Update on Mandela

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by Sugar's Mum, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Well I have had this boy for two weeks now and have really enjoyed playing with him.

    He arrived with a sore back and has been getting a massage every day. It is interesting to see how each day reveals a different area of soreness or tension. I think that as I have unwound the worst of the muscle soreness then the underlying aches and pains are coming to the surface.

    He is far more comfortable and happier to be around new people then when he arrived.

    He was initially snorting at new people and wary but now seems to be OK when new people come over and give him a smooch. I have had as many people as I can bribe come over and give him pats and cuddles and he is being loved to death.

    He is enjoying being paddocked with Latte and snoozes beside him in their sand wallow in the mornings. Edward gets to join them for half hour or so before being shut into teh Jenny Craig paddocl. Oh I am a mean person.

    We got out the clippers to clip Mani's brand and got carried away lol. So now he is a patchy pony with a hairy saddle blanket until he sheds all of his winter coat. Dont know that i am going to post any photos until he is one smooth dude lol. However he started very wary of the clippers and ended standing quite nicely. I might go over him again to make it a nice neat job but he's not too bad really.

    Shandeh got on his back day before yesterday and I got on his back yesterday. He definately gets tense under the weight of a rider but is not sore at all. He feels like he is scared and waiting for the rider to explode on him so I am going to take things very very slow so he gets a chance to realise that all is good and nothing bad is going to happen.

    I have the professional massage guy coming out on the weekend as this is a really unusual horse. He walks, ambles, trots, paces and canters. So I just want to make sure there is no pain hidden anywhere that I am not picking up and work it out for him.

    He is SO sensitive to leg aides. I dont have to touch his side at all. Just thinking about the aide and feeling my muscles start to tense is enough for him to move away from the aide. So he is going to be a tricky ride as I need to make sure that I am not asking for anything if I get off balance at all. I am thinking that I really need to reduce the sensitivity a little but hope that simply quiet riding may help him realise that I am not going to get stuck into him.

    I have him on Pali gold and some dolomite to try and reduce his sensitivity and am doing stuff with him every day.

    By gosh he walks fast, brings his legs through fast and also has a long stride.

    He has feet problems with hoof wall seperation but I am on top of that with the barefoot trimming. I am hoping that it wont be long before that is all sorted.

    He is gorgeous and very much enjoys his smooches although I dont think he is all that wrapt to have a saddle and me on his back but I am hoping that if we just do enough every day to get him relaxed at the walk he wont be too hassled.
  2. myyky

    myyky Well-known Member

    Sounds like his progress is going great! Any updated pics?
    XD He sounds like he'll end up to be a lovely horse, if he's coming around that fast.. I bet he looooves you for the massages too :)
  3. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    I dont have any more pics at the moment. Shall wait a bit for those.
    Had the dreaded third ride yesterday and it lived up to expectation.

    He put in a beauty of a rear on me. He is just terrified under saddle. Shandeh is leading him or lunging him and I am riding and we just want him to walk forward calmly and happily. When things go wrong I ignore them and given him praise and a scratch when he relaxes a bit. I think this is going to be a long haul thing to have him comfortable under saddle.

    I am going to try and bring out two new teen age boys today to give him smooches and loves.

    It's hard to work out whould I just leave off the riding for now until he is 100% trusting of me but then I think as soon as I add the riding we will undo all the trust we have built up anyway. He is lovely to ride.Nice and smooth just feels full of fear. Hope he realises soon that he isn;t going ot get in trouble for anything.
  4. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Went out again today. Had a bareback ride instead of in a saddle. He started off very stressed but in the end I got some nice relaxed stands and relaxed walks. No photos of the relaxed walk.
    Forgive my odd arm position. I was rubbing his wither as he was relaxing down. I hate photos of me. Need to loose a lot of weight.


  5. proud_equestrian

    proud_equestrian Active Member

    what breed is he?
    He looks like he will be nice when he settles in and is out of pain :)
    Good job
  6. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    He is a Quarterhorse. He lost weight travelling down here and hasn't regained all of it yet although not far off now I dont think.

    He is a real sweetheart working on the ground so I cant wait until he is as comfortable undersaddle.

    Getting the professional horse massage guy out tomorrow to see ifthere are any sore spots I haven't found and dealt with yet.
  7. Sim

    Sim Well-known Member

    You can see his colour coming through.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job. :))

    Can you give us a bit of an outline of his past (without mentioning names of course!) so we can understand him/your approach?

  8. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Sorry for the time it took to reply. Computer keyboards dont like fizzy drink apparently . Who knew? lol.

    So the massage guy came out and gave him a really good going over. He was sore in lots and lots of places so hopefully that will have helped make a real difference to him. Because we dont have a huge history on him it is a case of "Suck it and see" as the massage guy said. So try things out and see how he copes.

    So the history is the lady who gave him to me has had him for years. Got him in QLD and bought him over here when she moved over. She loves him dearly. I had to prove that I was going to look after him well and if I ever need to rehome him she has first option of return.

    He has had issues under saddle since she got him. He moves very differently from your average horse. walks trots ambles, paces and canters. When you get on his back he gets very stressed and reacts by going up, trying to rush forward then stopping before he gets to your hands then doing a funny little bunny hop upward. I was very impressed with the rear he put in for me. I didn't even move in the saddle but it was certainly impressive to be onboard lol.

    He doesn't feel like he is trying to get rid of me, he could do that simply enough if he wanted to. He just gives me the impression he is terrified under saddle.

    So my plan is to expose him to as much stuff as I can to get him to realise that no matter what is happening he isn;t getting hurt.

    Therefore he has been clipped, been for a moonlight ride ponying beside me on Latte with Shandeh on Edward, been for walks out beside me, meets everyone I can con (cough cough) introduce him to.

    I will be doing as much out and about stuff as I can and every day get on him bare back to start with as he seems less worried bareback and just get Shandeh to walk him around the paddock and stand still until he is relaxed and sleepy hopefully. We are also going to a Margaret River horse clinic shortly to learn how to get him to relax on the ground and transfer that to saddle.

    His last owner did a heap of ground work and parelli with him and he does have very good ground manners. He just gets agitated with new things. So we have a lot to learn about each other. We will see what happens. He is a lovely horse. I hope that I can help him to trust so he can get some more fun in his life.
  9. ZaZa

    ZaZa Guest

    How can that be ? :confused: ';'
  10. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    He has me completely bamboozeled ZaZa. I thought it was strange and maybe they were not right when I was told that but it is completely true.

    When he got off the truck he couldn't canter at all all he was doing was a lop sided pace. Now at least when he paces it is even and he is more likely to then drop into a canter.

    When I was talking to Lou Francis he said sometimes emotional things can cause the gait changes so it will be interesting to see what happens in this weekend clinic.

    I was told he was a QH with lifetime registration with the QLD QH association. I have traced down the brand and have sent a letter to the brand owners in the hope I can find out more about him.

    He is getting used to us doing strnge things. Today he had 4 visitors just come into the paddock and smooch him and then he had to go over the road and graze at the arena while he was carrying Shandeh on his back. He is far more relaxed now about her being up there. So tomorrow is my turn lol.
  11. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    wow I am so pleased. Yesterday I worked out that picking up the reins causes him to get stressed so today I tried riding without lifting the reins at all.

    Led him to the mounting block and leaned against his side giving him a good rub and he gave a big relaxed sigh before I got on then walked forward straight away as I settled onto his back.
    Walked in circles calmly around Shandeh on lead then when standing quietly I started lifting up the reins and dropping them against his neck. He quickly realised that they weren't eating him so he relaxed. Then Shandeh let him off lead and he followed her around like a great big puppy dog.

    Makes me wonder what sort of training he has had in his life. I know he is western trained but I wonder if he is one that has been ridden without bridle a lot. He is very responsive to seat aides for forward and stop and turn.

    The saddest thing today though was this morning when I was trimming his feet.
    I could feel he was off balance but I was hoping that he would shift his weight without me having to put his foot down. Didn't happen like that. He had to pull his foot away from me to get his balance and then he ran away from me as far as he could possibly get, deserting his favourite meal in the process. He was so worried that I was going to hit him. It took a good 4 minutes for him to realise that he wasn't going to get hit and he could go back to eating his yummy dinner. Poor lad. I actually had to pick up the bucket adn hand it to him before he would settle back to eating.

    Sometimes he just gets so worried. Something has gone wrong for him somewhere but he is totally gorgeous.

    When I was on board this afternoon (Bareback and just holding a handful of mane) the chickens behind him exploded in a flurry of excited wing flapping and took off at a great rate of knots because they saw their dinner coming to the pen. He didn't even bat an eyelid.

    Think I am falling in love with this horse lol.
  12. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Had an interesting ride yesterday. The last few days I have been riding in a halter and lead and he seems happier with that. Not so worried that I am going to yank on his mouth. I play around with the rope lifting it and moving it around and dont get the head lifting and sharp breath intake that wqas happening wiht the reins if I mived them a centimetre.

    Yesterday a friend came out to meet him for the first time.

    I love my friend dearly she is a beautiful lady who has been friends with me since our boys were in preschool together. more then 12 years now. She is a nervous person who is always a little uptight and Mani knew this. He was just that little bit uptight all the time she was there.

    Anyway we put him in nextdoors float just to see what he would do as I have a weekend course coming up with him in a couple of weeks. He was very snorty and worried but went up and was shut in happily enough before relaxing down. Did that twice then went for a ride in the paddock on lead.

    So this journey we are taking together has raised a few questions in my head.

    He is a super sensitive horse with a lovely nature who gets very stressed out and worried over little things. It's like he has had a great start to life then something went wrong somewhere along the line and his previous owner and I are trying to deal with the fall out.

    The questions I have relate to the ethics of teaching a horse non traditional techniques. THis gorgeous horse has been trained really sensitively in the past and I think passed on to an owner who did not understand his training or the things that he is reacting to.
    It's as if he is super responsive to aides, has given what has been asked and then punished for his reactions. Now he reacts with fear expecting explosions and pain after misunderstandings have crept in.

    I dont know if that is what is happening but it sure feels like it. He doesn't feel like he is being nasty, just frightened and confused and expecting bad things to happen.

    So is it right to train a horse in different ways if you are going to pass him on in the end? Or should you consider the possibility that things might go all undone for him and ensure that he knows and understands the more traidtional aides?
    Too much for me to get my head around this morning lol

    So everyday he is getting a little bit of wheaten chaff with palomino gold and a teaspoon of dolomite to settle his oversensitivity.

    He has put on the condition he lost travelling and is relaxing in the paddock. I often go out there and he is snoozing in the sand wallow side by side with Latte. The nextdoor neighbour said yesterday that for the first time he saw him stretched out flat enjoying the sunshine so he is starting to relax and be more at home. He is also starting to say to the other horses that he is not going to put up with their rubbish, instead of turning away and running away from the face pulling.

    I am looking forward to the weekend away and seeing what benefit we come back with. I dont know if he will do much learning there. He may be so overwhelmed with all that is going on but I will come home with some new knowledge to help our relationship.
  13. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    So Mani has had the last two days off riding instead doing silly things to push him out of his comfort zone and into stress and have him realise that the world has not ended and he hasn't died or been hurt.

    Today I put a saddle on him and rode in a bridle. He was calm and happy for me to get on from a drum and walked very calmly beside Shandeh. I lifted the reins and he was calm and happy until he felt weight in the rein in his mouth and then his head went up and he got stressed. Changed to the hackamore bridle and he was worse, starting to head toss and get really worried so we went striaght back to the halter and he was calm, happy listening to directions and happy to walk away from his comfort blanket (Shandeh). We even got a nice amble with a calm happy horse.

    I realise we are going very very slow but every day we are making some progress forward.
  14. sollywolly

    sollywolly Well-known Member

    have enjoy reading your post, mani is a lucky boy to have you, its great to read that you are putting the horse first and taking it slowly, im sure he will get his confindence soon, please keep up the post
  15. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Thanks Sollywolly :)

    OMG. I am just back from a weekend clinic with Lou and Jo Francis.

    So before I went to the clinic when I got on Mani's back he would run away at a walk if that makes sense. It would take time to get him to calm down and settle to a nice walk.

    I could not ask with any degree of pressure for a back or I was likely to trigger a rear. Stopping was more by voice then by rein as he was so reactive to the reins being touched. His head would shoot up into the air and things would get very stressed. Basically he was trying to run away from me up on his back and he was feeling very stressed for a lot of our ride softening only momentarily.

    So this morning was the second day of the clinic. I spent half the night dreaming of the clinic and the things I was learning lol.

    Just on sun up I got up and played with Mani in the arena working him a round me. When I got on his back he stood still and waited for me to find my stirrups and waited for an aide to walk off.

    I now have good whisper light halt off the reins and can see him working toward no rein contact for a halt. I can get a back up for several steps with no stress and can sit on my horse quietly while horses canter around him. If he gets stressed and trys to run I can halt him and circle him with no pressure on his head. All this in a halter and lead instead of using a bitted bridle or the bitmore bridle.

    I can see that he has the sensitivity to be a truely astounding horse if I can have the sensitivity to teach him.
    So instead of me being his teacher he is becoming my teacher.

    He works at liberty in the round yard moving in the direction I point 90% of the time without needing anything more then the pointed direction. I can stand in the middle of the round yard and he will work around me without me having to chase him up or send him on and without him rushing or getting tense and uptight.

    When we arrived he would not come in when invited from the edge of the round yard. Now he comes in and follows like a dog when I leave him at the edge to return to the centre of the round yard.

    Now I have HEAPS of learning/teaching to do. He has trotted with me under saddle but still wants to run so I need to cement in the work we have already established. Do lots of lateral and backing up work and lots and lots of relaxed walk with a little trot thrown in every now and again.

    Magic magic weekend.
    Best money I have spent in a long long time.
  16. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    What a great outcome Sugars Mum. I'm glad you got what you wanted to from the weekend, and now you have the direction that you need.

  17. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Sounds to me SM that you're right on the money... I'd be speculating that this horse was Parelli trained and then somehow got passed on to someone with a very traditional mindset... and a big stick.
    I have seen this more than once - horse learns to read body language so well and then when it reacts to the signals the new owner is (unintentionally) sending out, horse gets punished. The most common one I see is a Parelli trained horse being punished for stopping and turning in on the circle when being lunged - becuase in Parelli world that's fine, whereas in traditional land it's not. There are heaps of other examples.
  18. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    Hi Anna, yes I think you are right.
    He was very sensitivly trained to start with I think.
    I dont know why his last owner didn't sort through the issues as she was doing parelli with him but she was using a bridle and I think he really doesn't like one.

    I am really excited to be doing this work with him and have heaps to learn from him. Just wished I had more money to have more lessons from teh wonderful Lou and Jo. They are lovely lovely people.

    So I will have heaps of fun playing :) I am looking forward to working on the beach no bridle no bit :)
  19. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    I am just so amazed at how fast and with how little effort Mani is improving.
    I had thought this might take up to a year to have a lovely riding horse due to the mental issues he has under saddle but he is already coming around.

    We had some lovely soft relaxed walk under total control this morning. Got on and off with him happy and calm and waiting for my signal before he moved off.

    I am so pleased.

    I cant wait to go out and play with him lol.
  20. Sugar's Mum

    Sugar's Mum Gold Member

    wow how fast does time fly. Since last posting I have moved house and am living with my horses. Very pleased with myself lol.

    However because of the move I haven't been able to do as much riding as I would like.

    However Mani is doing well.

    I now get on any old fashion and he just stands there happily waiting for me to settle my weight and sort myself out. Not an elegant picture at all but certainly he is relaxed. He only shifts to take my weight and then settles in to just stand still.

    When we stand around and do nothing he goes to sleep and lets his head drop way down.

    Such a difference from how he used to be were the instant my weight touched down on his back he would rocket forward as fast as he could before I could even get my feet in the stirrups I would have to allow him to go forward for quite a way before he could listen to me enough to calmly halt. If I were to insist on an instant stop I would get a mini rear in protest that would threaten to get out of hand.

    We are doing a lot of lateral, diagonal and backingup. and not much forward just little bits here and there.

    On the ground he is listening to me so well and doing all sorts of sideways moves. He is a really sweet horse. I am enjoying his time with me.

    Shall have to see what I can do with him tomorrow.

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