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Continuing to move forward

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  • Continuing to move forward

    Since some of you seemed interested in following along with my progress of training Jack, my morgan, I thought I'd start up this thread to show his continued improvement. However, I do have another horse who I'm currently in the process of retraining so I'll probably have him mentioned as well.

    So! To start things off, some basic info about my boys.

    First up is Jack, the gelding some of you know and love already from the last time we were on here. He's going to be 3 years old in March/April some time so very soon! He's lost his two middle bottom teeth already which was weird to see since I've seen that before lol. Also, when I first got him, he was just ever so slightly under the 14 hh mark, and now, he's pretty much at the 14.1 hh mark. He's also getting stockier which I don't mind at all, but when you look at him from the front/back, he doesn't look that thick so it's kinda funny how he looks stocky, but also doesn't.

    He also grows a rediculously thick winter coat. We had a week where it dropped to -50 C and he was totally unfazed! Like, he was still having fun playing in the snow lol. So I'm thinking that I'll have to have his full name or fancy name or such be Jack Frost xD.

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    Next up is Sam. He's a 9 year old Thoroughbred and stands at 16.1 hh. He's super sweet and loved him since the moment I met him. He was registered and trained to race, but never actually made it onto the race track so he has 0 races under him. His registered name is Kings Gold Ruler, which I quite like honestly. I got him in September, about a month or so after I retired my last TB since she was ready for that and that was a hard choice to make. But now I have Sam and I'm quite happy about that as well. Oh, and when he left the track and training of that, he was starting to be taught dressage when he was around 3, then put on the back burner before he was sold at 5 years old and was used as a western trail horse until he turned 8 which is when I got him. Also, he's terrified of cows. Like, even a fake one spooks him ><

    Personality wise, he's super sweet. He also loves to do liberty work and there are days where I'll just run around the arena with him and he always has a blast with that. He also loves to give kisses in the form of licking me from my head to my toes lol. He also is skeptical of strangers, but will do or at least try just about anything for me. He will also push Jack away so that only he gets my attention. He's quite possessive of me, but still listens if I tell him to knock it off.
    So that's a basic rundown of Sam, by giant boy.

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    In my next post, I'll go more indepth with where the boys are in their level of training currently and what's going on there and a general overview of how the last several months/nearly a year have gone since I've been gone so long.
  • Original Poster

    So with Jack, after I found out he was a bit younger than I was told when I got him, I cut back on his training since I didn't want to work him too hard. My original goal had been to start him under saddle last summer, but I pushed that back. So instead, he's honestly had most of the winter off with a few occasional training sessions here and there. There was one point where I sat on him, and another point that I had a mini ride which consisted of going about 20 steps and that was it. Then he had another bit of a break as he went into another growth spurt. But now he's leveled off and I plan to start him under saddle pretty soon.

    For now, I want to work on getting Sam better under saddle first since he is already trained, just has hasn't been worked super consistently for a few reasons and is being a bit of a brat lol. So while I'll work Sam about 5 times a week, I may start working Jack once or twice a week to slowly prep him for what's to come. He has decided to get a bit of an attitude just because he's much more confident in himself now. He often challenges Sam for leadership, but honestly he's all bluff haha. He may threaten or act like he's going to do something, but Sam just gives him a bored look and pins his ears and Jack backs off.

    There was one point Jack really challenged me and I actually did get kicked by him. Basically, what happened was that it was late in the evening and I was leading him back to his paddock but he didn't want to behave. So I started to get after him but a vehicle started to come our way so I had Jack stop and I glanced at the vehicle to see where it was going and could move out of the way if needed. It was at this point that I suddenly felt a bit of a push at my left shoulder. Honestly, it just felt like as if someone bumped into you a little rough.

    I managed to turn around fast enough to see Jack land and realized he'd reared up and smacked me with one of his feet. Thankfully he's not a mean horse so he wasn't really out to hurt me or anything but I definitely got after him right away. I made him work hard and every time he tried to buck or throw a fit, I shut it down instantly. After about 15 mins of this, he settled down and started to behave nicely again. And since then, I've never had a problem with him. Occasionally he gets a little stubborn, but it's not bad and a simple correction is all he needs.

    And no, I wasn't hurt. I never bruised and was never sore. Like I said, it was like a shove. Nothing serious or damaging.

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    As for Sam, I did ride him the first while I had him, but then there were a few bumps in the road. First thing to happen was that he dropped a lot of weight so it took me 2 months to get it back up and he also saw the vet during that time to get his teeth done which were in bad shape since they hadn't been done in a long time. And once that happened, he put on weight much better. There were a few other things that also happened to make riding inconsistent and he started to become a bit of a brat when I did ride. Some of the things he does, is move around with his head in the sky, try to go in a direction he wanted into instead of where I was asking him to go, and this last ride, he didn't want to stop where I put him so he would back up and refuse to stop or go forward for a bit. Oh, and he tries to break into a trot. And if you do trot him, then he tries to break into a canter.

    So I've decided to go all the way back to basics. I'm starting him fresh on ground work and getting him to listen to me there and when I do ride, only ride at the walk. After all, need to have a good stable foundation before we can move on and keep going. So once he's consistently good at a walk, then we'll start working on trotting, and so on. I think that since he's had some time off, he's now starting to test me and see if he really does need to listen or if he can just get away with whatever he wants. But I don't think it'll take too long before we're walking and trotting around just fine.

    This last week, I worked on reminding him of his lunging skills. First day, he didn't listen well and it'd take several laps before he'd slow down. By friday, he'd speed up and slow down purely on voice cues. I also worked on getting him to yield properly since for a while, he seemed to think that yielding means to walk forward and to the side. This still isn't great, but better than before. I had 1 ride on him and it took 15 - 20 mins before he finally settled down, head drooping in the way they do when relaxed, and listened well. So I ended that ride shortly after he relaxed and ended it on a good note. Then, I also spent a day just working on desensitizing him since the last two days, for whatever reason, he decided to act super spookish.

    So I tossed pool noodles at him. He hated these the most. Then I swung around a lariat, followed by a rubber ball which he was rather fascinated by, then went to some ground poles which he couldn't care less about, then followed by a tarp. The tarp gave minor trouble but he quickly got over it and even carried it around. To end the day, we worked on doing things around the fence panels you can see in the back of the pics kind of. For some reason, he decided those extra panels were quite scary but by the end, he would walk around them completely relaxed and even sniff them. So it was an overall good session. And now he's had yesterday and today off, but we'll be back at it on Monday.

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    • #3
      I love this thread! OP don’t let age dictate your training, let the horse guide you. Your boys are lovely!


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Denali6298 View Post
        I love this thread! OP don’t let age dictate your training, let the horse guide you. Your boys are lovely!
        I'm glad you're enjoying it so far And he's only just turning 3 in the next few months which is why I didn't want to do too much on him yet. Plus I need to work on Sam first and fix what's going on there. But soon enough, young Jack will have his time in the saddle as well.


        • Original Poster

          Ok, so again, it's been a little while since I posted. I've had several things go on so life has been busy. I got injured at work so I wasn't able to work with the horses for a bit, and this virus stuff came up and now I'm off of work for the time being so I've got nothing but time now.

          With Sam, I went for a ride on him today which is the first ride I've had on him for roughly a month since my injury. I did lunge him a bit first cause he was feeling really good since spring is here. Once riding, we did plenty of circles and serpentines at a walk since he doesn't always like to listen too well when being brought back into work.But he did pretty good so we even went walking around outside and that felt really good! And think we both enjoyed being able to get out and getting some fresh air.

          As for Jack, things are good there too. Once in a while he likes to challenge me a bit since he's feeling good and it's spring, but it does't take much to remind him to behave and he's back to being a perfect little charmer. He's also in the process of loosing his 2 top teeth. He lost his bottom 2 in December sometime, so he's rather mouthy right now as he's loosing his top teeth. Thankfully he's not nippy or anything, just like to bite everything such as wheelbarrows, railings, ropes, water trough, and anything else he can get his mouth on lol. Thankfully he's not cribbing though.

          I also measured him today. So, when I first got him, he was around 13.3 hh roughly. Now, he's currently about 14.2 hh. And I think he's starting to get a touch butt high again. So it's going to be interesting to see how tall he really gets. I did the string test on him shortly after I got him and at that time, it said he'd mature around 15 hh or a little over. So I wonder if he's really going to reach that.

          And of course, some pics of the boys from the last few days

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          • Original Poster

            Ok, I'm officially loving this quarantine time where I get endless amounts of time to spend with the horses. Worked with the boys today and it turns out I was with them for nearly 4 hours which kind of surprised me cause I didn't even keep track of the time while I was out there.

            Started off the day with Jack today.

            Took the time to tie him up before the arena to work on getting him the habit of doing some grooming before going into work. He did pretty good and having him on fairly level ground really showed me just how much taller he's gotten. He still feels short compared to Sam, but he definitely looks taller than he did last summer.

            Anyway, after some grooming, we did a few laps lunging and getting him to respond at all 3 gates. He didn't want to listen too well at the canter so I only asked enough to have him behaving before letting him settle down and we moved onto introducing him to the pool noodle. He found it strange but honestly, couldn't care less about it. So then we went on to the tarp. He again, didn't care about that either.
            The next step was to saddle him and he acted like we'd done it a thousand times before so that was awesome. Once ha had the saddle on, I lunged him a little again to make sure he was fine moving around with it since I haven't saddled him since November/December sometime.

            Of course he was totally fine being saddled. So we moved to the next step. Exposing him to the pool noodle again. At first he didn't care, but as soon as I thumbed it on his back and it made noise since it was against the saddle, he spooked. We ended up traveling all the way to the other side of the arena. He spooked just as much when we went to the other side. But after those two big spooks, he started to realize it really wasn't that bad and calmed down and didn't care about it again. He was still totally fine with the tarp though.
            I ended up tying the tarp to the saddle to get him to drag it which was something new. He was pretty unsure about it at first and had a few skittish moments when I asked him to trot with it. But after the initial uncertainity, he was pretty chill with it. We ended the sessions with just a bit of leading and getting him to trot along side me since that's something he's not good at yet.

            Then I spent some time braiding his mane to try to train his mane to lay on one side and he was pretty happy to have such a chill moment after all the thinking he had to do today. He was just barely starting to sweat when I called it good for the day. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the progress we made today. I honestly love seeing how serious he gets when it's time to work and how hard he tries with everything. I'm so excited to start him under saddle this summer and I can't wait to go for trail rides once he's ready.

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