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The Journey of a Horsewoman

1231 Views 58 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Slave2Ponies
I have decided to create a new journal. I felt like in my old journal Training Charlie, I really focused on how I was training Charlie specifically, hence the thread title. I want to create a thread the chronicles my journey as/to become a horsewoman; a horse trainer. I desire it to be more broad and I will include thoughts about horse training and care books I read. As well as horse related things I am thinking about.
And so, I shall begin to record my journey.
To begin with, yesterday I felt extremely discouraged. I had done some work with my OTTB Charlie and I felt like everything was a fight that day. Grooming was horrible. I fed Charlie his outlast treats to help his stomach and he had recently finished his hay net. So he shouldn't be having pain from something like ulcers... But unfortunately, he still tried to bite me, he tried to kick at me, he was overall very irritable and even dangerous to be around.
Charlie was still tender and lame on his front feet especially at the trot from possibly his hoof trimming which was two weeks ago. He was also trying to bite at me and being completely uncompliant the entire time I was trying to do easy things with him.
Finally, I decided the best thing to do would be to put him away.
After I let him loose and put Rumor (my mini) in his pen for the night Charlie got all excited and rude. He bucked rather to close to my head, pawed, snorted etc. I then decided that if he wanted to continue acting like such a brat, I was going to do something about it. So I grabbed a lead rope and made him canter/trot around his pen, which is about the size of a larger round pen with corners added onto it. After a few loops, when I noticed he was paying attention to me again I stopped, turned around, did not make eye contact and waited. He immediately stopped, but was unwilling to approach me. So after 30 or so seconds I approached him to pet him, but he raced off again. So we repeated the process 2-3 more times before he stopped and when I slowly walked away from him, would follow me. That was somewhat of a relief. I based what I was doing off of Monty Roberts Join-Up. I just thought it might be a good thing to do at the time.

Later that evening I went and laid down in the tall grass at the end of our property just to be away from everything and think. It was very quite and peaceful. It was relaxing to look up into the blue sky and smell the sweetness of the grass.
I then did some serious thinking and praying. I was feeling sad, angry, frustrated, and unsure about what to do. I really felt that Charlie had ulcers. It just made sense. But the treatment and supplements would be so expensive and I wasn't sure if that was going to be in the budget. I also even considered if maybe we should sell Charlie and Rumor. It might just be better in the long run for me and him.
I then realized that I had been putting my love and passion of horses in front of God. And that I was putting my hope of happiness in my horses which they ultimately cannot fulfill. I realized that maybe God was telling me through Charlie's behavior that horses cannot satisfy me, and that they were becoming a major stumbling block in my faith. I did some more praying. God reminded me that he always remembers me and sees me in all my troubles. He knows when a sparrow falls, he cares so much more for me and he will take care of me. He is who I should cling to when troubles come my way. Horses will not be able to help me.
I just really felt a peace that transcends understanding. It was good to be peaceful and rest in God's almighty, all-knowing care and love.
I then went and checked on Charlie. And prayed that God would do a miracle and heal Charlie of his ulcers or whatever was the problem.
I went and petted Charlie as he ate his hay. He did not flinch one bit or care at all as I petted him all over.
I was frankly amazed.
Today, I did a little work with Charlie again. I got him out and groomed him. He acted amazing! I do not think I have had such a good, nice grooming session with him for a very long time. I then went into the arena and walked him around, did a little longing. It was obvious that he is still really tender on his front feet.
I then practiced with Charlie standing square. He finds it a bit frustrating.
Then I worked on walking and then stopping and backing up. We didn't do so good on that...
When I put pressure on the lead rope and the just gently but firmly hold that pressure he just leans against and almost fall asleep! I have to admit, I got rather frustrated! 馃槵 I just wish he would try harder. He would just lean against the pressure for the longest a few minutes! If I started rubbing the rope halter back and forth or bumping his nose with it he would get angry, scared, and confused.
He will stop okay when I slowly put on pressure very lightly. But he still has his nose sticking way out and bad posture. He doesn't give to the pressure he tosses his head, roots his nose forward, and pulls.
Whether it was my changed demeaner today or if God truly did do a miracle and heal Charlie of ulcers or whatever was so bothering him, Charlie truly did act so much better! We did have the problem with stopping. But for the almost year that I have owned Charlie he has always had that problem whether he has on a bridle and bit or a halter of any kind. He has only gotten better with giving. He is better at giving laterally then vertically though. Stopping will definitely need more work!
But I am so happy and relived at his changed attitude when I groomed him and walked him around! It was SO much nicer and more enjoyable to work with him today even with the problems! I expect problems. He is a green horse anyway who has never had proper training despite him being almost 18.
I will keep this thread updated on how Charlie does the next few days!!
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That's a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing 馃槉. I'm looking forward to more!
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I love your statement of faith--God will bless you for it! My sisters and I always pray for safety before a trail ride and thank God afterward for keeping us in one piece. Yes, sometimes bad things still happen. People might think that means God isn't answering our prayers but that's just not true. He promised that everything will work together for our good! And God in His holiness cannot lie. So even your trouble with Charlie will have a positive outcome somehow.
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Prayer is the first step of all my horse time!

I was just thinking of this the other day, how so many times things didn't go as I wished. But it was through those exact times that I and my horse learned the most.

And I feel sometimes that I put the horse above other things in my life, which isn't right. But I don't put the horse above God, because I ask His blessing each time and I do believe He blesses. But that doesn't mean everything goes perfectly, because people who love their children like to make sure they have work ethic and can handle adversity.

It's a hard challenge retraining an 18 y.o.
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I think God shows me a lot through horses. The concept of faith can be a difficult one for me. My pastor was insulted when he asked me that question recently, because I was honest and said I am working on it.

Bones showed me a lot about God and faith and myself. Bones struggles with his anxiety, and I know a lot of that is likely do to his neurological disorder, but that isn鈥檛 what I meaning in my example. I鈥檓 meaning Bones himself.

Bones tries to be good. He loved me. He tried his hardest to do whatever I taught him. Yet, his emotions were easy to get confused. His anxiety was capable of taking over. I wanted him to have faith in me, like I am sure God desires faith from me.

What is the biggest show of my problem, is taking Bones on the side of the mountain and leaving everyone else. Bones is extremely sure footed, ambitious, and good at his job. Yet, his fear of the mountain overrides all of that. His own fear becomes what is actually dangerous, because he would be absolutely fine if he could let that go. Nothing is going to hurt him if he would have faith, yet, his own fear causes him to be a danger to both of us. It makes him slip and slide and take wrecks.

This is such a lesson for me, and yet I struggle to put it into practice, because like Bones, my anxiety can override my faith. I think it will be something I am always working on.

Oh, I am certainly a sinner, but oddly enough, I think fear is my biggest sin.
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I鈥檓 another one that believes strongly in the power of prayer and God鈥檚 omnipotence. He created us and our pets and He can definitely heals us. He鈥榮 healed mine several times and at other times He鈥檚 lead me to something that will help in the healing. So having said that I would like to suggest that you read this thread. There is a cheaper way to treat ulcers.
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God has taught me a lot through horses- and I like how you were comfortable sharing that, and how you explained it because I understand.
I have been putting horses before God, and then if something goes wrong I go straight to God, but I鈥檝e learned that I need to talk to him and thank him all day, every day, even if everything鈥檚 perfectly fine.
I do believe God can heal anything, from horses to people.. he can do it.
God knows the future, he knows what鈥檚 best for you.. so everything that happens, happens for a reason.
you don鈥檛 know how many times I鈥檝e cried asking God to answer my prayer for something horse related, and I鈥檝e just had to say 鈥測know what, why am I worrying? He has the perfect timing鈥
The Trainer issue for instance, I told myself,鈥漢e knows the right trainer, and the right time. I don鈥檛 need to worry鈥 sure enough.


maybe God knew some hardship would bring you closer to him. And as for Charlie, well you have a learning experience, you know more then you knew yesterday, or a week ago, or 2 months ago. I feel like God also puts learning experiences In our paths.

So I鈥檓 still learning to have better faith, and pray more and be thankful, because I find myself not doing either.

I can鈥檛 word it any better than the others have.. because exactly what I鈥檓 thinking, they said!



as far as training goes.. maybe it鈥檚 just me, but I think you need to be harder on him.
If City doesn鈥檛 back up (which I ask 鈥渂ack鈥 first because he knows voice commands)
If he doesn鈥檛 obey my voice command, I鈥檒l ask with the lead rope or reins or whatever it is, if he still stands there completely ignoring me, I give him a smack on the chest. No you aren鈥檛 going to hurt him, but he鈥檚 going to learn he can get away with stuff.
I do the: 鈥 ask, tell, demand. 鈥 thing.

even my trainer yesterday said,鈥漼know I think you just let him get away with a lot.鈥
And another example, city can move off my leg, he threw a fit yesterday and wouldn鈥檛 respond, the trainer was like 鈥渙h is he in charge now!?鈥 I was like 鈥渘o!鈥 So I added more leg, and then it was more like a 鈥淚鈥檓 telling you to do this, because when I asked kindly, you didn鈥檛 want too鈥 and then he got the motto and listened.

But the trainer saying I let him get away with stuff was shocking, because to me I didn鈥檛 let him get by with stuff, like biting for instance.. he gets smacked. Kicking purposely at me, he鈥檒l get a sharp 鈥淣O鈥 and a smack, but I guess there were times I really did let him get by with stuff without knowing.

remember you鈥檙e the one in charge, not him.. You!!

wake him up, it won鈥檛 hurt his feelings too bad. lolol.

when horses are out fighting in the pasture to be in charge or show who the leader is, they ain鈥檛 gently poking each other, it鈥檚 a actual fight! They ain鈥檛 gentle. They ain鈥檛 worrying about hurting each other, they are rough and strong. Don鈥檛 worry about accidentally hurting him.


I鈥檓 so glad he鈥檚 gotten better for you, thats awesome! Especially an 18yr. You got it!

Following your journal though!
I hope things brighten up for you, you鈥檒l be in my prayers and I pray God will bless you. :giggle:
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You may not be on the wrong track in your thinking about Charlie being irritable because of pain. It might not be ulcers, but something else. Something I've noticed is that many Thoroughbreds are less likely to internalize problems, and they'll display outward behaviors instead. Biting especially; when my TB was not on a pain medication he tried to bite me constantly.

Anyway, I had a thought. If you wanted to do a trial of Equioxx to see if Charlie had changed behaviors with a dose of daily pain med, I could spare a week or so and send them to you in the mail. PM me if you want. In my opinion, Bute is less helpful if there is any worry about ulcers, because you might end up causing them or making low grade ones worse.
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You said in your first post that he is lame in his front feet. Have you approached that?
Work on the obvious first, then become a detective
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Since his front feet are sore I would not be doing any lunging or riding him until you find the problem, his front end/feet carry alot of weight more wight then his back end, with him having to put pressure on them with the lunging and riding and the trying to make him back up is causing more pain, he could be having EMS (equine metabolic syndrome) issues as in IR (insulin resistance) take him to the Vet and have his feet checked and rule out any EMS issues befor you make him do any more work. Making him do things is causing pain, dont force him until you find the cause of his hoof soreness. As the saying go's (No Hoof No Horse) and it should be the same for sore hooves. Google EMS and ask your Vet about it, it wont hurt to rule it out.
He's trying to tell you by the kicking, biting that he don't feel good. You sound like a really sweet girl and sure would hate to hear that Charlie hurt you one day out of pain, so giving you a hug and hope that you can find out Charlies issues befor he get worst..
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Thank you everyone for your kind and encouraging words! I really appreciate them.
as far as training goes.. maybe it鈥檚 just me, but I think you need to be harder on him.
If City doesn鈥檛 back up (which I ask 鈥渂ack鈥 first because he knows voice commands)
If he doesn鈥檛 obey my voice command, I鈥檒l ask with the lead rope or reins or whatever it is, if he still stands there completely ignoring me, I give him a smack on the chest. No you aren鈥檛 going to hurt him, but he鈥檚 going to learn he can get away with stuff.
I do the: 鈥 ask, tell, demand. 鈥 thing.
I actually did get rather hard on him... really bumping him with the rope and halter and at other times vibrating/rubbing it back and forth. I have also heard of a technique where you use a dressage whip and tap them on the front of their cannon to get them thinking about backing up. I tried that too.
I have tried and heard the ask, tell, demand thing and it has worked and it makes sense. One thing with Charlie though, that makes me hesitant to get harsher, is that he seems genuinely confused. And when I get more demanding he gets fearful. I can just tell it by the way his eye looks and just his overall demeaner.
Maybe a good thing to do would be to just hold the lead rope and just brace my hand on his chest without pulling on him more of course, and just let him figure it out no matter how long it takes; and immediately reward him for even the tiniest of shifting weight backwards. I just have trouble with patience.
@My Salty Pony I really doubt he has EMS because he is a Thoroughbred and they are much less susceptible to EMS than many other breeds. Also, he has more trouble gaining weight than losing it. He also does not need to lose any.
He's trying to tell you by the kicking, biting that he don't feel good.
I agree with this. A equine massage and acupuncturist friend is coming out in a week or two I believe. I will see what she thinks of Charlie and his issues as she is extremely experienced. She has come out before and he was having some poll pain which I now have stretches for.
I only lunged him to see how is lameness was doing. So I only trotted him I tiny bit just to be sue. I have not been riding him yet, and I will not until I am completely sure he is not lame anymore.
It is not like Charlie has always backed up good and suddenly isn't backing up. He actually is horrible at backing up, and has only made progress since I got him. So I have reason to believe that this is a training not pain issue. I will not rule pain out though.
You may not be on the wrong track in your thinking about Charlie being irritable because of pain. It might not be ulcers, but something else. Something I've noticed is that many Thoroughbreds are less likely to internalize problems, and they'll display outward behaviors instead. Biting especially; when my TB was not on a pain medication he tried to bite me constantly.

Anyway, I had a thought. If you wanted to do a trial of Equioxx to see if Charlie had changed behaviors with a dose of daily pain med, I could spare a week or so and send them to you in the mail. PM me if you want. In my opinion, Bute is less helpful if there is any worry about ulcers, because you might end up causing them or making low grade ones worse.
I agree with the first part you said. They definitely will display what they feel more than many other horses!
@gottatrot why do you think equioxx would be a good idea? Would it be for foot pain?
Also thank you for the kind offer! I have some equioxx from when I was leasing Ella from my neighbor.馃槗馃槗 She gave me some for Ella but I never ended up using it. I just did not want to be putting her on pain meds so that I could ride her. I just did not feel fine doing that. And maybe I do not fully understand equioxx.
You said in your first post that he is lame in his front feet. Have you approached that?
Work on the obvious first, then become a detective
@dustyk I was waiting after his hoof trim for a few days to see if he got better. Then it rained a tremendous amount and I was unable to do anymore then put No Thrush on his hooves. Then after the rain I started doing some groundwork with him and realized he was still slightly lame. So I have been waiting for his pen to dry out all the way because I was wondering if he is feet being so wet and then me going and walking him on gravel and then the work in the arena might have bruised them because they were soft from the moisture. Now that his pen is mostly dried out I am going to do some in hand work with Charlie tomorrow and see how he does and then go from there.
What would you recommend and do if he were your horse?

I have had a really busy last 2 days so I have not had a chance to do anything with Charlie.
He is now expecting a mid-day meal and is getting quite excited. lolol
I wish the hay nets could last longer. :( They are very helpful and much better than nothing but they still don't provide Charlie and Rumor with food as often as I would like and would be beneficial for them. Round bales would just not work for multiple reasons.
I will do some work with Charlie tomorrow and hopefully he will be feeling good!
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I missed that Charlie is having hoof pain. Hoof pain can definitely be a common source of chronic pain for TBs. My recommendation for giving Equioxx was if you were unsure if he was having any pain, and if that was the case, a week long trial of daily pain medication can help you find out. If his behaviors changed dramatically with him seeming less grumpy and not biting, etc, after several days of pain medication, then you could know his behaviors are due to pain.

Since he has painful hooves, I would assume that is why he is cranky. Sometimes TBs have other sources of pain too, such as arthritis, and adding hoof pain on top can be more than they can handle and it can send them over the edge with their behaviors.

Regarding how the horse displays pain, there was a video recently posted on the forum about horses and pain, and it showed that horses will display signs of girthiness or being upset about being brushed even if the source of their pain is not ulcers, because they associate those things with being used or ridden and know it will cause pain.

Many TBs have several hoof issues. First, they've often been trimmed to make their hooves appear larger than they structurally are, which leads to deformities. For example, my TB has tiny hooves, and when I got him they had lots of flare and long toes from farriers trying to keep the hooves larger. Along with that, TBs often (usually) have genetically thin hoof walls, and thin soles. Even with the best trimming they may need help staying sound. I've had periods where I needed to apply Keratex to the soles to make them harder since they bruised easily, along with hoof supplements to make the walls a little harder, even though you can't make them grow thicker than they come out from the coronary band at the top.

Some farriers routinely trim out sole, and that can be a big problem with TBs if they already have thin soles. I would not allow any farrier to trim sole out of your horse, except for in the rear near the frog if they need to clean up the bar area.

This photo shows my 13 hand Arab's hoof wall thickness (top) vs my 15.3 hand TB's hoof wall thickness (bottom). You can see why TBs have issues.

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I鈥檓 with @gottatrot on this.


when typing what I did, I forgot to mention that what I said was just if he has no health/physical issues..

but if he does truly have a hoof issue, it would make sense..

city had to have a full year off the year I got him because of his hoof issues, and he could not hold a shoe..literally he threw one everyday.
He goes sore and lame if I take shoes off, I don鈥檛 know how long Charlie has been without shoes?
(or wait does he have shoes??)

For city I did glue on shoes (literally a glue on shoe, no nails what so ever) it was pricey, but it was worth it because it kept him from getting sore while his hooves healed.
I know you鈥檙e probably on a budget, but have you thought of a hoof supplement..?After I put cids on a hoof supplement and it had been a few months, the farrier was stunned at the growth.. which has its pros and cons, because now he has to have his hooves done every 4 weeks now..


anyway, I鈥檓 just rambling now.
like gottatrot said, don鈥檛 let a farrier trim the sole.. my farrier never touches cids sole, unless there鈥檚 a bit of false sole, but other than that鈥

I鈥檒l have to send you before and after pics of his hooves (pics when I first got him and pics now)
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Never trimming sole is only a viable option if you have an environment that allows your horse to self trim. If they spend all their time on soft surfaces they need your help.
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Not to take the thread off topic, but I've never seen a TB develop "too much" sole. They have tons of difficulty building a thick enough sole, and I can't think of how removing sole might help them. Any examples of a TB having soles that somehow caused issues by being thick?
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Ever heard the phrase.live sole. Reference Ramey.
Its not "too much" it's quality
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Not to take the thread off topic, but I've never seen a TB develop "too much" sole. They have tons of difficulty building a thick enough sole, and I can't think of how removing sole might help them. Any examples of a TB having soles that somehow caused issues by being thick?
Only twice it happened if I鈥檓 remembering correctly. vet had to cut my TBs sole out because it was too thick and it had built up 鈥渇alse sole鈥
It was actually disgusting to watch because the vet just took a knife and cut it out, but then that鈥檚 when we found the underlying issues and there were old abscess underneath the sole鈥ut that was right after I bought him. So I guess in that case, having thick-ish sole was not on his favor.

and then once his hooves healed, there was still a lot of built up and false sole that the farrier had to cut out, but it鈥檚 since gotten better..

That鈥檚 the only time though, I haven鈥檛 ever heard of any other TB having to get some sole cut out..
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why do you think equioxx would be a good idea? Would it be for foot pain?
It would help rule in or out pain from injury or wear and tear/age/ arthritis. It would not tell you where the pain originates.
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When you see all those tiny little cracks on your sole, that material is saying "I'm ready to go". Doesn't mean you have to overtrim
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@HarmonywithHorses, Who has Thrush, is it Charlie?
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