“Hi Stacy! Question for you. Do you start your training sessions with lunging? I lunge my horse every time I ride and also any horse I’m going to ride. Lately I have been talking with other friends who think lunging is not necessary and one who says it makes her horse more naughty and hot. Just wondering what you think about it. Thanks:)” -Melissa T.
This question was posted to me on Facebook:
My favorite is probably Episode 26…the first three minutes. I love it because Jac is asking questions. That means that he is comfortable asking questions while at the same time he is still being respectful. To me this is a beautiful illustration of how the conversation between a horse and human can be.
The interesting thing is that in this episode many people would have said that Jac was being ‘bad’. I knew the history and I knew what I had been rewarding Jac for doing in previous lessons. I was also willing to see the situation from Jac’s perspective.
It is ok that Jac was making mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process. How people react to your mistakes says more about them than it says about the one who made the mistake.
Could you have used a bosal instead of a bit for some of his training? Stacy’s Video Diary: Jac Review
“Thanks so much Stacy for your honesty about what really happens! I really enjoy reading your blogs:) Back when Jac’s mouth was irritated, could you have used a bosal instead of a bit for some of his training? Happily following you from Williams Lake, BC, Canada” -Jen
I had the same thought myself. If you watch the video below, Episode 39, at the 2 minute mark, you will see that I did ride Jac a few times in a bosal. A bosal has nothing in the mouth and is something that I am even allowed to show in, so I gave it a try. But it didn’t work.
There were two issues here; physical and mental.
Physically, at least early on, there was still evidence that Jac’s mouth was irritated, even without a bit. When ridden his saliva was occasionally tinged with blood. I don’t know for sure if the riding irritated his mouth; breaking at the poll requires the lower jaw to slide forward. Maybe his mouth was irritated in the stall or in the run too…I don’t know for sure. I stopped poking around all the time because it bothered him and I wanted to let it heal.
Mentally, because I didn’t know if riding was irritating him…but it become a mental problem for me.
Sigmund Freud once stated, “A man with a toothache cannot be in love.”
Oddly enough, maybe the best way to say it is, I felt guilty riding him. Guilty because I could be causing him discomfort. The idea that I might be unfair in still riding him changed the way I felt about riding him. The problem with feeling guilty is that you ride like you are guilty.
When I ride I know that there is a mental connection. I am always training the mental as well as the physical horse. If I made Jac ‘push through the pain’ would he respect me for it? Would I respect me for it? If I disrespect the horses feelings here, can I expect him to give me his ‘extra’ when it really matters?
If another similar situation were to occur I would use a bosal again. Just because it didn’t work well in this situation doesn’t mean I don’t like the tool. I like a bosal on some horses. Much like different bits have different ‘side effects’, so does a bosal. I think that riding in a bosal encourages the rider to have more ‘feel’. Some horses respond well to a hackmore but other horses find them easy to ignore. I still keep one around to use at times and the best part is they look AMAZING!
Who needs insurance for their horse? This is the question that I asked and insurance agent. What do you think he said?
I was expecting him to say “everyone” but to my surprise he didn’t. His answer was, “If you can’t write a check to replace the horse, then you should consider insurance.”
Hum, this sounded a lot like the training I had received about insurance when I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class. And it was fairly similar to advice I have given over the years.
I have never, personally, insured a horse…but I have recommended that other people do. Why the difference?
The last person I helped walk through this decision was a lady who had been saving up to buy a really nice reining horse for several years. She purchased a horse that was ready to show for about $20,000. What she had purchased was a sane, sound and ready to show horse that had several years of training with a professional. She had also purchased a friendly, kind horse that was a joy to be around. Insurance would not be able to help her through the pain of losing her horse but it would give her the ability to purchase one trained to the same level again.
The most valuable horse I have personally owned was my stallion, Vaquero. I purchased him when he was three and he died at the age of six. I had considered insuring him but I chose not to. My reasoning was that I could not walk out and buy another one that was trained to his same level. If something were to happen to Vaquero then I knew I would be starting from scratch with another horse and would be investing years in training. Essentially, I could have insured him for his ‘raw’ value, the untrained value, but either way I was going to be putting in the time again.
I had no idea that I would lose Vaquero so young. He died in 2012 and I just now -almost -have a horse trained to that level again. Although I didn’t have insurance I did have the ‘next’ horse already standing in the barn, Newt. Insurance would have paid me for my time but nothing can help me know if the horse I am investing my time in will ever reach bridleless competition level.
Do I regret not having Vaquero insured? Yes…and no. The money would have helped pay for the vet bills that I ran up trying to save him and it would have given me the opportunity to possibly purchase another young prospect. But, there was one moment where I was very happy NOT to have insurance.
THE FOLLOWING is not a reason to skip insuring…but I do wish I had been more emotionally prepared.
When things were looking really bad for Vaquero and we were at the vets they have to try to tell you how bad it is. One of the ways they tell you is they will say, “Insurance company guidelines will allow…” and this makes sense. You don’t want vets declaring horses beyond saving…if they really aren’t. But when the vets told me that, had Vaquero been insured, the insurance company would have approved euthanizing…I remember feeling conflicted. There was a moment where I was glad that he wasn’t insured because I WANTED the feeling of loss and I didn’t want a feeling of gain. I didn’t want to wonder why I made the choice.
In hindsight this was a very emotional reaction at a very emotional time, but I am still thankful that I experienced it. I know I made the choice I would have made either way. Maybe in the future I will have an insured horse and will have to make the same decision again. I really hope I’m NEVER in that situation again though. Maybe it will benefit someone who reads this though. From my experience when the vets say it is this bad…it is bad.
The majority of horses that I have had in training over the years have not been insured. Do you have your horses insured? If so, what are they insured against?
* * *
Vaquero after his second trip to the vet, just before his last trip to the vet.
Vaquero six months earlier.
For the rest of Vaquero’s blogs:
- “Life is not fair.”
- “Vaquero-arthritis causing wobbler?”
- “What would you do if you walked into the stall and your horse looked like this?”
- “Vaquero and R&R”
- “Verdict from Vaqueros vet trip”
“One of the things I love about horses is learning to go with the flow. Long story short, a herd of cattle followed me home from a walk Saturday, and stayed. I wanted to ride my mare, who was totally bothered by her new friends. I had wanted to go out, get on her and just ride. It took 2 hours to get to the point of catching her. I turned her running around and snorting at the cows into lunging up and down the fence line. I then cheated and used a treat to catch her. Worked her on the ground, then in the saddle. I was actually able, for the most part to re-focus her attention, with the occasional look at the cows. This was huge for me, as I was not that easy about working her in her original frame of mind.”-Karen A.
I love several things about this story. The first thing I love is that you live somewhere that a herd of cattle can follow you home from a walk, lol!
On a more serious note, it is great that you had the knowledge, skill and took this opportunity to train your horse. At some point you took the time to gain the knowledge of groundwork and mounted exercises that you could use. It is also very likely that you practiced these exercises, or versions of these exercises, to increase your skill before you needed them.
The time that you took to gain the knowledge and skill paid off for you when you saw the opportunity that…walked into your front yard.
Training situations like the one you described are something that I seek out and take advantage of. I do this because I know that I have put in the time practicing the foundation work; the results will become most fruitful after they are put to use in many places. Just last week my family had the opportunity to ride out to a marker on the Chisholm Trail. Newt has been trail riding many times…but something about this time set him off. He was being a brat!
The hardest part of the situation is remaining calm and seeing the problem as an opportunity. I got more training done on that one trail ride than I had in the previous month of training. Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations on your success!