I'm brand new to the horse world at 61. I purchased my POA at the end of December. I've done Join Up four times, and all went very well. I am taking lessons, reading Monty's books, and learning so much on this university.
I've felt very good about what Jack can do. He seems to know all of the groundwork lessons that are on the videos. I've only ridden him once with my instructor holding the lead rope, but he's very well trained and seems to have patience for my lack of experience.
I apologize in advance for this long post, but I'm curious as to what your thoughts are. I want to include the entire situation that I faced today so that I can learn.
My husband and I took my 19 month old granddaughter to the barn today where he is boarded. I have to watch her now that the virus hit the nation and daycares are closed. I've been feeling stressed trying to fit in watching my precious girl and spending time with my precious POA.
Before I begin the conversation, I should tell you that he is boarded at a barn where he gets little turnout. The owner will not allow him to be boarded outside. She turns the horses out for two hours on a Saturday and two on a Sunday. I get there daily and work with him alone in the arena. I've felt very comfortable doing this. I am afraid though, that it's not enough exercise for him.
We still have snow in Wisconsin, however my husband has begun making the paddocks. He will be moved to our property when they are done. I can't wait for him to be out of the stall for good.
My husband and I went into the arena today. I had to take my granddaughter because I have her from 7am-4pm and I needed his help with her so I could work with Jack.
I began to walk him as usual. He immediately dropped to the sand and rolled around. He's never done this while leading him. I realize that I should have been more observant and schooled him before he could even get in the sand, however, I schooled him with the dually and continued walking.
He used to lead perfectly, but today and the last couple of times, he's gotten a little too close and pushy. He got a little pushy today. I schooled him. He was fine after that.
After some time walking, my husband let Jack off of his dually halter and lead rope. He followed my husband around and was very calm. We have done that before and he basically rolls around after walking, then calmly walks around again.
I wasn't at all comfortable with that today because of my granddaughter. I was very stressed about him being free with a toddler in the arena. I had my husband put the halter on and I continued to walk him.
All of a sudden my arm went up and I realized that he reared. All I could see was his hoof above my head. Thank God for the dually halter! I schooled him like Monty does on the videos.
Being new to this horse-life and wanting it so badly, this event just really freaked me out. I sobbed like a baby.
I know that all of you seasoned horseman are probably rolling your eyes. However, please listen and offer me wisdom.
I schooled him immediately as he was rearing. Then I walked him, made him do the dually dance, stand, and then brushed him. I was pretty shook up. I lead him back to the stall and tried to process the situation with my husband after having a good cry (I know...what a baby).
My husband told me that as I was walking Jack, he and my granddaughter were behind him.They weren't walking around, just standing and watching. My husband picked up an orange cone and talked into it, playing with her. Then she started running toward Jack. He hurried to grab her and that's when Jack reared.
The wisdom that I'm looking for isn't to tell me that 1) she should not have been in there (I learned that lesson) 2) he shouldn't have talked into the orange cone (Jack was probably really freaked out by that...what was my husband thinking??)
This is what I want to know: 1) Did I handle it correctly...what else should I have done? 2) Why did he rear? Am I correct that he was scared because they were behind him and the sound of my husband's voice through the cone and her running just freaked him out? 3) Should I be prepared for him to rear when I ride him and he is frightened? 4) Am I in way over my head having no experience whatsoever and trying to learn everything now? 5) How can I get over the fear I have now?
Thank you for your wisdom!
I'm a bit worried - you speak of schooling with the Dually but no mention of reward. I'm here to help, so bear with me. He's not a big, naughty child, he's a horse. You have him somewhere he's confined - I understand the need to preserve grassing but it's hard for them ( not natural ) & you want him to WALK? They are casting their coats now, really itchy so sand rolling is great for them. Hang on, you're new to this so, yeah, hubby has made mistakes but you have too. No worries, calm down, grandchild survived. So, let's start afresh. Noises that our unfamiliar are banned. Small children, who are unaware of big animals, are banned to outside arenas. Grandad, looking after both of you, should refrain from cone noises. Jack is a hero! Believe it. Humans are making his life really hard but he steps up & keeps everyone safe, even when it's hard. Leave the grand kid with hubby & go love the hero! If Jack wanted to hurt any of you, you'd be in the hospital NOW. You speak of paddocks at home - Jack is a herd animal & needs company. Someone else to take the watch for predators - so he can relax. Enough! You're new to this. I'm lucky enough to have a family of 3 ( Dad, son & daughter ) plus Max. My retirement plan - to keep me busy & they do. Jack is not a bad boy, he's looking to cast his winter coat & get out there with a herd - to be a horse. Be his pal, understand his needs - which do not run to grandchildren but many horses are really brilliant with little kids when they are introduced properly. You speak of Jack like he has a contract to meet, he doesn't. He's a horse & you need to show him what he needs to do - schooling the wrong & praising the right, just like kids! Stay in touch & we can support your journey- Jack is a steady sole & will grow into the partner you need him to be. Cheers, Jo.
I have another question if you don't mind. I made a new friend at the barn. She does dressage shows with her large horse. Do you think it would be a good idea for me to ask her if she'd ride Jack to give him some exercise?