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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, I was reading through a bunch of posts today and updating a few threads that I had started with updates on Newt. Got me thinking that it might be nice to start a member Journal, also I was bored at work today. I have been journaling my progress with Newt also since I got him. He has a binder, which I call the Newtbook, like notebook and New(t) beginnings. Yes, I am funny, I know. So naturally a member journal sounded like a good idea. There is something therapeutic about just typing out everything that comes to mind with how things have been with Newt and receiving comments or advice as well.

I am new to owning horses, not new to riding or being around horses, but def green when it comes to owning. It has been a real shock to the system (and wallet) on the ins and outs of actually owning a horse and I know I have a lot more to learn. I have been riding since I was little, maybe started around 10 or 11, cant remember exactly what age now, but a long time. I did show jumping and English pleasure when I was little, did show team, the whole 9 yards. I wanted my own horse forever, but couldn't really make it happen until this year.

Newt, was my 30th bday present to myself, except I am 31 and I didn't buy him on my bday (whatever...) I really thought that it would be sunshine and rainbows and he would be my best friend and we would trail ride and barrel race and win a million dollars. Kinda like how it was when I was younger with my leased horse Ginger (minus the million dollars and the barrel racing). Few major differences - Newt is 5, Ginger was 25. Ginger was trained in 3rd level dressage and jumping, Newt is still learning how to horse. SO not sure exactly why I thought it would be the same. I know a lot more now than when I leased Ginger, I didn't know a lick of ground work or even what that meant back then. I would just go saddle and ride, which is fine. She had great ground manners so I supposed it didn't matter. Newt not so much, he is mouthy, pushy and he kicks out under saddle. He bit me about a month ago also. I have had a lot of sleepless nights and sad days. NO sunshine, NO rainbows.

I bought Newt in Feb after promising myself I wouldn't jump into buying a horse until I learned more about ground work and how to train a horse. Did not happen of course. It wasn't my goal to buy a green horse, but here we are. I had taken lessons up again about 2 years prior to buying Newt and I had worked with a trainer for a couple months as well working with greener type horses. Still was definitely not Prepared. Newt is really smart, smarter than me by at least a mile. He knows how to get away with things, he knows when I am feeling nervous and if he can take advantage of me he will. I have a lot of entries in the Newtbook about that. I am a CA follower, I learned a bit of that when I took lessons and the lady I helped train with also uses the CA method. It is the only one I really know and it just works for me...when I do it correctly that is. So we started and he caught on so quickly, he also caught on that when he crowds my space and flattens his ears and threatens to bite me I back off.

PROBLEM 1... I literally have no idea what I was doing and Newt didnt know what I was trying to do either. He came from a farm where he was just a pack horse, they didnt do ground training with him or a whole lot of anything really. We started in the round pen and he was great at free lunging, I was like YES I GOT THIS. I am such a great trainer, yea no. Once it came to yielding his hindquarters and forequarters anything outside the round pen really, it was a disaster. I wasnt confident on giving him the right ques and it was confusing both of us. Newt also likes to be a drama queen, sometimes... I would have him back like a step and he would rear in protest. I have included a picture of said time. I was also had Newt at a barn where CA ground work was considered abuse and people there let me know that. I told them they could work with him another way if they wanted (I am open to other types of trainings, I just dont know them), but then he would try to bite them and for some reason they didnt want to work with him anymore (wonder why???). So while I was there I tried to do more riding than ground work, not a great idea.

PROBLEM 2...he kicks out. I think that part of the problem is he was in a situation where he didnt have a lot of food in his belly and he had ulcers. I know that with the prices of hay here in AZ he was only getting one flake at his previous place. The barn I originally had him at, he was supposed to be on 1 flake of alfalfa and then one of bermuda in the morning and evening, didnt happen. They kept running out of bermuda so he would just get two flakes of alfalfa and it would be gone in like a second. I also kept asking to get him on the turnout schedule so he could at least supplement some of his time standing doing nothing with eating grass. The barn owner kept dodging my request, it was weird. We worked on his kicking out though and it was actually getting a lot better, he would only do it now on his right lead. Until Easter he just flat out stopped wanting to go forward, which wasn't like him at all. So that is when I was starting to also think that he might have ulcers.

I felt pretty defeated, I had considered myself a pretty good horsewoman up until the day the barn manager came up to me and was like we have had complaints about you abusing your horse. It basically broke my heart and for the record I have never abused Newt. I know that some people dont understand what training a horse with pushy tendencies looks like, but still not cool. I ended up contacting a new barn that had an stall opening. She is a CA methodologist, knows a few ambassadors, her horse is trained in the method and she gives lessons about the method. It is a perfect place for us. Her barn is also beautiful. She turns the horses out all day and night on wonderful grass pastures, except when it is either too hot or too cold and she only has 8 horses max at a time. Newt has been there now about 2 weeks and the strides we have made together are amazing. Bonus it is 5 min away from my work, so I see him in the mornings before I head to work, on my lunch break and then in the evenings sometimes as well, shorter sessions have really helped with him. I needed a lot of guidance with my timing and with knowing when to quit vs when to put on pressure to move him through those bad behaviors and end on a good note instead of when I am afraid of him, which the barn manager has helped with immensely. He doesn't try to bite like he did before and if he does try I have the knowledge now to move his feet quickly so he really thinks about all the work it will be for him if he tries to bite again. He is also on ulcer meds right now too, and I am hoping to get in a ride on him late next week or early the week after. At least after he has a full 2 weeks of his ulcer medication. I know we still have challenges ahead, but now I feel like I have the tools to get through them and I know I have people I can turn to for help. There are times I still feel like I made a HUGE mistake and that it might be easier to just sell him and go back to lessons, but currently I am super excited to keep going.

I am sorry for all the word vomit, but it was super nice to get all of this written out in story form and to see that we are finally making progress in the right direction. I am excited to update this posting when I can get a ride on him also see if those ulcer meds helped him there as well. Hopefully the good times continue I am excited to share the ups and downs of our adventures. Thanks for tuning in!
 

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Everyone has their own opinions about Mr. Anderson, but you sound like you have a good head. I will be subscribing; I look forward to reading about your adventures with Newt.
 

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You both look like a bunch of jokesters! :) Good luck with your boy!

I think the secret to CA is to apply his overarching ideas in the correct measure to the individual horse. Not all people want their horse to respond to "Jump!" with "Yes Sir, how high, and when can I come down?", and some horses probably take really badly to that kind of approach.

Take it slowly, and whenever you didn't frustrate your horse or yourself, you both did good.
 

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Love his name and (except for the rearing photo) he has such a sweet expression. His face is quite charming! I'm in a similar position except you are only a few years older then my oldest daughter! I took lessons when I was a teen and then when I was first married and then took a 28 year break from horses. I had similar issues in that I know how to handle a lesson horse and I'm OK at riding, but owning a horse is a major adjustment! I have a very green, seven year old Quarter Horse that raced on the track as a two year old, spent some time as a pony horse, and then just got to hang out in a pasture with her elderly horse friend. I have only had her since December and I am working with a trainer. One thing my trainer has told me is that I have a baby horse. Even though she is seven, she hasn't been trained to be a riding horse so everything is new to her. I only get to ride Lulu with my trainer around to help.

Confession time. Today Lulu reared a bit while I was riding her. I didn't know she reared, all I thought was, "That wasn't good!" and then encouraged her to trot (I was asking her to canter before the problem) and she moved forward nicely. My trainer got on her and with a bit of work discovered that I was being too harsh (and I am not a harsh rider but Lulu needs a very gentle touch). I got back on Lulu and the trainer gave me a ton of instruction and we were able to trot nicely and my baby horse taught me that I need to be very quiet and calm when I tell her what I want her to do.

With the CA training. Keep the things that work and ignore the things that don't. You know your horse and what works and what doesn't work. And work with a good trainer. Like today. I knew something was wrong but I needed someone to explain what I did wrong.


Good luck!
 

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Your horse is cute! It's great that things are working out so much better at your new barn. I bet you guys are going to make a LOT of progress! With, of course, some steps back, since he is a horse after all. But still! Things are looking up!

Also I love the word "Newtbook."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone! And yes, we are both jokesters. I really think Newt's and my personality mesh really well that way. He got a nice break this weekend as I was out of town for my sister's college graduation. So, this morning we got right back to it. We had a few hiccups, BUT one major thing we've been struggling with went really well today. I confused him a lot when it came to lunging on a lead line, not fast or to get him overly tired, just trotting, listing any turning and such. Today I asked him with just the smallest amount of pressure and he took off (in a good way) in the right direction without and icky faces or trying to stop or crowd my space. I wasn't sure how he would do after the couple days off, but on the whole he was really good.

I'm definitely not out to have Newt jump like CA horses, just looking for that respect from Newt since he can be pushy and a bit dangerous. We definitely take it slow and I'm not out to make Newt really do anything overly strenuous mentally or physically. Just needed to be at first because of his mouthy behavior. We did have a little bit of that today, he will always try to get away with things I think if I let him. He is a tester for sure at least while he is young, maybe he will grow out of it. But I just let him make the mistake and then put his feet to work so that decreased throughout or session also.

There is one thing I whole heartedly agree with when it comes to the CA method he says that horses teach people and he couldn't be more right. I am not a patient person and to be honest I can be a slight hot head about some things, but Newt is teaching me to get off that high horse and just relax and be patient and things will get better. A lot of what happened before with some of the issues we had was I wanted him to get it right now, and that's just not how it works. I need to learn to trust him to figure it out and he does. It isn't that he doesn't want to listen it's just that it might take him a little longer to figure out and that's ok. I feel we are getting closer and closer to riding again and it was a good day with him so continuing on the happy train for now!! 🙂
 

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"Horses are (usually) a reflection of how they are treated." Newt did good because you did good.

When he makes those icky faces, does he still do what is asked of him?
I know that every one has a different opinion about CA, but I'd like to offer mine about the above subject. (I know you didn't ask, so feel free to skip all this this.)
CA tends to correct a horse if he feels like the horse is even slightly hinting about being "disrespectful." That may be a good thing is the horse has "history" and is proven to be aggressive, but for a majority of horses, you don't have to do that, especially if the horse does what is asked. A lot of horses, especially young and/or green horses, can tend to have "attitude" and protest about doing something they don't want to do. Although that's not necessarily "ideal" or considered a "good work ethic", if the horse isn't doing anything dangerous and still does what is asked, then it's okay for them to have an opinion about it, especially in the beginning stages of training something new. It's not personal.
It's similar to if your boss asked you to write an extra, unplanned report. You sigh, roll your eyes, and mumble something under your breath. Your boss shrugs it off and says, "I know you weren't expecting to do that today, but it has to be done." You understand, so you do the report anyway. How would you feel if instead your boss came running over, disciplined you, said, "Do not have that tone with me", and gave you an extra report on top of the one your boss already previously gave you? If you could pick, you'd probably choose the former.
I don't know you, your horse, or you situation, so that may not work for you. I'm just saying that if he makes icky faces but still does what is asked, it is not absolutely vital for you to correct him. If he makes icky faces and doesn't do what is asked of him, then by all means.

I think a lot of people agree to CA saying, "horses teach people." Another saying is, "the horse is the best teacher of the horse." Many horses are actually very willing if you teach them, in their language, how they want to be taught. Make the horse think they are teaching you; humor them. Let's take yielding the hindquarters, for example. Instead of teaching the horse that when I swing the rope to your left hindquarters, you move right, have them think, "Hey, guys! Check this out! I can make this human stop swinging the rope by moving my butt to the right! Cool!."

Anyway, I'm glad things are going well, and I hope they continue to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Just wanted to make a quick update. Got to ride Newt this morning! Was short and he did pitch a tiny fit when we transitioned up into the trot but was able to shut it down and he moved off nicely after. It was only about a 15 min ride after about an hr of ground work. Much better than the last time I rode him, which was about a month ago and I couldn’t get him to move forward at all without crow hoping, humping up and just general fuss. Taking it as a BIG win today!

When he makes those icky faces, does he still do what is asked of him?
As for him making faces, I don’t usually get after him for it. I don’t really care too much if he makes a stink as long as he moves forward and doesn’t try to come into my space. He doesn’t really make them anymore though. I think now that he understands what I am asking of him he doesn’t mind moving forward when he is being lunged. We still have a lot of work ahead, but Im super happy I was able to have a nice ride on him again. I have links to a couple of progress videos of him in the round pen and then a photo of our ride this morning :D

 

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Lunging with a camera is hard, isn't it?
I'm glad he's doing well; he looks good.

I forget if you said or not, but what are your plans with him - discipline wise? You said you did some show jumping and English pleasure and that you thought he was going to be a nice trail and barrel horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lunging with a camera is hard, isn't it?
Yes, haha. I almost dropped my phone a couple times, I had to think about what to do with my hands and such when we changed directions.

My plans for him are barrel, gymkhana & trail. But just a play pony mostly, he is super agile and really gets under himself when he turns. I love watching how collected he is naturally.
 

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he is super agile and really gets under himself when he turns.
If you think that now, just wait until he spooks on the trail!

Are you still playing around with the controls or have you tried any barrels, gymkhana (type things), and/or trails? If so, has he show any liking to the sport(s)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mostly working with the controls. He has been out on the trail though, before I moved him. We went out a few times just walking and trotting and he seems to really enjoy the adventure and doesn't get spooky, at least he hasn't spooked with me to badly, yet! Once I get him consistent at higher speeds without making a fuss I'll introduce the barrels. Hoping he likes them, if not he'll make a fantastic trail horse and I'll try him at reining or western pleasure too if he doesn't take to barrels.
 
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