breaking justice

Just got done watching Steve Boyles "Breaking Justice" segment on RFD TV in awe. What a great trainer. I've never seen a horse kick that much, makes a person wonder what that poor horse was subjected to. I was impressed with how gentle, persistent and patient Steve was - he didn't need any gimmicky training jingles lol!

I had never heard of Steve before, have you? Those of you on the West Coast probably have. Here is his website, for those who haven't www.steveboyles.com


koda training update

I talked to our trainer this morning, Koda is doing great! She said he acts like he’s been at her place his whole life, just like Nemo, enjoying his lessons and happy. In reality it has only been a couple days since we dropped off Koda, with a day-long vet visit to the barn mixed in, however he is already lunging on the bit saddled etc.
I was impressed the boys got worked even on vet visit day, before they got their teeth worked on & spring shots. The place is well thought out, and runs like clockwork. We conveniently use the same vet & the timing worked well.
Patty was again very complementary of our horse’s behavior and added, she doesn’t tell everyone there horse behaves awesome. If there is a problem, she will say so. I’m sure they’ll run into some training snags, but for now things are off to a great start for both Koda & Nemo.
It’s a comforting feeling knowing we gave our boys a good foundation for her to build upon, and that we made the right decision putting them in training at Iron Horse when we did. As much as we would like to continue working with them on our own, at this point it's better for our boys. They are ready to do consistent work, and have much to learn. We can’t give them that in our current situation, nor do we have the experience Patty does. Sooo happy to be getting closer to riding regularly again!!

Side note; we are dropping off more hoof supplement for Nemo tonight, can't wait to see them!


nemo update week one

Nemo had a great first week in training! We resisted calling but once last week. It was good to see him today happy in his stall, and give him some love. Not that he needed it. Patty said he really enjoys his lessons, and is very smart - they like working with him. He did good with his ground work, lunging, and packed a saddle right away. She was impressed, and said we had done a good job with him :) He's being started on a fat smooth snaffle bit. They are now working on getting him to bend/turn on the bit. What a fun place for the boys to be, and it shows!

moving on

Trailer loading plan B didn't work at all, in fact it made Koda more leary of the trailer. The only thing he learned was to stretch, and eat whatever he could reach. That wasn't fun for any of us. We tried it, it didn't work - time to move on. Now I know why our trainer said only two days.

We spent the weekend getting Koda back to where we left off - which was good, but not good enough to close the trailer door and haul him to the trainers. The stock trailer we hoped to borrow wasn't a good option, we didn't even try it. After talking to Patty we agreed and decided to use the butt rope to get him loaded in order to give us that extra time we needed to close the door, and get him up to Iron Horse for the training he deserves. I didn't want to go there, but knew it was in his best interest. She was kind and encouraging.

So where do we load Koda? Everything is covered in snow/ice, he could slip if/when resisting. Good question, everything is so slick. Brad & I agreed clearing the concrete slab near the cows was our best option. Thankfully I had done some previous work with him walking across that slab, and the cows weren't running, so it was a loading change but uneventful. Brad put the shipping boots on him, and...the butt rope worked - we got the door shut! He resisted the rope some, but not a lot - it went much smoother than we anticipated. We had used a butt rope to help load both of them early on. This time we used little to no front pressure, it helped and it worked. We stopped a couple times to check on Koda on the way up to the trainers, altho we hauled him loose with the divider out, he had his head in the manger munchin' away on his side - just like when he was tied :)

Unloading was smooth. He stopped to think when we came up to the stable entry door - saw the other horses whinny'ed and walked right in. He is in the stall next to Nemo, but um, is more interested in Willow - the girl next door. Boys will be boys.


training plan

Based on our “Koda trailer situation” one of the things our trainer suggested was putting Koda and the trailer together in a separate area. Leave the trailer opened up, take out the dividers, block off the walk-through and feed him in it for about two days. If he wants to eat, he has to go in the trailer.
This plan has crossed our minds more than once, it’s basically what our ranch friends out west do with their young horses. So why have we not already tried it? One reason, we don’t want our trailer damaged. It’s pretty new, and has padding inside etc. On the other hand, why hire a trainer, and then not do what they suggest? What means more, the trailer or the horse? What will cost more to fix, the trailer or the horse? Exactly. Trust me, I’m worried about the trailer getting ripped apart by Mr. Playful – but I’m more worried about the horse.
Before I got home from work my fabulous other half moved a lot of snow around the field, backed the trailer up to the round pen, secured it, put food in it & showed Koda where it was. Unfortunately he could have cared less, which is odd since he is pretty food motivated. Since then, I’ve been watching Koda from across the field and it appears as if he’s thinking “trailer, what trailer” or “if I wait long enough, someone will come feed me” consequently he ate nothing for breakfast yesterday – by choice. After work Brad did evening chores and noticed he had still not eaten anything, so he spent more time getting him interested in the trailer/food. Koda is now going into the trailer alone to eat.

Next step is to put the dividers back in, go back to leading him in/out, and figure out what triggers the back-out response and continue de-sensitizing him with "it" (using the opposite side of the trailer) until he stops backing out. This could potentially take a long time, sigh. If leaving Koda & the trailer together doesn’t work, we will try borrowing a stock trailer. We have to get Koda to the trainer’s somehow, without traumatizing him. The consist work they'll do will help him overcome his fears. We'll likely leave our trailer there, so they can continue working with him. Who knew this would be so damn hard?


the big day

Well, the "haul 'em to the trainer" day came and went, and sadly Koda...is still at our place. Those of you that have been reading along, know Koda had a trailer set-back...poor guy. We have been periodically working on getting him back to where he was for longer than I care to remember. With hauling day quickly approaching, it was time to start working on loading again. Sigh. I've gotten him to load, relax, and back out when asked a jillion times since his mishap, but he just can't overcome his fear of the door and bolts backwards. Koda only behaves this way in the trailer, he otherwise stands very nicely and so we repeat, and repeat, and practice patience. We've tried just about everything. It's extremely frustrating. Sooo many emotions.

We felt a little better when Patty assured us that Koda's trailering conundrum would go away, through the mental maturing they experience while training. It's a relief to know he won't be scarred for life. She also gave us a couple new idea's to try with our trailer. If they don't work, we have yet to try borrowing a stock trailer. I'm hopeful we won't have to...

It was a hard decision, but we took Nemo up to Iron Horse without him. He was happy to hop on the trailer after watching his buddy get all the loading attention this past week. We were so impressed with how well Nemo did at Patty's. He calmly unloaded, walked through a smaller barn door, stood in the aisle to get his boots off, and walked right into his stall without so much as a second thought. Nemo has never been in a stall, or similar situation which earned him several "what a good boy" comments from Patty. She also said he looked great weight-wise, which we took as huge complements. The stalls around him were full, once again everyone was quiet and happy - the girls next to him were reeeally happy to see him. He seemed partial to the good looking one on his right lol. Nemo starts his training today. He is more than ready.



We had the farrier out last night to trim all three of our horses. I rushed home from work and made it in time to watch half the first horse get trimmed. Not that they need me, but I try not to miss out. He was working on Harmony’s back feet. Front shoe’s were already off. I guess they decided she would do fine barefoot for now...I hope that goes okay? She’s had front shoes on for as long as I’ve known her. She did well in a new location for our farrier, not bad considering Harmony has had her previous owner doing her feet her whole life. Wonder if it feels good not to have metal on the bottom of her feet?

Koda was a curious wiggle-worm for the farrier. He’s partial to bays, so Koda has that in his favor lol. However Nemo gets "the prize" for being the best behaved this time. I swear they trade-off!!


flying hay bales

We restocked our hay supply this morning, the bales were flying on the truck.

Unloading never goes as fast, especially since we had to carry the bales further to re-stack...gotta "love" winter.

We put our horses (and Barbie, aka resident pony) in the back pasture and opened up the round pen so they could see what was going on - they were all SO excited! They haven't been back there in a while, the snow is much deeper and fresh. Add to that the loose hay smorgasbord they know they'll soon be getting and it was a regular buck-fest, snow-rolling, runnin' around wild good time! I snapped a few quick photos of their antics, but unfortunately had to get back to hauling bales. 
  Apparently Harmony loves snow, she was a rolling fool - or at least Koda thinks so!

Nemo giving Koda & Barbie a little incentive to keep moving.

Best photo I've ever taken of Nemo, looking so handsome!!