bit and went as fast as 10 mph (isn't technology entertaining!).

I was so impressed with everything he did and worked through. He was pretty interested in looking at everything and he doesn't really like walking past strange horses in the pastures next to us and I have never had a horse do this before but he has to stop and smell every pile of horse poop we walk past lol.

I took a mini photo journal of today:

1. Goof ball! This is how he stands when he is waiting for his saddle. He rests his head on the rail. Notice he is not tied!

2. It was such a wonderful day today. We even got rained on for about 20 min.

3. We got to the river! The Rio Grande but its more like the Rio Pequeno then we turned around.

4. On the way back we saw a coyote!


6. After we got home and Roux got hosed off I let him in the arena to roll!
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-14-2013, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Location: New Mexico
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It's been raining all week. We are under a flood avidsory. Stay away from the river and ditch banks. So haven't been able to trail ride since Monday and the arena is underwater! Haven't ever seen this much rain in my life.
Poor horses are soaked to the bone but I think are enjoying the cooler weather.
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-17-2013, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Gus's hoof progress!

When we first got Gun in June he had shoes on all four feet, they were waaay to long and just were off balance. Overall he had good hoof quality he just needed balance. We decided to transition him to bare feet knowing it could be a looong process.
We have had five days of heavy rain and there is just no way to get the horses out of the mud. I was really worried about how his feet would handle the moisture but on when I checked everything on Monday his feet were looking good.
Almost all the nail holes have grown out and it had been three weeks since his last trim. I trimmed all four feet Monday evening and I am really happy with the progress he is making but we still have a little way to go.
I am also going to brag a little... since pulling his shoes Gus hasn't taken one lame step! Not on gravel, rocks, asphalt nothing. I was trimming him about once a week just a little on a time. And letting the hoof show me where it wants to be.
Here is a before and after picture (Left - June and Right - Monday (on the top right that is mud on his hoof not a chunk missing lol)).

The backs still need to come down, I lost my day light and wasn't able to get pics. His feet arn't perfect yet but we are getting there!
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-17-2013, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Solo Ride Take 2!

Today between classes I wanted to ride Roux. It didn't go as well as our first ride (Roux was bipolar between super pony and a real poop head) but we were able to work through our problems and in the end we had a great ride.

I normally like to lunge and do just a few minutes of arena work before we go on a trail ride but the arena is literally under a foot of water so I don't have a good place to do it. I like to lunge to "join up" before each ride with him. Eventually I won't do this but we are still building trust and I think Roux might be a bit cold backed but that comes and goes.

So after saddling I walked with him to a field that had plenty of room and was soft in case he bucked but as it turns out I needn't have bothered he stood like a perfect gentleman. So off we went and he was perfect up until he wasn't...

After about 35 min Roux just stopped dead in his tracks. I figured he had just been spooked by something but nothing... NOTHING was going to get him to move. I eventually got him moving but he decided the only way to go was backwards. But not backwards down the trail, nope, backwards into the ditch... UGH... Instead of packing in the miles (which is what I wanted) we ended up working through this for 20+ min. He kept backing straight into the ditch which isn't safe at all. I walked him back to a little irrigation faucet on the ditch bank I knew he was nervous about and then pointed him back down the trail. The effect of this was I knew he wouldn't back up to the faucet because he didn't trust it. After several small circles he walked off down the trail. Once he broke out of that mental roadblock he didn't pull that again. I will admit I was VERY frustrated because we had done this same trail a week ago with absolutely no problems. I am guessing he got a little barn sour not spooked.

So after he proved that he was willing to go down the trail I turned us around back to home. But I didn't let him go home I made him go on a the trail away from home. And he didn't even think twice about it. We kept on going for another 20 or so min and even crossed the big scary bridge. He did hesitate about it and it took some work but after the first time he crossed the bridge back and forth half a dozen times no problem.

I figured that we had done enough work (mentally) for one day and I had class in the afternoon so we went home.

Overall a great day!

Big Scary Bridge (First Time Crossing) with water under and concrete the echoes:

Tired, hot and sweaty but still cute when we got back:
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-19-2013, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Location: New Mexico
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Wednesday Ride!

Today I went on another ride with the Roux pony.
He was super-pony and didn't give me any problems. Still didn't get to longe before our ride (arena is still under water) but he didn't even hint at bucking when we started and I only hand walked him past the gate.

We ran into three total other horses and riders on the trail. Which was a first for us! Usually we are all alone. The first person was an older man on a really gorgeous bay mare. He stoped to talk to us for a few min and Roux was very patient. Side note, I don't know how old this gentleman was but I hope I am lucky enough to still be riding when I am his age! The next two were two cowboys riding together and practicing roping. Roux saw them before I did and froze for a second but he was fine when they passed. Lastly, we also had a bike rider come by us. He was really nice and asked if he should get off and walk by us. I said he should be ok riding by and just moved Roux of the trail a bit and yup he was fine. I thanked the bike guy also - I wish all people were so considerate.

I had Roux go over the bridge again since it should be fresh in his mind and he never broke his pace walking over. Didn't phase him at all. Once over the bridge we were all new territory. I had him trot and lope a little but also did some other more technical work at a walk in the bosque.

All in all it was just a wonderful ride!

Here are the stats (via GPS app on my phone):

Total Time: 1hr 15min
Distance: 3.58 miles
Average Speed: 2.9 mph
Max speed: 11.8 mph

In case you are wondering why I am keeping track... my Mom with Gus and me with Roux are training for an LD ride (25 miles) hopefully in January. We are starting with an "into to endurance ride" in November doing a 15 mile distance. We don't care what time we get just want to finish and keep the ponies happy and healthy. Mostly we are just using it to help set some goals and have fun! This week I am getting the stats to set a baseline for where we are at now.

Photo Journal from today:

Obligatory Post - Ride Roll:
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-20-2013, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Spoke too soon!

Well that is what I get for bragging... I took my mom out to show her the new trails I found. She rode Gus in her new Aussie saddle and Pad I got for her. Roux and I led the way.

Everything was fine (Roux was a dream) until... we got to the rocky gravely section in the trail. Poor poor poor Gus was so ouchy on the rocks, I felt to bad. We kept him on the soft stuff from then on and he was good to go.

He has only had his shoes off since June and it has been WET here for over a week with all the rain, water and mud. So I think his feet may be soft from that. I am going to keep working on his feet but I think we will be getting him some hoof boots very soon. The good thing is that he had no chips, cracks or damage to his feet so I know the hoof quality is getting better. Mostly he looked like he was tender on the back feet which are still too upright so that should get better soon too.

My mom said she had expected him to be tender waaay before now so she wasn't disappointed but I was a little bit. Time and patience.

Hopefully will be riding again today!
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