This blog isn’t here to win a popularity contest – it’s simply for my own pleasure and if a few friends want to join in great. I enjoy reading everyone’s comments and definitely want to remain open minded about other points of view and possibilities.
This blog is in no way supposed to be commercial, horse training blog, winning me a huge readership who I can market over-priced horse halters, sentimental-claptrap horse books posing as non-fiction, and a treeless saddle that amounts to nothing more then a bareback pad.
It’s to document my personal view of horses, my learning about them, and my own ideas of about training. For that reason, I don’t really need to tip toe around issues that should be obvious, except that I generally try to be polite on the internet.
There is a place for groundwork. It is important and I’ve spent the last 18 months putting a very good handle on Z with it. When she came to me she knew NOTHING – she didn’t even know how to lead or pick up her feet! Her breeder did her a huge disfavor by not providing some basics, but that is typical of breeders.
She now knows many, many things that makes her a good horse for someone to work around: she can be fly sprayed and blanketed w/o being held still by a halter, she can be bathed, she readily picks up her feet for cleaning and trim work, she leads on a slack lead without any issue, she knows how to go through a gate with a handler, she knows several word commands such as whoa, walk, trot, and canter and will do these upon the first word given and mostly without whip aid (still a bit rusty on canter), she is trustworthy when given hand treats, she has been saddled and bridled, and knows her way around a horse trailer.
She has also been worked from behind – many, many times, as anyone who has seen the videos on Youtube or read this journal on a regular basis would know. She actually line drives with two reins.
Moreover this education has been brought along on a horse with a very difficulty personality. When I state this I get people who start pooh-poohing that as if I’m trying to make Z special. I’m going to address that here and now: you have no idea what this horse is fully capable of. Personally, my life would be much easier if she was a bit less special…
I know people who have been afraid of this horse to the point they would not enter a FIELD where she was located at. I have seen her chase down and attack dogs and people. I know of an incident where she grabbed with her teeth a feed sack blowing through her field and then chased all the other horses to scare them. I know that she pushed her stallion father out of his feed bucket to steal his feed when she was about a year old. At 14 hands she kicked my gelding (16.2, herd leader) in the mouth! And she has kicked my husband in the face.
So please don’t give me bullshit that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That this horse just needs someone with stronger energy, or that I’m afraid of her, or whatever crap you want to dream up. This horse is different then any other horse (except one which I will go into in a bit) I’ve worked with in over 30 years. Yes, I’m that old and I’ve worked with a lot of horses so if I write that Z has some quirks that makes her dangerous for 9 out of 10 people I am not writing that to make me or her sound like we are special.
Z’s personality is very much like a horse, Red, that I owned for a brief period of time. Brief because this horse at age 6, daughter of a dominant agressive dam, had a favorite ploy to get out of work that I only realized too late: run backwards, rear and flip over. On the ground she was pleasant and fun to work with, had no spooky behavior, and would lull you into a false sense of security before she did her Mr. Hyde routine. It was only later that I learned that her mother liked doing the exact same behavior when being ridden (and had intimidated a woman with a hell of a lot more experience in training, riding and teaching then myself).
People who don’t think horses can’t be dangerous or kill you – or that they may want to do so – don’t understand the first damn thing about horse dynamics. Horses live their entire lives intimidating other horses – mostly through body language, a nip or two, and a kick that many times doesn’t make contact. This is a horses’ daily reality: ignore it at your peril.
It is IMPERATIVE that Z learn to behave under saddle and to do so when she is still young enough that she still thinks that humans win over a horses’ 1,000 pounds of fury and strength. Doing years more of groundwork will not teach her how to ride from the saddle no matter how many Snake Oil Horse Trainers tell you on their $49.95 DVD.
If she doesn’t learn how to behave under saddle, she has the danger of becoming Red… I imagine that by now Red met her end at a Mexican slaughterhouse being bashed over the head and made into meat for the Japanese and French to eat.