Tuesday, April 14, 2009

November 2008

So now we are into fall, I still haven't found the money to have her teeth done and winter is coming. It doesn't seem like a good time to send her off to a trainer for 45 days training. Getting her back in the dead of winter could make it very hard to carry on where the trainer left off. So everything goes on hold for the winter.
She if finally really gaining weight, by early December she is actually a little plump. Yay!

Monday, April 13, 2009

september 2008

By September Nina was looking pretty healthy, although I had been told by people experienced in horse rescue that you really need to give them a full year when they have been starved before you can see what you have.
Her ground manners had been re-installed, she was moving well, her disposition was good.

But I had put several very experienced riders on her, riders more confident about bad behavior than I am, and every one of them got off fairly quickly. She wasn't really doing anything, with one rider she reared a bit, but she was telegraphing loud and clear that she wanted the rider off...NOW.

So I started looking for a professional trainer. Not a NH guru and not a 'beat 'em up' type.
I know many of the H/J trainers in this area and they are not interested in risking their necks on a horse like this. Why should they, they have barns full of nice horses that need riding.

Taking on problem horses seems to have been relegated to the round pen pros and the idiots.
Then I heard about a trainer that a local H/J trainer had sent a problem horse to and was very pleased with the results.
I called, drove up to his place (70 miles) and got to know this trainer. He is a rare gem, a trainer who just gets on and rides and assumes that the horse can't unload him and that he can get off quick if everything goes south. He doesn't own a round pen, doesn't use exotic equipment and just rides; first in a deep arena and then out in the open. He thinks most horses are either fearful or spoiled and either way, they just need a job and somebody to be consistent.

Just what I was looking for.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

july 08

By July Nina was definitely feeling better and the Thoroughbred in her was starting to show. Energy was bubbling over and she needed a job. A couple of weeks getting her re-accustomed to tack and working a little on a lunge line revealed that she understood quite a lot, but was readily defiant. My few times of getting on her did neither of us any good. She was stuck, didn't want to move and when repeatedly urged to move she would rear. She also shook all over and was extremely defensive, ducking away from any movement from the rider.
I am a pretty good rider, but not the most confident in the world and I knew I was over my head. I started looking for someone else to get her started and found a very good, very aggressive rider who was able to get on and get her moving forward. However, both from the rider's viewpoint and from the ground, Nina appeared to be uncomfortable, moving stiffly and with great resistance. I needed to get more of her physical issues dealt with before I could reasonably insist that she behave under saddle. I decided on a couple of more months off and more massage. I was sure that she also needed her teeth done and a visit from a chiropractor was on the list.

a few months of good food...

By June a few months of good food and a little bit of exercise were becoming visible. She was putting weight on and calming down a lot. We had done a lot of remedial training on ground manners and she was now pretty cheerful about being handled, although she still had a big spook when startled.
She was also still carrying her head abnormally low for a TB so I had a friend who does myofascial release massage and energy work start working on her. The first session produced striking results with more natural head carriage and a more flowing movement. Nina had been trotting and cantering around with a stiff legged pony style gait, now she began to use her body and bend her legs. She was stiff as a board from ears to tail, but the first massage produced good results.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

welcome to my world

This horse was obedient enough to be handled...sort of. I had to herd her into a corner of her pen to get a halter on her. Then she would submit peacefully. Her idea of being led was as far from me as she could get and she rewarded all petting and grooming with biting and kicking.
We had several lively discussions about acceptable behavior and while she apparently had been properly trained at one time and got the point, it was not advisable to take an eye off of her while within range.

She was not impressed, but I cut off and pulled her nasty dry mane and gave her a proper haircut for a sport horse. While doing this she actually relaxed a little bit. Maybe no one had spent this much time this close to her for a while.
As skinny as she looks here, she was putting weight on fast, she was just shedding winter coat at the same time and her condition was becoming more visible. I added beet pulp to her diet. I had been told that she would not eat beet pulp, but she was scarfing down buckets full.
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