A Month With Ransom & Finally Riding!

I’ve decided to make up a schedule-albeit a flexible one, because of the weather we’ve been dealing with since like, June-for Ransom starting this week. In short, he gets one day in work, one day off, and repeat. He’ll probably always have Sunday’s and Wednesday’s off because I’m always busy because of church and other plans, but with this schedule I feel like he won’t be overworked but will still be worked with enough. I’ve been careful not to overload his baby brain because they get frustrated so much easier than an older horse. Everything is hard for them, and I have to remember that even having a halter on is a new thing for him, and he has to really think and work just to let me halter him. He doesn’t have the attention span of Red, and where Red is typically okay and forgiving if we end on a slightly bad note, Ransom is not. Ransom remembers every bad thing that happens and remembers it for a long time. So I have to make sure that when we work, I don’t work him to the point of him being tired and frustrated, I have to work him lightly so that we can be guaranteed a good note to end on. So, I’ve been doing 15-20 minute sessions at the maximum, normally twice a day. I take him for one longish walk-the distance is growing each week!-on his work days, and then on his days “off”, we just focus on touching and occasionally some desensitization. He’s gotten much better with being hard to catch, although it’s easier for me to get his halter on when I have feed or when he’s in a stall because he’s still a bit scared and flighty when it’s around. Time, I know, will change that.

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In other news, it has been 31 days since Ransom came home. I feel like I’ve had him for much longer, and so it’s been easy for me to get slightly discouraged when things happen. Like when he spooks over the halter while I try to put it on, or when he bolts around after we try to desensitize him to crops, whips, etc etc. But in reality, it has been a month. Here are some things that we’ve accomplished in 31 days:

  • He can now wear a halter. Despite the occasional spook when we try toย  halter him, I can get it on safely. It takes more time than I want on some days, but he allows it, and that is a step forward.
  • He leads calmly. Once the halter in on, he’s good to go. We’ve managed to extend our walks and he has continued without bolting, charging or rearing ever since my trainer came out. This is major, when just weeks ago, he would literally explode when we hooked the lead rope onto his halter. He does silly baby horse things, like spook over the puddle while on the lead, but he controls himself without spooking majorly.
  • He has been GELDED. Praise the Lord. Not a stallion person.
  • He now allows us to touch him and come up to him anytime in the pasture. Whereas 31 days ago, he would bolt away.
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After mom tried petting him.

There have been a few other accomplishments, of course. I feel like there are positive changes every day, even very tiny ones. Those things add up.

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My greatest inspirations through this process have been Ray Hunt, Tom & Bill Dorrance, and Buck Brannaman. So much gold in the things that they’ve said. Every time I’ve come to a hard point, I can find some inspiration in them. Everything has been slow and steady. I’ve learned not to rush, I’ve learned how to get along and how to make sure I don’t get angry. I’m excited to see where we’re at next month.

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Taken last Wednesday.

I managed to ride my other horse today, first ride in over a month due to the rain and mud. The arena was sloppy which prevented us from doing much in certain places but we still managed to get in some nice walk/trot work. The majority of the ride was about getting Red supple again. Due to him having so much time off of work and me neglecting his stretches/bending on the ground, he is SO stiff/hard to turn. A lot of it is also just him being stubborn, I know. He sees the chiro often and I know that while he does get stiff like any horse out of work, he’s not that bad, it’s mostly just him refusing to work or do what I ask. He’s a horse that needs to be ridden several times a week, and I just need to get more disciplined with this. While we had some rough moments with the bending, he actually behaved better than I expected and we got some nice work in. He felt great as far as soundness went and his trot felt wonderful.

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Best looking tail that he’s had in years. Any of my old readers remember when it only when to his hocks and the top part was bald from sweet itch!?

As y’all know, I’ve drilled collection like nobody’s business on this horse. It has been our number 1 struggle for the 4 years that I’ve owned Red. Now, I believe that he has grasped collection and knows what I’m asking/how to do it, but he doesn’t have the strength to do it and stay in a good frame for very long. He needs time to build the topline up, so we won’t have a perfect frame until that happens. That said..he’s trying. So I can only imagine how nice he’ll look later on when he’s in better shape.

We’re trying to find out where that head goes…he will go low, and back before the abscesses from hell and the thrush, he was building his topline up and rounding his back VERY nicely with a beautiful low headset. Now, his back is still hollow when he lowers the head.

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In the middle of coming down from posting, excuse where my butt is, lol.

I asked him to raise his head up a bit more and he seemed to find it easier to get his back lifted after that, when I shortened my reins a bit more and asked him to lift. He seemed to just want to drag his head low before.

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back is way more rounded in this, and I think he looks very relaxed.

All in all, it was a good ride. If my plans go well and the rain holds off, we’ll ride again tomorrow and keep working on the same stuff for awhile.

Oh hey, another new addition.

Before I get to the non-horsey topic, a brief update on Ransom…

My parents have been out of town for the last week and just got back home yesterday. Because of this, I’ve been feeding alone and didn’t want to get Ransom out by myself considering he’s still spooky and green.I didn’t want to take any chances and get hurt while alone, so he got over a week off of most handling. I groomed him a few times out in the pasture, of course I pet on him, fed him, touched him and loved on him, but no halters or groundwork. I haltered him yesterday and did groundwork and he was PERFECT. He’s remembered everything he learned from my trainer and has done amazing.

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He’s also made it to 15 hands.

I plan on doing as much groundwork as possible in the next few days if the rain would just STOP already. All is silent on the Red front because it hasn’t stopped raining, and when it did stop, it was 9 degrees outside. He’s doing great, enjoying time off while I die and curse the nonstop rain.

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He did great with engaging the hindquarters, backing..leaded very calmly. He continues to impress me!

Now…in other news…

My family has always loved German Shepherds. My mother grew up with them and loved them just as much as she loved her horses. Her best friends were Shepherds. My grandmother still refuses to go without one, and the highlight of every trip I ever made to Florida was seeing the Shepherd’s at my grandparents house. They are so beautiful and intelligent, and I loved them. I’ve never been able to have one of my own because of multiple reasons…I was too young and not ready for the responsibility, then we got our two big dogs and we didn’t have the room, and so on. But today, I fulfilled a dream and bought my own German Shepherd. Meet Ruger!

 

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He is a 9 week old AKC registered German Shepherd. Mostly out of German lines. He’s absolutely gorgeous and is going to be a BIG boy. He is so sweet and smart. He has already learned how to sit, stay and knows what “come” means. Doing great on the leash and today is his first day of potty training. He’s already going to the door when he needs to go potty. He’s extremely talkative and very relaxed and laid back.

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This is his sire.

I’m so excited about him! Expect more posts about him and his training later on. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Baby Meets Trainer.

All is well and usual on the Red front-I’ve ridden him a few times here and there but we’ve been going through a horrible time with bad weather and constant rain. I thought yesterday was going to be nice and was excited because my trainer scheduled a little lesson with Ransom and I and wanted to meet him, and so I planned on just heading up there early, riding and spending most of the day up there. Turns out weather wasn’t on my side and it was raining off and on and the arena was a mess. Luckily I didn’t have to cancel with my trainer although I was frozen by the end of things. Very worth it though!

Ransom has done great after being gelded. No problems at all, textbook in every way. So far our only problem that we just haven’t been able to get over is problems while leading. He’s a big dude for a yearling and I’m a small chick for a 17 year old ๐Ÿ˜‰ so I’ve been using caution but also making sure I’ve stuck with it. He had improved in small ways but I knew I needed to go ahead and have someone out to show us the ropes and get the bolting under control. The truth is, I don’t have enough experience-or bravery, lol-with colts to do this 100% on my own and I’ll admit it, I’m so grateful to have an awesome trainer who was willing to come out on such a cold day, offer her time herself and spend time up there with us then go as far as to say she didn’t want to charge us.

Ransom, in short, did amazing. I am seriously so impressed with his baby brain. The lunge rope was freaky to begin with, and she immediately jumped in, put him on the line and started trying to get him to engage his hindquarters and move off from the pressure. He started bolting and wanting to pop up to escape, but she kept at it and within 3-4 minutes he had settled down so much. I was too busy being a paranoid mom to take photos or videos of how he acted in the beginning which I regret like crazy now because the difference was night and day. It would be extremely dull of me to write about the entire session because leading a horse and working with the basics like these isn’t exactly thrilling, but it was incredibly neat to watch him put things together. He tried extremely hard all day, you could see the wheels in his mind turning. We came to the conclusion that after the first moment or so, it isn’t fear causing him to act up but just pure confusion, trying his best to hurry up and figure out what we’re asking. He knows when he’s done good and he really wants to do good. Noticed even more just how willing and smart he is.

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Engaging those hindquarters, getting him to move off of pressure.

He had a habit of getting “stuck” when we started getting him to lead forward. He would stand and refuse to budge, then if it went on long enough, he’d revert to bolting. We quickly discovered that the trick was to go to his side and ask him to move off and move his booty, and then he’d start leading again once he felt more comfortable. Switching directions, asking him to back up, were all new tricks that we learned to be very helpful in those moments where he got a bit stuck or stressed.

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Where he freaked out at first over us moving to his side and asking for him to turn and circle, he started getting SO responsive when he saw what we were asking for. I’m used to horses like Red who, as much as I love the stubborn jerkface, need you to DEMAND, not just ask. Ransom was starting to click so much with this stuff that all he needed was a very subtle cue, and he was doing his best to follow through. We worked on backing up which he picked up just as quickly,and then of course with leading forward without the bolting forward.

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Waiting for what was next.

She had him leading around the pasture so quickly, and he went from head straight in the air, ready to run or blow up, to just walking around calmly, head low, halting when she stopped, backing when she backed up, and turning the second she started asking for his hindquarters.

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Small victories, but leading is a thing you have to know how to do after all.

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Then we moved on to feet.I’ve picked up one foot and it went moderately well, he has no problem with me messing with them but he’s very unsure. First time she picked it up, he thought he was going to fall and kind of tried his best not to freak out. Second time, he offered his foot for her and let her hold it up for a few seconds longer. Third time, he offered it and was much calmer.

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No big deal for baby horses. Featuring Halfpint who had to be stalled because he wouldn’t stop trying to lay down on trainer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Before she came, we also had another breakthrough. I’m a firm believer in the whole, if a horse lets you with them while they’re laying down it’s a sign of trust thing. Granted, a lot of horses just have that natural trust in them and are teddy bears, but most of my horses have been very slow to trust people when they’re down. It took Red awhile, took our old Appaloosa awhile, and it’s always taken my rescues forever to trust us enough unless they were just too sickly or weak to not be down or to get up quickly when they spotted me. Considering Ransom had never been handled up until 3ish weeks ago and was very scared of human contact, I didn’t expect that he’d let me close. Yesterday, I saw Halfpint, Blossom and Ransom all down and went up to see what he’d do. Halfpint and Blossom got up but he stayed there, and let me love all over him until Halfpint back over and started stepping on his legs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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When I first came up to say hello.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this strong of a connection with a horse…honestly, it rivals what I feel for Red. He’s so different in nearly every way and I really, really like this colt. Fingers crossed that the rest of training goes this nicely!

Gelding Life!

Typical for me to plan holidays around my horses, Ransom got gelded on Christmas day! He also got his wolf teeth removed, vaccines and coggins done. Weird day to plan, but my vet is amazing and honestly, it was quite a great Christmas present to have this done. He can be with the herd in 30 days (Well, less than that now.) once we’re sure all of the testosterone has left his system and he doesn’t try to make any babies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He was extremely nervous around the vet and new people, so getting him haltered and chill enough took a few minutes but he turned out to be a light weight and getting him down was easy lol. Everything took off without a hitch so I’m relieved. He needed some bute yesterday morning but then seemed great for the rest of the day, as predicted by my vet, and I’ll be up to check on him later on this morning. I was worried that he’d be on edge after such a hard day and he was a bit weird around my mother yesterday. I spent a few minutes with him yesterday and he calmed down a ton and ended up being at the barn for the rest of the day and he started acting much more like himself. He got to see kids for the first time, new people at the barn for a photoshoot from the photographer sister, and he didย way better than expected with kids running around and other people. He stayed stalled during this and he even let the kids pet his nose and never freaked out, so I was impressed with how he had chilled out in a few hours.

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If this doesn’t show Ransom (And Halfpint’s) personalities nothing will. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They have bonded and are very close which is surprising considering how Halfpint acted at first.

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So far so good with this dude, I really like him, even more than I expected, and his personality just gets sweeter and sweeter. I’m somewhat nervous about the whole breaking a horse prospect as far as riding goes, but I have a couple of years before then and multiple trainers so I think things will go great. Already putting some extra money here and there in a little safe place to prepare for that. Next big thing will be getting his feet done but I have a few more weeks to work with him at home before that happens.

As far as Red goes, he’s great and enjoying the time off that he’s had because it’s literally rained nonstop since the first of December. The temp was amazing over Christmas but my place is a mud pit, arena is awful, trails are horrible, so riding isn’t happening right now.

Bareback, Babies & Baby Steps.

First “big” news, Ransom got to wear a halter for the first time on Monday and also let me lead him fairly well. He popped up once from the pressure and confusion, then did really well. I didn’t do much with him yesterday other than some grooming and whatnot, but today the halter will go back on and we’ll work with leading again. I continue to be very impressed with his little baby horse mind. I did spend some time with him yesterday messing with his legs and feet and he did really well with it.

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I also threw around a big, scary red frisbee and while it freaked the other horses out, he snorted once, sniffed it and was cool.

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He wont be sent for training until he’s about 3 and a half, but never too early to get used to weird things being on the back, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yesterday was mostly devoted to Red. He’s been a bit stiffer this winter from the cold weather, not bad but he needs to get out and move around more, so I gave him a good brush down, gave him his thrush medication (I’ve now been able to lower the dose of Tomorrow and I don’t have to use it as often, woohoo!) and did some massage type stuff that my chiro taught me. He sat and yawned and licked and then I hopped on him bareback for a nice little 25-30 minute ride. Warmed up at the walk and he wanted to pick up the trot and he was surprisingly very well behaved. We also did a bit of groundwork/hand walking beforehand and he did great for that too. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any sort of work other than a calm walk around bareback, so my legs are protesting today, lol. Did some trot circles and let him make some laps around the arena and he felt great.

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I was actually pretty impressed with my seat bareback too…I need to do more of it!

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Planning on more work with Ransom today and some groundwork with Red, maybe another bareback ride if I get the

 

Big Baby Horse Comes Home!

I have to admit, I was extremely nervous after writing my last post. Number 1, I was wondering how the ever so critical horse folks (I love being a horse person, but y’all know it’s true) would take it considering I’ve been very real here when it comes to how I struggle as a rider/horse person. I’ve received some negativity, but only from a group of kids from Instagram that I won’t worry about. Number 2, it’s easy for me to let doubt kind of plague my mind after I make a big decision, and I spent a couple nights tossing and turning, wondering if I made a terrible decision, if he’d end up being too much for me to handle, yadayada. Luckily for me, I have multiple trainers helping me out and I’ve been able to make some connections with some awesome people lately so I’m not doing this alone. Luckily for me, my fears based on the colt, Ransom, were taken away pretty quickly when he got home the day before yesterday. He had never had any sort of handling up until a week ago, and that was only a touch here and there. Definitely never been hauled. He got right in the trailer, rode great, then hopped right off the trailer when he got home. He’s gotten along great with my donkey and even our dwarf mini, who literally tried to attack him immediately, which, in hindsight, was hilarious. 28 inches of dwarf vs. huge yearling. He has been so well-mannered, I haven’t had a problem out of him. He did have a bad case of loose stool but that’s been cleared up already, and he’s a tad underweight for a few reasons but I’m not concerned. The first day, he was antsy and would let me pet him but that’s about it, yesterday, he was definitely improving and meeting me in the pasture for pets and letting me brush him down, today he was so loving he became a pest pretty quick…but I won’t complain.

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There was a squeal, then total silence, then Red walked off and they’ve made a habit of playing over the gate very gently, so I think they’ll be buds.

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I’ve had the halter on already but no leading quite yet. I plan on trying to start that tomorrow, but it’s been pouring rain so that has limited me a bit. So far, he’s taken everything in stride. He’s not bothered by cars or the UTV, he was very uneasy with the stall at first if someone was close by but great being stalled for the first time when he was alone. Today, he let me in to muck out the stall and didn’t react at all to me being there. In fact, he decided to follow me for the entire hour I spent cleaning stalls, and when I would stand still for a second, he’d either start playing with my hat or trying to play with the rake.

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This was as close as I could get on day 1 without him darting away.
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Then he decided to try climbing in the car with me the next day. (Broken mirror from a car accident,not a horse, LOL)

He’s very interested in playing and definitely starting to show off a sweet baby personality, so I threw our jolly ball that the big horses never play with into his pasture and I’m hoping he’ll have fun with it. So far, I have seen nothing out of him that I don’t like. He’s a tad fidgety and spooky still but honestly, our mare Gracie is worse than him, lol. I’ve picked up both frontย  hooves and he acts like he couldn’t care less. Only time I’ve seen a full blown spook is when someone tossed a flake of hay into his stall and he didn’t notice them, and he sort of pranced around for a minute before he started eating again.

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So, long story short, the kid is settling in great, better than I imagined by far, and I’m really wondering if he could end up being another very, very special member to the family. I won’t be able to say for sure until he’s around 4 and getting broke,but I really like this dude and I think he may end up being my next permanent riding horse.

Meet Ransom.

People have always said that horses are like potato chips, and you can’t only have one. I’ve argued with that before, but then I ended up with a ginormous yearling last night.

Backstory; I’ve been looking very casually for a weanling or yearling. My plan was to start them up on the ground, then at the age of 2 and a half or 3, rehome to someone good. I love doing groundwork and I think that it would be a great way to push me forward to learn more, and I’ve had a wonderful trainer offer to help me out in any ways that I need, so I’m not in this alone. (Along with my mother, who has started a lot of babies.) It’s been about a year, and my search has been very casual. I’ve looked at a few just from word of mouth, but on Saturday, I posted an ad saying that I was searching for something. My ideal was this-an early yearling, filly, preferably not a sorrel or bay because I wanted something different in my pasture. I preferred registered just because if my plan ended up as I figured it would, it would be a resell project and registered horses are easier to sell.

Then, I got a message.

More backstory, I had a man come out and haul Blossom the donkey for me and he ended up buying a jack from them. He stopped by his place first to drop his jack off, and offered to let me see his horses while we waited. He has Quarter/Draft horses, a cross that I never thought I’d like because I’m not a draft person, but these horses are amazing. The best minds, beautiful conformation. They’re gorgeous and big but still have a lot of the quarter horse traits. Beautiful fluid movement, nice pretty heads, and quarter horse feet. The dam of the colt that I got is half draft/half quarter, and she’s a red dun. The sire is supposedly the last son out of Bar Money, a very influential Quarter Horse stallion, son of Three Bars. I’ll see the papers next time I go out. This stud is beautiful and so, so sweet for an older stud. There are some great lines in this horse’s pedigree and also great minds. He said that he’s had several siblings/half siblings and he’s never had a buck or rear out of them when he starts them. He claims that he puts a couple rides on, and they might as well be considered broke because they’re that calm and docile. Several people that I respect back him up on this, and after meeting his sisters, dam and sire, I could definitely see the sweet personality. They’re all coming to greet you and very respectful of your space.

“Ransom Money” just turned a year and will-hopefully-be gelded then come right home. We’re trying to schedule a vet to come out and if one can’t come out in the next few days, we’ve got to go ahead and get him home because he’s going out of town in a week or so and doesn’t want to leave him behind doing nothing. His dam was 16.2-16.3 and sire is also quite tall. We measured his cannon bone to estimate growth and it says he should mature to around 16.1. He’s a very big yearling and needs to catch up with his height a bit, so he’s slightly underweight. The owner says that all of his bigger yearlings do that and when they hit about a year and a half-two years old, they get out of the awkward stage pretty quickly.

He has gorgeous leg bars and a dorsal stripe down his back, but he’s so disgusting and dirty from the recent rain and apparently, he likes rolling around, you can hardly see them. Also one white sock and I think a hint of white on his other leg around the coronet band, I’ll be able to tell more when I can clean him up.ย  Despite his size, his head is really cute and has a nice little dish, and he definitely inherited the cute little quarter horse ears. He’s had very little handling so not halter broke, although judging by his personality and how he warmed up to me in minutes, I doubt I’m going to have very much trouble.

So, as of now, I’m eager to get him home and get him settled in so I can start work! And I’m eager to groom him…yikes, that tail. And winter fluff. Omg.

Also…he has my favorite face markings, a star and snip. I have a type.

BB FACE