Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just Shoe'd Me!

The Saga Continues

Went out to work the Boys. Since my back was bothering me, I decided to lunge a bit. I also decided to see if I could imitate some of the Parelli exercises I saw on a recent video, using my own methods and just the training I'd already done with my horses.

My theory here is that trainers like Parelli, Tellington Jones, and others with "magic wands" and "carrot sticks," have essentially just packaged good horse training skills in expensive wrapping paper, and there are many roads to the same ends. I used to ride Russell R. with no bit and just a rope around his neck to use as "emergency brakes" and I even jumped him that way. No Parelli there, so I know it's possible. Of the three horses I have now, Toby would probably be an ace in the rope exercises I've seen, but I pulled Chance in first, just to see what I could get him to do.

Two minutes in, he was backing on the lunge line just with a minimal signal from me. Then, after about five more minutes, I had the basics of getting him to reverse direction on the lunge, with, again, minimal signals. While it would take a session or two more to get it solid, we were well on our way. There was a cool exercise I did see of working a figure 8 around the barrels I was going to try, but I got distracted by the idea of having him do some jumping over the barrel and some plastic Blox instead. After a nice little session of plain old walk, trot, canter, I set him to the jump and he bounced himself over with casual abandon and complete confidence. What a nice horse he is!

Then I went to collect Tucker to play with him a bit only to find....no shoe on his left front AGAIN. That is the club foot....the one that had the ligament surgery when he was a baby so it really doesn't look clubby unless you look really hard and know that it was once a problem. Anyhow, it's the same foot he lost the shoe on a couple weeks ago. Of course, I had to give up any plans to lunge and instead spent over an hour hiking up and down the paddocks and pastures in a vain search for the missing hoofwear. No luck.

Bless his heart, Scott called just before I left for the doctor's appointment to tell me he was coming over. Now this is good because the vet is coming on Thursday to assess Tucker's cantering issues, so he really did need those shoes. Scott asked me what was going on with Tuck and I told him about the hind end issues. He said if the vet recommended shoes on the back again, he'd come right out to do the job. What a great farrier he is! The thing I really love about him is that while he does shoe as a business, he really cares about the horse's welfare and goes out of his way to do what he can to make sure the Boys are as sound and happy on their feet as they can be.

I have read so many comments and heard so many comments from people that, "Oh, my horse was just shod, it will take a few days before I can ride him again. " Not so with Scott's work. Unless there has been a drastic change in shoeing, or the horse is recovering from some kind of injury and is being specially shod for that, he believes that a horse should be ready for work again as soon as he's finished off the last hoof. After all, that's the whole point of shoeing them in the first place. Same with Chance's trims for going barefoot. As long as there are no radical changes, he should be sound and ready to go as soon as the work is done. Gotta love a farrier who thinks that way.

OK, on to the flame orange sheets and other safety gear. I also have bright pink quarter sheets for the Boys when I ride out during hunting season as well as a collection of orange safety vests, sweatshirts, and a jacket for me. I also have a pair of orange breeches I got heaven knows where. At one time I made an orange helmet cover, but I don't use that any more.

I was once told by a hunter safety instructor not to put any white "clothes" on me or the horse, just to be safe, as it might look like a white tailed deer's tail. That does bother me a bit about Chance since he has a huge white blaze. Maybe I can rig up an orange flymask for him or perhaps a strip of orange to go from browband to noseband on his bridle. It would be easy to make with stick on velcro fasteners of some sort if I wanted to make it last the season. Add some orange leg wraps if need be and we're all set. Oh, yes, I have an orange saddle pad somewhere too.

Then, of course, should I really want to be obnoxious, I also have a sleigh bell or a sleigh bell neck strap I used to use when I rode in a Wildlife Management Area always filled with weekend hunters. Around here, I probably would not use the bells. It's not exactly fair to scare the deer off just because I am out for a ride.

And, if you recall, I defended the deer around here. I have to take that back. Apparently the local deer herd has nearly destroyed my farmer neighbor's pumpkin crop. This is a pick your own pumpkin patch where he grows Jack'o'lantern pumpkins for Halloween and decorative pumpkins for fall. The unusual rains have caused some fungus issues too, so he told me he is going to have to buy some pumpkins to up his stock for the customers who come. Bummer. I don't know how his business does during the season, but losing a good part of his crop hurts a lot.

So the deer, unfortunately, have to go on the "naughty" list after all.


  1. Anonymous9:45 PM

    You do have a great farrier - that's dedication! I hate it when I spend a lot of time looking for a shoe and still can't find it - they always turn up later! Grrr!

  2. You got it right and wrong about Parelli. Yes it is simple non-non-sense training, but it is a programme for PEOPLE not horses ^-^

    Parelli specialise in training adults. The horse training they do is very similar to any other NH Clinton Anderson, Stacey Westfall etc ...
    NH training is characterised by (according Dr Miller) :
    "- assertive threats that stimulate movement on the part of the horse . Control of movement establishes dominance in this species.
    - Stroking which in a mutual-grooming species reassures and bonds. Note that we say stroking not patting.
    - Advance and retreat which in a flight species reassures, aborts the flight response, and desensitizes the horse frightening stimuli.
    - Generous rewards. These reinforce desirable behaviour with rest, stroking, reassurance, and praise, quickly conditioning the desirable responses.
    - Small signals that progressively increase the pressure until a response is obtained. The horse learns that if he does not respond to a small signal, a bigger one will follow. This progressive approach produces lightness.
    - Flooding, wherein horses swiftly habituate to frightening but harmless stimuli if they are rapidly and extensively repeated." extract of Natural horsemanship Explained Robert Miller DVM, p78-79, The Lyons Press 2007.

    Parelli keeps for himself and a few selected studenst his colt-starting techniques. Clinton Anderson on the other hand, specialises in colt-starting and re-educating spoiled or difficult horses.

    But your self you are a talented trainer and teacher. With Teena we have down the barrels at the walk and the trot, change of direction on the line at the walk and trot. For canter it requires a flying change and a longer lunge line. But I have seen Philippe Karl doing the change of direction on line too. It i not NH or Parelli specific. That is why I lubge with a cavesson, because I like to change direction on the line, without stopping the horse.

  3. Think i'd be too scared to hack where you are what with those hunters out shooting and huge killer bugs:0
    I agree with you re the horse training its all down to the person on the ground having good horsemanship skills.

  4. It's so nice to have a wonderful farrier. We have one too and I am really grateful for him and his dedication to our horses and their feet.

    I've heard about not wearing white too during hunting season, it makes sense. I don't like the deer to be hunted and yet I guess it's necessary when they become destructive. We are overrun by them here.

  5. "packaged good horse training skills in expensive wrapping paper"

    Never a truer word spoken as far as I'm concerned!