Thursday, 28 May 2015

Not So Wild Anymore

*No horses or humans were injured during the following events, despite many dark thoughts by both*

We've been working with Sullivan at least once a day for the past 6 weeks now. For the first 4 weeks I vacillated between "Oh god, he's awful and he'll need to find a new home" and "He's just a baby, a super smart baby with a mile-wide stubborn streak, he'll come around". And then at the beginning of week 5 he got his feet trimmed...

Wide-eyed, but he stood quietly for 2 hours
I love my farrier. Sullivan, despite having had all 4 feet picked up every day for well over a week, decided he wasn't having any of this farrier nonsense. He would pick up his foot and promptly jerk it back. When that didn't work well, he reared up, backed up, threw himself into the wall, whatever he could think of. He knocked my farrier on his ass and managed to catch me in the chest with one of his front legs during a time when he reared and tried to run me over. After that he got quite a thrashing. It seemed to give him the clarity required. After that he stood like a perfect gentleman for all 4 feet. He's also been super good for his feet since.

My mom worked him in the round pen (She used to train and her timing is so much better than mine)

He then spent a few hours in a stall (for the first time) while Dee was hot shod. He handled the smoke and banging much better than I anticipated. The next day I borrowed a western saddle from my mom and he learned to pony, once again, it went much better than expected. I'm not sure if it was the clarity instilled by the farrier or just something clicking but he's been super since that day.

Notice his legs are basically the same length as Dee's?

In the last two weeks he's learned about fly spray, blankets, baths, trot poles, going down the road, and trailer rides just for the sake of it. He's even jumped cross rails in hand! He's been super about all of it.  He may object at the very beginning of something new but it doesn't take him long to figure out what I want.
So clean and soft now

I feel confident in kicking him out to pasture now.  Sure he may be a little wild when he comes back in but the foundation is now there.

Exercise sheet works perfectly as a training blanket

He loads solidly now, ramp, no ramp, back out, turn around, it's all good


  1. maybe the farrier incident opened his eyes to the fact that you aren't actually trying to kill him, and that things are easier when he behaves? regardless, glad he's doing well and that pic of you ponying him is adorable!

  2. Love it when the light bulb goes off & things just click