I've been asked in the past how I introduce a new horse to my herd of horses. I do have horses come and go a lot here and my solution for those horses is much different then horses that will be with me a long time. Horses that are mine.
First, if the horse is here for traning, he will never be in the same pen with one of my horses or another outside horse. It's just safer if I keep them away from each other. That way I don't have to worrie about their being any issues. They in stalls that are next to each other and they can visit thru the bars of the stall but, they can't get their heads thru the bars and thus can't bit on each other. They get the company of another horse without going thru the process of who's the boss.
I'm noy sure how many folks that follow my blog train outside horses. But, if you do, you probablay already have this part figured out.
But, lets say you have just gotten a new horse the you plan to keep and you need to introduce him to your herd of 1 or more horses. You could just put them in the pen and hope for the best. I promise you, that nine times out of ten, their is going to be a fight and someone might get hurt. Kicked, bitten ect.
Here is how I would rather do it. I will ususally keep the horse in one of the stalls that the other horses can't get to the new horse. They can talk to each other, smell each other, and generally get to know one another, without the risk of injury. Trust me. If you put hourse out together that have never met, their is going to be a issue. Having said that, if you have lots of room, say a pasture, the chance of their being an issue is greatly reduced. Why? Becasue the subordinate horse will have room to get away from the aggresive horse, until they get a chance to know one another.
I will usually keep the new horse in this stall, letting him out everyother day while the other horses are in their stalls or in another area. After that week I will turn them out together. At times their are some sorting out that has to take place, but for the most part they already know each other and have figured out where they each belong in the herd with this new comer.
In the picture above and below is Zeb the Black and Mona. Zeb has always been a bit of a bully. Wan'ts to be the leader and wants you to know he's the leader. So I'm reluctant to put him with other horse. But, I just got two new horses yesterday and he was going to have to learn to get along. Zeb has been across the alley from both Mona and Chrlie for over a year. But, this was the first time they had been out together. Mona is only 2 years old but Zeb does not give her any issues. If anything, it's the other way around. Chrlie, who you don't see in the pictures knows he's not wanted by either of them. So, he keeps his distance and has plenty of room to stay out of their way.
You will notice that their is hay in the stall where Zeb and Mona are. Food can be a triger that will set a dominate horse off. The dominate horse wants to eat first and does not want to share. Be aware of that when you introduce horses to each other.
These horses have been together for over a week and they are getting along just fine. The new horses came yesterday and we are starting the process of them all getting to know each other.
Have any questions about this or any other issue you may be having just let me know.
I know it's been awhile sense I have posted anyting to my blog. Lots of reasons for that I suppose. My wreck with a young colt that could have taken my life, has slowed me down a bit.
Time in a wheel chair, realizing everyday, how lucky you are to even be in a wheel chair, will make a guy think. Think about what's really important in his life.
Horses will always have a special place in my life and my plans are to continue to work with them and their owners. Was not the fault of the colt that I almost died. It was my fault. And, I'll have to work on getting my courage back and my sense of leadership. And I will. And I'll get back to writing more about horses. And, I hope that the time I spend here in front of this computer is not wasted on me. I hope that soneone out there will find a "way", to work with their horses. Or, will learn a little more about them, even if you don't ride or own horses. At times it's hard to know if anyone else is out there.
I woke up this morning to a coating of snow on the ground. Does not happen that much here. And, I got to thinking how excited I was to see it again. To feel the cold on my cheeks as I fed my horses. And, at least today, thanked God I was not a horse, and that I had a comfortable cabin to return to. To, sit by my fire in the fire place and rub on my dogs. Because, there are others out there that will never, ever, get a chance to do those simple things ever again.
Kathy and I lost one of the most beutiful people we have ever known. It is impossable to describe her beuty and grace. Her silly, funny, playful side. I'm not sure how a person gets to a place in their lives where they feel it's no longer worth living. But, she found herself there and, it has been a very sad week for us, her husband and their children. Sometimes, I guess, even love is not enough.
So, I'm so glad for all the little things in my life now. My brothers and my sister, even tho we so rarely see each other. For my brother from a different mother and how he has enriched the life of our family. For the snow this morning, which will make my doing chorse that much harder. For my daughters and the love they continue to show their Pop, even tho he has done things that have changed their lives forever. For my Brothers at the Kingdom Hall, who would, after my wreck, make sure that we would have enough fire wood to last us thru the winter and propane to keep us warm at night.
But espicially my Wife and the Best Friend I have ever had. Who took such good care of me after my wreck. Who refused to go home, till one of the girls could get there to make sure I was ok. Who did so much to make my return home, in a wheel chair, posable. Who huged me when I would cry for no real reason, and would tell me things were going to be ok. Who told me not to worry about a thing. To just get better. I thought I would be on my feet and be kicking at the world. She knew it woiuld take a lot longer then that.
So, next week I'll get back to writing horses. There are a lot of exciting things coming up for me and them. But this morning I just wanted to say, THANK YOU, for you thoughts, prayers, and help thru all of this. I've still got a way to go to get better. But, at least I have that chance. I remember someone saying. "Don't complain about getting old. Some people will never get the chance".
And, there are so many, that will never see it snow again.
Helping horses with people. And, people with horses!
After a little work out Mona and Henna both got a shower. They both took it really well. I would even say they enjoyed it.
Mona wore her first snaffle bit yesterday as well. She took it like she had been doing it all her life. She was a little nervous when I took it out of her mouth this morning but no big deal.
I like to let a horse wear the bit over night. That way they can learn that they can eat with it as well as get a drink with it. Just's get them use to the bit.
Last week Henna wore her first saddle. The first time I saddle a horse I use a surcingle rather then a real saddle for a couple reasons. First, I don't have to worry about it turning and ending up underneath the horse and have a huge wreck. The other reason is horses are not so worried about what's on their back as they are about what's wrapped around their body. Most horses, when they feel this for the first time, will for sure buck. But, Henna gave no indication that she was interested in that at all. We when back to work and she wore the surcingle the rest of her session.
She is really starting to understand her place in the heard and is trying so hard to get along.
Will continue to work on trailer loading. She is having no problem getting in, or, out of the trailer like she was before.
If you have any questions about working with your horse I hope you will drop me a line.
PS: I spent one day, all I had time for, at the Mule Starting Competition that is held every year here in T or C New Mexico. I learned a ton about mules and how to work with, and get them started. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to work with a mule in the future and perhaps owning one of my own one of these days. To Joe Bice and all the others that made me feel welcome thank you.
This passed weekend Kathy and I, were at the Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso NM. Kathy was working her booth and I did a horse demo on Sunday morning.
This year was the biggest group I have ever had. With those that came and went, there were some where around 50 people I would guess. I used my buddy Car and the new little filly here, Henna.
A lady, known as the Mule Lady, let me keep the horses at her place and taught me a lot about a mule. I'll get to that in a bit. But, Henna, WOW!
She started out all wound up pacing at the trailer and trying to run me over. But with a little work in the round pen she made the leap. The leap you ask? Yes, the leap. She finally gave up her place in the herd and became part of my herd. She has always, up to this point, fought lunging and just about everything I asked her to do in the past. But she was amazing. Soft in my hands and willing to get on the trailer and off. I kept telling people she was not like this just days ago, before we made this trip. Mark, my pard and neighbor, came to the event to help me out and what a great help he was. He knows Henna, and had seen all the trouble I was having with her when she first got here and he could not believe his eyes either. It's a testimony to my process and time. That's what I tried to share with the folks their.
I asked folks in the audience how many of them had been hurt riding or being around horses. There were about 8 or more who had broken bones bruised ribs, lost a tooth and on and on. I told them my story and how it could have all been avoided if I had taken a little more time, and had not been in such a hurry. The group had great questions as well.
I had one lady, who could see beyond what I was showing them. She could see how my method was going to work with other things in the training process. She really seem to understand what I was trying to get them all to see: That you MUST have a process, a way that you go about training a horse that is safe for the horse, but more importantly, safe for YOU.
Did I say that Henna was amazing?
The Mule Lady! Her name is Diane and she has been working with, breeding and training mules for more the 25 years. She taught me that all the bad stuff I have ever heard about mules was wrong. We talked for a long time about the process of training a mule, and assured me that there is little difference between them and a horse in the training process but, there was no comparison to the ride you get with a mule, as apposed to a horse. She even asked me to take a ride with her. Which I did. Only my 4th ride sense my wreck.
I hope to have some pictures that I'll be able to share with you tomorrow or the next day.
In closing out this blog this morning. I wanted to point out that there was another clinician who was there. Well known, on tv, who was starting a colt. As I was watching he just about got bucked off that colt. The method that he uses to start a colt is not meant for just about everyone there, including me. Most of the people there could never do what he was doing. Entertaining? Yes. But, for most people, to dangerous. I'm troubled when I see so called experts showing people how to start a colt, or do anything for that matter. I'm afraid that one of them will go home and think that they can do the same thing and find themselves in the hospital or worse off then that. Nothing I can do about it, except complain here.
The method that I have learned and continue to improve upon is for everyone. Not just the young buck who wants to ride a bucking colt. Starting colts is not for everyone. But, I had really good conversations with people that came to my demo, about how much they love their horses and how they want to be better horseman . How they want to learn how to fix the problems they have. But, they too need to know when they need help and, they should not feel ashamed to ask for it or, be made to feel ashamed.
Take your time, the magic pill, and watch what your horse or mule, will do for you, to be apart of your herd.
Here is a video I shot yesterday of Henna getting in the trailer. I think this is like her 4th time. She is doing better and better everyday.
She has had a hard time leading but as you can see she is getting better at that as well.
All of these skills that I'm teaching her take time , the magic pill. So, take the time. Enjoy the time you get to spend with your horses. There are a lot of people that will never get that chance again. I was almost one of them. So, be as safe as you can be. Use you process to get your horse where you want them to be. If you don't have a process contact someone that you trust to help you develop one. Starting colts is not for everyone. The older we get our skills begin to get rusty. Let me know what you think about her progress.
Yesterday was Kathleen's first ride out side the arena. We took a little ride out around our place here on the ranch. She was excited and a little nervous but did a great job.
She is making great progress with her riding and we both look forward to more rides out, to see more country.
Henna is making great progress as well. As you probably know, we have been working on loading and unloading in the trailer. She is having little or no problem getting in, but was having a hard time getting off the trailer. Well, my buddy Mark stopped by to see how we were getting along and I asked him if he could help me. Of, course he said, "Sure". So, as I asked Henna to get off the trailer, doing that by pulling gently on the lead rope, I asked Mark to take one of my sticks and, from the outside of the trailer, tap her gently on her back side. Mark only had to touch her with the stick, and off she came. A little excited, but she came off. I loaded her again this time, Mark just touched her again, and off she came.
The next time I had Mark come up to the back of the trailer where I was, and I loaded here in the trailer. This time when I asked her to unload, she came of like she had been doing it all her life. Easy, slow, and safe.
More to come on her progress.
Yesterday was Henna's first time being tied to the rail. I had Charlie and Mona keep her company.
People often ask why I tie my horses to the rail. So, let me explain. Horses, in a world of humans will have to learn to be patient. Most horses, that are used, will spend a great deal of time waiting on you and me. If we are out with friends on a ride and we decide to stop to have a little something to eat, our horses will have to learn to wait till we are done. We may tie them to the trailer or we may decided just to hang on to their reins until we are finished. Either way, they will have to learn to stand quietly and wait for us. The list goes on and on for reasons you will need to tie your horse up. So, I teach them how to become patient.
When I first start teaching this skill, I stay right with them so that if there is a wreck I can help them get out of it. Some horses will pull back to test to see if they can get out. Henna in this case, stood for 2 hours without pulling back. She is the exception.
I think that is helps to tie another horse, that has experience, being tied up so that the new horse will have company. I think that has done a lot to help some of the younger horses I've worked to learn how to stand tied, by following the older horse's example.
Just some advice. Do not tie your horse to ANYTHING they can pull over. Like a panel you might use for a round pen. Or, to a tree or brush etc. There is nothing more scary for a horse, and owner, then to see their horse running out of sight with a tree or a panel chasing them.
Be smart, use your head. This is a MUST skill for every horse that comes here to be trained. Most owners never know about it, but are amazed at how well their horses stand tied when they get home.
If you have any questions on how or what to do to get started, let me know.
Henna got the day off yesterday cause I had things to take care of in town.
But, I wanted you all to meet my newest riding student Kathleen.
Kathleen drives a ways to get to the ranch but considers it the highlight of her week. She is making great progress and we are hoping next week we will be out on the trail together. She was taking lessons from someone else but in the year she took lessons she was only on the horse 3 time and that was just to ride in the round pen. Here, my goal is, to get you as safe as I can, horse back, and then get you out so you can see some country and enjoy seeing the world from the back of a horse.
Come join us.
Henna has been staying a stall at night and has taken to it pretty good. She has Mona as a buddy. Mona is not too sure about her yet but they will figure it out in time.
Henna is getting in the trailer with little or no effort now and is learning to lead without much trouble. She still gets a little stuck every once in a while and I have to help her out, but for the most part she is coming along great.
Remember, Henna is just a baby. You don't want to put to much pressure on a little one for fear of burning them out. Their attention span is very short. Having said that, they still must do what they are asked and Henna is starting to figure all that out.
In the picture above you have Charlie horse on the left and Mona, who you can't see, on the right. That's Zeb the black across the alley way.
People always ask if the horses have a hard time learning how to use the automatic drinkers that we have here at the barn. The answer is no. In the picture above you see Henna using the auto drinker her first afternoon in the stall. Horses are pretty good about figuring out how things work. It's a little scary at first, but I have never seen a horse not be able to figure out where the water is.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.