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Ground Driving The Long Yearling Colt


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#1 JacqueB

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 09:28 PM

Got the notion to blog about my adventures with my 15 mo old colt.  My reason for doing it is purely selfish/self knowing.  If I'm posting what's happening then I will follow thru on my ideas instead of talking all fall about how I should ground drive my colt while I still have him - ha ha ha.

So what does this colt know?

He stands tied to the post nicely for grooming, not perfectly quiet for hoof picking but very close to being a perfect gentleman.

I tie him with a soft rope halter so if he does for some reason really pull back he won't damage the nerves in his poll.  I use slip knots with everything so I can pull the end & all would come undone if the horse was in a bad situation.  When I tie him he's 18 inches from the post.

For cross ties I've got him in the 30' aisle of the barn which is open on one side and stalls on the other with metal tube gates at each end.  I have 2 horses in stalls and another old horse crosstied at the far end of the aisle.  Then I bring the colt out of the middle stall with his rope halter & clip the cross ties to his rope halter - the crossties are anchored ~8 feet up.  I need to get a halter that fits him that's all nylon/non breakaway. 

For the last 3 weeks almost every day I've been tying him to the post grooming him & picking his feet. And 3 days in a row I've taken & put him in the cross ties facing the old horse in the cross ties and his stall buddy (another old horse) next to him.  I'm trying for as many days as possible with good experiences in the cross ties so that when he tests them he won't test them too vigorously/too frighteningly - I always keep a lead rope on his halter so I keep them from flipping.

I'll start looking for my straight rubber bit and the little bridle & start putting it on him.  I guess I should be playing with his mouth now, huh. 

I haven't gone and looked at my books about working with long yearlings and ground driving, so I guess I'll need to look over that material, too.

And everything is on youtube, might have something helpful there.


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#2 JacqueB

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:07 PM

Yesterday was farrier time, he was not perfect but quite good.

Today, a bit windy, it was tied to the post again with all the old guys surrounding him as usual.  The first foot he was relaxed, never moved.  2nd foot was moving it back & forth, just ignored him, kept working, then he stopped & I stopped.  3rd foot he was more emphatic with his movement & I gave him some verbal & physical grief, then sweet talked my way back to doing his foot and told him how good he was and did my job & all was well with the next hoof, too. 

I identified a regular nylon halter with no breakaway and put him in the cross ties for 4 minutes and he was really quiet, head down and relaxed with maybe 3 times raising his left front foot slowly & starting to paw with impatience, but I would give him the "angh" grunt and he'd stop.  I can't find the straight across rubber bit, but I did find the fat rubber small snaffle & the small bridle so we'll start playing with that tomorrow and work up some more time in the cross ties.  Even tho' it will be another year + before we sit on him I think I'll go ahead & get him use to saddle pads & saddle him up over the coming weeks, too. 

Just as an aside, I came back from feeding the upper pastures and the old horse in the aisle had opened the colt's stall door and the other old horse's stall door and they were all quietly milling around in the stalls and in the aisle - really tight spaces, but they were being very kind to each other, I'm really thankful for those old horses being such good role models for the colt.


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#3 jmarcan

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:59 AM

Long reins are great....we are working our three year old on long reins as my trainer wants to wait another few months for him to mature. We have him out all over the farm...in the hayfield, through the ditches, up and down the hills  etc. What a wonderful experience for a young stallion!

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#4 JacqueB

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

Thanks for the picture!  I saw on youtube a TB trainer that had that second line to the higher loop on the surcingle.  Tell me about that.

Also, I've got that Parelli 1st level book with all the detailed instructions, think I'll do that with him, too, good for moving a horse around.


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#5 An American Breeder

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:00 PM

Getting a chuckle out of this.  The second line going to the high loop on the surcingle acts in the same way as a German martingale -- teaching him to flex at the poll.  That flexation is enough to just give one the control needed for that type of driving.

 

Had one trainer tell me that in driving there will always come the time, at some time, when a young horse will run through the bit and run away on you.  That trainer always drove in a long pen -- actually the barn yard as she was quite, quite rural. 



#6 JacqueB

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 04:39 PM

Blustery & Rainy today but sweet talking did the job today for standing perfectly still while doing his feet, I'm also demanding that he stand at a 90 degree angle to the stall wall.  The aisle really catches the wind, so I decided since he's just getting new to cross tie work, I'd not challenge his coping, he was pretty jacked up albeit obedient being brought into his stall for feeding (all my horses live out 24/7).

So showed him the rubber D ring, snaffle and he thought that was fun to play with.  Then I put the bridle on with the bit & that went just fine.  Then I just stood in the stall while he was tied with his halter over the bridle for about 15 minutes.  He went thru being totally annoyed, but never tried to rear or do anything irrational.  Finally he relaxed and was just quietly playing with the bit & I took it out and told him he was a good boy, scratching his withers.  It was interesting taking him back out to the pasture.  He was very tuned into me with a soft eye, quite compliant & relaxed despite the continuing blustery weather.

We'll be able to do cross tie work tomorrow.  Next week I think I'll start trying to groom him in the cross ties and then start doing his feet in the cross ties once he's good with grooming.


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#7 JacqueB

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 06:12 PM

Getting a chuckle out of this.  The second line going to the high loop on the surcingle acts in the same way as a German martingale -- teaching him to flex at the poll.  That flexation is enough to just give one the control needed for that type of driving.

Don't think I'm going to be going for flexion - just forward/right/left/whoa and back up.

Tell me about "that type of driving"

 

Had one trainer tell me that in driving there will always come the time, at some time, when a young horse will run through the bit and run away on you.  That trainer always drove in a long pen -- actually the barn yard as she was quite, quite rural. 

I was thinking about driving him over hill and dale and decided, that he was too young and I was too old for that scenario.  Some short times in the large solid board round pen will be enough to get the basics down.  Not interested in challenging his tendons, may not even get to a trot.

Well the colt moved minutely one time while doing his feet and he wasn't chewing his tie today either, so just relaxed.

Stood in the cross ties for 8 minutes.  A few times he slowly raised his front hoof in impatience.  I allowed him to move around & hit the restraint of the ties and he didn't fight it he just moved to release the restraint, so pretty quiet. Several times he just stood quietly and one time close to the 8 minute time he was standing quiet, I said good boy and scratched his withers and took him out of the ties.  I was reading about working with the "entire" yesterday and the emphasis was meticulously make them follow your rules.  I must have heard that before because I'm been much stricter about him than the other foals. My husband and the other person that helps me say he's the easiest to halter - comes running up from the pasture then stands quietly, keeps his distance-I've really worked on that last one.  I love the way he wants to please.


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#8 JacqueB

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 10:39 PM

Tried something this evening.  Usually when I turn out the colt in the pasture he stands to get his withers scratched, butt scratched, neck scratched.  So while he was just standing there I took the lead rope and banged it all over his legs and over his back & sides and he just stood there.  He finally started grazing and moved off.  Oh, that it will always be that peaceful...


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#9 JacqueB

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 11:08 PM

This evening was very quiet, so I took the time to tie the colt and groom him & do his feet.  He's just standing quietly now, not chewing on his tie, not moving with cleaning his hooves.  So I decide to finish his grooming in the cross ties with all his attendant old buddies.  He moved around more which I didn't try to inhibit, but did not allow striking.  He might have been in the cross ties 8 minutes or so.  I waited till he stood still then told him he was a good boy and unclipped his cross ties.  But when I was leading him out to his pasture & other set of old buddies, he became animated & moved thru the open gate in a hurry.  So we did that all over again & he knew what he had done wrong and came thru quietly.  He was patient with undoing his halter and stood briefly for his scratches but his head was held high- not relaxed.  So I feel like I need to evaluate the cross tying and see if he gets more relaxed.  I don't like him ending his time with me tense.


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#10 JacqueB

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 03:20 PM

Windy & misty today, so the colt was looking around & didn't pay attention when it was time to go in the stall & didn't slow down to let me in first, so I backed him up and we came from the back pasture gate again & without any minders he slowed down to let me enter the stall. 

Today I had barn duties, so I put his bridle on without being tied and he played away with the bit while doing all the usual playful activities with his old buddies.  About 45 minutes later, he was still playing with bit but hadn't ever showed any anxiousness.  I challenged him alittle by turning out all the old horses that feed with him.  They were out of his view up by their waterer & the 2 old horses that are his pasture mates are not visible from his stall. I changed over to his halter and opened the stall door.  But he was on to me and just stood there looking at me waiting for the OK to exit the stall - good boy.  He was his usual quiet self to lead out, patient with unhaltering and waiting for his scratching relaxed.


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#11 JacqueB

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 04:00 PM

Milestone!  He stopped playing with his bit today. 

I took off his bridle and haltered him and did his grooming at the post & hoof picking.  Tried taking 2 hands supportively and raised his dock till he relaxed then did clockwise & counterclockwise rotations of the dock and he didn't take long to relax and give to the lifting then the rotating.

He was very relaxed taking him out to pasture.

Guess it's time to put some reins on the bit and prepare him for left & right.  He's been a quick learner so far.

I'll be hauling him over to Amethyst Acres to use their safe round pen.  Maybe I'll get Deb to take some pictures of the little bugger being driven.


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#12 JacqueB

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:35 AM

Didn't have the time for grooming, etc., but did get his bridle on after he was finished eating and initially he was playing some with the bit, but when I returned his mouth was quietly closed & remained so while I let the other horses out.

I'll have more time tomorrow - might put some reins on & show him right & left & maybe we'll get to whoa, too.

Might have time for crosstie/grooming, too.


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#13 JacqueB

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 05:34 PM

Today I tied him to the post grooming him & doing his feet.  Then I took off his halter & put his bridle on.  Took him 10 minutes or so to stop playing with his bit, but he wasn't anxious at all.  Then I put on the reins and let him play with his bit while he got used to the weight of them.  The reins were buckled together as for riding and he was walking free in the stall.  After awhile he stopped playing with his bit and I was at his front legs/withers and pulled to the left and he readily gave, so I released and then when he was bent to the left I gave a light pull on the right & he brought himself around to the right.  Then he was hanging his head over the stall wall to be friendly to his old buddies and I pulled both back for a back up & he at first didn't think he needed to do that but I stayed pulled til he gave and I released, too, and that was all easy.  Time now for me to get either a surcingle or saddle on him.  I think I need to put the bridle on every day.  So far everything has been quite easy.  Let's try to keep it that way!


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#14 JacqueB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 01:46 AM

This evening I got a saddle pad out and put it all over the colt's head, neck, back, butt and he got acclimated very quickly, probably because I blanketed him all last winter.  So I think I'll try the saddle/girth.


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#15 JacqueB

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

Well, the colt spent quite awhile with his bridle on while I walked around the farm feeding the other horses - even the old guys were ready to go out to pasture.  But I persisted and put the reins on and then pulled back for back up & I held it til he gave, but his head came up.  So I remembered that with my other young stock that by this time I was doing that Parelli bringing their nose to their elbow/shoulder and holding it til they relaxed.  So I would start by pulling the rein lightly to bring his nose around then I put my hand on his nose & brought it around to his elbow/shoulder & held it for 10-20 seconds and he relaxed to that pretty easily.  We did that on both sided a couple of times then I pulled both back and he backed up without his nose going up.  We were done.  I took his bridle off & haltered him & tied him to the post groomed him/picked his hooves.  But instead of quietly standing there like he's been doing the last few times, he was chewing on this tie.  But he was good about not moving when doing his feet and while I was grooming him.  So I tried something when I was all finished grooming/picking hooves.  I put him back perpendicular to the wall still tied, which he was chewing and I took both hands & supportively started raising his dock which he gave little resistance to & stopped chewing with his tail relaxed and he stood quietly while I moved his dock clockwise & counterclockwise.  It seemed to relax him.  Everything was quiet and good taking him out to pasture.  I felt like he'd been thru enough, for the many hours of the morning, so I didn't press about working in the cross ties, but we do need to get back to that.  A good day, he's such a pleasure to work with.


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#16 JacqueB

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 04:52 PM

Well, had clients visiting today, so not entirely having control over my time.  The colt had had his bridle on for ~ an hour without me around & when I got back his mouth was quietly closed.  Clients were visiting so I took off his bridle, haltered him, tied & groomed him, but they were passing carrots out to everyone & the colt was all over the place while tied to the post.  So he got some carrots, too.  Then I started doing his feet and on the back right he was persistently trying to pull his hoof out of my hand and trying to move & I gave him some warnings after giving him some kind reminders.  He was testy, so I gave him hell & kept stomping my feet and had my hands on my hips and blaring in his face & he several times licked his lips but his head was still up & defiant, so I kept at it till he drop that head, looked away & licked his lips.  Then I left him alone staying in the stall.  Then I came back and sweet talked him, scratching his favorite places and we got all his feet done and I went back 3 times and did his right hind quietly, just to make sure. It was all good going out to the pasture, he was very relaxed and waited for all his wither scratches & butt scratches.  Not much ground driving work today.


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#17 JacqueB

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 01:24 AM

Growing up is hard to do, says little colt today.  This evening I drove the truck & horse trailer into his pasture & while his old pasture buddies were eating I came towards him with the halter & lead rope, but he took off running right at me, then stopped with his ears forward right in front of me ready for his haltering, good boy.  We walked over to the trailer which he hasn't hopped on for about a year.  The feed bucket was handy and a sure lure onto the trailer, no problem.  Got the back door closed and stayed with him while he ate on the trailer.  When I got out the trailer & left him there - that resulted in a bunch of dramatic activity.  So I just let him try to run circles, rear etc.  After awhile he started standing & walking from time to time.   Then keeping in view of all his buddies we drove back thru the gate.  Again all sorts of dramatic activity.  I let the trailer sit close to his pasture, but outside.  Waited til he got quiet.  Then drove him about 20 yards away at a spot that was a small step down.  Kept him there about 20 minutes when he got quiet, no pawing for 5 minutes.  Then I got in the trailer with him clipped the lead rope on his halter and he got off the trailer, I kept the trailer door wide open and we walked on & off several times.  No problem, yeah!  I left the feed bucket in the trailer, so that will be his feeding place thru Sunday.


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#18 JacqueB

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:27 PM

Tomorrow I'll haul the colt over to Amethyst Acres which has the safe board walled round pen.  Today he was slow getting on the trailer to eat but never resistant (<5 min).  When I got him off the trailer he wasn't damp, so he's acclimating to trailer time by himself.  I took him into his stall with all his old buddies around & tied him up & he behaved well, still pulling alittle with the right hind, but responded to initial "no's", he didn't escalate today.

I'll feed him in the trailer this evening & tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow I just won't take him off & away we'll go.

He's been in Amethyst Acres round pen, so that won't be new, but it's been a year.  I just plan on let him get comfortable in the round pen.  Next visit we'll do bridle/rein work.

Training horses, everything takes time...

I was thinking today how much I love this little guy & how sweet it must be for someone like Ambri who got her colt young and then spent his whole life with her and then the empty place when he's gone.  I've only been with this little one for just ~1-1/2 years and he'll spend most of his life with someone else....at least he got a sweet start...


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#19 JacqueB

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:59 AM

Well the little bugger pretty much walked right on the trailer & when I left him there was much less dramatic fuss. 

So I think we're good for Sunday!


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#20 JacqueB

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:39 AM

Sunday!  Walked right on the trailer to eat. And then about 40 minutes later I put his fly mask on (the vet ophthalmologist recommend them for stock trailers). And off we go to Amethyst Acres.  When we first were pulling out he was romping & noisy.  But once we left the farm he was quiet & hardly moved.  When I go over the mountain (we're on the East side of the Blue Ridge just 2 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway/Appalachian Trail & Amethyst Acres is on the West side) I ride the transmission & poke up & down the mountain - about a 25 minute haul.  When we got there the colts knees were slightly full looking/uniform edema.  He wasn't lame and wasn't really tender.  He got a lesson in the cross ties with cold water hosing of the knees.  He didn't have his halter on in the round pen, but he followed me everywhere I went looking for scratches and company, not particularly anxious I would say.  He walked right back on the trailer and hollered all the way back home & moving around.  When we got home his right knee was uniformly quite full, no tenderness or lameness.  I've never had a young horse have a problem on my trailer.  But when I trailer him again he's going to be double wrapped to his elbows!!!  So I tied him to the post and he was good about standing while I applied a wet animalintex pad & then applied cotton then vetrap.  By this morning it was starting to slide down his leg so I applied a fresh wet animalintex and used elasticon top & bottom applied with no tension/pulling & that's staying on good.  I've got him in the very small paddock that opens onto both pastures where all his old buddies are & some grass, got his bucket of water & some hay.  So that's where we are.  Something of a set back.  But he's learned about cross ties some more and standing for bandaging.  We did use the measuring stick with a bubble on concrete & he's a solid 14.1, he'll be 16 months this week.


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