Kiera the Draft cross Filly and her (learning) New Horse Owner
Well, I guess I might as well start a journal here. I'm not sure where else to write this stuff down, since my friends are either not aware that I own a horse or think that I'm crazy already...or both. Plus my husband is tired of hearing about Kiera!
I am a new horse owner and I am fairly new to horses. My filly, Kiera was born in May of 2011...I almost didn't get her, and maybe some people here would feel that way as well...I was blasted on another forum for my desire to buy a young horse, and was told that I'd raise something fit only for slaughter...I was told that my horse looked like a mule, that "ugly horses eat as much as (pretty) horses", and that what I paid for Kiera was "more than the meat man would pay (for her)".
I was about to wash my hands of horses forever and all horse people, but my husband, who disapproved of the horse thing in general, regardless of what I was going to buy took me to the side and said...look...I know you...you know yourself. You aren't going to raise a dangerous for meat animal, and I don't understand WHY you are letting what these STRANGERS say affect you this way. Why are you even listening to them? When the seller's husband echoed my husband when I voiced these concerned, I put my foot down on all the crap floating around in my brain and put a down payment.
Kiera is a QH/Percheron cross. Her dam is a palamino QH named "Badger's Magic", who is about 14.3. Her sire was a large (I think they said 18 hands..but surely not) black Percheron stallion. Kiera is sorrel and unremarkable in color. She looks very "drafty"....but she is very sweet, intelligent and, as my barn owner says, "willing". She has her flaws, of course...she had not been handled until I bought her, really, late September. She is not 100 percent on her feet yet, though I have to brag, just a little...
The night before last, I told her "foot", and she lifted it for me and held it!!! I am really proud of her! She backs up when I say "back" and nudge her chest (Clearly I'm not a trainer, but the BO's colt, two months older isn't even 1/4 as interested in pleasing as my girl), I can now halter her no problem, she will approach me in pasture, and she seems for the most part to spook in her skin...which is to say, no leaping, jumping to the side or anything...she just kind of twitches strongly but stays planted. I can touch her belly and her butt, and my husband has cleaned her udder (? right word lol?) with no problems.
I am learning as I go, and I have to say that the BO loves my horse to death, as do the other boarders. My BO admits she has taken her 3 year old son in my horse's stall, which I'm not 100 percent pleased with, but it shows how highly she thinks of Kiera's temperament. She claims it's because my horse is "cold blooded"....and maybe this is true, as Badger's Magic did not seem nearly as nice as my girl. The BO's colt is hugely different in behavior to Kiera, it's kind of odd...he was touched from birth and is very used to human touch and presence...but he's nippy, he flattens his ears to the BO when she tries to bring him grain, and is very disrespectful and crowding in the pasture. Kiera tends to lip my clothes, which I will be discouraging, as I am afraid it will turn into nibbling. Other than that....she let me braid her tail and wrap it...I haven't gotten her to stand still in cross-ties yet, but since my time is limited outside of school/my kids, I'm taking it kind of slow. Besides...she's only 7 months old!
Another thing...my BO is of the opinion (other than that Kiera will be a "fantastic", "once in a lifetime find" horse!) that Kiera is going to be very BIG! She says that her paint colt is out of very large parents, and should be beast, but Kiera is already bigger than he is! She also says that Kiera eats every bit of hay that she puts in front of her and is eating equivalent amounts of hay as a GROWN HORSE. :shock:
I measured Kiera's cannon bone to knee, and maybe I did it wrong, but I got 15 hands adult height. I told that to the BO and she didn't believe it at ALL! I did more research and found that for larger horses with short cannon bones, the measurement of the cannon bone isn't accurate. Anyone have any guesses as to adult height?
These pics are kind of old, within a month of when I first got her...I've been super busy lately so I haven't managed to get out there before dark lately.
PS. I am going to be taking lessons....I have seven more weeks of Calculus which has been eating up my time. And I'm definitely going to work with a trainer...not planning to have her backed until she's three more than likely, so we have time. =)
So tonight I went to go see Kiera and it was fairly uneventful...I brought her some kale, and found out she either doesn't like it or doesn't trust me enough to eat it! =P
I worked on desensitizing her to a rope thrown lightly over the various parts of her body. I can tell she doesn't like it...but after a couple of twitches she stood there stoicly (you could tell she was sort of steeling herself to it) knowing that she'd get a treat when I was done. I'm pretty happy she is making progress on this...the only time I got a real good twitch out of her is when I pulled the plastic grocery bag containing the kale abruptly out of my jacket... the bag didn't seem to bug her too much, just the abruptness of my pulling it out. I'm definitely going to work on bags next though =P
I did have to correct her a little bit today. I was in her stall and the paint colt was sticking his nose between the slats of the stall to sniff at me and try to get attention...it's actually pretty funny. But as I rubbed his nose and scratched his chin, my horse got impatient and nibbly. =/
I made a harsh noise at her, loudly and sort of put my fingertips on her nose, pushing her away using the tips....She moved pretty quickly, so I'm not displeased, it's just something that has to stop. I'm not sure this time if she was looking for nibbles or just jealous of my attention being on the paint colt. She did go out of her way to bite his nose through the slats after that. =( Either way, it's something we're going to have to work on...
So! Plan of attack: Finish desensitizing Kiera to the rope and work on bags and tarp! Get horse to stop lip-ing me, and stand still in the cross ties!
Sounds like you have a long, but likely rewarding road in front of you! Especially with the support of others who have training experience and with a lot of patience, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to see everything through. Remember to ask for help when you need it- it's much easier than muddling through and confusing the issues for both you and her. I look forward to hearing about both your progress! ... and hopefully lots more pictures. :)
I know it isn't going to be all roses! I have definitely been asking questions of everyone regarding how-to and hypotheticals! I'm very happy to say that there are people who, if not in agreeance with me, will share information. This board is priceless in that people are pretty positive and there are no flame wars, so you can actually come and LEARN. Plus, Kiera seems to have a very good attitude, and I'm told she is really easy to work with, quick learning and never gives the BO any problems. That will *definitely* come in handy.
As for pictures, I have a nice Christmas ribbon she'd look lovely with, even with all the dirt. ;)
If I can't get in there tomorrow sometime to take pics before dark, I'll definitely get some the day after.
Those people on the other forum are full of crap. She looks just fine to me, and you seem to be doing perfectly fine. As long as you have experienced horse people to support you, so you don't have to go through the trial-and-error process, you'll have a great little mare in no time! Good luck!
Anyway we went today but the farrier was late and we were driving to an airport 2.5 hours away to drop off my daughter, so we couldn't stay. I did snap a few pics which will have to do until later this weekend when I get the time to go back, put up her new stall plaque (!!!) and attempt to brush off some of the dirt for better pictures. =D
What kind of silliness is this human creature up to now?
...did she seriously just take my picture?!
*time to practice the 'Dramatic Horse' glare*
...and when all else fails, just stick out your tongue and hope she gets the hint! xD
She is very cute!! :D And I really love those ears!!
So tonight we went over to see Kiera...my husband had my son, so I went out to the pasture to get her. She came over to me as usual and let me put the halter on her head. The problem came from the BO's colt. He kept hassling me and getting in my space. I poked him with my fingers in the face like the BO suggested I do, but all he did was put his ears back and be just as pushy. I ended up pushing him away HARD when Kiera got po'd...she went to turn her butt to him, preparing to kick and I was in the line of fire trapped against the fence! So I pushed at him and yelled, and we got out of the pasture fast after that. The BO has offered to move him to another pasture...I'd like to learn how to deal with other horse's shennannigans, however Nova is very stubborn about his disrespect. I'm going to think on it....
I brushed Kiera out, and her feet look good, apparently she was fine with the farrier after the initial figuring things out. She was just covered in mud though! Uck! xD I couldn't get it all off of her since it was really wet and it wouldn't feel right hosing her off in this cold weather when remnants of snow are still on the ground! So alas....some of her "Christmas" pics are kind of mudsome. lol
One issue with her today that I have never encountered! I tied her in the cross ties, and she stood for me for a couple minutes, but when we went back in the arena the BO was putting grain in the stalls....and my horse went NUTS!!! She kept ignoring me on the lead and tried to get into the stalls...you'd really think she was starved all day!!!! I took her back to her stall and stood in front of her food dish until she calmed down...but as I went to walk away she kicked the air with her hind leg! I pushed her away from the food dish again to make sure that she realized that was a REAL NO GO. Once she stopped jiggling around, I exited the stall to let her finish so I could finally get my pics.
Unfortunately they didn't come out that great...the lighting was really yellow, but we will try again sometime soon! ;)
Went to go see Kiera tonight, kind of late...It's been a rough day I guess...found out I'm going to have two UNINVITED house guests tomorrow night whom I really don't care for. One of whom used to call me "fat @ss" as a nickname....I'm not a big fan of the other one either. Anyhow...so after I find that out, I managed to fall off the top of my porch onto my back on the stairs...so I went to go see Kiera...stress management, right? xD
Kiera looks good. I think she somehow grows taller in a matter of days. 0_o And wow, it must be me because both her and the paint colt seem to be on a patch of the uglies. LOL. I stood there looking at the paint colt, who is about nine months old...and his rump just looked LUMPY. So I stood there looking between him and Kiera...and her front legs right above her hoof looked painfully OFF. So with the few nibblets of knowledge I have about conformation I tried to figure out if my horse and Nova are mutants that should be wearing full body paper bags for the rest of their lives......
Then I decided that people are right...and young horses go through some painfully awful ugly stages. The paint colt looks like his tail is too low and almost like there's a giant bump on his butt. Kiera's butt looks fine but her legs look funky and her head is ENORMOUS.
I'm just going to go ahead and willfully ignore what they look like for awhile, I think.
In any case, I was really happy with Kiera tonight. Her fur that isn't covered in massive amounts of mud dust is very sleek and shiny and VERY soft...she wasn't pissy to me today either, nor did she mob me for the apple slices in the plastic container I was holding. AND the best part: I went to pick up her feet, I said "Foot!" and lifted...and she lifted...AND HELD THEM UP!!!!!! I'm so excited, it only took her one visit with a REAL farrier and now she's holding her feet up for me, not just once, but with both front and back!
I know that for some people it's a small step but really consider that back in late September before I bought her, she hadn't been handled at all except to load her and her mom in the trailer... !
Now when we're done with cleaning tomorrow and I play hostess for awhile, I'm going to head out and work on desensitizing her a little more to the rope and perhaps bags...and maybe work on standing in the crossties for a little longer. I think that if I can get her to stand successfully in the crossties and not be nervous that will make me very happy (short term, of course lol)! Well! I'm so happy to be moving forward =)
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