Friday, October 15, 2010

Sizing Things Up.......My Opinion.........

Part 1

I can't say that I was surprised at what I found taking this first ride on my horse after he was returned to me. I'd been told the horse was being put into the western bridle for showing during the 2010 season but the few times I'd seen the horse worked in the past two years Storm had been ridden by a couple of different kids. Each had differing degrees in ability and both had a lot to learn. The only way I could see Storm could have been ready to go into the bridle was for the measure of how the horse travelled was based on frame and not proper function.

After all our early conversations about Frame versus Function and some of the long lining work I'd seen done, you would think that the opposite would be true, although long lining alone can not fully train a horse and believe me that's a whole other series of posts. Unfortunately I've learned over the years that some people are pretty good at talking the talk without actually walking the walk. Looking at this situation with Storm it really looked like those conversations had been just that, talk. It sure didn't look like Storm has had the benefit of a rider who understood how to put the concept to use.

There is possibly good news in all of this. While the horse hadn't been using himself correctly, Storm didn't appear to be afraid to go into the bit when he was asked on this first ride. The horse just didn't seem to really understand how to do it. When I had last ridden the horse we had just begun working on going into the bit and it appeared that's where his education on that process had stopped. Once I was no longer riding him, I think the focus had become all about frame.

Frankly most times I see a horse that has been ridden in this manner, the horse is intimidated by the bit and does not want to move into it. Those people working on frame without the benefit of having the horse utilizing its body properly tend to get pretty heavy handed to accomplish their goals. The end result is a horse that is afraid to move up underneath himself. He's equated that forward movement with punishment in the face.It can be a long complicated process teaching such a horse to do the right thing. Look at Legs who is still intimidated by the curb bit when he was only ridden in such a bit by this type of trainer for a total of two weeks. The jury is still out on why Storm appears to be reacting differently.

Of course, one ride isn't enough to fully evaluate the situation with this horse, or any horse for that matter. There are all kinds of nuances that only more riding time will tell. For Storm the process of further evaluation would have to wait, the horse's feet were in such bad shape I didn't want to be doing much.

It's impossible to know how long it had been since the horse's feet had last been trimmed. I suspect once this whole drama (which was back in January) began the horse's shoes were pulled and nothing more was done. I was told the horse was left standing in his stall for months with no work so I guess it's only consistent to believe that his feet were neglected as well but all I know for sure is his feet were a mess when he arrived here.

I had someone else look at Storm's feet just to be sure I wasn't over reacting. In fact I had more than one professional take a gander at them. I even sent photos to Mrs Mom and maybe one day you'll see her post about them. The overall consensus was that continual work with his feet in that kind of shape would likely make the horse sore so instead of doing anymore work, the horse got more turnout and we waited for my farrier to come fix him up.

To be continued...................

Getting Feet Done

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  1. So bad, but not as bad as it could be .Hope once you get his feet under control it wioll be a smoth restart of his training.So cool that among this family of bloggers we can get support ,advice and that often much needed second opinion,just a great group!

  2. It's so unfortunate that you have to but I'm sure you will turn everything around again.

  3. whew, i'm so glad he's not afraid of the bit!

    beautiful storm probably wants to be an endurance horse. most arabians want to, it's their nature to go all day long: )