@knightrider yes and no. The trainer left the property he was at because of personal reasons I'm not aware of and has yet to find a home base. There's not much I can do aside from practicing my form but I'm planning on cutting a couple of pine trees and making some lances and I'm working on running the lists with her. But that's about all I can do, but I can always improve some basic horsemanship stuff and that helps everything.
I'm very tempted to finally buy a bow and begin archery because that's something I wanted to do for years. My end goal is to actually be able to hunt with a traditional longbow or recurve bow. That's kind of been a bucket list thing of mine since I was a bitty kid. So there's that. Not sure if I want to combine that with horseback since that's a whole different realm of mounted combat.
But not going to lie, taking down a wild boar with a bow is the ultimate level of awesomeness. These are still only daydreams of mine at this point but eventually I should probably make them a reality. Why not?
Apparently my horse was rescued as a three year old from a horrible abusive situation where she was starved and just barely survived...most of the other horses had died but she was a fighter. She was rescued by a woman who rehomed her to the lady I'm talking to, we'll call her Molly. Molly was able to tell me the jist of her backstory and is trying to track down her original rescuer so I can get more information. That's probably as far as I'll be able to get since she was in an abusive hoarding situation and that's kind of a dead end. Honestly this is kinda the last thing I was expecting to hear when I went looking for her history.
But God, I haven't cried that hard in a long time. My poor little horse. My brave little warrior mare who survived against all odds. No wonder she was so slow to trust at first. It's honestly a lot to take in. She's come so far and has been through so much. The thought of someone hurting or neglecting my horse makes me heartbroken and furious at the same time. I just can't believe someone hurt my sweet girl.
To have five minutes alone in a room with that psycho with some rusty pig denutters...I think the person who hurt her was a woman but by golly I'd figure something out.
I got a job with a nonprofit organization that needed someone to manage their horses for their therapy program. The owner of the facility also has a few personal horses her kids use for rodeos. I'm also responsible for dealing with the rest of the livestock on the property (a few minis and some goats and sheep). I've been there two weeks and work part time but it has been an adventure.
And I suppose I've inadvertently become a trainer, because most of these horses need work, some being hardly broke at all, and some being perfectly broke just a little out of shape. They could all use a tune up on ground manners, as they're used to being handled by kids and getting away with things.
This past week they were out of town so I was in charge of feeding everyone AM and PM Thursday through Sunday. Thursday morning was spent installing hardware on the fences so I could tie everyone up to eat. Reason being they don't have stalls yet and were just feeding the horses out of buckets on the ground, which led to some horses being fat and some being thin because they just squabbled over feed the whole time. This also meant the horses crowded people at the gate, and when one of those horses is a percheron and several others are over a thousand pounds the situation can go south really quick. I took a lead rope out there and now everyone stands back from the gate when I'm coming. They know if I catch them arguing and getting too rowdy around me they're in trouble. I don't plan on getting trampled anytime soon.
Thursday morning was also interesting because one of the mares cut the inside of her front leg somehow. The cut was small, maybe an inch long and not very wide, but it bled and bled and bled, no matter what I did to it. She rubbed her face all in it and was covered head to toe in blood when I went out that morning. Just about gave me a heart attack till I saw it was only coming from a little cut on her leg. She nicked a superficial vein and no pressure bandage would stay on since it was above her knee and horse legs don't bandage well above the knee. Ended up taking her to the vet and by the time we got there, it had stopped. I went in and got some gauze to clean it and it didn't start bleeding again, so I turned around and took her home instead of paying the emergency fee (they had no openings) and whatever else it would be to sedate her and stitch it. It looks fine now aside from being a little puffy, but I gave her some bute and put some blue lotion on the wound.
The next adventure was riding their green mare. I was told she bucks when asked for a canter. So I got on, and this horse doesn't hardly understand the basics of yielding to pressure. I'd buck too if I had a spindly two-legs on my back and didn't understand what on earth was going on. She was horrible buddy sour but that no doubt stems from her being totally uncomfortable with being ridden because she doesn't understand even the basics yet. Just by working with her she's improved a lot. We've only walked (trotted in some spots but I just let her pick her own speed so long as she was willing to yield to my cues) and done a lot of groundwork. I also changed her bit from a single jointed dee snaffle to one with a french link and a roller, and it's helped her quite a bit. I had a hunch she might like a bit with a little more play in it. I also feel those are gentler, not a fan of anything with a nutcracker action. It works for some but for the most part, ew. So so far it's ground work for her to get her to trust people. She was taken too fast and associates riding with things that are not fun, so I'm gonna take it easy with her and hopefully get her finished. It's amazing the holes in training you'll find if you start from the bottom and slowly work up.
There's a few more horses but it'll be too long to explain everyone's backstory, so we'll get to that later. So far, working in the heat and rain and bugs for 8 hours at a time is a lot more fun than anything I've ever done in a clinical setting. I was told when I was hired I could make this into a career, since they're in the process of purchasing a lot more land to raise cattle on. I'm not sure about that, but we'll see. They want all staff to live on site and if I can work out a way for my horses to be there we might be set. They do have a very conservative dress code which is meh, not sure I'd want to live like that, but it's not that big of a deal. There could be worse issues in my book is all I'm saying. That's the only inconvenience. My views on modesty are also very conservative by today's standards (what reasonable opinion isn't at this point), but slightly different than theirs. Oh well, wearing a longer top with jeans isn't the worst look, and it's very cool (temp wise) compared to wearing a t shirt.
It's so hot. It's so hot I can't ride. It's so hot I've got to take breaks and my mind is on nothing but ice water 70% of the time. Florida is miserable. Never thought I'd be so happy to see rain, but it washes some of the heat away even if it is all sticky afterwards. And working outside in this mess? How'd people do it? My poor farrier had a heat stroke coming to do mine and the neighbors horses and had to go home and come back later. He was as pale as death and he's not a weak dude. I was about ready to kill for water after riding in the shade for an hour or so yesterday. The horse I was on was sweating to death and I was sweating to death and God, I want to live someplace else for the summer.
Having dreams of ice cold mountain streams and ponderosa pines right now.
It's like living in a crock pot. Stifling is a good word for it.
Some of the local folks will have the lights on at the community arena tomorrow night. Planning on bringing the boss's older kids and a few of their horses and riding then.
In the meantime, I found this adorable picture of my critter one of the deputies took at the last sheriff's detail we did. I may get to use her for an open house event our Vet Tech program is doing. Other people are bringing their animals. Some people have rabbits, hedgehogs, snakes, etc. I have the horses. The director asked, "she won't kick anyone, will she?" I'm planning on showing her this picture.
Rode about 8 miles today. Was planning on making 10 but one of the two horses I rode was either super tired or super lazy. It was fairly hot, so I went with the former and we only rode ~3 miles. We were in the shade partially. The other mare was full of it and we rode earlier in the day and went 2.5 miles before doubling back. Lots of uneven terrain and plenty of standing water but it was fun. I won't be able to ride tomorrow, as the heat index is supposed to be about 115 and there ain't no way I'm fooling with any of the horses in that. I can't help but miss my mare when riding these horses who walk normally. Tess thinks she's gaited. Her ground eating walk combined with her being an Arabx means that 10 miles is nothing, even when we're not in the best of shape. Just not in this heat. Safe to say I'd be the first one to pass out though.
Last night was an adventure. The local folks planned on having the community arena lights on, but then a huge thunderstorm rolled in. There were dust devils swirling the low clouds around when we went out to feed. Definitely some spinnage happening. So we had to hunker down and wait for it to pass over. We didn't end up leaving the property until about 7:30, and it was dark and still drizzling. There was lightning in the distance.
It probably wasn't a good idea to ride in the remnants of a thunderstorm, but the two teenagers who were with me are more than competent on horseback and we weren't about to turn around and let the storm beat us. Stopped at the gas station (pretty much a community meeting place in our area, that's how rural it is) and got some food, then headed down the road in the dark. We arrived at the arena, and guess what, nobody was there and the lights were all off, except for the few street lights scattered over the property. And it was still drizzling. As I said, we weren't about to let the storm win this fight (we're Floridians, nuff said), so we saddled up and rode anyhow. And it was really fun. I was riding a green mare I've been working on for the past couple weeks. They were riding two other horses that needed to get out and stretch their legs. The only time anyone spooked was when I turned on my phone flashlight suddenly and the little mare I rode jumped a little. But she is BRAVE. There was lightning in the clouds in the distance (no thunder so really far away) which made a really cool scene to ride in.
You can tell when a horse is willing to give their all for you, and this little critter is one of those horses. She just needs a steady hand and someone who's patient enough to work with her. She's got spunk and isn't afraid of much.
We rode in the field around the arena and then in the soggy arena itself. It was really, really wet, but it was better than being hot! We went to the dirt road in the back of the property, which was sand rather than clay and was fairly dry, and loped. The green mare hadn't been loped before without throwing people. She trotted faster than any quarter horse should ever trot, and then finally broke into a canter without even offering to buck once. I simply let her follow the other horses who were loping in front of her. I wanted her to have her own way for a bit and not get stressed because I was forcing her into doing something. But when she was trotting and I asked her to canter after the others, she complied! And did great! There was no forcing, I just asked if she wanted to and she did. I'm really proud of how she's coming along. A little more of this foundation work and she'll be ready to be finished and then started on the barrel pattern/poles. They want her to be a rodeo horse for the kids, and we're getting there. I'm taking it as slow as possible while still getting results for the boss, who's wanting me to pick up the pace some.
Training horses is incredibly rewarding. Even though it's hot and nasty and they frustrate you to no end sometimes, it's worth it.
School is out and doesn't start again till the 16th. Not to get political, but the president of my college is a little off his rocker, but luckily the students have raised hell about his nonsensical statements and he's been doing nothing but sending emails over the weekend changing his mind. I think he's afraid of losing a ton of students.
On another note, there's this saddle I REALLY want and I've decided to sell my endurance saddle (not particularly attached to the thing) to possibly pay for it. It's a Nathan Lamb roper that will fit my horse. I've been wanting to have a rope saddle on hand and I can easily flip it if I lose the need for it. But it may sell before I get the money. We'll see, I'll be sad if it goes.
Today I worked with one of their draft cross horses they plan on selling. She's very reactive. They sent her to a trainer, who by their words, "cowboyed" her. I'm too well acquainted with that kind of training since I'm from the barrel racing boondocks. The "trainer" had taken her, quote "tried to break her but she's the only horse who ever threw me". He was very quick to offer to buy her from them, which makes me think the person's being dishonest.
So first off, I've no idea what this horse knows. So we start with grooming. Then some groundwork. This horse cannot lunge. She also is very unconscious of personal space. Part of that may be because she's big, but it's still rude. She acts like someone chased her in a round pen, slapped a saddle on, and rode the stink out of her.
We taught her to lunge today. And I got some real good attention from her. She did get a little shovey at times but I just made her very aware of my personal space without going after her. She was fine saddling, but she pins her ears mounting. I had double padded the saddle because she still needs to gain some muscle/weight on her back. Plus, it was simply someone putting their foot in the stirrup without any weight in it. An anticipatory reaction.
I think a big dude got on her and spurred her and made her have an aversion to people mounting. She was perfectly relaxed when I led her around with a person on her back (boss's teen son who was helping me out). She wasn't bothered, she wasn't spooky, it's just the mounting so far.
Just working with her, she's got a lot of anticipatory anxiety. You can just feel it being around her. And a big anxious horse is almost as dangerous as an aggressive horse. I just think she's not had someone with patience give her a chance.
Also, this horse isn't a fan of a bit in her mouth. Could it be she's not even used to one? I'm half tempted just to ride her in a halter. She's not hard mouthed or even hard headed, she's just reactive. Acts like a spooky thoroughbred. From hearing them talk, sounds like her brain shuts off and that's when she bucks. If we can recognize the triggers and chill out, no accident happens. Hopefully.
They said she can be walked and trotted just fine, but doesn't like cantering. That could be anything from the saddle they were using to her just not understanding what's happening, and it's probably a bit of both. That was the other little horse, just taken too fast and got overwhelmed.
We ended on a good note. She needs to know humans aren't there to beat her over the head. The mounting thing I think can be handled by mounting, giving a treat, and dismounting. Then doing it over and over again. Then taking a few steps, rest. Take a few steps, rest. Flex one direction, release. Flex other direction, release. Just very, very basic exercises. Forget trotting, or even walking at this point. Let's build a foundation before we start on the rest of the house.
Still can't put my finger on what's up with that horse. Maybe ulcers? She's very reactive to everything. I was doing groundwork with her and she charged me. Like ears pinned, I'm gonna run you over. I went after her for that and she seemed slightly more respectful after, but I've never met such a tense ball of nerves before. Any second she could just explode. I tried to ride her some, and I literally just mean take a few steps. The second I got on she froze, with all 4 feet planted and ears tilted back towards me like she was about to blow up. Each time I asked her to step forward with leg pressure she jerked her head down and acted as if she was going to buck. I believed her. I sat there for a little bit trying to do some simple exercises like flexing her neck, and then got off and did some more groundwork. After that we were done.
She needs to go to someone who understands problem horses and has the time to dedicate to her. I have 7 other horses I'm working with and don't have the experience to deal with a basket case. She's just the littlest bit crazy, probably for a valid reason, but crazy nonetheless. I'm not too keen on getting killed before I turn twenty so I'll let her be and only do things she understands. I can work with problem horses to some extent, but not problem horses that will actually act aggressive. My 5'5" and 125lbs isn't enough to fight off a 16hh draft cross mare with murder on the mind. I put the fear of Jesus into her when she came at me but I'm gonna treat this case with a little common sense and not bite off more than I can chew.
Again, not planning on getting run over anytime soon, I've got that little palomino mare to work with.
I will say that I've come to terms with their Percheron who's feeding station is closest to the gate (everyone is tied to a post along the fence while eating). She likes to go at the other horses when I lead them through the gate, but she will NOT do it when I'm there. All I have to do is look at her and she moves over and stands perfectly still. She's a very sensible animal, I wish there were more of those. I need a draft horse.
I was properly yeeted yesterday and I didn't think I'd be sore, but I am now. I've got a bruise on my thigh from the saddle horn and my entire right arm is uncomfortable. I never used to be sore after a fall...guess I'm old now.
It was the palomino mare, but in her defense, it was her first time off the property and only second time I've loped her. The saddle was knocking into her narrow shoulders and I think that was really bugging her. I don't blame her. I've a semi-qh saddle I'll try on her to see if that fits. It may very well solve the issue. That ride went well at first but ended as a disaster as she refused to cross water and nearly ended up in the highway...but I pushed her a little too hard. Next time I'll pony her through a scary obstacle or ride her with others. She's just got the baby brain going.
Doesn't change the fact that my shoulder is quite sore. I guess I hit the ground harder than I thought.
I managed to give some lessons today and it was actually fun...one of the little girls was super skittery but their mare took very good care of her. I made them ride bareback and both the kids were a little freaked out at first, but eventually they were comfortable walking and trotting a little without snatching at the reins and thinking they're going to fall off.
I've got posse training tomorrow afternoon with my Tessa, but I've not ridden her consistently at all, so we'll see how that goes. I really want to get her riding bridelless at some point...but it's not gonna happen while she's not on my property.
Made a huge accomplishment yesterday! Excuse the ugly picture, my phone camera is garbage.
Tess hates water. But with the help of Teddy, who is legit her boyfriend, we convinced her to get in. The water was cold and refreshing and it was so much fun to wade around with the horses. She didn't have much trouble getting into the creek after this, but she continued to spook at a couple puddles on the trail. Don't understand the reasoning behind that one there lol.
On another note, she looks so healthy. Even though she's not being worked much she's maintaining a pretty good muscle tone and her top line and rear end look great compared to what they did a year ago. Doesn't look like a wispy little half Arab anymore.
I don't trust the black draftx at work any farther than I could throw her. She attacked and proceeded to beat the daylights out of a horse I was catching, who knocked me down trying to get away. Both of us were backed into a corner and I had hooves flying over my head...no thanks.
I'm gonna be carrying a whip out in the pasture now and put the fear of God into her if that happens again. There's a point when they cross the line. She could have easily seriously hurt someone. And just imagine if it was one of the kids leading the horse, and not me who's somewhat capable of dealing with an issue like that.
Never did find tires but thankfully the storm's leaving us alone. I still feel terrible for those in LA. This storm is gearing up to be Katrina or worse. I just hope people have the sense to leave.
It's certainly lit a fire under me to get my trailer ready and get my dogs their rabies tags. My dog has an appt the 15th. I want to be ready to scram if need be even though we are just about as north as possible while still being in FL. If I could store a ton of hay pellets without the risk of them getting nasty I would, because having soakable forage for them when they're suddenly crammed into a scary new place with strange horses and weird-tasting water would be super helpful.