Friday, June 29, 2012

Sad goodbyes

These are the two faces that greet me every morning, and today might be the last time I see them together. Miro and Shy Boy, two of the stallions from this years muster, wild less than a month ago, could give a clock lessons on timekeeping, they are waiting at their gate, at the top of the hill, every morning on the dot, to be brought into the stables. Horses are creatures of habit, and like to stick to a routine, and these boys do that without fail. Every morning when I go to catch them I have a little smile, looking at these two eager faces, and can't believe that these are my wild boys, I don't think they would match the image of a wild stallion in anyone's imagination. Most people think I'm joking too, they cant be wild,as both these boys come straight up as soon as they see people,then especially with Miro, wearing his bright green cover, at least the other stallion, has his wild mane showing, small proof that his heritage lies in the rugged mountains of New Zealand's central plateau.

But today I'm kind of sad, Shy Boy is due to leave for his new home, and he is a horse I really love and will miss greatly. It's a funny thing, but the nice easy, straight forward horses, the Miro, of the world are the ones that fly under the radar, quietly achieving, and surpassing expectations, with little fuss, I've even sat and ridden Miro around the paddock. But it's the unusual ones, the challenges of the equine world, I seem to grow most attached to.

I'm not sure why, maybe because they teach us more, or we feel stronger emotions with them. But when I start talking to people about this years wild stallions it's Bear and Shy Boy, that I go on and on about, the ones that spring most vividly to mind.

Shy Boy especially, I love, not that I don't love them all, just that, if I had to pick one, he stands out. He's has changed so much, and is such an emotional, expressive horse, you get a lot out of working with him. The super aggressive stallion, is now the sweetest, mildest, politest and most affectionate horse I know. Out of all my wild horses, you get the sense that this horse wants to be with you, not for food, or a dry stable, just that he craves the leadership and companionship we offer. So when he goes this afternoon, I really will miss him, and will be genuinely sad to see him go, as horses like this don't come around very often, any interaction you have with them should be cherished

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One of the stallions went to his new home last week, i got his new owner to write up a little bit about him, and her experiences.

I have for many years wanted a kaimanawa pony, but was worried what i was going to get myself into. Then when Chloe had a amazing offer to get the pony delivered to her house and do the 1st handling with it, I jumped at the chance.

The suprise of not knowing what you would get was quite a buzz. I went up a few times to vist my ponies progress and each time i was so suprised at how far he had come in such a short time, Many thanks to Chloe's great horsemanship.
I picked him up on wed he travelled like a dream, Got off the float to be greeted by 5 excited people and he didnt bat a eyelid so much better than my domesticated horses when arriving at a new place it was AMAZING I was prepared for chaos.

He has been with me less than a week and i have taken him over things, on things, through things,that you just couldn't do with a normal horse for the 1st time. The wild ponies just take everything in their stride, never say no, and never bat a eyelid even when you ask them to go strange places (like on the deck). He now follows me in the paddock, comes running for his hard feed has sussed the feed shed (they are very smart). Im in love with them.
Will definitely be getting another
from the next muster im sold on the wild ponies

This is why I love working with wild horses, taking a horse that was wild and turning into a calm domesticated horses with a future, this is the goal happy people and happy horses. It is so rewarding when it goes like this. Great for the wild ponies as well the more people that love them, the more that can be saved.

Here are some pics of this pony, from arriving in the stockyards,to exploring the front deck of his new home.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another rainy day...time fo an update on the action.I have caught up with some truly inspirational people in the last few days. Old freinds and people, I known but have never actually had time to meet properly. Since being in Egypt, where the poeple I met and worked with there, really inspired, it's been great come into contact with more people closer to home that are equally inspirational.

It's been a busy week. The wild horses have been in photo shoots, filmed for a documnetry, and one little stallion has finished his time with me and gone off to his new home. My Sunday afternoon was spent showing visitors around and letting them meet the wildboys, who loved all the attention and extra food, and were very un-wild looking. This is the goal though, to be able to show, in as many ways possible what fantastic horses these are. I have always want to show, how good these horses can be, and last week went a long way to proving that.

I am really passionate about good horsemanship. Not just good riding, or being competitive, but understanding and working with your horse, for the benefit of the horse. I hate seeing unhappy and misunderstood horses, being blamed for everything, it grates my nerves like you would not believe.This is part of the reason I started writing this blog, I wanted to show that horses do not come with all these "problems" that people think are normal for horses. They are not bad, bastards, idiots, mean, or naturally crazy, they don't sit in the paddock and plot ways to piss us off either. They are just horses, and react to what goes on around then. but we change their natural behaviour so much, or don't learn to understand them and we cretes all these problems, which really is how I make my money "fixing" problem horses. If some of these behaviour problems I come across, which people always blame on the " that's just the way the horse is", why don't the wild horsess come with these same problems? Don't get me wrong, the wild horsess could develop all these problems through bad handling, very easily, and very quickly. But they don't come with them, those are things people create in them.

So when I got the chance to sit down and talk with a girl, who is filming a documnetry about the wild horses, it was like a breath of fresh air, to talk to someone who has really similar veiws to mine. Interestingly enough I've known, and admired these girls, that are making the documnetry for years, we are about the same age, with a similar background, we live in the same area and probably all grew up, spending our days on horse back, growing up training our own horses. They were on tv a few months back, and there approaches to training and breaking in horses are very similar to mine. We both break in horses bareback first, as oppose to more traditional methods, and they like me want to produce happy, sensitive horses that's start their life riding across farms and beaches, before going on to specialize in other disciplines. In fact I saw photos of them taking there horses to the beach for a first ride, and it reminded me of doing a similar thing with Matai the little wild stallion two years ago...

So it was really nice to have them come up and film, my wild stallions, and interview me about my thoughts and opinions. Although it was really nerve racking being filmed, and trying to remember what your talking about and to look at the camera etc, it was all really good fun, and the wild stallions behaved themselves once they got used to the camera.

Shy Boy is the photogenic one, looking every but the wild stallion with his poise and thick flowing mane, and got to be filmed quite a bit. Bear has progressed in leaps and bounds and wasn't worried about the camera at all, being very brave and coming to sniff my face as I was talking, for him the is a actually a huge breakthrough as any interction is an improvement, on him being very introverted,and terrified of the world.

It was really inspirational to hear these girls goals for there documnetry and how they want to portray the wild horses, as it was like talking to myself in someways. They are doing exactly what i wanted to do, two years ago, but they have three working together filming and training, as oppose to just me alone.How they want to take them from the wild, and produce them into show horsees, and just in there approach to horsemanship, they are very similar. They even got permission to go and film ther muster, which will be great footage and will be able to show people what really goes on.

Was great talking to them about the muster process, to see that both them and myself are passionate to do even more to help next muster, and are already planing how to home more horses. I think it's fantastic that they doing it, can't wait to see the results. It's definetly a documnetry that need to be done, and I'm actually really pleased it's some local girls, who are really good horsewoman as well as film makers who are doing it. Cant wait to see the finished product!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo I love

Again so busy, don't have time to write, but really want to share some pictures of life on the farm with the wild horses .... And also of photo of me demonstrating how to get a horses attention, so they will pose for the camera.. Thanks to my amazing friend who came out and took these photos, if anyone wants a photographer, email me and I will pass on her details!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just to add to the last post

Just thought I'd add to the last post, this is Shy Boy with his owner. He such a sweet horse, he had his first loading lesson today and happily walked straight into the horse trailer. Pleasing his owner no end. She's a really good horse woman like I said previously, and I think it's fantastic she can come work with him, and experience how easy these horses are to train first hand.
Anyway took a quick picture of
Shy Boy with his new mum thought it was nice to share and maybe you can see why I'm so happy with the home he's going to... They just look like friends, I think

Monday, June 18, 2012

The shy one

Its pouring with rain, like blowing sideways, soaking rain, just as the all the mud was starting to dry up, the typial New Zealand winter restarted itself with a vengance.I just got all the horses turned out or brought into the barn for the day, now I'm tucked inside with fire going, watching my paddocks turn to slop, and all animals are heading for the tree line. The weather on the bonus side, has forced me to have a ' a day off', or rather a day when I can't train horses from dawn till dusk, providing me an oppurtunity to catch up on all the other stuff I need to do, like bills, emails etc, so naturally I'm writhing my blog instead.

There is one stallion that stands out amongst the rest. I talked about this horse, when i did a post on Bear, the little dark bay stallion Drifter, or Shy Boy, as we all call him. If there was ever a horse that you could make a moivie or documnetry about, it would be Shy Boy. He has the 'X' factor, that unlabelable quality that just makes an individual standout, im not sure if his big beautiful eyes, how expressive his face is, or just that he looks like a wild stallion off a moivie, despite being the smallest of all the boys, but there is somethign diffrerant about him. He is the horse that when all the girls see his photos they pick him as their favoritte. Shy Boy,has also shown the greatest change to work with, he makes you look like a magical horse whisperer when your not.

When he arrived, he was wild, really wild, while the other horses were happy to eat out of your hand the first days, he was trying to climb the wall of the stockyards. we didnt even try to go near him, as it set him flying and leaping about. Slightest noise and hed whirl in terror, eyes wide and nostrils flaring. For a horse that only stands at 13.2hh he even managed, while we were working another horse, to get his little legs over the 6ft high wall of the yards. The biggest threat to little oscar, that first day was that this horse tried to attack him every chance he got, poor little Oscar was stumbling around, and this horse would launch himself at him biting kicking in a hairball of wild fury. This was my first impression of Shy Boy, and i thought, man do i have my work cut out for me, a blind horse, a crazy viscious horse, and three other stallions that at that point were unknowns.

Every other wild horse id come across, was stoic and calm, clever and if they had a problem it was more that they had learnt to be stubborn from bad handling. Everything about this horse was differant, attitude, looks and reactions,I was a little worried at this point.But i think that the most important thing to remember is that these horses, their reactions come from fear, and this little thing was terrified.

Horses are not vicious animals, so usally there is a reason behind it.

Well first we got Oscar out of there, and kind of ignored Shy Boy, over the days, and hours of people sitting there holding food, he inched his way into our company. First grabbing a moutful of grass before darting back to his corner, watching you from beneath that thick black mane, then getting to where he wouldnt withdraw so far, finally he stayed there eating. In between these feeding sessions, we also did a bit of work wiht him in the yards, getting him to walk around us, turn to us and walk inwards. Its really hard technique to explain in writing, but you ggradually start working the horse and get them listening to you without the horse really being aware its happening. Before you know it you can work with then 4ft away from you rather than four metres, and do it all wihtout stress.

Horses are herd animals and they want leadership, not the Nazi Dictatorship, get beaten when they step out of line type, but in way that gives them security and comfort and takes away the fear and unknown quantities of their life. Genrally the more fearful, the more they respond to us stepping in and taking that leaderhip/guidance role. So it was with Shy Boy, the more we could cold work him, the less he wanted to thow himself at fences, or run at the slightest movement, the more we could tell him where to go, the less he had to make the descision for himself and the calmer he became.So when it came to haltering, we never did it in a way, that made him feel he needed to engage that flight reflex, everything was calm and slow, it took three hours from not beign able to touch him to leading him home. to some this may sound fast or slow, depends on your point of veiw i guess. But the more time you took with this horse the quicker he learned. In fact he was the quickest learner out of the five, by a long way, you just had to take slow steps.
The minute we got the halter on this horse, and taught him how to find the release in pressure ( ie not to pull against the rope) this horse literaly breathed a huge sigh of releif, and visibly relaxed.

From then on he followed like a lost lamb, he never tried to pull out of your hands, never ran, and never showed any agression. If something scares him, hes more likely to try and hide behind you than spin and run. He is still by far, the spookiest, most higly strung of the horses, and the most sensitive. Also the only one who has never been driven by food, while i feel you could somewhat if you wanted to, bribe the other four with a handful of hay to do what you want, this would never be the case with this horse. He stays so focused on you and what your asking, its only when there nothing left to do, that he finally thinks its okay to look for something to eat.

Now when you go in the paddock he comes walking up, with his beautiful eyes watching,ears pricked, just waiting for you to invite him in. He does something none of the other wild horses do, or any other horse i know for that matter. If you stretch out a hand he walks shly up and sniffs it, then works his way up you arm, inching closer, until hes at you shoulder, just resting his head there and in what can only be described as a horse hug, he breathes a another big sigh, and then no matter how long you stand, he stay there with you. Without trying to put people emotions on horses, this horse always has expression of 'please look after me' he looks genuinely relieved when you catch him to take him to or from his paddock, and always tries to stay as close by as possible, he always has a shy, lost lamb look on his face that melts all onlookers hearts.But it is the complete change in personality that is pretty amazing to see. This horse went from a highly strung overeactive wild horse, to the most polite, settled and devoted non wild stallion ive ever met. He would be the best example i have ever had, of what good training and taking your time can accomplish.

This horse is also one of the most special ive ever met, and im very pleased to report that his future owner is going to be the perfect match for him. She has been here through most of the training process and comes over and works with him whenver she can, and is used to dealing with highly strung arabian horses, has all the time and patience in the world to work with this special boy, even more important, is that he will probably be with her forever, and i think for such an amzaing horse this is important. He is definitely the horse i would pick for myself if he wasn't do small, i love this type of animal, and is another horse like Bear, that falls into the catergory of not suitable for a lot of poeple, but it really is the most rewarding process to work with him. However i could never guarantee him a permanent home, and here he would be one of twenty horses, with this lady, he will be one of three very special horses, and shes loves him and its great to see them work together. It really is rewarding seeing horses succeed with someone, and going to such a good home with another really goood horsewoman is the best i can offer a horse like this.

While i like to feel there is nothing mysterious about training horses, just understanding, timing and patience,If there was ever a horse that made me belive in magic its definitely this one, the little shy wild stallion...

Saturday, June 16, 2012


My little patient is healing, below is Oscar in the stockyards, then the second day he was home, and how he looks these days. These horses are so tough, he is healing remarkably well. I think he will even escape,
with barely a scar, and there is no sign of eye damage whatsoever. All good news.

All other wild boys just progressing in leaps and bounds. Even bear is better, far more comfortable and able to be touched and brushed. Time really does fix a lot of things..

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thought you all might like this...

I dont have time to write a full blown post but took this photo yesterday afternoon and thought you all might enjoy seeing the wild boys together...

From left to right

Oscar, Drifter (shy boy), nikau (pretty boy), Miro and Bear...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Good vs bad

I heard a good quote today "75% of horses are okay with 80% of riders"It has gotten me thinking. I have worked with horses for a few years now, and come across a lot of differant types. there are some that no matter how bad you handle them will probably be okay, and not hurt anybody. There are others that you make the slightest mistake and they will injure you or themselves. But how do you judge, how do you differentiate between a horse that maybe has bad habits or training, or is it that horse that may only ever be for that small percentages of really god horsemen?

Im not saying that the horses that don't fall into that 75% are "bad", in anyway. Just that they are more fragile creatures that can run into problems easier than the rest of the horse population. I don't think horses have to be hot blooded, cold looked or somwhere in the middle to fall into these categories either, and no horse that comes into that 25% will have the same set of problems, reactions or even reasons. Some won't even have had a bad history. Funnily enough I think that a lot of top horses, as far as competition goes probably fall into this 25% category, they are talented, emotional and not for your everyday rider, it's what can make them great or terrible.

So out of all the wild horses, this lot and the last, the only one I worry about is Bear, he is the only one that won't ever fall, into the easy 75% category. He's not a bad horse, in fact he's the one that everybody notices, big, strong and has the whole wild stallion look going on. But he is very introverted, and scared, the image of the cowardly lion off the Wizard of Oz, springs to mind. Where all the other wild boys are progressing rapidly, Bear takes time and lots of reassurance, for him the world is still a worrisome place. It's not that Bear scares me, I'm more worried about his future, he's the type of horse that in the wrong hands would be dangerous, or end up on a meat works truck because people don't understand him. Really all you have to see, is that Bear is inside the big stallion exterior, a very frightened flower,he just hides it well, because that is what nature intends as a survival stratergy for him. Hes a type of horse that fools the majority of horse people, who don't take the time to read his behaviour for what it truly is.

To compare, there is Drifter, and there's Bear, both I'd say we're horses that are naturally quite timid. Drifter there is no hiding what goes through his mind, he has a strong flight reflex, and is very reactive,with a big expressive eyes and alert pixie ears, you can read him like a book. In the stockyards he was by far the most timid, every action showed it. Yet once handled he loves the safety of someone telling him what to do and he constantly watches you, while staying on the alert for possible threats, he is actually vey sweet, cuddly and happy around people. If he's going to get a fright you can tell way before it happens, and he immediantly looks to you for support, nothing hidden in his behaviour, you know when's he learning, when he's relaxed and when he worried,easy to predict, easy to work with.

Bear is the opposite, he shuts down, he pretends he's okay,when really he's scared. You never quite know what's going through his mind, other than the fact he's tense. The reason this worries me more than drifter,is because to most people,bear looks like he's okay, when he's really not, so they could possibly keep pushing him until he explodes. What he really needs, is more time, less asked of him, and to feel safe. The more people try to push Bear the more introverted he's going to become, when we want the opposite, for him to become more open and trusting, to let his guard down a bit.

Drifter is lucky I feel totally happy with the home he will be going to, the lady loves, understands and more importantly takes the time with him and offers him the reassurance he needs. The moment I saw him I thought this was the horse for her and luckily she feels the same way.

Bear I worry about, at this point, I'm not really happy for him to go to any home at all, other than here, because I feel there is so much potential for problems. I think we take these horses from muster, and i personally feel a huge responsibility to ensure they go on to lead happy lives. Of course he's the horse everyone wants...

Just to give a Bear example, people come to see the wild horses, and all the other boys come up to say hello, be patted, and eat out of your hand in the stable, if they aren't comfortable they move back a step or two. Bear stands stock still, neck up, clenched jaw, unblinking eyes and tries if possible, not to even look at you. To me, he looks scared, other people they go 'oh look how brave he is' and try to pat him, he's a good boy,tries to be brave and let's them, but they don't back off, once they've patted him most people keep going, instead of rewarding and giving him time to think, so he gets more scared until he can't take it anymore and shoots backwards suddenly, and then people say 'oh that ones really unpredictable'.....he's not, people just don't watch for the signs, and so,reinforce his idea that people are scary,they are to busy caught up in wanting to touch the stallion from the wild.

Im just going to repeat myself, Bear is not, nasty, vicious, stupid or lazy, just worried. He needs time, I don't think it has anything to do really with him being a wild stallion, I think he could be any breed and have the same personality, in fact ive come across quite a few horses with similar issues, they just didn't have near as many reasons to be scared as Bear does.

I love bear, he teaches me so much working with him. More in fact than the rest of the wild horses put together. He is a challenge, not in a battle of wills kind of way, but in a way that tests my abilities, as a trainer, and makes me find new ways of working with him, compared to the others. For drifter it was easy, you work him in a way that never turned on that 'flight' reflex, you offered calmness and safety, and within no time you had a loyal freind for life. Bear is going to take a long time to build up that trust, and break down his insecurities, for him you never one to put him in a position where he either shuts down or feels he needs to fight his way out, you want o encourage him to learn and interact, and this is where the challenge of working with him comes in. If I can make him into a happy relaxed horse who wants to work with you, instead of just being obediant,I will really feel I have trained a wild horse, and be proud of myself. I think I can get there, Bear has a very special place in my heart and I am definitely committed to taking the time with him. horses like this need a little more understanding, people realizing they don't fall into that 75% of easy going horses, but they dont have to be called feral, dumb or crazy, at the end of the day it's only the horses own fear that driving them, they need our understanding not labeling. I think Bear will surprise everyone I look forward to seeing what he's like when the wild stallion gets his confidence.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Oscars big vet visit

So a week ago today we had the vet out, to clean up oscars head. She did an amazing job, it was incredible to see the extent of the damage, you could literally look down and see the muscles behind his eye.

Well seven days later he has improved in leaps and bounds, the eye itself looks completely back to normal, and the wound is healing nicely, not looking near as dramatic as before. Oscar Seems to be settling in and enjoying domestic life as well.

These days he's stabled at night, but spends his days paddocked with my two colts of roughly the same age as him. One of these colts is Sonny, the Kaimanawa that came inside Fern tummy, from last muster. It's amazing to see the difference in size and development between these two.

Back to Oscar, he is a special horse for sure. Through the whole vet visit he was so kind and trusting, better behaved than I think most horses his age. Part of this I'm sure is due to his laid back nature, but also I think as yet he has had no bad experiences, and is only allows to exhibit, polite manners. Yet he is so, so special, the vet, and those watching the procedure all agreed. It is quite honestly, heartbreaking to realize all thats happened to him,and what he still goes through to treat his head wound, yet he remains a very sweet trusting horse

Ps I still havent worked out, how to put photos in order when uploading from my iPad, so please understand these are not in sequence. If anybody is good with technology and knows how to do this please let me know.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Its been a hell of a week. Yesterday, i finally had all wild stallions home and out of the stockyards, it was a huge relief, the hard part and the stressfull part is over.

I think, unless you been ivolved with the process people cant really understand, how much time and patience, it takes to work with these horses. I know there are quick ways. You could, put a horse in a crush, so it cant move, rope its head, buck it out, all on the first day, but thats not the nicest way, or i think going to be the happiest horse in the end. In the other extreme you can take months to get a halter on it, trying to form some magical bond, and at the end of the day, the horse takes a lot longer and doesnt get anywhere fast, but never gets upset. I think there is a healthy bealance somewhere in the middle.

Im not going to exaggerate. It was a lot of work getting five wild colts handled and home within a week. Literally as soon as it was light i was driving down to the the stockyards to feed them. Then working with them all day, and not getting back in the house until dark. I also couldnt have done it without people helping me. Its definetly a team effort. It takes time and patience, but i think in the end pays off.

I know someone, somewhere will read this, and think, i worked all day , everyday, with one or all of the horses. But its not quite like that. It might be a couple of minutes with one, then do something else with another horse. Sometimes you had to work with a horse for an hour or two, until you could get to a point where you could back off and give them a break. Within that hour you might only be asking things for a few seconds at a time, and giving mini breaks to the horse all the way through.

Some of the work was just getting the horses used to people, and us climbing over the stockyards. I think some of the best work you can do is just be around the horses, letting them eat out of your hands or, drink out of buckets your holding, you get to observe their behavior, and think about the best way to handle each individual horse.

Some are bold, when they approach but them grab the food and retreat to their corner. Another one was curious, and came up slowly, but then was happy to be around you and would stay, untill all the food was gone. There was one who was terrfied, he was also the most aggressive towards his other four friends, and also bonded the most strongly to my old arab gelding, who was down there keeping the boys company. This little horse, we named the Drifter, it took him the longest to come near people, and at the smallest sound or movement, he would be trying to climb out of the yards, for me he was the biggest challenge, to find a way to handle and halter him, that was not going to terrify him and cause him to panic, we want each horse to trust people and see us as a safe thing to be around.

There is nothing special to what i do, but i do have lots and lots of patience. I have learned with other horses in he past, that being to quick once, can undo all of the good work up to that point. So i always take my time, I always start with seeing if i can rub them all over with a stick, if they'll let me touch them with my hands, i slip a rope around there neck, then get them moving off pressure from the rope. These steps, are quick to write down, but in reality take a long time, you have to start with accepting so little and rewarding immediately. I never just walk up and start rubbing them with a stick. Its always the same pressure then release type work, if they can handle the stick being near them, without moving, i take it away, if they move i keep it near them untill they stop moving then remove it immediately. When it touches them and they accept i take it away again, and work up to longer periods of accceptance. Same when you introduce the rope, first you reward just a look in the right direction, then a step, and work up to where you can position them to put a halter on. then you start all over again with the halter on, and accepting one step at a time....patience. For me it works, to never work them for more than a few minutes at a time, then backing right off, even to go sit on a fence for a minute or two, give them a break and timeout to think, then continue on with another few minutes of work...patience

Little Oscar was amazing, he accepted everything so quickly, im going to do a full post about him soon, im just waiting to get a few very graphic photos of the massive hole in his head, from when the vet was last here. Luckily now hes well on the mend, and has adjusted incredibly well to domestic life, you would never know he was wild. But just because this little boy, found the change of fortunes easy, doesnt mean all the boys found the process a walk in the park.

There is a big bay, nicknamed Bear, who found everything hard, not because he was stupid, or wasnt trying, he just could not find the right answer. The other four, naturally gave into pressure from the rope, but like people not all horses have exactly the same response to the same situation. Bear's response was to fight, and try and escape the rope tugging at him, it took a long time, of me releasing the pressure whenever he stopped fighting it, before he understood, and could actually move his feet when he felt pressure on the rope. Horses like this, i have found, you have to reward them quicker, back off sooner and ask less, giving them plenty of time to think things through. But when he understood, he was the best by far, the most responsive to lead, and followed me around beautifully,responded to my body language a lot quicker than the others. Now it takes only the tiniest touch on the rope to get him to move where you want. His whole demeanor has changed to, he know whats expected, he appears much more relaxed and happy.

My situation is defintly not ideal for training wild horses. I dont have an arena or round pen, and the sotckysrds are a long way down the road from the house. Which means once the horses are haltered they face a long walk home, and it really is a test of there trust, and your training. They have to follow me home along the road, through the neighbors property, filled with peacocks, ducks, chickens and dogs, cross a creek, and along our driveway to the barn. But every wild horse ive had, has made the journery, with no problems, though every time im awestruck by how well they cope, and that they never try to pull away from me. They just take it all in there stride, and once they leave the security of the stockyards, nothing seems to bother them to much. Working with them is by far one of the most rewarding experiances of my equestrain career thus far.

But there's more than one way to skin a cat. Some people will be a lot quicker than me, some a lot longer, some will take a completly different approach. I think if the result is happy, well behaved horses, do what works for you. differant situations call for differant actions. If i had bigger yards, that didnt flood often in winter, or if i had a round pen to use, my techniques would be slightly differant to. What ever way you do it though, there is never any substituite for time and patience...

Monday, June 4, 2012

I need names

The last week has been incredibly busy, literally non stop from morning till dusk. I will write more posts, lots has been happening, but right now I have not a spare second..

For now can anyone help me with names.. Out of the five, three have names but I'm struggling with the other two. I thought of sticking with the theme from last muster, of native flora, i.e. Fern and Matai, but so far haven't stuck to this to well, Im open to all suggestions.

The first photo is the little injured chestnut, Oscar. The next two are unnamed, both are curious young boys.

The next is Bear, because when we were thinking of names we thought Bear Grylls like the survivor man off the tv show Man vs Wild, but shortened it to just Bear, because he's just like a big bear, and is the oldest of all the boys.

Last but not least is Drifter, the shy boy of the bunch. Small and much more timid than the rest. But with the most intelligent soulful eyes and mysterious good looks. He looks every bit the young stallion from the mountains...

So names people, let me know what you think of!
Opps pics came up in a different order, change drifter and bear around....