Equipment choices

I am frequently confronted with behavioral issues that are directly related to equipment. Ear pinning, nipping/biting, kicking, bucking, bolting, snatching reins, reluctance to move, move forward, rearing, loss of athleticism or quality of movement are all potential issues which can be caused by dislike of equipment, pinching, ill fitting, too big/wide, too small/narrow. Some horse are more opinionated/sensitive than others. TB's and Arab or blood type breeds can be more disturbed by poor equipment. Other types may tolerate it but perform poorly pinning ears and not wanting to go forward.
Most commonly, I see poor saddle fit and sore backs. It is seldom even thought of, in some cases that a saddle would even need to be fitted to a horse. You just go and buy a saddle you like and put it on and ride. Just imagine wearing shoes that caused blisters and made you feel crippled but you had to wear them day after day and worse run and jump in them!
I'd like to highlight an example of my own horse Mercury. He has a problem with if the girth does not have enough stretch/elastic in it. I found that he doesn't breath well and then doesn't move well and then has the urge to buck.
How did I figure this out? Well I like watch horses go with and without tack a lot. I free lunge regularly. I will sometimes have them saddled while they are lunging and will look for marked differences in there way of going. In his case, he bucks and kicks at the girth initially and I noticed a drop in his quality of movement versus when he was un-tacked and free. Also, I knew early on, that he didn't care for the saddle much as he accepted me bareback more easily in the backing process. When I saddled him for the first time, he bucked with a ferocity I had not seen in any other young horse I had started. This continued for an above average length of time and still does initially hence his nickname "Rodeo". I have learned to listen to his likes and dislikes (as he's quite dramatic sometimes), so now we have an understanding and have moved through these obstacles. Always remember they have no other way of telling us they are bothered by something. So always start your bad behavior evaluation with a physical exam followed by and equipment check. If you don't know how to do these things, consult an professional.


What I'm working on...

Some of you may ask why did I want a stallion and the answer is I didn't, It just happened. As a trainer and student of Natural Horsemanship, I wanted to put my skills to the test with a young colt. I have handled stallions and seen stallions handled and it seemed to me that they lived a pretty feeble existence. They seemed to be punished for simply being a stallion. I'm not talking about genuinely bad behavior. I'm talking about normal stud behavior. Let's face it bad behavior is bad behavior gelding, mare or otherwise. I've seen it across the board regardless of gender and status.

So what I thought was, can I keep this horse in tact and merely provide him with the boundaries and structure he needed from an early age (one). I also picked a colt whose sire and dam were calm and gentle. I don't think it would have been as easy without good genes.

Mercury has been kept with other horses his whole life and has been allowed to socialize like a normal horse. He has never been denied turnout or company (although, he is hasn't always been welcome by the other horses being the pest that he is) and that is so important to any horses' socialization. Never underestimate the value of other horses ability to teach a horse rules and boundaries. Also "Horseplay" is so important for their stress management as well. It is truly ashame that we segregate many horses from each other (though some horses are truly aggressive and can need be put with an appropriate match if you have one). They are herd animals and thrive on the social structure.

Now "M" is under saddle and although he wasn't the easiest colt to start, I don't attribute it to studdiness. Knowing him the way I do, I attribute it to his nature and his horsenality and about 10% being a stud. Since I fostered his "try" from a young age and he was born with a lot of desire to please I can see him learning as he matures to handle himself (and his hormones) with my careful guidance. With each new day we welcome new situations which challenge him to stay composed around girls, his buddies and when distracting things are going on. He passes with flying colors after he is made aware of the "rules" of conduct. Because, I made sure he new the rules when worked together alone, reaffirming those rules in more challenging situations is only a reminder of stuff he already knows how to do. Not hard for him to grab on to. We look forward to each situation as an opportunity to "learn how to act". Stay tuned...
Go to FDhorsetraining.com


Welcome to my FDT Blog!

Hey all,
It's 2008 and I'm looking forward to a great year with Mercury and Phoenix coming 4 and nearing competition ready (see photos bigger one is M and smaller one is Feenz).

In other news, I have added Natural Dogmanship to my list of services this year. So any of you needing Dog whispering help, contact me if you are in my traveling area of New England!

So with this blog, I hope to post more tips, articles, and updates on the goings on with FDT. Follow the two siblings (yes, those two are brother and sister) first show experiences.

And as always Mercury has been an adventure being my first STUD colt. He is such a Momma's boy though. He is better than a lot of geldings I deal with. Thank you natural horsemanship.

Anyway, check back for new posts and such and see what unfolds in my adventures in horse training...
Go to FDhorsetraining.com