Desert Horses

Welcome to my horse blog, Desert Horses. We live in the desert southwest, near Palm Springs, CA, but board our horses up in our local mountains where it is cooler in the summer. I have 4 horses, all rescues. Here is the ranch up the mountains where the horses stay.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ferrier visit yesterday

Well, the ferrier came yestereday and it took MOST of the day to do the 5 horses! He left at noon to go home and eat lunch and then returned to finish Cali. He started with Gigondas who was an absolute doll! She didn't move an inch! "Ho hum". Next was Sunni. Now, he WAS able to do all of Sunni's feet last time, with some snorting. But this time, he was only able to do the front two. He could NOT get Sunni to stop moving his hip. Every time he looked at his back legs, Sunni moved off. So, an hour later, he concluded, "YOU need to work this horse so that he stands still!" Next was Scout. Now, this was Scout's first trim. She ran through him. She bucked. She got a lip chain and stood still. Once she realized she wasn't going to get away with anything, she stood nicely for him. Beauty was a ... gem. She's used to this. She didn't like the fly spray (I've GOT to get a sprayer like is the pump action and shoots a continuous spray, so off to Home Depot I got today!) Then, lunch break. I'd been working with Cali and had her up in the round pen and she was pretty relaxed. She didn't move a foot. GOOD GIRL!
Any suggestions on how to keep Sunni from moving off? No, he doesn't tie. Last time I had him tied, he freaked out, went backwards, sat down, slipped out of his halter, and went running off. He's VERY nervous around men and doesn't like them behind him AT ALL. Probably from his days at the PMU ranch. He's fine with me and my husband, but BIG, TALL MEN...forget it! And, this guy is 6 feet tall! I will say, he was VERY PATIENT with Sunni and he did work with him for an hour, but finally said, "I don't have any more time to work with this horse!" Mikey...any ideas/suggestions?


Anonymous said...

I've never met you or your horse, and I'm not a trainer, so what I say may be hogwash, but here goes. If your horse doesn't know how to tie, don't tie - you can deal with that later if you decide to. Most horses do better standing still, in my experience, if they can choose to stand on their own, rather than being restrained/confined/made to. I teach my horses to ground tie - the way I do it is to drop the rope, and if they move a foot, circle them energetically at a walk until they offer to stop (you have to watch very carefully for this - it's not you asking for them to stop it's them asking you if they should stop), then drop the rope, repeat as many times as necessary. Several of my horses will now reliably stand as if nailed in place no matter what is going on or how far I move away. Once your horse knows how to do this, try this with the farrier, if he's willing. When the horse moves away from him, do the circling thing until the horse offers to stop and stand - don't hold the horse still. You may end up traveling all over the place, but that's OK! Is there a large man you can recruit as a "farrier stand-in"? Don't know if this will work, but it's an idea. Any women farriers in your area?

Glad all your hard work with Cali paid off!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Great work with the horses.
I have no great tricks either. There are the old stand by options: roping the foot, have a big guy come and work with him, give him a tranquilizer to relax him and once he figures out it is safe he shouldn't need it, chase his rear until he wants to stand still, or hold his hoof for the farrier.
I am interested in the other suggestions.
Good luck

Katharine Swan said...

I think Kate's got some really good suggestions! I would have said, "Teach him to tie," because it sounds like Sunni is not really accustomed to standing still. Learning to tie will also teach him to stand still. It's a slow road, though -- standing patiently while tied isn't exactly a trait horses are born with!

Panama was really bad about being tied when I got him. I tie him every time I groom him, though, so he got used to it and learned to associate it with something good. While grooming I would sometimes run to get something, quickly at first so that Panama learned I would come back, and then gradually taking longer, so that he got used to standing and waiting. I can stop and chat with someone now, and although Panama has a jealous streak and tends to resent me paying attention to someone else while he's waiting for me, tying he's fine with. ;o)

Honestly, I think it sounds like more handling and exposure to these sorts of situations is what Sunni needs. He'll get better, don't worry! One day you'll suddenly realize that he's been an angel about it for ages, and wonder, "When did THAT happen?"