Good morning, Friends!
My philosophy with regards to buying and selling horses, is, for one, no one takes advantage of you without your permission. Two, in the world of used cars and used horses, it’s buyer beware. Three, in light of that, I strive to do business word of mouth, to defray some of that risk. I’ve had good luck with that in my thirty years of being involved with horses. Four, before I sell a horse, I do the work to make sure the horse is consistent for me, plugging holes in training, getting help to do that if I need it, and riding it enough to know what I have so I can fairly represent the horse to it’s new owner.
Smokey was sold to me as a trail ready horse, but not a kids horse. That when the owner wanted a “chill ride”, Smokey would be used.
My experience, once I started working with her, and wanting to ride, was that I have nothing more than a green-broke horse here. I have not had a horse this green in twenty years. We had no communication skills between us. When I rode her, either in the arena, and the time I took her out, she expressed her crabbiness, lack of motivation I call it when asked to do something, by going fast, and she had no stop. She acted thick headed and hard necked and wanted to do what she wanted.
The previous owner rode her with a twisted snaffle, which in my quick and easy reference, pictured, page 47, is listed as a bit of Last Resort; “There are a few bits which come under the general heading of the snaffle, but which could never be described as mild, even in the most skilled hands. The twisted snaffle, once commonplace but now rarely seen, is one of them; perhaps a skilled rider can use one without inflicting damage, but such skill is rare and the twisted snaffle should come into the category of ‘not for general use’.”
I moved her with arena work, immediately into the Confidence Snaffle as sold on the Parelli.com website. This is a Korsteel brand, and can be found on other sites. This is one of the mildest snaffles, it still took Smokey quite a while to relax into the bit.
I now ride her with a Myler combination bit with a C3 mouthpiece, she is doing fantastic with it, and our recent work with clinician Angela Tanner in Newport, Washington has us riding on a loose rein.
This bit is also marketed by Parelli.com as the Cradle Bridle, however, it is available on other sites. All my horses have loved this bit after progressing from a snaffle bit tune-up. I’ve been using this bit for about eight years.
So now, not only am I dealing with a green broke horse, but one that has been started with ignorance and abuse with equipment, and inconsistent handling, in my opinion.
So I percolated on what I could do to remedy Smokey’s and my situation. With a referral and reference from my good friend Robin, I enrolled in an accelerated clinic of Angela Tanner’s, with the goal of finding and addressing Smokey’s needs, through working on foundation training. Here is a link to her Facebook page:
The first couple weeks were pretty rough. I seriously thought I would sell her to someone who had the time to continue her education. IF she had sufficient trail experience, I might be seeing the worst of her now, since there was nothing instilled in her except a lot of resistance.
Smokey must have read my mind. The third week we turned a corner and it started getting better. You’ve been following my blog, so you can see that.
My point is, when you choose to have a horse, let’s give it the best life we can. Be fair of what you ask, and get some education for you and your horse, I think that is a minimum. Too many people have horses that never bother to step up their game. The life of a horse can be quite sad, even in the hands of people who say they care.
There are many ways to rescue a horse. Smokey is my $3,500.00 rescue.
I’m sixty-two years old, what do I want with a green horse with minimal experience and no skills? However, I have started her, we have turned a corner, it will likely take some time, more than I anticipated, but I have the support of a great trainer, both human and horse, in Angela Tanner, and wonderful, supportive friends, that will help me work through it and accomplish success. I know they all join up, Smokey is not one-hundred percent, however, I feel we will make it.
My next blog entry will be on Smokey’s silver lining, because every cloud has one, right?
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