Need Help With 4 Year Old Clydesdale!
A couple weeks ago, some friends of the family bought a four year old Clydesdale. He's 17.1 hands, and they say he's been broke, but from what attitude I have seen so far, he doesn't seem to know much at all. It's the same story with the owners. The other day, they wanted me to put the saddle on and get on him to see what he would be like. I agreed to it. So, they brought out a brand new Wintec saddle, a 30 inch cinch, a very heavy pad - plus cushions to put under the saddle for his withers (for a reason I didn't press), and a western headstall with no chinstrap, and the bit was a simple eggbutt snaffle. I'm no where close to being an expert, but the situation kind of screamed 'horrible accident' So I refused to get on until they had a proper fitting cinch, and chin strap for the bridle. Instead, they asked me to work with picking up his feet. I asked why, and they said he sometimes wont pick his feet up at all, or he'll just pull away. It sounded like an easy fix, because my own horse used to do that, so I went over and ran a hand down his front leg to let him know what I was about to do, and as easy as it is to breathe, he picked up his foot. I held it in my hand for about two seconds, before he violently pulled away. After a few more tries, he did a little better, so I moved onto the other front hoof. Same situation. After that, I went to his back feet and picked one up, only this time he lashed out, I held on for a few thrashes before letting go and retreating backwards a few steps. When he lashed out, it wasn't a simple 'I don't like that' and trying to get away, it was a vicious kick intended for me. ever since they got him, they haven't done anything with him, not even put the halter and lead on and just walked him around. So he's gotten very attached to their riding pony, and he wont even move without him. The other two horses don't get along with him, so they only use those two horses, and just leave the Clydesdale and pony at home when they go ride, and it has made both of them barn sour. The owners can't afford an instructor to come out, and that is the only reason I have agreed to help, but if I had known the conditions were going to be dangerous, I would have declined. But I've already said I would help them, and I would feel bad if I told them I couldn't anymore. Can anyone lend me some advice?
You know, it really isn't your problem, you were kind of sucker punched into it, so please don't feel bad if you want to say "Sorry you are in over your heads, and I don't want to get hurt by your horse, my suggestion is take it to a trainer"
If you do want to keep helping, then I would not even think about riding him until the ground issues are sorted out.
For help with the feet issue, watch the videos on thios link Hoof Desensitizing training at One True Media - share slideshows, slide shows, Facebook slideshows, free video sharing, video montages. they helped me no end with my girl and her issues, which sound to be like the ones that boy has.
As for the rest of it, well it depends so much on the facilities you have available and the support, but just remember a horse that size and weight is dangerous if he has no respect for people.
All in all I'm afraid I would be saying not my problem here
It isn't worth getting yourself hurt. It would be beteer for you and them to admit that he needs a more experienced trainer, especially a horse that size.
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One of the things that bother me is that they bought a new horse and new gear but wanted you, for free, to work with him. And then they don't work with him themselves???? Sometimes I don't get people....But I know the type you are talking about.
If he's 4 and 17 hands, he's young for that breed....he's going to get heavier. On the other hand, it would be sad to see such a beautiful horse sit in a pasture with bad feet....
I have a belgium on a farm with 14 other horses. He is by far the friendliest horse. When we have kids out to ride, we lead him with the kids on. When kids are around, he mellows out and never moves his feet around - he stands so still. He wasn't worked with until he was about 4-5 either. But once he got individual attention (basically babied), he came around. (Treats helped too)
It is ultimately your choice. I'm a sucker for the big guys but I'm prejudice now :-) Do what you are comfortable with.
When working with his legs use a fat lead shank. Put it around his front leg and see-saw it up and down his leg. Then down to his ankle. Pull and release until he moves his foot forward even an inch or tips his heel up. Repeat doing this until he'll bring it forward. Do this with the hind and stay out of kicking distance. Let him fight the rope. Being a young horse he may be feeling his ability of flee is being taken away, especially with the hinds. Always give him a little rub when he at least tries. When asking for a hoof set it down as soon as he allows you to pick it up. This is hard work but do it as you can gradually increasing the time. The odd treat goes a long way with good behaviour, not every time or that will become his focus.
Sounds like they have no business with a horse if they can't afford lessons or a trainer. The horse is young for the bred and should have a professional working with him for everyone's sake including the horse. Tell them thanks but no thanks and let them deal with it. You will get hurt if you try and fix their problem.
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