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I don’t know how a horse could get by on donuts. Lol
I once set up a bunch of horses for a PA friend to come look at to buy. One of the horses was in a pen with hundreds of loaves of bread. The man worked somewhere where he had access to all the leftover bread every day and fed the horse nothing but bread. I desperately wanted the man who was horse shopping to buy that mare just to get her out of that situation. But he chose a flashier more exciting horse.
 

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Wow! I have never seen a horse fed an odd diet. We were given a horse called Zipper for my girls when they were little who was being starved. We couldn’t really leave him there. Even old I knew he would be an easy keeper, because he was making it on next to nothing.

That poor horse was a mess. Kindhearted and very good, but arthritis in his knees and a bowed back tendon because they hauled him for two days straight and he went down in the trailer and they hot shotted him to get him out!

Poor Zipper. That horse had some bad chapters in his life. When we gave him away after the girls had outgrown his abilities, it was to be a pasture pet for a woman who just wanted a horse to love on. He was perfect for that. Yet, they divorced and he was sold as a hunting horse. This poor horse who waddled in front. I was already mad about that, and I heard he was sold as a team roper next. In hindsight I would have given him the year and put him down.

That is the worst I’ve seen though, starving horses. I’ve never seen feeding random things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #523 · (Edited)
I tried the harness on Aria last night, and it seems to be the right size.

Unfortunately, I made a small mistake, which was thinking the saddle would stay in place so I could walk her around and get used to the feeling of it.
I ran the breeching and straps around her hindquarters and belly, and she seemed relaxed about it. So I tightened the saddle/girth and had her walk around for a while. That was fine too. So I put her on the longer lunge line, but when she trotted a couple steps, the breeching made the saddle slide around so the breeching was underneath. Then she ran off to the other side of the arena with it chasing her.

That wouldn't have been so bad, except Hero was loose in there and he thought maybe he should gallop too. I was like, "Not again!" because I had put his boots on. Dumb me. So I yelled at him to stop galloping, and for some reason he did, LOL. Then I grabbed his boots off really quick before he could break anything.

Poor Aria, she was still standing with the breeching hanging down, but that was my secondary concern. I adjusted everything and walked her some more, but the breeching kept wanting to slide over and worry her. Once we were walking nicely, I took everything off. She was calm very quickly afterward, so no harm done.

I messaged Milo's owner and asked for her advice. I did not want to put the crupper on yet, because that seems to worry horses a lot. She suggested using blanket leg straps attached to the breeching to hold it in place, so we can practice some more before putting the crupper on. Brilliant. I will try that next time.

My philosophy about horse training is that "it takes a village." I don't see how I'll ever think I know it all and think I can figure out every scenario for every horse. I will take advice any day.

ETA: I'll mention that even though I've trained horses to harness before, they all had been very exposed to other tack, blankets, ropes and handling for a period of time before their training. We either trained minis that had been handled from birth, or else bigger horses that had already been trained to ride. This is more like saddle training an older horse, but still the harness sliding over being a concern did not occur to me. Milo's owner is very helpful because her pony was unhandled also.

I put Aria's bit in for the first time, just holding the bridle on top of her face and keeping the bit in place for a couple of minutes. She didn't mind, but was seriously trying to figure out how to get that "food" back toward her molars. This is where using treats liberally pays off. She believes that anything I put into her mouth is going to be edible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #524 ·
When I say a crupper seems to worry horses a lot...

Before I had studied enough about saddle fit to figure out how to get a saddle on Amore that would not slide forward, I modified one of her saddles for a crupper. Amore had been ridden for several years by then, but had never had a crupper on. Still, you must understand that I always handled her under the tail, picked it up and had run ropes under there.

So I put the saddle on and attached the crupper. That was an experience. First Amore tried sitting on the ground. But that didn't work out because of the saddle and the pressure it applied when she rounded her hindquarters. So then she went racing around the arena (of course she got loose from me right away), and was trying all kinds of things to get away from the crupper. She bucked, but that is terrible with a crupper, and she did this scooting thing like dogs do with their hind end under, and she twisted and shuddered and made every motion known to horse until the saddle was on sideways and the crupper was sliding down her tail.

These are the butt tuck zoomies if you don't know what I mean. Cute on a dog, very disturbing on a horse, LOL.

It took several sessions for her to get used to the crupper, but I only rode with it several times because it felt like she was crouching in the hind end all the time. Hmm, might be a good "strengthening" device for some horses. I am trying to avoid this type of drama with Aria.
 

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I made a big mistake starting Cash to pull too. I had him used to the tack, big workhorse tack from the ranch that my grandfather used that was almost too small already for a four year old Cash.

I decided to pull the tire, with safety measures in place, but I attached the big heavy workhorse chains. When he spooked of the tire the tire came off like I anticipated, but those big chains went to dragging and he panicked. He almost ran me over and I lost him, and I was sure he was going to break a leg. Them big heavy chains were flying and slamming his legs, and I was imagining one wrapping around it.

He went off towards a bobwire fence, and I knew he would crash it and that he was going to be majorly hurt. He stopped though. He stood there shaking and I got up to him and unhooked the chains.

I finally did drag some things on him, much more cautiously, but he outgrew the collar and I decided it was good enough to have Zeus pulling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #526 ·
I made a big mistake starting Cash to pull too. I had him used to the tack, big workhorse tack from the ranch that my grandfather used that was almost too small already for a four year old Cash.

I decided to pull the tire, with safety measures in place, but I attached the big heavy workhorse chains. When he spooked of the tire the tire came off like I anticipated, but those big chains went to dragging and he panicked. He almost ran me over and I lost him, and I was sure he was going to break a leg. Them big heavy chains were flying and slamming his legs, and I was imagining one wrapping around it.

He went off towards a bobwire fence, and I knew he would crash it and that he was going to be majorly hurt. He stopped though. He stood there shaking and I got up to him and unhooked the chains.

I finally did drag some things on him, much more cautiously, but he outgrew the collar and I decided it was good enough to have Zeus pulling.
Wow, quite an ordeal. Super scary.
I was just thinking yesterday about the courage it must take to train a draft horse to drive. With a big, super easy going horse like Beau, no big deal because he'd already dragged logs and things around many times, been ridden for years, and did not react to things. But even with the minis and ponies, if something goes wrong it's a terrible wreck, and I can't imagine being the first one to finally take the reins and sit in the cart of a draft, after all the training, hoping that you are right and the horse is completely ready. I have faith that if I get in the cart of a mini or pony for the first time, a person holding another line clipped on will be able to slow or turn the horse and give me a chance to get out, and for us to avoid a wreck. But with a draft I don't believe there is a prayer.

A friend of mine had her draft dragging chains and things, and then one day attached a board to drag. He went through the side of the barn and took out two fences. He only got scrapes and small cuts, thankfully.
If you haven't seen "Martin Clunes: Heavy Horsepower" that's a very interesting show. He has a Clydesdale someone is training to drive for him. I was impressed with the training. I think it's free on Prime if you have it.
 

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I once set up a bunch of horses for a PA friend to come look at to buy. One of the horses was in a pen with hundreds of loaves of bread. The man worked somewhere where he had access to all the leftover bread every day and fed the horse nothing but bread. I desperately wanted the man who was horse shopping to buy that mare just to get her out of that situation. But he chose a flashier more exciting horse.
If that is the same PA farm I am familiar with, all the animals were fed a steady diet of bread, ho-ho's and other 'snack' foods at that time (several years ago) and alot of them died or were stricken with disease because of it. The horses died from eating moldy hay I was told. They would dump that stuff by the truckload in the barn and I know people were eating out of that pile too. That was around the time I was getting involved with horses and did not have the knowledge or wherewithal to rescue those horses.
 

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If that is the same PA farm I am familiar with, all the animals were fed a steady diet of bread, ho-ho's and other 'snack' foods at that time (several years ago) and alot of them died or were stricken with disease because of it. The horses died from eating moldy hay I was told. They would dump that stuff by the truckload in the barn and I know people were eating out of that pile too. That was around the time I was getting involved with horses and did not have the knowledge or wherewithal to rescue those horses.
Wow! This place was in Maryland. That means there were TWO sets of incredibly ignorant people endangering horses by feeding bread and junk. The place where I took my friend hadn't had the horse very long and realized they were not equipped to keep a horse. At least they were smart enough to figure it out and sell her.
 

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Wow! This place was in Maryland. That means there were TWO sets of incredibly ignorant people endangering horses by feeding bread and junk. The place where I took my friend hadn't had the horse very long and realized they were not equipped to keep a horse. At least they were smart enough to figure it out and sell her.
That is a shame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #530 ·
Beau came with laminitis from the donuts. :( I can't believe people would feed horses like that.

Today I didn't have a lot of time but needed to trim hooves. After the hoof trimming, all I had time for with Aria was getting used to wearing tack. Aria tried on her winter rain sheet.

I will put it on her a few times before she has to wear it. I thought there would be a lot of color choices for ponies, but there were a lot less than horses. I wanted burgundy, but couldn't find a pony rain sheet that color. I guess a lot of ponies have kids for owners, and the parents pay the bills. It seems like the most choices are for standard QH sized horses. That's OK, Hero wears a blue blanket too, so they'll match.

She tried on her saddle and breeching again too. You can see she is still a little apprehensive about wearing it. Saddling her would be tough. She has a seriously forward girth groove.
 

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She’s looking really good!
 
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Discussion Starter · #532 ·
She’s looking really good!
Thanks, @Knave!

We took an overnight trip to have some fun. Went down the coast, then over to the Wildlife Safari. It's an animal park that has most of its 600 acres as a drive through with animals roaming around. We loved it. You can see many animal behaviors close up, because the animals are desensitized to the vehicles driving slowly through. Only the very large animals or predators are inside other fences. The hippos were behind a fence, but the rhinos were not. We didn't get to see them very close though. The ostriches were behind fences too.

Dogs are not allowed inside the drive through, but they have nice covered dog runs that are free. When we put Gilligan in one, there were no other dogs. When we came back, there was a tiny Yorkie across from him, wearing a sweater. They were just staring at each other like "What is happening?" Little dogs are often not very used to being left in kennels.

I didn't get videos of the cheetahs for some reason, but they have a very big cheetah breeding and conservation program. We brought home a painting that the elephant made for us. :) She was eating the same hay we feed our horses, and they said she eats 200 lbs a day. So she has to work for a living, selling art to support herself. She sold two paintings, so enough to eat for a day.

ETA: The lion disagreement was because the small (old? he seemed stiff) male was lying down near the females. Then one female got up and made him move, taking his spot in the sun. This made the other male get up and get angry with her for pushing the small guy around. It seemed like he was protecting him. But the female still got the spot she wanted in the end.

6:39 video, about a minute and a half is the coast, the rest is the safari park.
 

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Discussion Starter · #533 ·
Yesterday I had time to do some training with Aria, and a short ride on Hero, ponying Aria.
Hero did not want to leave the field, and later on when it was time for the ride he did not want to go out. I made him go, and then halfway through the ride I felt like a jerk because he was taking an off step every minute or so. I couldn't find any signs of hoof issues like an abscess, so it must have been a pulled muscle somewhere. Poor horse. He told me loud and clear, but I didn't listen.

I need to tie up Hero when I'm working with Aria. As you can see in the video, he wanted to be the one getting the attention (my horses are like @Knave's), and pestered Aria way too much. He is a total clown though. Aria did great. I am trying to find the balance between introducing her to new things and allowing her the opportunity to move around to relieve stress, to not feel trapped, but to challenge her and make progress. So far I think we're doing fine. After all I did to avoid using the crupper, attaching it was a non-event. I need to bring the bit down a hole I think.

 

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It always bothers Queen a lot more than Cash when I romal him too. Lol.

He is a jealous heart. Hopefully he doesn’t get super aggressive about it like Cashman…
 

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Discussion Starter · #537 ·
Thanks for thinking Hero is funny instead of a bad horse.

I told the barn owner once that Hero's name used to be Rascal, and she always tells me what he does interspersed with "That rascal..." did this and "He is such a rascal."
I've felt that racehorse names are more or less random, but someone must have figured him out as a young horse when they named him Radiant Rascal. It is way too fitting.

Maybe some people feel I am too lenient with my horses, but I truly feel that many of Hero's behavioral problems when I got him were from being misunderstood and mishandled. He doesn't have great social skills, but he doesn't mean any harm. You can see how he nips at Aria, but she never has a mark on her, and she goes right in and eats his food. She doesn't like getting nipped at, obviously. To Hero, this is more like saying "Hey."

On another thread we were talking about if horses were people. You can see how Hero is just this guy who thinks he's really funny, is nosy, and doesn't understand personal space. He doesn't understand that people (and horses) don't like getting pestered all the time. He's like a coworker I had who would punch me on the shoulder all the time. But he's not evil, and I think that people taking an antagonistic approach toward him caused worse behaviors.

At any rate, he came to me with really bad behaviors, and I know or know of at least two people who had him for a while, and both are people who believe that horses do not get away with anything, and if they get in your space, bite or kick, you get after them as hard as is necessary because those behaviors are "never" allowed.

But that didn't work with Hero, obviously. I don't think he understood. He's not sensitive, and is not thinking antagonistically, so I think he must have thought people like to play really, really hard. I also believe that because when he was out with Leo, the gelding who took extreme exception to being played hard with, he had big gashes all over his body. Leo tried to punish Hero into leaving him alone, and Hero seemed to think that if Leo injured him it was an accident, and they were simply playing very hard. It's actually kind of a nice personality trait, to always think the best of everyone.
I think Hero thinks everyone likes him and wants to play.

I think that even though I did reprimand him quite a lot for biting and being rough, it was at a lower level than he was used to, and he finally understood that we were not having a play battle, but I was actually trying to tell him to tone things down. I learned from the mares, because I found out he could not go out with geldings because of the way they react to him. The mares give him light warnings or else ignore him, and that is how he needs to be handled.

I know a lot of people wouldn't care for him because he is so nosy and is always, always doing things when you're handling him, like a kid with ADHD. When you tell him to do things, his default is always to say "Wait a minute, let me think." Rather than saying, "Yes, boss." He is ten times more compliant with things than when I got him though. But if you have the mindset to laugh, he's actually quite funny!
 

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I didn’t see anything wrong with his personality, and really do think he just has a sense of humor. Zeus would do the same things, but he actually is far too rough with the same mentality. We just laugh about it. Bones is a pest too, always messing around with something, and always making me laugh. Bones doesn’t pick at other horses though, because they eat him alive.

There seems to me a big difference between those pestering attention type behaviors and something like Cash when you try and pull another horse out first. Cash is out for blood, and Queen too. There is no play in those two, and you’d better be watching them closely.
 

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He sounds a LOT like Bandit. When our granddaughter watched him the other week, she called him a "butthead". But it was because of things like him sneaking out if she left the gate unlocked - although she could then walk up to him with a lead rope and bring him back. Or because he bites at the other horses - but the other horses never have a mark on them, while Bandit has bite marks all the time. When we go to feed them, he makes a big fuss about "This is MY bucket" - but then Trooper displaces him with a head nod. He likes a bit of drama. My all time favorite was when my farrier broke out laughing while working on Cowboy. He then pointed out Bandit was trying to "sneak up"...by hiding behind a 4" vertical metal pipe! He was like a kid who thinks he is invisible.

"When you tell him to do things, his default is always to say "Wait a minute, let me think." Rather than saying, "Yes, boss." I'll admit...riding Trooper yesterday afternoon, Trooper is a no fuss ride. At most he would sigh and then go where pointed. With Bandit, everything is under negotiation. So many people hate that in a horse. I just assume it. And he's NOT a butthead! Just has a surplus of personality. 😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #540 ·
I haven't been able to stop myself from giving out treats to the rattos when I go to the barn. There are two that live in my shed, and despite what you might think, giving out treats has not attracted more rats. It's been just the two for the year I've been there. They haven't had babies, so must be two boys or two girls.

When I arrive, they make chattering and squeaking sounds. Then I put out several treats, and they always come and get them even if I'm still there. They like carrot pieces, or horse treats.
I'm quite certain the person who wrote the song I cut for this video was thinking of this when it was written (song Lonely Eyes, Chris Young).

It was raining today, but supposedly it will taper off during the night so I took the rain sheets off the horses. When I arrived, Aria was looking all comfortable and dry in her rain sheet, as if she'd always been a spoiled pony. She's also been pooping under her shelter. Although the climate she came from is drier, it does rain there. As with all the animals who have come to me, they're quick to adapt to perks. It doesn't take long to go from being scared of anything with a roof, to wanting to park under the shelter eating hay.

We practiced getting used to the bit and bridle again, and she was beginning to walk forward and turn left and right to bit cues. After that we went for a ride ponying off Hero with Aria wearing the harness. I evaluated Hero on the way down to turnout, and couldn't see any hesitation in his stride. He cantered around the turnout, and when I rode him I couldn't feel any off steps. Aria had no problem wearing the harness around. She's better than Hero at having her boots put on and taken off already.
 
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