I have been working with Sandy and her horse Chaka. Chaka is 9 and knows pretty much nothing. This is Sandy's first horse and she is very excited to get the chance to work with Chaka and me.
Sandy will be the first to tell you she knows little or nothing about horses. Sandy can sure enough ride, but she does not know anything about how a horse works or learns.
Chaka does not know much more then Sandy. The folks who sold her the horse told her that they rode the horse every Sunday. Well, if they did, I'm not sure what the horse or rider were doing, but learning was not on the list. This horse did not know how to turn right or left and had no idea how to stop or stand still. What all this means is that the horse, altho as sweet as she can be, was dangerous.
Sandy was really excited when Chaka came here and was sure that in 30 days she would be able to take her home and start riding her on the trail. It did not take long for her to see that it was going to take a lot longer then that to get her going in the right direction. I knew that Chaka would be able to swallow the magic pill (time) but I wasn't sure Sandy could. See time is money for us humans and at times that can all be a little hard to come by or part with.
Sandy and I were talking yesterday and she hit on something I had often thought but had never put into words. She see's what is happening with Chaka and herself as an investment. An investment in time and money, to make this relationship work for her and her horse. And that really is what it's all about. For those who have the skill to train a horse it's still an investment in time and money. For those that don't and need a little help, it too is and investment of the same things.
Chaka is going to be just fine. It's going to take a little more time then Sandy thought. But, she is really making good progress and is starting to settle in to the program. Sandy too, is making real progress. Learning how to think like a horse and learning how to be a leader.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, don't give up. If you really want to make a relationship with your current horse work, but you're not sure how to do that. Get some help. Their is no shame is understanding your limitations. It's a lot better then spending your money on a hospital bill.
Think of is as an Investment!
Gatano will be heading home today. Norma, is mom, is excited to get him back.
Norma and I were planning on doing some riding toward the end of his training but the weather has not cooperated with us. We will get to that another time. Going to miss this guy around the barn.
So Be It, got his first pair of shoes put on over the weekend. My neighbor, Mark, came down for the event. SBI did really well for his first set of shoes. The farrier, has done a lot of work for Mark in the past and a little for me, and he is really good with the horses.
It won't be long before SBI will out on the trail so these new shoes are going to come in handy.
Yesterday was Chaka's first day in the hobbles. She did pretty darn good for her first time.
Horses will always try the hobbles. What do I mean by that? I mean they will test to see if they can get out of the hobbles. Here is what usually will happen, if you are thinking about trying this on your own.
Once you have the hobbles on, side not: if the horse is very young or inexperienced, be very careful that you do not get struck or kicked. The best way to prevent this is to prepare your horse for hobbles. How? Teach the horse to allow you to handle his feet. I will talk more about that another time. Now you can walk away from your horse. The horse will probably try to follow you. And, when he does, he will stumble. Most horses will just stumble a couple of feet and then gain their balance and stop and stand still. Other horses, if they get scared may try to hop around the pen. Either way they are going to test the hobbles.
Usually the horse will then stop and try to figure what's going on with his feet. They don't work like they use to. This is when I will step out of the pen.
Horses will always act differently when you are out of the pen then when you are in. When you are in the pen the horse will be focused on you. Once you are out of the pen, the horse will then begin to figure out what's going on with his feet. He will often stand for a long time. Just wait. Wait for the horse to test the hobbles without your involvement. It may take a little time for this to happen but wait for it. It's the only way he will learn that he needs to stand quietly and wait for you.
What kind of hobbles should you use?
Some folks think that you should use the softest set of hobbles you can find and I think that all fine and good. The bottom line is if your horse fights the hobbles, no matter how soft they are, they are going to get their hocks burned. This is like you or me playing around on the soft carpet in the house and running our elbow across the carpet really fast. The result is a burnt elbow. More important then soft to me is a set of hobbles that won't break. If he breaks the set of hobbles you are using, he will think he can break the next set. And, will fight even harder the next time to get out of them.
I use a set of hobbles that were made for me by Kansas Saddlery. You can find them on line. Tuffy Flaggler is the man to talk to. These hobbles in the picture below are made of leather with a nylon core. I've never met a horse yet that could break them. Once your horse is broke to hobbles you can use a shoe string to hobble your horse. If he feels something wrapped around his feet he will just know not to move till you get there.
Which bring us to the most important reason for teaching your horse to stand in hobbles.
With this skill you will reduce the chance of your horses getting his feet caught in some thing and fighting to get out. Let's say you have taught your horse to stand in hobbles and one day he gets his feet tangles in some wire. Because you have taught him to stand and wait for you in hobbles, chances are better that he will just wait for you to come get him. Rather then fighting the wire and really hurting himself.
It's worth the time and effort to teach your horse this skill. Unfortunately most folks won't.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.