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post #11 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 01:20 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 3,164
• Horses: 8
Oh man. M'boi Trigger. Very long story. He came to us hot, forward, scared, shy, terrified of men, especially loud talking men or boys in sunglasses, sunglasses in general, lariats - especially if you were practicing roping nearby, crackling water bottles, would lose his mind if you tried to touch his ears.

In my novice ignorance, I did everything wrong with him that could be done, and at the advice of people whom I thought I could trust. But they had the old school cowboy ways of things.

He bolted one time on me, I bailed, got wadded up, knocked out for a few seconds, and it scared me so bad I found any excuse to not ride him again for a full year. I found people who would take their cowboy advice and use it... enthusiastically. I let bullies and abusers try to dominate him for almost a year. He would come home with his mouth tore up, having been whipped mercilessly with reins for rearing, and he scared the gentler types who tried to 'ride him down for me.'

He went from shy and untrusting to simply untouchable, uncatchable. Never mean, not a mean bone in him.

He was terrified.

I was resigned to sell him. He wore the same crappy blue halter in his pasture for 18 months - because we couldn't catch him to get it off and we were afraid if we did, we'd never have that leverage - the halter - to snatch and catch him. We had to rope him a few times, and that sent him into orbit, emotionally. He was lost and scared and unfocused, and I made it 100xs worse by listening to all the wrong people.... They're actually the RIGHT people for any normal horse. Trigger isn't any normal horse. He's weird. (Delightfully so).

My husband, NOT a horseman, but someone who's ridden a lot in his life, pulled me aside one day, said: He's bad. He's getting worse. I know what you were told, I know I agreed with them - but you're going to have to try to take him back the other way.

Win his trust with kindness is what he meant.

So. EVERYONE was banned from going in his pasture, from harassing him, riding him, trying to catch him, chasing him with the four wheeler to wear him down and catch him. Don't look at him, don't talk to him, don't feed him. I had to become his go to person.

A month and a half of trying got me no. where. Finally I felt sorry for him, he was lonely in his little pasture, so I turned him out with the rest - there were storms coming in a few days, so I just opened the gate between the two pastures so they'd have access to the big run in shed.

Sarge began to hound him mercilessly. Chased him all over that 40 acres, for hours, unrelenting.

I was planting flowers... saw what he was doing to Trigger. And I got angry. I don't know what I thought I was going to do, but I stepped right thought the wire fence, bowed up, and stalked toward them. They were coming at me at a hard run. I yelled at Sarge, waved him off, and he knew he'd ripped his drawers with me. Trigger... God love him, he's so tender... HID behind me.

After that, I became his person. My weeks of being there with him, for him, paid off. I just didn't know it would until that moment. I put him back in by himself, kept him in the round pen for a week, spent every morning and every evening until dark and sometimes after, just hanging out with him. A friend came over, we round penned him/lunged him a little, and started to work desensitizing him to ropes, lunge whips, sunglasses, water bottles, walmart bags on fishing poles.

He's just. so. weird, but he's my buddy now. It took two years of consistently being there, learning to not be afraid of him (Because then he thinks I'm scared of boogers in the bushes), learning to trust him, and him trust me. We go camping, he's my favorite trail horse of them all, despite him still having no brakes. He rarely spooks, and when he does, I rarely even change my heart rate now - and we just chug right along.


The fact that he came to trust me, despite what we think must have been a bad mishandling of him in the past, his willingness to forgive and trust me after all my horrible missteps, and the fact that he will go wherever I ask him, even when he KNOWS he's right and I'm wrong, and I get us in a pickle from time to time, is humbling.


Below are my favorite pictures of him, because all of these represent a landmark in our partnership:


His first picture. My daughter took this while I was at work and sent it to me.





The day Sarge nearly beat him/ran him to death. He didn't like his picture taken, he wanted to turn his face away. Note the overgrown hooves - we couldn't even catch him for a trim before this day. Note also the crappy blue halter. It's now faded to white... and it hangs off the top rail of the pen - as a reminder to me there's a better way. It will hang there till it rots off, then I'll find another way to hang it up.




Summer slick, dappled and grass fat. I was working on finding a saddle that fit him right. This was later in the summer, after the spring butt whipping by Sarge. I spent a lot of time that day, sitting at his feet, under him, around him, just sitting on the ground as he ate. It was hard to do, at first - trust him to not step on me. He never did, never has.




This one is tremendous for me: He posed for a picture, and he had let a friend braid his mane. He'd held still, never shied or acted nervous that day.




The day last summer when Gina snapped her lead rope at Coffee Mill and ran away from camp, and tracked us for three hours, way behind us, along the same trail. This day, when we rode up and I noticed her gone, the tone of my voice changed, the way I held myself int he saddle changed. He reacted IMMEDIATELY by acting out, being upset. My friend I ride with has been around horses her entire life. Said she's never seen one pick up on his/her rider's emotions and react as immediately as he does. I learned that day to keep calm, no matter what and he will too. At this point, Gina was still missing. I was using him as bait, near the trail head. I'd hoped he call for her. He never did... I taught him too well to not holler when he's with me.








This was last summer's last Big Ride at Coffee Mill... Importance of this photo is that he kept photobombing, not looking away from me or the camera.




Lastly: Our greeting ritual. This was established early on when I was earning his trust. If I don't follow the rules of our greeting ritual each and every time, he gets horribly distressed. He's very well mannered and expects the same of me. He turns, gives me two eyes. I stop whatever I'm doing. Approach, sometimes its me, sometimes it's him that moves first. My hand has to be palm down, fingers fully relaxed. He taps my fingers with his nose ever so shyly, I run the back of my fingers down his face. After that, I can do anything I like around him. Skip a step, and he's nervous and worried for a few minutes longer than if I just took the time to greet him properly.

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"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 01:32 PM
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Location: Alberta, Canada, North America, The World!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
Oh man. M'boi Trigger. Very long story. He came to us hot, forward, scared, shy, terrified of men, especially loud talking men or boys in sunglasses, sunglasses in general, lariats - especially if you were practicing roping nearby, crackling water bottles, would lose his mind if you tried to touch his ears.

In my novice ignorance, I did everything wrong with him that could be done, and at the advice of people whom I thought I could trust. But they had the old school cowboy ways of things.

He bolted one time on me, I bailed, got wadded up, knocked out for a few seconds, and it scared me so bad I found any excuse to not ride him again for a full year. I found people who would take their cowboy advice and use it... enthusiastically. I let bullies and abusers try to dominate him for almost a year. He would come home with his mouth tore up, having been whipped mercilessly with reins for rearing, and he scared the gentler types who tried to 'ride him down for me.'

He went from shy and untrusting to simply untouchable, uncatchable. Never mean, not a mean bone in him.

He was terrified.

I was resigned to sell him. He wore the same crappy blue halter in his pasture for 18 months - because we couldn't catch him to get it off and we were afraid if we did, we'd never have that leverage - the halter - to snatch and catch him. We had to rope him a few times, and that sent him into orbit, emotionally. He was lost and scared and unfocused, and I made it 100xs worse by listening to all the wrong people.... They're actually the RIGHT people for any normal horse. Trigger isn't any normal horse. He's weird. (Delightfully so).

My husband, NOT a horseman, but someone who's ridden a lot in his life, pulled me aside one day, said: He's bad. He's getting worse. I know what you were told, I know I agreed with them - but you're going to have to try to take him back the other way.

Win his trust with kindness is what he meant.

So. EVERYONE was banned from going in his pasture, from harassing him, riding him, trying to catch him, chasing him with the four wheeler to wear him down and catch him. Don't look at him, don't talk to him, don't feed him. I had to become his go to person.

A month and a half of trying got me no. where. Finally I felt sorry for him, he was lonely in his little pasture, so I turned him out with the rest - there were storms coming in a few days, so I just opened the gate between the two pastures so they'd have access to the big run in shed.

Sarge began to hound him mercilessly. Chased him all over that 40 acres, for hours, unrelenting.

I was planting flowers... saw what he was doing to Trigger. And I got angry. I don't know what I thought I was going to do, but I stepped right thought the wire fence, bowed up, and stalked toward them. They were coming at me at a hard run. I yelled at Sarge, waved him off, and he knew he'd ripped his drawers with me. Trigger... God love him, he's so tender... HID behind me.

After that, I became his person. My weeks of being there with him, for him, paid off. I just didn't know it would until that moment. I put him back in by himself, kept him in the round pen for a week, spent every morning and every evening until dark and sometimes after, just hanging out with him. A friend came over, we round penned him/lunged him a little, and started to work desensitizing him to ropes, lunge whips, sunglasses, water bottles, walmart bags on fishing poles.

He's just. so. weird, but he's my buddy now. It took two years of consistently being there, learning to not be afraid of him (Because then he thinks I'm scared of boogers in the bushes), learning to trust him, and him trust me. We go camping, he's my favorite trail horse of them all, despite him still having no brakes. He rarely spooks, and when he does, I rarely even change my heart rate now - and we just chug right along.


The fact that he came to trust me, despite what we think must have been a bad mishandling of him in the past, his willingness to forgive and trust me after all my horrible missteps, and the fact that he will go wherever I ask him, even when he KNOWS he's right and I'm wrong, and I get us in a pickle from time to time, is humbling.


Below are my favorite pictures of him, because all of these represent a landmark in our partnership:


His first picture. My daughter took this while I was at work and sent it to me.





The day Sarge nearly beat him/ran him to death. He didn't like his picture taken, he wanted to turn his face away. Note the overgrown hooves - we couldn't even catch him for a trim before this day. Note also the crappy blue halter. It's now faded to white... and it hangs off the top rail of the pen - as a reminder to me there's a better way. It will hang there till it rots off, then I'll find another way to hang it up.




Summer slick, dappled and grass fat. I was working on finding a saddle that fit him right. This was later in the summer, after the spring butt whipping by Sarge. I spent a lot of time that day, sitting at his feet, under him, around him, just sitting on the ground as he ate. It was hard to do, at first - trust him to not step on me. He never did, never has.




This one is tremendous for me: He posed for a picture, and he had let a friend braid his mane. He'd held still, never shied or acted nervous that day.




The day last summer when Gina snapped her lead rope at Coffee Mill and ran away from camp, and tracked us for three hours, way behind us, along the same trail. This day, when we rode up and I noticed her gone, the tone of my voice changed, the way I held myself int he saddle changed. He reacted IMMEDIATELY by acting out, being upset. My friend I ride with has been around horses her entire life. Said she's never seen one pick up on his/her rider's emotions and react as immediately as he does. I learned that day to keep calm, no matter what and he will too. At this point, Gina was still missing. I was using him as bait, near the trail head. I'd hoped he call for her. He never did... I taught him too well to not holler when he's with me.








This was last summer's last Big Ride at Coffee Mill... Importance of this photo is that he kept photobombing, not looking away from me or the camera.




Lastly: Our greeting ritual. This was established early on when I was earning his trust. If I don't follow the rules of our greeting ritual each and every time, he gets horribly distressed. He's very well mannered and expects the same of me. He turns, gives me two eyes. I stop whatever I'm doing. Approach, sometimes its me, sometimes it's him that moves first. My hand has to be palm down, fingers fully relaxed. He taps my fingers with his nose ever so shyly, I run the back of my fingers down his face. After that, I can do anything I like around him. Skip a step, and he's nervous and worried for a few minutes longer than if I just took the time to greet him properly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DCsiD-Yq-0
This is just so amazing. I love the story of you and Trigger, it's inspirational and just... amazing. lol.
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Hold on to what makes you happy! If it tries to buck you off, just hold on even tighter!
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 02:36 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Hildreth, FL
Posts: 2,571
• Horses: 5
My jousting partner and I were looking for a second jousting horse for him, as his good horse had died. We decided we wanted another gelding, about 15.2.

MY friend heard we were looking for a nice horse and called me about an appaloosa mare, 14.2. I told her "no thanks, no stubborn appaloosas, NO MARES, and she's too small anyway."

A few weeks later, she called back to say that the owners of this appie mare had made arrangements to have the killers pick her up at 2:00 that afternoon if I didn't buy her. She had bolted with her beginner rider, ran under a barn door, and injured the rider, so she must die.

That was too heartbreaking for a softie like me, so I called the owner. She said I had to be there before 2:00 that day because they already had a appointment for the meat buyer to pick her up at two. She said, "If I cancel with the meat man, you must buy her." And, crazy me, I said, "OK, I'll buy her." Remember my friend had been riding her a little, and she had a good eye for a horse, so it wasn't quite sight unseen.

On the long 2 1/2 hour drive to go pick the mare up, my jousting partner and I speculated about what was probably wrong with her. The owner wanted $300 for her, and that included a beautiful red and black fancy Western saddle and a silver inlaid show Western bridle. Gotta be something wrong.

When we pulled up to the barn, she was tied to the hitching post and she was lovely, just adorable. OK, we said, really pretty, but probably very bad acting. We took turns riding her. She was fabulous, so light and responsive, and quite well trained. The owner said she didn't load. We were quite experienced loading horses, so we figured with time and patience, we'd get her in our small trailer. She walked right in.

She turned into a flawless jousting horse. Although only 14.2, she jumped 4 feet readily. She foxhunted, rode with big groups, rode out solo. She had a lovely Western jog, a decent working trot, and a glass smooth canter. She was an incredible horse. Just an hour away from being in a dog food can.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
Yearling
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: CenTex
Posts: 1,482
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knightrider View Post
She was an incredible horse. Just an hour away from being in a dog food can.
It still shocks me that this can happen. My Teddy has low-level but potentially explosive anxiety that has to be managed, but otherwise he is an AMAZING horse, the biggest heart you can imagine, more "try" than I've ever seen, smooth gaits ... just a generally all-around wonderful riding horse. I got him for free because no one wanted to ride him after "the incident" and the barn owner preferred to let him go for free rather than selling him for, probably, meat. So sad that perfectly rideable horses end up as food.
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 03:04 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 3,164
• Horses: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoBlueQuarter View Post
This is just so amazing. I love the story of you and Trigger, it's inspirational and just... amazing. lol.

TY.


My husband keeps saying he's crazy. He may be right. Trigger has some weird idiosyncrasies - Ears are a no touch zone, unless you know the proper ritual to be allowed to touch them. He buck snorts a lot, he talks a lot to me, very verbal. He has a strange little head bob and jiggle he does when he's stressed and trying to figure something out. He'll gripe at me if I get us in a pickle and once we get out. Lots of blowing and snorting and head bobbing, looking back at me. My son ROPED ME while I was in the saddle two weekends ago. Trigger teleported from one place to another place about 20 feet away in 1 second... he stopped, turned, and while I was cussing whoever had thrown the rope (Didn't know yet it was my son), Trigger was giving him a butt chewing too - lots of blowing, buck snorting, head jiggle.



Hubs also thinks "That horse is going to get you hurt", but any horse can get you hurt, if he does, it won't be on purpose. I trust him and I know how he handles things, like... me falling off the wrong side of the saddle because I over-launched... and landed at his feet with my boot still in the opposite stirrup, toes pointed at the sun. He doesn't move.


Every time we go out, he pushes my comfort level. We're jumping logs and creeks and galloping now. And it's amazing that he takes me along with him.


Oh yeah... he gets to mow the lawn... if it's just him, no halter is necessary. He just hangs out, I use a catch rope around his neck to bring him back if he wanders too far. We have no fence around our yard. He could run away if he wanted. He never does. Well, okay. He got a bug up his rear three weekends ago, went down the road, flirting with me. When he stopped, I was NOT walking back. I rode him home.

When it's more than him loose, they all have cowboy halters on. Supes and Trigger mowed the lawn last weekend.

BEST LAWN MOWERS EVER. Also, Supes is looking amazing again.
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"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 04-04-2019 at 03:20 PM.
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Location: CenTex
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@AtokaGhosthorse it seems like it's those horses that challenge us the most that ultimately end up being the most rewarding, if we can work through it. Maybe it's because we have to spend so much time working on the relationship, really trying so hard to understand them. I don't know what horses really understand about us and how we try to relate to them; but it seems that they understand when WE are trying, and then they reciprocate that by trying hard themselves. At least, that's been true in my limited experience.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 03:25 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 3,164
• Horses: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
@AtokaGhosthorse it seems like it's those horses that challenge us the most that ultimately end up being the most rewarding, if we can work through it. Maybe it's because we have to spend so much time working on the relationship, really trying so hard to understand them. I don't know what horses really understand about us and how we try to relate to them; but it seems that they understand when WE are trying, and then they reciprocate that by trying hard themselves. At least, that's been true in my limited experience.

Trigger is only one of four 'broken' horses we've had at the house. Sally was rank and rude after she had Outback. Leroy predates her, he was my alternative to Trigger and was far worse in terms of bulldozing along. He would fight me so hard on the trail to 'his way' even if it meant I was going to get hurt, that he'd have a tantrum and throw himself down or plow headlong into a tree because he wasn't listening to me and was fighting me. Sarge was so buddy soured, but sweet... but so big and powerful when he'd spook, that he was going to get me hurt. Trigger, of the four, was the youngest that I'm aware of, and the only one willing to bond to me and behave under saddle as well.


That's a bleak outlook - 1 in 4.



I have told my husband though: Seeing him come alive, the lights come on in his eyes, seeing him come out of his shell, and us coming to a place that I can trust him to run but whoa when it's time, to truly enjoy the ride, even if it's always very speedy given his natural fast walk, has been one of the most rewarding things I've done in my life. Right up there with being a wife, mother, and grandmother.


We've met in the middle - he's made me a better rider, I've helped him become a better horse. We're getting there together.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: CenTex
Posts: 1,482
• Horses: 0
Yes, I guess that's the flip side: *IF* we can work through it. With my limited experience and just my three, I've only had Teddy (had to work at it but so worth it), Pony (who is moving from mostly naughty to mostly good), and Moonshine (who was just fine, thank you, and didn't need any work). I haven't yet had that experience of needing to break through but not being able to.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-04-2019, 08:04 PM
Trained
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Australia
Posts: 7,371
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Wow, excellent stories!

Go Banjo, Trigger, Appie mare! And well done to their humans!

Take care, DreamerR! Would electrolytes help you? Good scratching there, @mmshiro !
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