We did a lot more rail work yesterday with two other horses here in training. The first horse is Gatano. We call him "G" around here. G has been here before a few years back and I could not remember if I had taught him how to step to the rail. But, in no time Joey had that question answered.
Next was SBI. I knew that SBI had never been asked to do this skill. Joey gave it a go and did pretty good but just could not seem to get him to bring his backside to the rail. So, I gave Joe a break and I worked with him for a little bit and in no time had him moving up to the rail. I gave it back to Joey who was able to do the same thing.
People wonder, at times, why do I take the time to teach a horse to step up to the rail. There are a couple reasons. One, is to teach the horse how to allow me to move his feet wherever I need them to be. The horse get use to the idea of moving off the pressure of the stick, and when he does, he is rewarded with a rest.
Another reason is, especially for young horses who have never been ridden, is to let them see the human above them. One day I'll be sitting up there and I want the horse to know what that is going to look like before I actually get up there. He gets use to that and when I first step up in the saddle, the hope is he won't be as nervous or afraid.
And, another reason is to teach the horse to step up to a mounting block for those folks who have a hard time mounting from the ground.
Most folks don't, or won't, take the time to teach this skill. But, it's well worth the time.
Yesterday it rained most of the day so after we cleaned pens and cleaned the arena I had Joey give Mona another try on the rail. The goal here is to get Mona use to someone being over the top of her, so that when we go to ride her she will have experienced it.
This slide show is pretty much in order of how the session went. If you watch it from the beginning you will see how Joey takes his time and gets Mona to come to the rail using a small whip to encourage her to move to the side and step up to the rail.
If you try this on your own, take your time. Don't be in a hurry. The horse will figure it out if you give them enough time.
Yesterday, Joey got Mona ready for the saddle all on his own. Now that may not seem like much to most of you but, Mona, knocked me to the ground just two days before this when she came unglued, after being saddled. Joey was a little nervous about the whole deal but he was ready.
Once he placed the saddle on the horse, he was care full to pay attention to how Mona was feeling about the whole deal. As you can see in the picture, she was calm but watchful.
Then Joey sent her off to see how she would react this time to the saddle. She had no problem with the saddle this time and I think a lot of it had to do with how well Joey did in preparing her to take it.
We then moved to the arena where I taught Joe how to teach the horse to come to the rail. I teach this skill to horses so they can see someone above them for the first time, in preparation for being ridden.
Once you have the horse on the rail, you can ease your body down onto the saddle so the horse can start to get use to your body weight. In the picture above Joey has all his weight in the saddle. What you can't see is, Joe has his left hand and left foot on the rail. That way if the horse cannot take the pressure the horse can leave and, when she does, she will just leave Joey standing on the rail. She did walk off the first time that Joey tried to put his weight on her, but he was safe, cause he followed direction and kept his hand and foot on the rail.
It was a really good day for Mona, and a most excellent day for my side kick Joey.
Joey and I had a great ride from the barn to the house. Takes about 3-4 hours. In the picture above you can see Joey on Charlie as we were getting closer to the house.
We ran into my neighbor, Leona, who owns the ranch to the west of us, and she asked if Joey and I could help her move some cows next week. So, Joey is pretty excited about that.
"G" continues to make good progress under saddle. I'm on him in the picture above. His owner will be out sometime next week to start riding him herself and get some saddle time with me.
SBI is making really good progress as well. He is wearing his saddle without issue now, but is still not ready to be ridden. He will tell me when he's ready.
Mona, Joey's project, is really coming around wearing her saddle. I'm hoping that Joey will be able to put the first couple rides on her before he leaves.
When you are working with someone on a ranch as far away from civilization as we are, it's important that everyone know how to drive the truck. Joey has not had a lot of practice so we fixed that yesterday too. He drove Kathy's truck to the barn and then followed me back to the house while I pulled the trailer with my truck. He saved me from having to make extra trips. As you can see in the photo, he's focused.
Yesterday was the first day that Joey and I have had a chance to do some riding. Joe has not had much experience in the saddle so we went over a few things in the round pen before we headed out on the trail.
There have been a lot of things written on riding and how to ride. My take is a little different then most. I think that if a person does a few things consistently the worry of what to do with your legs, hands, seat etc, will all happen naturally. Or, as naturally as it can happen on a horses back.
For example. I teach folks to look where you want to go. Now, that sounds simple, and you can ask Joey when you see him, but getting a student to do that is another matter. They always want to look at their horses head when they are riding. That's like looking at the steering wheel of your truck when you're going down the road and not looking at the road. Their's a wreck in your future. If you look where you want to go, there are a lot of things that happen in your body that you may not be aware of, but the horse can feel those changes. The way your legs contact the horse when you look to the right, for example. You don't know it, or even feel it yourself, but the horse does and will respond to that pressure by trying to move away from it, in the direction you are looking.
Today will be more of the same for Joey and the horses at the barn. Stop by if you have time.
Joey having a little rest after working horses!
Morning folks. I've received a few reports of folks I know, good trainers getting hurt the past couple of weeks. It's a little scary. Any one of these accidents could have prevented either one of them, from ever working with horses again. I hate to hear about this kind of thing, but it happens.
I think that it happens to often because we get in a hurry, or we are trying something that we're not sure of.
One of these trainers was kicked in the stomach. How does that happen you ask? Well, lots of things could have caused it, but the fact that the person got kicked, at all, tells me the horse was not ready for whatever the trainer was asking. The horse was afraid or felt he had no other option but to fight. And, the trainer was too close to the horse. Obviously a horse that the person did not know very well or they would have never gotten that close. How could I help prevent that from happening to me, you ask?
The most important thing is to make sure that YOU stay safe. That means you have to take your time and prepare your horse for the next thing you are going to ask for. If the horse does not trust the human, he's going to look for away to get away from the human. He will run if he can, but fight if he feels he must. By going slow, giving the horse the chance to understand what you want, he will start to trust that your not going to hurt him. Once he figures this out he will start to do more thinking about what you want, and less about trying to get away. Please: TAKE YOUR TIME! If you are getting paid to train there is that, time is money, thing. But if you are laid up in the hospital, or worse, laying in the cold ground, you won't have to worry about the time or the money.
I think, and this is my humble opinion, folks are in to big of a hurry to ride the horse. They feel that they need to get on the horses back so that the owner will see that they are really getting something done with the horse. I think this is what happened to the other trainer I know who, was bucked off the other day and hurt his shoulder. Or, at least that's the report I got.
Even if a horse has been ridden, before he gets here, I treat him like he was a colt and, will put him in my program to make sure he is really ready. Lot's of people steal rides from the horse and think that the horse is broke to ride. My experience is, their broke and my broke, are two different things.
I hate to hear people getting hurt when it comes to horses. Just about everyone I talk too, that has been around horses, has a story about getting hurt when they first started out with horses. And, it's the reason most of them want nothing to do with them. Sad. PLEASE: take your time. If your not sure about what to do in a certain situation get someone to help you. Email me, or someone you trust. I want to keep doing what I'm doing a long time. I want the same for you.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.