Bringing Up Levee:
Hey all! My name is Courtney and I’m the proud owner of a yearling red dun Quarter Horse gelding named Levee. I weighed and measured Levee the other day and he stands an impressive 12.2hh at the shoulder. He’s a little higher in the bum, but nothing too noticeable. He weighs approximately 550lbs (not sure how accurate the tape is), but seems a little bit ribby to me. He’s not extremely skinny and I’m positive he’ll bulk up a bit once he moves to the pasture. He was last wormed on July 17, 2011 and handled it extremely well… aside from the big sneeze right after, directly into my boyfriend’s face. Heh.
He arrived on July 16, 2011 and I’ve been letting him chill out since and get used to the new surroundings. I’ve been out there every day to groom and practice leading within the pen, and he’s doing great. Last night, we went for our first walk outside his pen and he did very well. It was a pretty uneventful walk until it came time to go back to his pen. That’s when he showed me what a Levee spook is all about – he stopped, reversed, tossed his head up and stared at a spot in the grass in front of his pen. I had no idea what was going on, so I circled him and tried again. Same response, but he added a shaky snort to the show. I circled him again and tried to lead him into the pen from a different location, thinking he was feeling nervous about the mud at the front of the pen. Nope, brakes came on so we waited for a little bit until his ears came forward and he got curious. Turns out, a gopher was hiding in the tall grass. As soon as the gopher scurried away, Levee put his head down and followed me into the pen.
Tonight, we’re going to start in the round pen and do about 10 minutes of circles at a walk while he learns what a lunge line is. Additionally, I would like to introduce him to some basic stretches and bending exercises (holding his lead line in one hand and his tail in the other, and inviting him to gently bend his body in both directions) to help limber him up before we begin learning to trot in a circle. At most, I plan to work him gently for about 15 minutes in total and then treat him to a nice, relaxing massage and grooming session. I don’t want to overwhelm the colt and if he starts getting anxious after 5 minutes, we’ll stop and resume another day.
Congrats on your new boy! Sounds like your doing great with him. Gotta love it when they spook but you dont see it! I was treating my yearling, Mystic, last night & she pricked her ears & got all excited & prancing....my husband had come outside & she thought he had her carrot for being a good girl, lol!
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Today we played around in the round pen a bit. He was a little anxious so we didn't do much aside from walking in circles in both directions. I let him graze as I groomed, and then he practiced standing while tied. The little brat figured out how to pull the end of a quick release knot and untie himself. He's a quick study! He knows it's a naughty thing to do, because he watched me the entire time while flicking his ears back and forth. A sharp "no!" was enough to set him straight.
I spent the majority of my training time tonight working on teaching Levee to pick up his hooves. He's OKAY at it, but he still hasn't figured out that he can stand just as well on three feet as he can on four. We're getting there. Just before I left, while he was loose in his pen, I tried to get him to pick up the foot that he's the most resistant to lifting and he did with very little hesitation. Progress!
I also managed to give him a quick sheath cleaning and inspection. We were hanging out in his pen, he was nearly asleep and he dropped. I figured I'd see just how comfortable he'd be if I took a quick look and was very surprised when he let me inspect it and pull off the worst of the gunk. I didn't have any supplies with me, so I couldn't do a thorough cleaning... but at least I know he'll stand quietly through it. I'll attempt again on the weekend, and have some warm water ready!
Poor guy is getting bored in his pen, all by himself. It was just pouring rain today, but I feel so bad that he's all alone in his pen that I went to the barn anyway. Levee and I spent 2 hours huddling in his lean to, watching the mud puddle in his pen grow.
We didn't do very much today, aside from grooming. His coat is getting so shiny and soft! He was acting like a brat today, and insisted on taking every item out of my grooming box one by one, and then flinging the box into the mud. To keep him busy, I put a towel over his ears and eyes and let him reason through it. Watching him try to reach the towel with his lips was hilarious!
Progress today! He's been very hesitant to pick up his feet for me, but today, he picked up a front leg when I said, "hoof!". He did the same for one of his hind legs too. Baby steps!
Hopefully tomorrow has some sun for us. I want to take Levee out of his pen and on a walk to practice leading. He also deserves to be knee deep in some nice grass.
Big day today: Levee learned how to walk through a sliding barn door and did it without argument. He currently lives in a long shed row type barn with separate runs for horses in quarantine. We've had a lot of rain lately and there was NO way I was trekking through knee deep mud to get to him.
Being well aware of Levee's issues with trailers, I was a little bit unsure of how he'd handle this newest task. Not only was the door narrower than the trailer he refused to enter, but he would have to step down to leave the shed. Surprisingly, he did it without blinking or stumbling. He took a minute to study the step, but didn't hesitate. He didn't rush through the door, he didn't spook... nothing.
He did, however, spook at the weed eater. He jumped 3 feet to the side and took me with him. Fortunately, my experience with the racehorses came in handy and I managed to keep my footing. A few quick hops and I had him back under control. My poor boyfriend was beside himself, thinking I was going to be dragged.
Once we got to the round pen, I let him trot, canter and buck around to blow off some steam while I brought in all my items to sack him out. When I tried to explain what sacking out was to my boyfriend, he just looked at me and replied, "Sack? But he doesn't have any balls! How are you going to sack him?" Heh.
We started off with a woven rug since I don't have a saddle pad. I let him see the rug and then I tossed it on the ground so he could have a go pawing at it. Then I rubbed it all over his body and his face. I laid it flat on his back and asked him to trot away from me so the tassles would flutter in the wind. No spook. I brought him back and began swinging the rug around, letting it slap against his rump, belly and legs. He was a little unsure of that, but he stood his ground.
After about 10 minutes of this, he got bored and started grazing as I was tossing the rug against him. I pulled a white plastic bag out of my pocket and started waving it around in the air. Instant terror. He took off, ran a few laps of the round pen and then his curiosity won out. He came to investigate the bag and upon finding out it didn't have teeth, settled down to graze again.
I rubbed it all over his body, fluttered it around his hooves and looped it through the throatlatch of his halter. Then I sent him away and let him trot around while the bag fluttered under his chin. He bucked once and that was it.
Next up was the rope. I looped a rope all over his body, flipped it over his head, let it snake around his legs, picked up his hooves with it, draped it over his back... not a single side step or spook. Nothing at all.
On that good note, we called it a night and led him back to his pasture. He had to step up to get into the shed and on his first attempt, he nearly fell on his face. At this point, I was expecting a spook but instead, he steadied himself, lowered his muzzle to the step and seemed to be thinking about it. On his second attempt, he very carefully picked up his hooves and stepped up. No issue, no hesitation.
I'd say it was a successful night. Once the round pen isn't so dangerously wet, I want to try some join up on him.
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