Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You CAN Teach An Old Horse New Things!

OK, so Waska isn't exactly old--he is 10!--but when Amber bought him, he had no formal training whatsoever. The woman that Amber bought him from actually rescued him as a two year old, from some non-horsey people, who were keeping him in a chain link dog kennel! Waska's previous owner bred Burmese Mt. Dogs, and said that she offered to trade a puppy for the horse. She was a mom, with two daughters who showed 4-H, and she said that she basically just got on Waska and started riding him...no ground work...no training... nada. She just got on and rode. While Waska is a great trail horse, it is always a plus when you have a horse that moves off your leg, and responds to the bit. You never know when you might need to side-pass or back up; even on the trail :) Because I raised and trained my old horse Shadest, from a gangly yearling to a handsome beast-- I had many YEARS of ground work put in to him, as I did not ride him until he was three!!--I told Amber that she needed to start from the ground up, in teaching Waska how to move off of pressure. She worked with Waska for three days on the ground, doing side passing and backing, and then tried it from his back. He has REALLY dead sides, so she enlisted the help of her old, blunt, spurs, and voila; this is the result!!!!Of course it helps that Amber has ridden her whole life, and has hours of lessons, showing and riding under her belt!She has NEVER been able to get Waska to pick up his right lead, even by trying all of the old horse training tricks in the book. How do you cue a horse that does not understand leg pressure? Well, now that he is side passing and backing with ease, he responded to Amber's cue to pick up his right lead, and Amber was ecstatic!! He has always cantered to the right on his left lead, and he has obviously always done this, for he is quite smooth on the wrong lead! He looked really awkward though, with his front end and his hind end doing two separate things. Later, we went trail riding, and she cued him to pick up his right lead while going in a straight line, and he had no trouble then. He is just unsure when he is cantering in a circle. I see more arena time in his future :)After working Waska for awhile, I saddled up Bo Bo, and we took off for a nice, cool, trail ride down by the river. We stopped and played in it quite a bit, and the horses seemed to really enjoy themselves. Because it was so hot out, we hosed the horse off when we returned. I don't think that Waska has ever been hosed off before, and you can see just how unsure of the whole situation he is. I am caving in and showing myself for the first time! See, I really don't look like Heidi Klum, or Claudia Schiffer...sigh....oh well, maybe in another lifetime!!! You'll have to excuse my helmet head, as it was hot and my hair was stuck to my head when the helmet came off (lol)!
Look at Waska's high withers!!! Now you know why Amber rides with the bareback pad when she decides to go saddleless. He is a handsome boy though, don't you think?
After being hosed and scraped off, Bo promptly rolled in the dust, creating this lovely look for himself! He is going to be fun to brush later!!! I'll have to make Eric do it (lol)!!Well, it's off to the shoe store to buy some Merrel flip flops. I have horrible feet from being a nurse and standing on them for hours at a time. I always have to buy expensive and supportive shoes, and I just cannot tolerate regular flip flops. Oh I try, don't get me wrong, but they KILL my feet. You know the girl with the cute shoes, no matter what season it is??? Well it's NOT me...at least not anymore :(


Anonymous said...

I can't beleive I had to read it on your blog about Waska picking up the right lead. I am thrilled, that was huge for Waska.Amber is a good trainer and now has him working off her legs GREAT. Dang now we just have to wait and see if Amber is going to the TC on the 19th or to the concert with Brad. Oh for those out there. Mel has forgot to mention that Brad was sponsored by 'The Wolf' and got free tickets to a concert on our Trail Challenge day. I told her not to worry since the are more TC this year.

The Knutson's said...

Yeah...it's Martha!! Amber did not tell me that Brad won tickets for a concert on that date!!! It appears that a TC is not in our stars this year ;)

Angie Penrose said...

You look cute with your horsey! :)

Pony Girl said...

Yes, Waska is so handsome! He has such a lovely face and expression. I am impressed with what Amber is doing with him.
Yea, a picture of you! It's great to put a face to the name and stories.
Silly Bo. They love to dirty themselves up after a hose down, don't they? Well, I suppose it keeps the flies off, lol!

The Knutson's said...

Angie and Pony Girl-Thank you!

Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets said...

Good for you! Time and patience (treats help too!) I belong to a drill team, thee are a couple horses that won't side pass, let me tell you, after a few weeks of being pushed in by the other horses? They pick it up quick!! I have so much fun! I have to admit It was hard for me to take the time to ride before.Now We have practice and open for several rodeos!(local) I forgot how much fun I was missing! AND we just finished our arena!! Come on over!!Let's ride!!

Anonymous said...

There is another TC at Happ's Sept 6th so Amber and you should both try to make that one. And I am still waitting for Foxridge Stable to announce the date of their's which should be in Sept or Oct hopefully.