Adventures at Freljord Acres - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ohio
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Adventures at Freljord Acres

I should of started this back in October when I bought him, but better late then never! Figured it would be fun to keep track of our progress.

I've ridden trotter horses my whole life, my last horse was a QH and we were taking dressage lessons. Last winter was so nasty out that our lessons got put on hold so I decided to test my luck with trail riding by ourselves. After some fights he became a pretty dependable trail mount and I found I loved riding out in the open SO much more then in the ring. So I quit lessons and just started trail riding.

In the two years I had my QH I struggled fighting his Lyme disease, he was chronic...and then last summer was reinfected so he was acute and chronic. It affected him badly and made him very unpredictable and dangerous. I finally made the decision to retire him and start horse shopping...

NOW the question was...what did I want?! My DH doesn't know anything about horses but somewhere heard about gaited horses and watched some videos and just thought they were the coolest thing since sliced bread. I didn't know how I felt about switching, it just isn't what I'm used to! After a lot of reading I decided to test ride some and I instantly was in love. For the most part, the ones I test rode had such a level head, was smooth to ride, and could go a slower pace (which I was more comfortable at for the time being after some bad accidents with my QH) or pick up the pace for fun! I actually stopped being invited to group trail rides because my QH was so slow. He would be the best behaved horse on the ride, but no one liked waiting for us lol!

The first horse I test rode was Datsun (now Jax), he was a wiggle worm for mounting but took my corrections well and then stood still for me. I got to ride him up in down the road a few times and then the seller hopped on the other horse I was going to test ride and we went for a quick loop trail ride. I was in love. He was a leader, sure footed, not scared with two pitbulls came charging at him and when he broke into a canter from his running walk I had the biggest smile on my face ever. He got fast, but it was still fun. I didn't even want to test ride Captain! But DH was in love with Captain and insisted and I agreed it would be good for me to ride multiple TWH before deciding on one. There were just no sparks for me with Captain. I told the owner I was very interested but did have a few other horses to try and wanted to make an educated decision and not rush into anything.

Next horse I tried was a mountain pleasure horse...or something like that...Tony...or Fat Tony. Very sweet, very well trained horse, but his parents had let him GO. He was probably a good 150lbs over weight and with my schedule and winter coming I was a little worried about having the time to get the weight off. I was also very concerned about him being IR by the way he looked. His parents offered me an amazing deal and he was exactly what I wanted so I decided to do a PPE on him instead of Datsun. In my PPE I insisted on bloodwork though, I did not want to end up with another horse with chronic issues! Waited a week for bloodwork to come back, and as I feared it did came back above normal range, so I had to pass. His parents were NOT happy and tried to talk me out of it but I just couldn't set myself up for possible health issues like that.

I contacted Datsun's mom and luckily he was still available! So I made arrangements to come out one more time to ride him again and have a PPE done and if it all went well I'd bring him home!

In the meantime I saw an add on craigslist for what looked like a nice TWH not too far away, so I figured why not go try him. That was a waste of 5 hours of my life. Ad was a complete lie, people were complete jerks. Horse was way too forward for me, when I took my feet out of stirrups to see what he would do if I wiggled around some he REARed up on me! He was advertised as a beginner safe slow calm horse. PASS. The jerk of a dad was trying to tell me I'll never find a slower TWH or a calmer one...I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

The day came finally to go for Datsun, I was so excited it was finally here! On my way to get him, I stopped at a few feed stores to restock my grain supply, then stopped at a saddlery to pick up a tucker saddle that would fit him (what owners used) because my custom made allegany mountain trail saddle would NEVER fit him I knew.

Vet check went well, I got a pretty simple check, he was only 5 and nothing really popped out at me in concern. I did have a snap test done just to make sure at the time of purchase I wasn't buying another horse with lyme. Then it was ride time, again he was great! I was sure he was the horse for me. So money was exchanged and in my trailer he went!

October 20th, the day after I got married, is the day I brought home my new 5 year old 15h TWH Datsun, now renamed Jax.
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post #2 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ohio
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Once Jax was home, it was quite an adventure getting him into the herd. My BO horse would NOT accept him into the herd as long as my QH was around. Jax and Dexter got along beautifully, but Gunner could not be out with them. Dexter could be out with either Gunner or Jax. Jax doesnt do well alone though so they stayed together.

Well then my hours were going to get cut at work, I could no longer comfortably afford to keep both horses, so I made the decision to rehome Dexter. I found him a great home as a companion horse and off he went The week before Thanksgiving.

We kept Jax and Gunner separated for a few days, right next to eachother, but a fence between them. Gunner started to seem to be getting really attached to Jax, but Jax still didn't trust him...I mean after being ran through a stall, completely bit up, forced away from his friend...why would he trust Gunner?

I finally made the decision to put them out together, but stayed close to watch. Jax would not leave my side, Gunner was very patient and understanding and gave Jax his space...I was amazed. Once Dexter was gone GUnner was a whole new horse towards Jax.

As of today, they are buds now. Gunner whinnies for Jax, waits for him by the gate. Jax likes GUnner but not to that extent. So success! The two of them are friends!
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post #3 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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We've had a lot of ups and downs, figured I'd make a little post about each one and what we've done to get over it!

Our first big issue, trailer loading. When I bought him he would walk on perfectly fine, no issue what so ever. I have a very nice brand new slant load featherlite. No rear tack so its a very open and welcoming trailer. Well one day I took him to a near by park that I've never ridden at, after a terrible ride (trails were terrible and he was just a firecracker) I tried to load him up to go home.

He said NOT HAPPENING. After an hour of struggling, two men came over and were able to basically help me manhandle him in. He was completely disrespectful of whips and pressure towards his rear end, I tried ever trick I could think of to get him in, nothing worked.

After this happened on two more occasions, I decided it was time for real help. What's funny is the 3rd time it happened was when I was trying to load him up to take him to a lesson with my friends trainer at her house!! After an hour of fighting, I finally got him on and made it to the lesson.

Now this trainer is a Parelli trainer, I never really followed their method or thought too much of it. I usually followed Clinton Anderson method after having so much success with it with my QH. Jax is so new to me and I don't have a ring/round pen or permission to work him in the field I just havn't been able to really work on his ground work.

Well the trainer pointed out I'm just not his leader, and hes throwing baby temper tantrums, I just need to work through the tantrum.

We went over some ground work exercises, all exercises I've started teaching him but have not perfected yet. She went over my technique some which was very helpful so I was able to communicate with him more clearly.

At the end it was time to load him up. I stood outside the trailer on the corner, and asked him to send in. He would go up to it but not in, so I started adding pressure and he started fighting. I was to never move my hand away from the inside of the trailer, I always needed to keep his head pointed in the trailer. I tapped his neck, side and butt asking him to more forward, gradually getting stronger with my pressure...well he was kicking out, bucking, tossing his head, side stepping...I held my ground and kept his head pointed forward. After what seemed like forever but was about 10 minutes he finally hopped on. I had won. Since then We've had maybe 2 or 3 other quick fights and I had to remind him I'm in charge and you ARE getting in there but for the most part I can just point in and he loads on now :)

So trailer loading is now success :)
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post #4 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ohio
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Our next big step in training is standing still to be mounted.

I've tried backing him across the driveway when he moves, spinning him in circles, treats...backing..lol everything.

Well I've finally found something that works.

I'm now teaching him to come to me at the mounting block. I've done a lot of work getting him comfortable with my dressage whip, and now I stand at my mounting block and ask him to "line up" to me. I use my whip tp tell him which body part he needs to move to me. We aren't perfect with it yet and it sometimes takes a few tries but its working and going very well!

Next step...standing still for a minute once I'm on!
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post #5 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I could talk more about the riding, but I don't want to talk about every past ride we've done so far so I'll post more about our riding as it happens!
By the end of 2014 I got about 58 miles on him from last week of Oct till end of Dec. So not a bad start.

In 2015 we've only got about 15 miles in so far, I've been slacking because we left town for a week for a cruise and the weathers just been terrible. I dont mind riding in cold or snow, but I don't do freezing rain and ice lol.

Riding has definitely been a learning experience. I'm learning how to cue for his different gears, how to bring him back down when he gets pacey/trotty and just how to keep him in a gait. He's like a washing machine up hills sometimes, so I've been trying to figure out how to ride that and smooth it out, I usually just grab mane and hope for the best though!

He LOVES to lead on rides. Hes very confident which I love, I do wish I could put him in different positions easier though. He is usually just too quick to ride in the middle since we don't ride with any other gaited horses. Everyone so far is loving him on rides we go on and we get complimented for setting such a nice pace on rides.

I've fallen in love with his smooth gaits, I'm so glad I made the decision to get a gaited horse! All we do is trail ride and hes so sure footed and comfortable! It is just sometimes hard when we ride with friends they have to trot a bit to keep up sometimes but we do most of our riding alone.

I'm riding him in a loose ring myler snaffle bit, everyone around here said oh no you can't do that! But its going well. I tried using a combo snaffle bit for a few weeks after reading the great reviews to see if it just gave me a little bit better breaks and helped his gait...he made it loud and clear he did not like it though. He got worse and worse every ride, so I switched the bit back and have my happy pony back!

Things to work on in 2015:
Keeping in gait/speed
Slowing down his canter to his lovely slow canter thats so comfy to ride. He just gets excited sometimes and gets a little too fast for comfort for me on open trails
Perfect his one rein stop
Perfect his ground work
Progress further into CA method and do more exercises
Ride in more parks!

If anyone actually reads all this good for you! If I'm just typing all this for myself then thats fine :) I'll post tons of pics and videos once I'm on my computer and not my ipad!
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post #6 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Heres a few videos:


cutie




I'm at my inlaws this weekend, bored with no pony and on the slowest internet possible so thats why I started writing! I'd post more pics but it takes like 3 minutes for each picture to load...so I'll wait till I'm home to share more :)
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post #7 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:49 PM
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I'm enjoying reading about your progress! It sounds like you and Jax are really doing great together. I am currently doing a lot of problem solving work with my horse, and I enjoy reading about your journey partly because of the way it is similar to ours.
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post #8 of 340 Old 02-01-2015, 12:56 PM
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Ooh, pictures! We cross-posted. I like the video of the trailer work. I wouldn't have guessed he ever had a problem with it.
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post #9 of 340 Old 02-03-2015, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Ohh thanks! The trailer loading was definitely a big thing to overcome. I still have trouble getting him to walk on it with me though and now when I send him on he turns around SO fast! I need to figure out a good way to send him on and keep him facing forward...maybe putting a delicious treat there or something.

Got off early but was so tired from my weekend at the in laws (6 hours away) and from checking out a house to buy I didn't trailer out. I just rode over to the neighborhood behind the barn and strolled around the hood lol!


He was a good boy :) Our "lining up" at the mounting block is coming along so well! Only had to ask ONCE today! On the way home I tried to practice our one rein stop more. I'm getting him to disengage well and stop finally with it but I have trouble KEEPING him stopped. Second I release pressure he's like I'M FREEEE and starts going again. Towards the end I was getting him to be more patient though...just need lots and lots of practice!

What kind of horse do you have Cat?
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post #10 of 340 Old 02-03-2015, 08:20 PM
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do you have him ride backward in the trailer? do you put up the divider or leave it open?

and how were you trying to load him before? you said CA methods, but I don'tknow what that means, as far as how you do it.
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