"B" @ the SAFE Clinic!

B is a 9 year old red roan gelding. He was captured as an unhandled stallion on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. With 60 days training and lots of love and gentling under his belt, watch as he gains more confidence and experience to bloom into a perfect riding horse!

"B" @ the SAFE Clinic!

Postby Juliane on Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:57 am

DAY 1

Taking B to the groundwork clinic was quite the experience for me. I had agreed to work with him, and while looking forward to meeting him, really knew nothing about him, other than what I had read on other boards. It sounded like he was dangerous and unpredictable. Yet, when I met him, he was quiet, calm and easygoing.

On Saturday morning, I headed out to the pasture to catch B and was surprised when he walked right up to me! I guess I was expecting a horse that wouldn't want to be caught, like Ace, or who wasn't trusting and that I would have to gain his trust first. Nope. He seemed happy to see me and lowered his head into the waiting halter.

When I took him to the trailer, he loaded up without any hesitation. Once we arrived at the clinic, I was a bit late (darn alarm clock!) - so I handed B off to Sarah, who brushed him down while I brushed Ace. We then entered the arena and were promptly told to let our horses loose.

B immediately ran towards the horses at the far end of the arena and stood with them, greeting all the different mares and geldings. It was cute to see Ace and B sticking together!

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Rick started working the herd, getting them used to running together, and using their equine social skills to survive. B was usually in the middle of the pack, trying to be as "invisible" as possible :) He definitely tried to be as good as he could!

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Once the horses were warmed up, settled in and relaxed in their new environment, he asked us to go catch our horses. I started for Ace, but after seeing him immediately turn away, I looked for B. B saw me and stood still as I approached him. Of course, I didn't have a halter or lead rope, as I was intending to catch Ace by simply grasping his halter. However, I wondered if I could approach B anyhow.

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I was able to walk up to B, though when Sarah approached with the halter and lead rope, and the rest of the herd started moving, he launched out of my hold to run with them. It wasn't long, though, before he was ready to be caught.

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From there, we stood on the sidelines watching the trainers working with the different horses. B was excellent as he stood there, taking it all in. He was gentle and well behaved and didn't mind people coming up to greet him.

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Soon, however, it was his turn to meet Rick! Rick immediately put B to work, asking him to back up and to yield his hindquarters. B wasn't sure what to think, but did his best. You could see his relief when Rick finally let him stop, then praised him. What a good boy! The first and foremost quality I can see about this horse is that he tries REALLY hard to do whatever you are asking!

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After some more groundwork, Rick made sure B was understanding all of his cues and was relaxed with the work they were doing. Then, it was time for the saddle. B was good, though let out quite a snort when Rick set the saddle on his back!

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As soon as B was fully tacked up, Rick removed his halter and asked him to move out. B immediately braced against the saddle and started bucking.

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Rick kept him moving forward and it wasn't long before B relaxed and was ok with the saddle on his back.

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Now, it was time for the bridle and to mount up. Rick was amazing as he worked with B - quiet, yet clear and confident in his requests. B definitely flourished under his direction!

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B was excellent for Rick, as he asked him to move out. He rode him around the round pen. The biggest thing Sarah and I noticed about Rick is that he constantly kept B busy. He was always asking him to go this way,now that way, whoa, back up, yield this hindquarter, now that one, forward. He never gave B a chance to worry about the situation - just kept him really active. Maybe that's the best path to take for a newly started colt that has lost some confidence under saddle? In any case, B performed excellently for Rick. It was awesome to see!

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Then, it was my turn to ride him. I was both bolstered by Rick's performance on B, and nervous due to the knowledge of his past history with Sarah. However, I went into the round pen with as much confidence as I could muster and proceeded to mount onto B.

Except, I was stopped immediately. I apparently have been mounting wrong all this time! I often stand back near their hindquarters, lift up a foot, and up I go. Both Rick and Dorothy gave me some pointers and reasons for mounting up correctly, standing at the horse's shoulder. Hmm... that's going to take some practice for sure, but I managed to do it! (More Homework!)

Anyways, sitting up on B felt wonderful. He was soft and pliable as I gently tugged on the reins to see if he would give the the bit pressure. He immediately gave, while standing solid. Sitting in Rick's saddle was another story! That was like sitting on cement! Guess I'm used my my Bob Marshall! :P LOL

I rode B around a bit, doing alot of the same as Rick - halts, reverses, serepentines, and yielding his hindquarters. I even learned that I was not executing my "one rein stop correctly". I was pulling the one rein straight up towards my chin, when in fact, I should have been pulling it up towards B's ear. That worked much better. So, I practiced that a few times as well before dismounting.

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That was pretty much all of B's training for the day. He spent the rest of the day watching the other horses being worked. Day 2 was much more intense for B!
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby Juliane on Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:58 am

DAY 2

(Sorry for the delay in getting this updated! Was sick all day today!)

The 2nd day of the clinic started out much the same as before, though instead of just turning B loose right away, I saddled him up first. As soon as I took his halter off, he took off towards the other end of the arena with barely a crow-hop! What a good boy! He quickly joined the other horses, staying particularly close to Patience and Honeycutt.

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Rick worked the herd like he did the day before, though for a much shorter amount of time. Within a few moments, the kinks were cleared and most of the horses were ready to be caught, including B.

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Once all of the horses were caught, both trainers (Rick and Dorothy) spent time individually with each horse. Dorothy was the first one to work with B. She started her exercises with teaching B to give to the pressure of the rope, even if she was on the opposite side of the pressure. B caught on to this incredibly quickly and was soon spinning in circles as Dorothy applied pressure.

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Since B was working flawlessly with Dorothy, she moved the pressure of the rope from his rump to the back of the saddle. This changed the pressure and direction dramatically, though B was still perfect as he immediately gave to the pressure and spun in circles to unwind himself and face Dorothy.

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Next, Dorothy proceeded to work with B on teaching him to lead by his front feet. I had first seen her do this on another horse at the clinic and was unaware of the reason for teaching a horse something like this. However, her explanation made a lot of sense - if you teach a horse to give to the pressure around their hoof, rather than pull back, they will be less likely to get a wire cut injury should they get their hoof caught in fencing. It made sense, and it was cool to see the horses actually being led around the arena by their hoof! :)

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Dorothy was soon done working with B and handed him off to Peri, who proceeded to work with B in the same manner as we'd been taught by the trainers all weekend. She worked on desensitizing B to having a rope tossed over his head, yielding his hindquarters, as well as giving to the pressure of the rope. It was encouraging to see B work so well with so many different handlers and styles!

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Soon, Rick came and claimed B for some more training exercises. He started out with the rope pressure yielding exercises that B had just gotten done doing. It was funny to see the exasperated look on B's face, though he again, performed flawlessly :)

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Rick then unsaddled B (who was wearing my Bob Marshall) and put his saddle back on. He then did a few hindquarter yielding exercises to be sure B moved out and was ok with the different saddle.

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Once he saw that B had no issues with the different saddle, he mounted up and proceeded to work B. I wasn't able to watch as closely as I'd liked because I was standing at the round pen completely mystified with all that Dorothy was doing with Ace. However, each time I looked behind me, I was in awe as I watched Rick effortlessly work B. They did basic exercises at a walk/trot/canter and Rick even taught B how to sidepass! Wowsers! B is an incredibly beautiful mover too!

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All in all, Rick felt that B was an exceptional horse, though really just a 'colt' still in regards to his lack of experience. He felt that B would be a fine horse and that right now, he just needs lots and lots of miles, doing anything and everything. He also gave a few tips to help me keep B busy while being ridden.

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That was the end of B's clinic, though it was incredibly successful. My 'homework' for B is to ride, ride and ride some more! :) I'm looking forward to this homework!
Last edited by Juliane on Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby cat_67 on Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:51 am

B was excellent for Rick, as he asked him to move out. He rode him around the round pen. The biggest thing Sarah and I noticed about Rick is that he constantly kept B busy. He was always asking him to go this way,now that way, whoa, back up, yield this hindquarter, now that one, forward. He never gave B a chance to worry about the situation - just kept him really active.


That reminds me a lot of my gray Thoroughbred mare, who is now 26. We got her when she was 5 and had just broken someone's collarbone. I figured out pretty quickly that she had to constantly be doing something that required her to think, OR she spooked and screwed around. So every single time I rode her, I either whacked the polo ball around or I did figure eights, flying changes, etc. She was fine as long as she was working - she was not fine just going around on the rail.

She did grow out of the need for constant distraction (although she never became OK on the trails...she could handle working in my back hay field but anything actually approaching a trail, we still got the Hi-Ho Silver rear even when she was in her teens!)
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