My sister decided to adopt a haflinger last week. The haflinger was picked out by my BO for another boarder and after 4 years, the boarder decided to give him to the BO and tell her to "find him a home, he's free". My sister had ridden him a couple weeks ago to see if she wanted to lease him. She liked him but opted for the buckskin that the BO had for lease as well.
The BO texted me and told me Sabee needed a new owner so I asked my sister, who really took a liking to him. It took her a couple hourse to decide, but she finally said yes. She's really excited about him.
Sabee's old name was "Buddy", but we have a running joke. See, my sister is a bit darker skinned than I am. We have native american in our blood and it shows a lot in her. So while she was trying him out to lease, I was calling her Tonto. She took the joke to another level and renamed Buddy Kemosabee, and it fits him. Raina favors him and he's pretty trustworthy.
Anyways, Sabee has this "whoa" problem. He's not dangerous by any means, he just wants to trot, trot, trot, trot the second you get on him, and he's very hard in the mouth. The BO said that his previous owner, who was a 17 year old girl, just wanted to go, go, go so that's probably why he's like that. He doesn't take off and do dangerous stuff, he just thinks its his job to never stop.
So I am going to be doing some retraining on him to bring back some breaks and get him into neck reining.
So far Sabee's stats go like this:
Weight: Fatty McFat Fat
Discipline: Western/trail riding
Goal: Whao, pony! Neck reining, getting him back into shape, possible trail ride competitions.
So this journal is about Sabee's progress and how my sister learns from him. She's been around horses as long as I have, just never got too "into" it until now. I'd call her an intermediate rider with a lot of room to grow and learn. I can't wait to teach her how to sheath clean! Mwahaha.
I'll start with my sister's first trail ride on him. This was um...let me think. Last Friday, 5/10/13
Sabee was easy to catch. My sister is relearning the halter concept. The last couple times we've been to the barn, I've helped with it. She bought him an orange halter and got it on him in one go on Friday, which I was happy to see.
She brought Sabee in and groomed him from head to toe and picked out his feet. We saddled him (which was a combination of finding pony parts and swapping the horse parts out for them). I had to tie a knot in the bridle and the breast collar so it would fit Sabee, and I gave her Raina's bit to use since the first time she rode him, he was strong.
I hopped on him first to see how he would react to the bit and nothing went wrong. He stopped better, but wasn't great about it. No negative side effects so she hopped on and I got Raina ready.
After a couple minutes of walking Sabee around, she headed out of the barn. I asked her where she was going and she said "The car!" and off she went. No fear! I tacked up Raina and followed her out. It hard started raining by the time we got into the trails.
We decided to canter up the first hill and Raina started bucking because the bag I had strapped to the horn was hitting her shoulder (I had a bottle of gatoraid in there). Sabee was all about it though and when we got to the top of the hill, I saw my sister trotting in circles and laughing. Sabee just kept going and going and my sister was laughing. Finally she said "He won't stop!" so I told her to crank his nose around to her knee and he finally halted.
The rest of the trail ride was a mixture of awesomeness and rain. Sabee did so well with carting my sister around, and my sister did very well with establishing herself as the boss. She loves that pony!
We got them back to the barn and untacked and groomed the horses. She kept going on and on about her pony. We gave him nicknames like "Hulk", "The Juggernaut", "Tank", and the sort because he's a miniature draft horse and he's well aware of it.
After a while, we put them back out in the field and they galloped off.
This is me riding Sabee and trying him in Raina's bit. His face just kills me.
I went up to the barn to work on Sabee. Raina gave me a glance and walked over when I came to the pasture, but I haltered Sabee instead and so she went back to eating.
I brought him down and hooked him to the wall and saddled him up. He's such a chunker! Anyways, he stood for everything. I switched his bit to a snaffle since I will be retraining him, and I always use snaffles to retrain. I walked him around, retightened the saddle and then hopped up.
And off we went! I brought his nose to my knee instantly and let him spin in circles until he finally stopped. We did this a couple times when he would just walk off without asking and he was finally starting to get the Big Idea.
We did a lot of walk/stop transitions. He was SO heavy at first. I'd have to pull back HARD to get him to stop. By the end of the hour, he was stopping better, but not completely 100% to where I'd like him. It was better though.
We also worked on some neck reining. It seems as though at one point in time he knew it, but maybe he has gotten so hard to the reins and cues that he just doesn't anymore. I got him to turn right and left once by just neckreining, but it took a whole lot of leg and rein pressure against his neck to do it. It was almost like trying to push a brick wall with your heel and a strip of leather.
We also did a little bit of trot. He would charge into the trot but he'd respect my halfhalts and come back down to a slower trot 3 strides later.
I'm not sure how long its been since someone has worked with him, but I'm assuming all of this will get much, much better with each ride. He just needs to learn that theres really no hurry at all.
I love his face!
My sister is currently looking for a cheap saddle for him. Until then, we're using the BO's 15" with permission. We can't get anything bigger because it won't fit his back!
Ok, lets see...I've been on this site from my phone over the past week since I've been camping out on my sister's couch. I hate doing journals from my phone so I waited to come home in order to do them. I have a lot to catch up on!
Monday - 5/13/13
We took the horses out on a trail ride. I was hoping to go to the barn alone to work on Sabee again, but my sister is eager to get some miles on the trails so we went out. Sabee did very well. He's confident on the trail and takes care of my sister. He even jumped a little log for her (which she loved!). The "Whoa" still needed work, of course. On the way back, he was in the lead and we were trotting up a hill...and he was going to pleasantly I had the urge to just jumble things up a bit.
I asked Raina to canter and blew past them, and my sister took the challenged and kicked Sabee into a canter to race us. I hit the top of the hill first and pulled Raina up, my sister pulled Sabee up maybe 50ft past us, and Iseul flew past me before being able to pull Alahna up. It was fun :)
We made it back to the barn and rested a bit before getting off the ponies
Wednesay - 5/15/13
I went up to the barn to work with Sabee. He came up to me in the field and I brought him into the outside arena. No one was there so I had the arena to myself. The BO said that Sabee's previous owner was a 17 year old girl and the only thing she used to do with him was run, run, run, run. And we don't expect him to do that.
I unhooked him and he instantly trotted away and looked for an exit. I wanted to free lunge him, not chase him like a maniac...but he just kept looking for that exit. So I gently pushed him. I was far enough away to keep his attention, but not too close that he felt he needed to bolt...but he did bolt. Again and again and again, and kept looking for an excape route. My heart broke.
I just kept following him at a slow, easy walk and eventually he settled himself down. Everytime he stopped and looked outside the arena, I just lifted my arm and his attention would come back and he'd walk on. I wanted him to tell me "Thats enough, I'm done" by turning in to me and walking over, but that never came. He DID finally stop and look at me, instead of looking for an exit, so I was really happy with that.
I walked over to get him and he'd scoot away, his eyes wide like I'd chase him off. So we started over with me just walking behind him and pulling his attention back everytime it wandered outside of the arena. Eventually when I stopped walking, he stopped and looked at me. I walked over to him and he let me near him, and I pet him all over and walked away. He followed.
Its a shame that he feels he needs to constantly be in high gear. He will learn that's not what any of us want from him anymore.
I saddled and hopped on him and worked on some halts. He did SO much better that day. Instead of forcing the halt on him, I simply asked him to halt (sit deep, breathe out, pull back) and I didn't release the pressure until he complied. It was more or less a "Figure it out. How do you make the pressure go away?" kind of deal. By the end of the half hour, he was STOPPING! So happy with that!
I asked him to trot, but instead of giving him a kick, I squeezed. He got a little faster at the walk but didn't trot, so I squeezed about 3 times for encouragement and his trot was fabulous.
Happy with everything we got, I untacked him, brushed him down and put him back out into the field.
I was actually aiming to work the snot out of him that day to try and shed some weight, but when I saw how he reacted to me out in the open, I decided to take another route. The weight can wait. He needs to learn to relax first.
Oh boy, I just wrote a really long blog and it got erased.
Sabee ran from my little sister on Thursday. At first I was concerned that maybe it was something I did from the day before that made him sour. But then I tried catching him and he walked right up to me. So maybe it was something that happened on Wednesday which was positive. I told my sister not to worry, I was going to show her how to work with him.
We bathed him and let him hand graze. I told her the more time she spent with him, the more he will learn to trust her. It wasn't all about riding.
After he dried, we set him loose in the outside arena and I coached my sister through positioning, posture, pressure and why. Sabee was less concerned about finding an escape route that day but still wasn't sure what we wanted from him. She got him to look at her when she released the pressure, but he still didn't want to come in to her.
We were pushed out of the arena by a couple kids who wanted to use it, so we had to catch him and bring him in. We tacked both our horses up and went back to the outside arena. I coached her on how to prep him for the stop by sitting deep and exhaling loudly before pulling back, and he stopped extremely well for her. I also told her to fuss over him a lot when he did something well (like stopping) as though he won a grammy award or something.
I then coached her for the trot. I told her not to nail his sides, he's sensitive. We need to teach him we don't expect him to run. So just kind of squeeze and if he doesn't trot, give him a soft bump. That was enough and he gave her this wonderful little jog! It was beautiful!
We did some walk/jog transitions. Then I asked her to keep the jog for a longer period of timing, knowing he would eventually speed up. He did, and I explained the half halt to her, and she kept him at a good pace.
Happy with the results, we then took a trail ride and he was beautiful. She took him in the river without a problem, she stopped him on the trails, he did just wonderful. There were a few instances where he wanted to be impatient, but that will get better with each trail.
I'm very happy with him. When he's more consistant with his stops and his jog is consistant, I'll work on his canter. He is currently going in a snaffle when I ride him, and given some leverage when my sister rides. I'd like to eventually feel confident enough in him to let him cart my sister around in a snaffle as well.