Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lets Talk about the Horses.....


I suppose the best way to start with the horses is to go through the list of horses that BG actually worked. Part of those horses he started under saddle with the aid of an assistant and part of them I started before they ever got to BG's facility.

The horses that were already started were Reflection, Hope and Vee. Although I had started all three of these horses at different times, they were at about the same point in their training. The horses started by BG were Tag, Percy and Louie. There are two other horses that were started by BG but those horses have very few rides on them, I will get to their stories as well but only after I have dealt with the issues of the other horses.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know the story of my accident on Reflection. That happened with very few rides on the horse and it was a couple of months before I even got back to riding. I was scared enough by that incident to get some help and the horse went off to Amy for a couple of months. The plan had been for me to take lessons from Amy at one point to get my confidence back up so I could go back to training the horse again.

By the time the horse went to BG he had as much time on him as the other horses in this group and should have been safe to ride. However, when BG went to get on the horse it resulted in what he called Eight Second Rides Because I did not see this incident or any of those that followed I can only presume to guess what happened. All I know is that every time I questioned BG about Reflection, the horse was still unpredictable under saddle.

It wasn't until after I took Reflection home and was hauling him to BG's to be ridden that I got the opportunity to see what the problem was. Whenever BG rode Reflection he allowed the horse to swing his head from side to side. With this particular line of horses such behavior is really what I would call stallion behavior. The horse is tossing his head stating his intentions and flipping the rider off sometimes literally.

Who knows what would cause Reflection to leap or jump sideways but something wasn't to his liking and the horse would respond with very inappropriate movements. At times like these BG would begin frightenedly screaming "Whoa.........whoa.........whoa!" while grabbing at the horse hoping the horse would stop.

It was not a pretty sight and most certainly not an effective way to train a young stallion. By the time I actually saw this demonstration BG had been riding Reflection in this manner for months. Needless to say the horse has some pretty bad behavior that's been reinforced by BG's lack of knowledge in this area.

At this time I told BG he had to stop allowing the horse to swing his head from side to side whenever he felt like it. I had to explain to him why that was not appropriate behavior for a stallion and that the horse would never get fixed as long as he was being allowed to behave in that manner. I informed him he would no longer be able to ride Reflection if he allowed that behavior to continue.

This, of course, was after regionals and BG really was not doing much with my horses at that time. He was doing more cancelling than actual work days so Reflection didn't get ridden enough to fix the issue. I saw several more incidents where Reflection jumped or leapt sideways and BG screamed like a girl so it would be pretty safe to assume the problem still wasn't fixed.

In December of that year, I began working some of my horses myself at BG's facility. Reflection was one of those horses and I did ride him a number of times. The horse literally threw temper tantrums when I made him stop swinging his head from side to side and more than one time I ended up in the dirt.

On one of the occasions that BG stopped by the arena while I was working my horses, I told BG about the trouble I was having and insisted he spend some time helping me with Reflection The end result was BG worked him 6 times in December and then another 6 times in January before he decided he was no longer going to work horses for me.

Obviously that was not enough time to fix the problem he had created by allowing the horse to swing his head from side to side while being ridden. Before I can even begin to train Reflection for the show ring, I will have to fix this misbehavior that BG allowed for approximately 9 months.

It's not going to be an easy fix and it's really a shame. Reflection is not the kind of horse that likes to be in trouble. Had he every realized what he was doing was wrong he would have stopped. I swear I can yell at that horse and hurt his feelings. It wouldn't have taken much than firm scolding in the beginning to nip this behavior in the bud. Because the behavior was allowed, it's now a major problem.

Stallions, certainly my stallions anyway, will not tolerate what they believe is unfair. If you have allowed them to do something for so long they think it's normal behavior, then you take it away, they feel it is unfair. Treat them unfairly and they will fight. That's all there is to it. Reflections temper tantrums are his "fight" for the injustice he sees because suddenly he'd not being allowed to toss his head as he pleases.

What bothers me the most about this situation is what kind of horse trainer allows any horse, let alone at stallion, toss it's head from side to side while it's being ridden. For the life of me I cannot figure out what BG was thinking. Without a doubt I can say this problem was caused by BG's idea of horsemanship.

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

More about the Horses....

This picture is Scandalous Hope with her mother, Lilly. This mare is affectionately known as the midget mare because she's not 14 hands but she has beautiful babies and they are always bigger than her.

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  1. Beautiful beautiful picture. I love how momma and Hope are looking at you. I think Hope and her momma are gorgeous.

  2. I think many horses object to such unfair treatment. I know my horse Hope really objected to me changing the rules on her.
    The previous boarding barn I had her at had someone who thought it was cute that Hope would nibble at pockets for treats. Me, I think its dangerous to have a horse think its okay for teeth to be anywhere near people. So when she tried it with me she would get in trouble, and act out for being reprimanded. She hadn't tried such nippy behavior since shortly after I rescued her as a 2 year old. I thought the problem was gone and couldn't figure out why she was getting so bad. She was even acting out under saddle. When I discovered the problem I was mad. The woman who was causing the problem was confronted but refused to stop. So I had to move. Even now I tell others at the barn not to give her treats because she will occasionally start again, and its always because someone let her be mouthy.
    I can very much understand their and your frustration, especially when the problem was exacerbated by a so called professional.

  3. Beautiful horses. It's a shame how easy it is for a horse to learn bad behaviors quickly and then it takes forever to correct them. I can see where the horse is coming from but with lots of work I'm sure his tantrums will stop. Good luck, it's going to be an interesting ride.

  4. I am no trainer , but it seems to me what you are describing would be a very claer lack of focus on the horses part, it might explain while he was busy being a peacock, and tossing his head , he might have in fact been very startled by things causing him e to leap sideways. My rule of thumb is I want 100% of the horse attention when I work with him, someone once told me you loose up to 30% control/focus from the ground to the horses back, well then I want 130% on the ground! The horse needs to be concentrating on you and you on him , not playing silly buggers with attitude. BG, sounds like more of a loose cannon every time I read more

  5. I'm no trainer either, but I know "screaming like a girl" is no way to correct a horse. In fact, that image of BG makes me laugh, it shows what a phony he really is.

  6. I would think his male ego alone would keep him from screaming like a girl when a horse does something unexpected, especially with an audience. It's obvious he definitely did Reflection more harm than good.

    I'm guessing the rest were similarly compromised, I'll stay tuned in to find out.

  7. 'screaming like a girl'...LMAO!!!

    BG sounds like my oldest brother-Heeheehee.

    I don't know nothing about young stallions anymore. But, I really dislike riding a horse who is always swinging his head side to side. Both Frosty and Spooks try to do that and if not corrected end up spooking themselves 1/2 to death...over and over and over.

  8. Nicole, Thank you, Hope really looks a lot like her mother and so does her sister, Faith.

    I find it especially frustrating when people blame behavior on the horse when it is really the people who have caused it. Being in a boarding barn where people didn't respect your rules with your horse would be tough.

    Arlene, ya, I think you've got that interesting ride indeed. You can bet I won't be forgetting my helmet.

    fern, you're so right. It's totally about focus. Without that, a rider is definitely in for it and if you don't have it on the ground, you're never going to get it in the saddle. That was definitely part of the problem here.

    redhorse, I probably shouldn't have said that but it is the impression I got when I saw him react. He was totally governed by fear at the time with little regard for how to fix the horse. Not good.

    I should have known that anyone who teaches his students to bale off a horse at the first sign of trouble probably shouldn't have been fixing anything.

    smazourek, ego gets lost when fear overtakes it and I can say the man probably had more fear than I do when the horse does something naughty. If Reflection wasn't a good boy he never would have stopped moving but BG's screaming "whoa" is what stopped him.

    There are definitely issues with each horse that BG spent any amount of time working.

  9. After reading about the accident- you are a lucky person to still be around and functioning after a series of hard falls like that. Wow! Glad you are ok!

    Screaming like a girl? What makes this all the more hysterically funny is the fact that I know a lot of girls who Don't scream when it all goes south. I don't it's just not in y nature and my mind is focused on trying to figure out WTH is going on and how to stop it. Then what may have caused it.

    As long as the horse has one ear on me- it's a good sign I have their attention. With young horses, you can do all that work on the ground, but when you get on for the first few rides- a lot of it goes right out the window...

    Our stallions all pout when reprimanded even if we just tell them NO! in a big, bad voice. My pony has also been known to hold a wicked grudge. It's a guy thing.

  10. BECG, yes, not that I want to offend any girls out there. It's just what popped into my brain when I say and heard him.

    It really is annoying and in the case of a stallion downright dangerous if you ask me. I do think the fact he was off in his own little world being cool that things did startle him that probably wouldn't otherwise. I didn't know any of your geldings tried this. Guess they all have to have their little annoying things.

    CNJ, You are right. I could have been seriously injured and I did not go to the hospital. I really lucked out that I was only bruised within my body's capability to heal because my brains were definitely scrambled.

    I know lots of "girls" who would never scream like that either, Heck, I am one of them. It's just that picture in my head of him grabbing the horn and frantically screaming whoa, I just couldn't think of a better description.

    Oh, yes, Reflection definitely pouts if scolded. It really would not have taken much to fix this but ignoring it was an awful mistake. Just thinking about it makes me shake my head.AND I can only imagine what BG is saying in defence of himself. What a smuck that guy is.

  11. I love it! And totally agree the guys a schmuck!

  12. Our gelding Mondo tries the head thing too. Get after him and he scurries a few strides in an attempt to spook in his own way. He is mainly just screwing around and messing with me. Testing the waters to see if he can get away with it or not.

    Last time I rode him, I got after him kinda hard and he quit. I gotta get back on him and get him going again. Not enough hours in the day...