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It's not a translation error - I know people from the same country and asked them if I was going crazy. Turns out it means what it means :< Yeah I won't be bending over backwards anymore.
Good that you checked to make sure. I can't "like" that post. Sorry you were disappointed. People most often disappoint. Which is why I like hanging out with Kodak best. Focus on enjoying Katie.
 

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The pictures are beautiful but I can't post them as they are included in the pictures.
Are the pictures worth going through the trouble of sticking emoticon smilie faces over their faces with an image editor? :)

Yeah, what they did isn't exactly what I'd call betrayal, but it's a bit creepy nonetheless. It makes you wonder in how far they will start to believe their own fairytale. Well, win some, lose some. I think you showed great tolerance towards their overall shenanigans, and let's face it - he's a bit out there with his delusions of rodeo, and she picked him and tolerates him. Everyone's a bit off in their own way, but there were signs. Good for you that you tried not to hold it (too much) against them. I don't think they did it to harm you in any way, but your reaction is surely appropriate.

There is a reason why I'm never in any pictures/videos on the trail with my horse - she's the only one around, and she doesn't have a finger for the shutter release... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #103 ·
First solo hack!

So I've been pretty busy of recent (who isn't?!) and it has left me feeling a bit down. I haven't seen as much of Katie as I would like. It turns out she's not 16.2hh. She's actually 17hh. This whole time I was correct in saying she's taller than the usual 16+ I ride!

Today was practically summer. It was a warm 15 celcius (59F), enough to bare skin though some ppl would call that winter lol... I was warmly welcomed by Katie and was amazed at how CLEAN SHE WAS. The young boy that works/volunteers there came over to brag that he'd groomed her and how pleased he was that she's so easygoing. He has a lot more growing to do though and he laughed at how he needs half hour to tack her up because lifting the saddle onto her is such a feat. I tacked her up and was early for my lesson, which was rescheduled last minute because of my transportation issues.

The instructor was super kind, as usual, and in the lesson asked me why I haven't moved Katie, since it's so difficult to get there. I actually said it was because of HER that I was staying and she seemed really taken aback. But yes, I mean it. Her instruction and the fact she cares for the working livery horses like they are her own in training and with fairness is so important to me. I'm not ready to move somewhere new and risk losing this support and level of care which Katie and I both receive. So for now, I have to suck it up. I might hopefully have a way around this problem but more on that another time. Also, because it's so hard to get down there she's allowed me to book on the day, if a slot is available. So at least I know 100% I can make it than do it weeks in advance and have something come up last minute - which feels like it always happens.

But I was so relieved to finally get to ride Katie today that I had no energy for a proper lesson. About halfway (most of it spent chatting about life and her recent puppies, at a walk, haha) I just said that I wanted to take Katie out for a hack. It came out of nowhere. And just like that we ended the lesson and with a grin she saw me off. My first solo hack. I haven't even hacked out with anyone else like I'd planned. Just like that out of nowhere I decided to take her out alone. It's unusual! Yes, she wasn't too eager to go but only needed a little encouragement. I was happy for a plod as long as we were moving. Such a beautiful day I cannot tell you. We even trotted a few times where the ground was good. I didn't want to overdo it with a canter as she can be a be sticky with it still and wanted to make sure this was a positive experience for us together. We met some other hackers on the way and she asked to follow them. I found out today that when Katie asks to turn back she does it really gently - it's not hardcore napping or anxious prancing. Just a slight twist of head and body for a few moments that goes away quickly.

But then... we reached the end. And had to turn back round. To face home. As I asked her to pivot the horse forum flashed in my minds eye and I reread all the posts about horses bolting homes in a split second. LOL. I told myself "don't sweat it, pretend you don't care". So I did. Katie absolutely did begin a very energetic march back towards the stables. It's about 15mins walk each way. At once point she nearly broke out in a trot. So I just started to ask her to stand and turn on the spot. With each release (it was like seeing magic for real) she relaxed. Started snorting and asking to drop her head. I halted her about halfway to chill out and watch the birds and at this point I did something naughty and gave her a long rein, holding onto the buckle and prepared for a monster to set her off. She instantly let out, got out her snorts and was absolutely chilled instead. I let us walk a few minutes like this towards home but then some hackers were coming past so I gathered them up. It was dinner time but still she kept up the relaxed walk. We hadn't even done any work or got a sweat. I was told she hadn't been ridden for a while. The fresh Katie I was expecting vanished.

And voila, we were home. No drama, no big fight and no funeral pyre to be prepared. I untacked her took her for a walk on the grassy bank. But it gets better. About 20minutes into her munching the grass she asks to go back to the stables and I agree. It's really strange. She isn't pushing me around. She's genuinely offering her opinion to me, I don't know how else to put it in words? I can say no and she will respect it. I imagine you horsey veterans know what I mean! We get back into her stable and not even THIRTY SECONDS had passed and she was on the floor trying to sleep. I have never seen Katie on the floor, let alone sleep. But her bed, thick enough, I thought, wasn't thick enough. Not to get comfortable. She readjusted a few times but just couldn't get comfy. She started to shiver, being fully clipped and all and I was planning on rugging her. It was still alarming to see her shivering like that though. I was panicking "omg she's gonna colic!" before remembering to rug her lol. So in-between another adjustment I brushed her off fast and did her rug up. I then used my feet to bring the bank down to make the bed thicker for her while she watched me. I patted the deepest portion, like you'd pat the sofa for your dog to jump up, and she instantly began dropping down. I had to get out the way man super fast! Didn't expect that. She let me pet her while she was down. As she warmed up the shivering completely stopped. She looked really chill and happy. And boom! Finally she was asleep, not grunting or looking uncomfortable, flat out on her side. Doing cute little horsey snores. I cleaned her bridle, filled her haynets and left her like that.

So a very special day. I don't get to see her nearly enough and I'm amazed at the progress between us in spite of this. I think that for her to truly be comfortable to lie out flat she actually needs TWICE the amount of bedding in her stall. She was DESPERATE to lie on her side splayed out.

I am only sad that I cannot do more of this. Peh <3
 

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HF really needs a "love" button. This is amazing. Your comfort level with animals is paying off big time, as you are able to read your horse as few "beginners" can. I count myself in that category, btw. I only learned to communicate with Kodak because of the liberty training we did. You have managed to get in touch with Katie, and establish a relationship with her in so little time, and in such an intuitive manner. I am so happy for you, and for Katie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Thank you. I cannot tell you how eye opening every single encounter I have with her. It turns out Katie isn't a forward horse, not really. Not in the truest sense. Now that she's settled in and has changed with time it does make me realise that how she was before, was potentially as a result of her previous owner. Despite being brave, she was always worried, I think which is why she was so "responsive". It felt like she was always worried there would be severe repercussions. Now she's testing how lazy she can get away with :p She CAN be forward when it's asked of her and honestly I like it that way. What I love most is that when she should have been at her most fresh and energised on the hack, she was able to relax to the point of wanting to rest her head on the floor on the way home. It really goes to show how much anxiety can play into behaviour, not necessarily energy all by itself. I just thought it was really cool.

I forgot to also mention... a regular rider of my instructor has requested to horse share. She vouches for this lady and said that any time spent in the saddle with Katie would be for Katie's benefit, and mine. I said I'm open to hearing about it but would like some idea of what sort of share agreement she's after and obviously meet her. Katie is being worked about 3 hours a week currently but her maximum a week, including if I rode her 3 times (which I don't), would be 5 hours. She also lives more local than me.

When I was asked I actually felt sort of crushed at first but quickly realised that MAYBE, depending on what this lady wants to do exactly, it could be a benefit. Really, I want someone to spend time with Katie. Grooming her and just giving her attention. I think she deserves it as I cannot be there as much as I'd like. OBVIOUSLY I want that person to be me. I'd be DIY and practically live in her stall if I could! But what worries me most is that Katie isn't enjoying her work. She doesn't love flat work and every single time I've got out her tack she wears an ugly face. It's the only time I see her ugly face and its more of an upset face, than anything. I could be over-reacting. Maybe she doesn't like the way some people tack her up or maybe she dislikes one rider or another, I can't know? I just take extra time to tack up slowly and considerately, without stress so she's much happier by the end of it. The work she does is NOT hard-hard and she gets to jump, which she does enjoy. But I think she is a hacker horse. This all must be very boring for her compared to her upbringing. But she will work, she's very easy going. It's just painfully clear to me now that it doesn't spark her up the way I'd like but it is needed, right now, as she's still too green.

So I'll think about the sharer. I will obviously be coming here for advice when I get an idea of her expectations/preferances.


OFF-TOPIC. My bf and I found something out amazing. We can rent horseboxes. I know... this is so silly. OFC I can, anyone can. For £50 a day (+fuel) I can take Katie out somewhere! I will absolutely crap my pants but there are some safe parks like Richmond where there are other horse people and people in general, to help me out if things go awry. I will wait until I get this mounting issue out of the way and will then consider taking her out on monthly excursions to keep life interesting! I am so excited I am currently creating a list of places we can go local to me, to begin with. I am just really sad I have no one to go with... but in a way I think it'd be easier on my own so I'm not distracted.

Let me know your thoughts, if any <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
Oops - and regards to her ugly tacking up face. I've read too many posts on here to not consider it a pain/fit thing. But, what I* do is I groom and love on her with her tack in view, so she knows its coming, and by the end of our "session" she's VERY happy to have her gear on. No flinching, pinning or eyeballing. She takes the bit herself. Riding her she's fine. I hope you all know that I will 100% get a second opinion fitting wise and later on maybe a vet chiro, just for the sake of it. I've really observed her closely and think it's a associative thing with her instead.
 

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On the riding/tacking up issue, I think you are handling it well by taking your time. I think that all too often, we just want to tack up and go, when the horse needs a little more "foreplay". That sounds weird, but I don't really know how else to put it. Sitting on a horse is a dominant, intimate thing to do, and I think we need to remember that. Ideally, the horse and rider form a partnership, and are happy to spend time together. But I now feel that for some horses, it's important not to rush it. Also, I was concerned about breaking our connection by riding Kodak after working on liberty training for months. So I now do a little ground work, sometimes even a little liberty work before we ride, depending on how much time we have. Except that I tack her up for it. I ride bitless, so I just use her bridle like a halter, or leave the reins over her neck, and we walk around a bit like that. So now, she doesn't immediately think that seeing the saddle means fun time is over (she really enjoys liberty training and ground work). Even just walking her around the riding arena once or twice before getting on her is better than nothing if I don't have a lot of time.

On sharing Katie, it would depend on the person I guess, but you are really getting to know the real Katie right now. Given that she doesn't seem that keen on getting tacked up, do you really want someone else to be doing that? While time under saddle is usually good, it might make her even more sour if this person is going to be doing arena work with her. I guess I'd be worried that it will complicate your relationship, so my tendency would be to hold off just a little longer. Develop a strong bond with Katie, figure out what makes her happy/unhappy, and then consider sharing her.

You are describing a fairly sensitive horse that is not afraid to be herself around you. Throwing another rider in the mix will complicate things. But you have good intuition about animals, so go with your gut.
 

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every single time I've got out her tack she wears an ugly face. It's the only time I see her ugly face and its more of an upset face, than anything. I could be over-reacting. Maybe she doesn't like the way some people tack her up or maybe she dislikes one rider or another, I can't know?
It could well be a nervous tick from her past life. Marion, the horse I ride now, has a nervous tick like that when I put on the girth: she bares her teeth at me, scrapes her teeth against the stall wall, etc. She never makes contact, so instead of correcting her, I reassure her. She shows the same reaction, though less pronounced, when brushing or touching the girth area. She relaxes when I just leave my hand there, so it's the approach, not the touch. Someone really did something nasty to her.

As a matter of experiment, I tried to tighten the girth without getting a reaction. Turns out, if I go about 5 seconds per hole, one hole at a time, she stays relaxed. She's also relaxed after she's all tacked up and I go to get my hat. (I tack her up in a stall.) She does not react to the girth after the ride when I pull up the billet straps to undo the buckle, even though that, for a second, tightens the girth. She's also completely non-reactive from me bringing the gear, putting on her breastplate, to positioning the saddle.

Seeing her react like that actually makes me sad because she's being stressed over something that won't hurt her, and hasn't for years. Which is why I choose comforting and reassuring even though seeing teeth fly at you can be a bit unnerving. Maybe she just figures that little ritual is what's needed to not get hurt...

So, anyway, my point is that it may be hard to distinguish your horse's reaction to something you are about to do from a horse's reaction to something she's experienced in the past.
 

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When we got my daughter's pony, years ago, he was extremely reactive about being saddled. When I tried him out before buying him, I saw that his saddle didn't fit at all, and he has a bare spot and white hair on his withers, so someone rode him quite a lot in a saddle that didn't fit. After we brought him home, he would spin around, go to the back of his stall, and go through all kinds of evasions to avoid having the saddle put on him.

I found him a saddle that did appear to fit, and over the years, he stopped reacting. Now, 11 years later, he doesn't mind at all being saddled. It just took time.
 

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Agree on things taking time and "reprogramming" the horse to not expect something unpleasant, even it's old news by now.

I chuckled a little at this comment
Despite being brave, she was always worried,
as it reminded me of my horse Fizz after I first bought her (about 5 months ago now). She knew the rules, she wanted to "do the right thing," and she was brave about riding anywhere without any other horses. But her face always looked tense (still does at times, to be honest), like she didn't know what would happen if she disobeyed. You could really see the worry in her eyes- literally, she would show the whites of them- when she was in the barn alone getting tacked up. She would dance around side-to-side in the crossties and keep looking over her shoulder. Since that was becoming a pretty bad experience, I started changing the routine. I'd take her for a handwalk down the road or on a short section of trail, or go into the indoor and do some simple groundwork, before ever tying her up. Getting her mind engaged a little first seemed to really make her less anxious in cross ties. I also learned that unlike my other horse, she doesn't particularly enjoy grooming. I was asking her to stand still tolerating something she didn't like for way longer than I should have. Now I'm very quick and business like in grooming, just making sure there's no dirt under the saddle, and we move on to something more active. She's got a "busy brain" and really just wants to get to do something, not stand around. Still, we've gotten to a place where she can stand quietly without fussing in the barn whether there are other horses or not. Just took time.

As far as not liking girthing up, I was just writing about that in my journal this week too. We recently got a new saddle, and the fitter was out Thursday and was a little hurried in doing up the girth, which sent Fizz flying down the aisle dragging me with her. She is not a pushy horse like that so it was uncharacteristic. Yesterday I went extra slow with the girth, one hole at a time, and she was fine. I do think sensitive horses get particularly offended when someone doesn't treat them with consideration- which is totally understandable! I will be extra aware of the girthing process for awhile though so she doesn't have to add that to her list of worries :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #112 ·
Update time!

I just reread every ones responses about tacking up again and feel sad, again. Amazing what some horses endure. They can scream and buck and turn into monsters and the wrong person can still find something even more torturous than the original problem to make them do what they want. Meh.


I saw Katie yesterday and the yard was very busy busy! Loads of volunteers and other owners around. Almost like a shopping mall! I had several people ask if I was riding her (AGAIN) and I said no (AGAIN) haha. When I go see Katie riding isn't even on my mind, strangely enough. When I was taking lessons before her I was like RIDE RIDE RIDE RIDE. Now I just wanna hang out - am aware that my minor anxiety about mounting might be a mental block for this so am continuing my lessons ;)

I was dumbfounded, however, by how much the regular people, staff and volunteers alike, love Katie. Remember when I brought her to the yard they asked to use her for working livery BECAUSE one of their mares had a field accident? Well that mare has to be ridden at a walk on a hard surface = hacking. But she's not a great hacker, apparently, and she needed a solid horsey companion that isn't bothered by anything. Guess who? Apparently Katie is utterly bombproof even to horses that like to lose their mind because the wind blew or a car passed.

I got asked three times by other owners, who I've not met before, if I was Katie's mum and then they went on about how big she is and how lovely and sweet natured she is. It's almost as if she's famous! It makes me happy that she has had such a positive impact for so many people and that she isn't lacking for attention or grooming (which she loves). It does continue to make me a bit sad, only a bit, that she's not all exclusive ;) But... what made me happy was when I arrived she was in the field, I called out her name and she came right over to the gate - while in the same field another owner was simultaneously begging/bribing their horse with a feed bucket to no avail.

I do need to ride her more. I haven't been paying for lessons elsewhere so at this point I'm actually decaying in fitness and ability. It being so far away kills me, though. What keeps me going each week is seeing how much she is thriving and opening up as she is.

Peace out ;)
 

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But... what made me happy was when I arrived she was in the field, I called out her name and she came right over to the gate - while in the same field another owner was simultaneously begging/bribing their horse with a feed bucket to no avail.
:rofl: The only thing that would improve this story is her telling you how to show your horse "who the boss is"...
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
@Acadianartist I am actually considering it once we finish up some refurb to rent out my current house. And yeah @mmshiro that would be funny :p But they'd have to pull a complaint out of thin air as there is quite literally not a bad thing anyone can say about her xD


UPDATE RIDING: So heatwave week. I had a lesson with Katie and my instructor today by late morning/lunch. I don't like the heat. I don't really like the cold much either haha. I didn't prepare so I am now sunburned on my arms and neck >.< But it was truly a beautiful day. I have been unwell with tonsillitis and plus the heat meant that I had to take a lot of breaks in my half-hour. Before getting Katie I was the typical inner-city lesson-goer that always wanted to trot and canter more. Not to the extent of my friends but waiting turns in group arena lessons did get tedious. Now I am have exclusively privates I'm almost begging to take a break LOL.

I wasn't as supple today and had to raise my stirrups by TWO HOLES! I already ride short at the best of times. And despite basically having jockey like stirrups I could not keep my heel down. Guys this is beginning to really get me down. My instructor says it'll come with more regular riding. I CAN physically keep my heels down no problem when it's all I need to focus on. When I need to use more leg... my heel and leg come up, toes down. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. So I can look nice while riding but it means I have no communication via my leg as it's all I can focus on. I can't keep Katie on track much less with a bend in her body like this. It is legit driving me insane. I can't trot her without stirrups YET but I think I can maybe ride her alone and dangle my legs at a walk. What do you think? I am doing stretches at home as well.

By the end of my lesson, where my instructor wants me to canter, I am so tired and starting to feel sick because of the heat. Despite always having a terrible lower leg I never feel unsafe or as if I'm gonna slide off. So when I canter I am basically cantering without stirrups. And Katie was SUCH A GOOD GIRL! She didn't argue today and it was very sweet - she picked up the wrong lead so brought her back to a trot and she herself naturally went back into canter on the correct lead. It's the first time she's taken initiative and I guess demonstrates a proper understanding of leads now. We laughed about how we should maybe canter earlier in the lesson where I have the energy to try balance everything properly :p

Well... nice day to hack right? So we went out again. Katie wasn't so eager at the start but we had some really nice forward trots. Something special and new happened today. Normally she will never eat if you halt her next to some grass, while being ridden. When I walk her in-hand I have to point to the grass and say "go on" and give her permission to eat. Last hack out she didn't get it from the saddle. But today, on a loose rein I leaned down and pointed to the grass and she tentatively began to munch. I rode Katie the whole way home on the buckle INCLUDING a few trots. I practised using my seat to ask for a stop and every time she stopped for a minimum of a few seconds I rewarded her by giving her permission to munch some grass. She doesn't argue about coming away though - all I have say is "come on!" and she will lift her head and go back to walking, not even attempting to snatch her head to grab some grass. She only did it when I gave her permission to. Such. A. Good. Girl. I am well aware of potentially ingraining new habits but I think a balance of respect between us can be easily found. I would like to take her on long hacks eventually and ofc I'd want her to enjoy it too!

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UPDATE ON BATHING: I hosed her down for the first time and shampoo'd her legs and tail. After I used flyspray and let her out - naked - in the field.... take a guess what she did? >.< I finally know the pain haha. While bathing her in this icy water - tolerable due to the heat, I gave her lots of carrot and apple chunks. I've never bathed her properly and wasn't sure what to expect. An angel of a horse, of course.

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UPDATE ON SHARING: Help me guys. My instructor speaks very highly of the lady that is interested in sharing Katie and brought it up again. I also got a text from the sharer (I'll call her that from now on for ease) and she seems really nice. Instructor says shes a very high level rider, professionally trained in jump and would bring Katie's training forward in leaps and bounds as the focus would be on her schooling and less the rider learning the basics. In response to some of my questions - no confirmation - the potential sharer replied "we can begin with only two days a week for starters?". I am not comfortable entertaining anything more than two days share though I get the impression from that she would like more.

I would have to cut her work down elsewhere as well as her schedule looks like this - weekly:

- 5 half hour slots per week for working livery/riding school (rarely do all 5 get used, though might change with summer)
- 2 half hour slots per week for exercise by the yard manager and staff (I pay for, in addition to livery)
- 2 slots for me each week (though I don't always ride her every week)
- 2 slots for potential sharer

On average she gets ridden 5-7 times a week in reality but if all quotas are met that's 11 rides a week. I don't like that. I don't see her as a machine. Logically I should replace the exercise that I PAY for and use those slots for potential sharer where it would financially save me, rather than cost me. And probably bring her working livery usage down to 4 slots. So that would be 8 rides a week. 2 me 2 sharer 4 school. I would be saving money and trading the yard manager's expertise for sharer's, instead. Also, I'm assuming that even tho I have insurance for Katie and I this sharer would need to get her own personal accident cover? Mine covers me, Katie and third party liability.

I want to say yes. And I want to say no. Should I ask to meet the sharer and see her ride, even though I have an eye for equitation as good as many of you can fly a helicopter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Some pictures from today. When I call her name she always gives me this "yeah?" Look lol. And tacked up I left her for one sec to grab phone and she was stuffing her face >.< naughty! Very cute expression tho watching outside. And one bad picture of her in her herd outside! She's the grey on the right. You can't see her freshly muddied side :p the skinny one is being rehabbed by good people and is in much better condition already, the poor baby <3
 

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I wouldn't stress so much about the heels down. I spent 3 weeks at an Andalusian horse farm in Spain. There were two sets of German people there with me. I noticed the Spanish people ride with a level foot, and after I felt comfortable with them, I asked about heels down. They had never heard of putting your heels down, and neither had either of the German folks. They were all excellent riders, but their heels were more level than down.

FWIW, I would stop paying someone to ride Katie, and go with the sharer . . . but watch her ride first. You don't want some heavy handed lady on Katie.
 

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It sounds like you’re doing good with her still!

I’m with @knightrider. It might be a really good deal for you, but it’s very important you watch the girl ride. I’d like to see how her horses work for her too. There are plenty of professionals I know who win quite a few things that, although I might enjoy their company and even listen to a few bits of advice, I would never want them on my horses. Their horses dislike them, and it is for good reason too.
 
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