I currently have two other CANTER horses besides Dixie who are in training. Cryininthechapel is a lovely 3yr tb filly who is a solid girl at 16 h. She has been able to just hang out and be a horse for a month and will now start getting worked into the program. I got on her and walked her around this weekend and she was just as nice as can be. It was too muddy to do anything else but walking was perfect for the first ride.
My other project horse is Indy’s Wolf. Indy is a 5yr 15.2 h tb who has been in training for five months now. It’s hard to really describe Indy because his personality is just so funny. He loves to eat above everything else and he has a love of life that makes him a joy to work with. He came to my place after hanging out in a field for over a year and went off to his first show with less than a month of training and jumped around in the scary indoor like it was nothing. We didn’t have much steering or brakes but I was simply stunned at his good nature. We even warmed up on the racetrack because the outdoor was frozen. Freezing cold weather, strong winds and lots of horses did not phase Indy. Indy marches to his own beat. Since his first show we have spent time working on the buttons that did not come installed. Some horses are easier than others and although Indy is quiet he did not come with knowledge like Dixie did. He liked to trot 100mph…then he would break into this cute little canter but it was all over the place. I have worked to install brakes, power steering and some sort of rhythm (okay, well this is still a work in progress). Indy is always heading off the farm to various places and he enjoys going on field trips.
Indy makes me giggle when he jumps. He gets so excited and will start throwing in random lead changes trying to figure out what is coming up next. He tries so hard to please and has a nice jump when he allows me to tell him something. I was really excited to get him out x-country because I knew he would love it. I ride him out on the trails by myself and he is super. He is very dependable in all situations which I can really appreciate.
I brought two horses down to frying pan park to ride with Kelly and Allie. Indy got off the trailer and had to start out by himself. He stood quietly to be tacked and just looked around at the people walking and they hay wagon driving around. We went to the ring to warm up and he was forward but listening. I trotted to the first x-rail and I think it took him by surprised because he came up to it and hit the brakes. I could have better prepared him with a bit of a tap of the whip behind the leg to get his attention but normally he is good so I didn’t expect that. No issues on the second attempt. Then we headed out to find some baby jumps and warmed up over the logs. I walked over a small one first so he could understand what I was asking and then came back at the trot. We added in a little line of logs and he couldn’t keep his canter because his mind was too busy processing everything. No biggie..I would rather him break to the trot than run to the jumps.
Allie and Kelly joined us and we headed off to the water jump. Now Indy is used to big puddles of water in his field but lately he has been protesting water on the trail. The day before we had to have a little discussion about going across a little baby stream that was on the trail. His response was to back up and he was not scared but testing me. I had to give him a couple pops with the crop behind the leg and after a few times he walked over like it was no big deal. I thought since we had ironed that issue out the day before that the water jump should be simple. Ha, wishful thinking. Indy and Klondike stood and stared at the water. Allie brought her horse to give them a lead but they weren’t budging. I had given him a couple taps with the whip but those didn’t register. I sat and thought about how I wanted to handle it. Was he scared? Did he understand the question? Was he just being a brat? Yes to all of the above. So I got tough and gave him a couple repeated hard smacks with the whip until I felt him jump forward. Then I immediately softened and rewarded for the forward motion. I let him stand and then asked him to go forward again. As he backed up I repeated with the whip until he came up and sniffed the water and walked in. Getting tough with a horse isn’t always the right response but I know him pretty well and he was just testing me out.
We stepped in and out of the water and he splashed around. Good boy! We all headed off to the next question which was the ditches. The baby ditch had a lot of water surronding it so we chose to start with the novice ditch which had water in it but not around it. Indy came up to it and jumped huge. Next time he stepped over it…gotta love the babies We then went and walked over the baby ditch which they all went right over.
We rode around looking for more baby jumps but did not find much we wanted to do. The next obstacle was the drop down into the water jump which just had puddles in it. The drop down only 3ft wide maybe and located between two logs. Indy did not know what to do here. He started backing up and Allie was coming around to give me a lead when all of a sudden he leapt into the complex. I am talking jumped straight up in the air and landed on all four feet in a heap. Good thing I am used to some crazy jumps because I felt like I got shot out of a slingshot. We all sat and laughed over the cuteness that is Indy. He is just so cool. The next time he had it figured out and stepped right now. We also walked and trotted up the drop.
We went through the woods looking for more logs. We found one that looked appropriate but Indy simply was not up to the task. I presented him a few times and got after him a bit but realized he was mentally and physically done at this point so I didn’t force the issue. He was good and it was not the right time to make him do something. We jumped one of the tiniest log and I let him be done.
We are hoping to find Indy his forever home with somebody who wants a horse that is more like a dog. He is still a work in progress but he is safe, fun and dependable. His personality keeps you looking forward to going to the barn everyday.