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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~


6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

In Which the Big White Hairy One Gets Jailed

As a side note, I would like to mention that it was a balmy 80+ degrees yesterday. I wore a tank top and gladiator sandals and a cowboy hat and got a tan. Everyone else up north is excited about letting their ponies go naked for a day when it's 40 degrees out... my ponies haven't worn blankets day or night for over a week. Sadly, the temperatures are supposed to drop and it will only be in the 60's next week. Sounds downright fridgid to me.

Marti has had his Gogo privledges revoked. This was not completely his fault, as Gogo herself had a hand in the matter. I spent my lunchbreak on Thursday sitting out in the field with my horses (safe, I know), and getting nuzzled and snuffled by Gogo while Marti watched with uncertain curiosity in the background. That evening, I moved in to catch him in order to feed him dinner, and it took an unusually long amount of time to get him to come to me. By the time he did, and by the time I got a halter on him (a prerequisite for eating), Gogo had finished her dinner and had wandered over to see what was going on. As she is the boss mare, she turned her butt to him and made to come backwards to kick the snot out of him, and he of course did what any self-respecting wussy horse would do and wheeled and got out of the way. Unfortunately for me, that meant taking off again with halter andd chain still on. I didn't even argue that one, and just let him go. It took an age to recapture him, and involved taking away his food, taking away his Gogo, chasing him around for awhile, leaving him alone for a longer while, and getting out a scoop of grain as tempation. He finally came around, and as soon as I had him I brought him over to the labryrinth and locked him up in the one useable portion of it. This did not amuse him, and he spent some time pacing and crying for Gogo, who didn't help matters by crying back. Eventually, he got over it, and settled in to eating. His butt is staying there until he figures out that I am not an evil devil woman who is going to eat him.

We're making very small bits of progress. In order to eat grain, he is required to come to me and let me halter him. Eventually, I want him to put his nose in his halter, but that will come with time. If he doesn't show interest in coming over, or especially if he leaves, then I move him off away from me and keep him moving until he shows interest in stopping and coming over to me, which he is still not great at. I attempted to bring him out and work on his completely embarassingly horrible clip today, and at least get most of his legs done, and he must have pulled back at least five or six times, truly in terror. He's not afraid of the clippers, he's afraid of being approached. As I tied him with a nylon halter and an unbreakable trailer tie, he eventually just gave up and stood there shaking like a leaf until I could soothe him and reassure him that I am not approaching with a carving knife, just clippers. I didn't get a lot done, and continued on with grooming from there, and he continued to try and pull back several times when I was brushing his mane. I mean really, do I have a neon sign that says "Horse Killer" on my head? I am not trying to eat you, I promise! Again, he was eventually soothed, and stood there quietly while I finished.

But all of this did lead to a very small baby step. When walking back to his pen, he was spooked by some mystery particle of air overhead, and he made to spook and shoot backwards. He hit the chain after one step, and immediately stopped and waited for me instead of panicking and throwing himself around. PROGRESS. I called that a major success, and fed him dinner.

Really, really small baby steps. Lord he needs a bath but I know he is going to try and break his neck to get away from it, so I am just going to be gentle. We'll get there.... it just takes time.

18 comments:

Jen said...

I don't mean to be critical, but are you sure "jailing" him and tying him so he can't escape and is shaking in fear are the best ways to build trust? I am wondering if you are expecting too much, too soon from him.

SprinklerBandit said...

He'll figure it out. Glad he's got someone so concerned for his welfare to work with him. :-)

eventer79 said...

Horses have ways of force-feeding us patience. Have you considered a round pen and/or a clicker?

Heidi said...

Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but didn't his owner have him for a long time? Why is he so scared? Didn't she do any training of these kinds of things? I'm just confused, so I guess I'll go back and read your original intro post for him. Good luck!

Dom said...

So completely jealous of your nice weather. I'm not sure he's going to be sad about no more mean Boss Mare. LOL.

Rebecca said...

http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=af492c52-7e85-4008-bf0a-2ab9ed1bbbcf

May save you a broken neck. Also, I'd consider leading him on a lunge line so you have more room to work with. Just some tips that have worked for me in the past.

DressageIsToDance said...

Try some free lunging. Don't even tack him up, just throw him out there and make him walk, trot, halt, change directions, and listen to you. It won't fix every little thing, but it does do wonders for ground manners I have found. I saw it used on some really nutty horses with instant results, including this OTTB mare who was labeled "unsafe" and "Untrainable".

kippen64 said...

Please forgive my bluntness. Send the horse back. In my opinion they have screwed up their horse and want you to fix it. They don't want to pay for a trainer so they put it out on lease instead. If you really want to work with a horse who is a pain in the neck, there are heaps of them who can be bought for meat money or less. That way you benefit from any work that you put into the horse and not the person who is too cheap to pay a trainer to do it. You also get to make all the major decisions as regards the horse without having to refer to another person first.

Albigears said...

Yep, I agree with the Blocker Tie Ring, especially if you pair it with a soft rope halter. I've found they learn they can't set back and pull on a rope halter like they can a flat nylon or leather one. They also make ground training easier. If my horse is in "velociraptor on a leash" mode I almost always use a rope halter.

Minus Pride said...

I like the "halter to eat" idea, I think he'll get the point in no time!!
I enjoy reading your training quests with him as I have a young horse and it gives me great ideas. Looking forward to hearing more about him!!

Val said...

kippen64 has a point.

Maybe you should at least be paid for your time or send the horse back.

And didn't you want a horse to compete? Marti is still mastering feeding time, so when will shows be on the cards?

Most importantly, you do not want to get hurt. Your job and Gogo's care require that you are standing and in one piece.

MARGIE said...

Lot's of skeptics out there, and most have valid points. If anyone can unwind this horse, it sounds like you have the greatest chance. It's too early to give up. Have you considered having his vision checked? Anyway, I'm remaining hopeful that all works out for the best. My word verification is TRIES. Hmmm,

Emily M. said...

It sounds like he hasn't been trained to tie. Hard to believe that in his 30 days to learn WTC, he didn't learn that, but there is definitely a missing piece of how to deal with pressure.

Maybe you could approach the owner and tell her you're going to need extra help to get this horse going if he's going to benefit from your lease. Then ask her to pay for a few half day clinics/lessons with someone good at colt starting. Brent Graef is one that I have heard good reviews on near Amarillo, but being near Dallas/Ft. Worth, there should be multitudes of highly sought after trainers that could help.

Alighieri said...

Despite what a few of the above posters say, I personally think it's a bit early to be calling it quits just because he has a few problems. You've barely had him two weeks! It seems to me you have a good plan of action and the tools you need to fix this. He seems to be learning, and no green horse will be without its problems.

Good luck, and above all, don't get hurt!

Val said...

I think you should get $$$$$$.

Stacey said...

Yes lots of skeptics but notice how Andrea says at the end of this post "We'll get there...it'll just take time." This shows that she is willing to spend the time on Marti that he needs. Yes one day shows will be in the future but it doesn't sound like Andrea is in a rush for that. Also, don't forget that some people LIKE challenging horses. It's very, very rewarding to watch them come around.

Val said...

Andrea,
I am not skeptical of your abilities. I am a realist. I own a horse with a strong personality who required lots of retraining initially and continues to be my source of reward and joy as we work together. I have also seen things go very badly. The worst being a Hanoverian/TB mare who was so strong-willed that her owner wanted nothing to do with her. I leased her and learned how to work with her, not against her. Despite our success (second/third level work, bareback riding, jumping, and shows) and our bond, this mare severely kicked her owner while I was at college and was euthanized (The owner made a full recovery). I didn't have a say in the matter and it was heartbreaking. If you do not own the horse, you are not ultimately in charge of their training or care. My concerns are for the safety of the humans and animals involved, not to play a skeptic or deny the essential training element of "time". I just felt the need to make that clear.

Kelly said...

Lots of critics. You can do it- and you know that Andrea. It will take time, and LOTS of that time will have you stressed and out of patience. Put him up, try again the next day. (Or in a hour, after you've decompressed!)

You'll get there, just like you said. He's exactly what you wanted in a lease, a project horse! I bet that once you earn this kid's trust, and possibly try and undo some of the things that were not done correctly from the start, the rewards will be outstanding. :D

Keep at it!

(anxiously awaiting the next update on the Big White Hairy One!) ;)