Friday, March 30, 2012

Heading to the Trainer

Four years ago I had a string of bad luck with horses.  My main horse, Cowboy, broke his front foot--badly--and was misdiagnosed for 3 months, and his twin, his actual blood nephew, who I'd raised from a weanling and saddle-trained at two years, died of colic.

At that time, we didn't know if Cowboy would ever be ride-able again.  I didn't own Beautiful Girl either.  Effectively, I was without a horse.

Until I saw this ad (picture below): a two year old paint filly from Quincy Dan lines (my first horse was a Quincy Dan horse and I loved him--super smart and gentle--practically trained himself--and Cia has turned out to be EVERY bit as smart and sweet).

Though all four of her feet grew irregularly and she'd been trimmed so poorly she couldn't lope a circle without falling (poor thing), I fell in love with her absolute gentleness of spirit and brought her home.



Here's one of her grandfathers--Quincy Sun Dun.

And another, Cajun Indio.


Her former owner took these next pictures.




And here's me with her right after I got her.




And the next summer.





Now it's her turn to step up to the plate. She needs to be worked out on the trail and she's the most ready to go. In four days I'm trailering her down to my trainer who I've always loved and trusted with my horses. They come back from her with a work ethic. When I lived nearer her I would send ALL my horses to "the ranch" for a couple days every March/April. She'd take turns riding them to find and gather cows at her parent's place and I'd get them back ready and willing for anything. We called it their spring tune-up. Cia will be ridden up and down hills, over rocks, gathering cows, basically, doing jobs.

The other thing I used my trainer for was test-riding any potential horse I wanted to buy. She could tell you everything about any horse after an hour with it. She was better than any vet--better than anyone. You knew what you were getting into. Since I lived here when I bought Cia, which is two hours away from my trainer, she didn't get the inspection, which makes me nervous now. I WILL find out everything about my sweet horse after the first couple of days she's there. I sure hope she passes muster, but I'll be holding my breath.

I separated Cia from the others two weeks ago so it would be less stressful when she's taken away. I had our vet out a few days ago to finish up her immunizations and give her the okay and I had my farrier make her a new set of shoes--her first ever.

It's quite an experience the first time your horse gets hot-shod. I wish I'd taken pictures. The smoke that comes up when they're measuring the hot metal against the hoof really scares them, but eventually they find they're okay and settle down. It doesn't hurt them in any way shape or form, it's just unnatural having smoke coming up from underneath you. I'm usually not a shoe fan and the riding I do rarely requires them, but there is no way she'd survive this training without them. Usually my trainer keeps them unshod for the first week and then has them shod when she starts the hard work, but my farrier will be too far away, so I had her done beforehand.

I've signed up for the Charlie Hansen clinic when she gets back in May. He's a rancher/trainer and his clinic is strictly trail riding and training and cow work. It's all about using your horse for a job. What a perfect follow-up that will be to her training--both for me and her.

I was going to give an update on Cowboy and Beautiful, but I'm too tired to continue writing, so I'll take a break for now and write about them later. There's a lot to say.

If you haven't, please take the time to watch a little webisode from a fellow blogger and writer. It's very entertaining and, I think you'll find, eye-opening about the potential for marketing a book or an idea. Joanne has been a real inspiration to me and others. I reviewed her book in my last post. It was wonderful, but again, just watch the little webisode and it will speak for itself.

15 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great plan - and I hope your experience is as great as the experience I'm having with my trainer - can't wait for the updates!

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    1. Kate, I've enjoyed hearing all about your experience with the trainer and the new barn, too. Those were great choices for you and your horses. At first I dreaded starting over again with the young ones, but I'm starting to look forward to the training and clinics now.

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  2. She is a beautiful mare! Can't wait to find out what your trainer thinks, but I bet she will like her.

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    1. I hope she does, too. It would be like winning the horse lottery!

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  3. Cia is gorgeous and she sounds like a sweet gentle girl. I hope she has fun at boot camp and I'm sure she'll pass with flying colors. Her ancestors are also stunning.

    The clinic you're going to participate in sounds interesting too.

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    1. Thank you! I'm really looking forward to the clinic. It takes place every year, but I've never really cared to participate because Cowboy was already solid on trails and ranch work. I used to team pen for fun on him and he loved chasing cows. Looking back, I wish I'd done it anyway because there was probably a lot I could have learned anyway....and it's just fun to do clinics!

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  4. I think I'd like your trainer- giving a horse a job to do is so much better than schooling in an arena.
    Cia is so pretty! My Gussie mare has Joe Quincy on her papers.

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    1. I agree about the job vs arena, but then again, I'm a trail rider. Period. This trainer also works with barrel horses and has the philosophy that any day she runs barrels, the next day is followed up with trails and work. Her thinking is that you should be able to use your horse for anything, but primarily it should always be a forward, willing, responsive mount that you can take anywhere and ask to do anything. I've seen a lot of ex or current barrel horses that have one speed and no stop.

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  5. Thanks, everyone. I'm nervous, a bit anxious, but will give you updates as I get them. I think for her, the biggest issue will be staying sound. She has the brain, but issues in the bod. Intense training will put her to the test.

    Shirley, what do you think of the Quincy horses?

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  6. Hm, I'm seeing a little bit of Coach when you talk about putting the hot metal against the hoof ;)

    My hunch is that Cia will return from the trainer with stellar grades. I'm thinking you have a good eye in picking out your horses.

    And thank you again for supporting my work, I do appreciate it.

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    1. Yes, there's a lot of Coach going on here. It would be like Maggie getting hot shod for the first time rather than being the apple-eating, old-pro that she is. I would like to say that Cia did well, but it's more accurate to say she did well for it being her first time...which is to say, she didn't do that well. ;)

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  7. The spirit of the horse is everything. I love that you bought her for that reason. I don't think you'll hear any concerning news from your trainer. You've had her long enough and worked her enough to find out about her yourself. And your instincts are good.

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    1. Thanks, Annette. Unfortunately, I have had mysterious lameness issues with her, but I think it was grass sensitivity because it occurred early spring and early fall on new grass. It was weird. She seems perfectly sound this year and she won't be on any grass at the trainer's place...and I'm going to keep her off of it here, too, when she gets back...at least until it's been cut a couple of times. She's one of those horses who can "get fat on a freeway," as my farrier says.

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  8. She's gorgeous--I love the photo with her mane up where you can see her unusual coloring set off so much.

    I love the idea of a trainer who believes in giving horses a job to do, too.

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    1. I think jobs keep horses going "forward" and as I've gotten older I've come to think that is the number one goal.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.