I’ve got to ride quite a few colts this past Summer. In my string I have two 3 year olds, and a 4 year old. The four year old mare has the most rides on her, and recently, as I was astride, I realized something — she isn’t comfortable in the West end of our barn. She needed help to get comfortable.
I thought to myself, “why is this?” Well, self, I said, “It’s because you saddle and unsaddle her in the East end all the time”. What an easy fix, right? So that day, I unsaddled her on the opposite end of the barn. I mean the horse is mobile, right? I don’t need to come in and do the same thing every time. At the end of a ride, I hang that saddle on the fence 50% of the time and leave it on the ground the other, so why not unsaddle somewhere different everyday, and take the horse to the saddle? Bazinga!
The next ride, I brought her in and groomed her in the middle of the arena. Then I proceeded to hang out with her there for about 20 minutes. I’ve spoken at length about just being with your horse, so this seems apt for me: no agenda, just hanging with my best girl (actually the only mare I’m currently riding, but I digress). She cocked a back leg, let me lean on her while I scrolled through Instagram. Sometimes, just being in a place together is the best way to get where you want to go.
Our ride that day was pretty spectacular. She rode on the West end of the barn like a champ, despite the fact that our crazy barn cat likes to camp back there and stalk the horses, which is probably part of why the colts may find that space to be scary- but there’s going to be lots of scary stuff in their world: dead cows in the pasture, signs at rodeos and equine events, ropes flying and more. They’ve got to learn to look to us to help them realize there’s nothing to be afraid of and by changing the routine, we can do just that: Help them get comfortable in any situation. Give them time to think, give them time to check back with you — are you freaking out? If so, your horse may have good cause to freak out too. So if we’re good, they can be good.
Hopefully my moment of introspection will help you with your horses in some way, shape or form. Enjoy the journey and enjoy the ride.
Have you ever known someone with a horse that would consistently frustrate them with something they were asking, but someone more experienced might come along and get there with almost no extra effort? For me, it had to do with getting horses to be still, be with me. One time it was the horse that wouldn’t stand still when I had a calf roped.
You can hear a little more about that story on the Let Freedom Rein podcast. If you’ve already listened, you know it was Ol’ Nub Long that helped me through that. Same type of lesson, in totally different circumstances, I learned from his son, Dave “Daviento” Long when I was struggling to get better at saddling a colt. Dave is as good as I’ve seen at saddling a colt. Such a matter of fact presentation.
When I asked him about how he was able to get it done so smooth, he just chuckled (the same chuckle he still does when he repeatedly out ropes us) and said something like “There’s nothing to worry about. Either I’ve done enough to get him ready, or not, and he’ll let me know. If it goes well, we move on, if it doesn’t we start again.” Incidentally, I’ve never seen Dave make it look like anything other than saddling old reliable.
What Dave helped me realize 20 years ago, is that it was a lack of confidence on my part that it’d be alright either way. I had some confidence around horses but not a lot of experience in saddling a horse that wasn’t tied up. It was just a lack of confidence that it’d be alright. Once I understood that the worst thing that happened was that I go back and revisit a few things that would make my entire relationship with the horse better, I brought a lot less uncertainty to the encounter.
So how do we get that confidence? Odds are not everyone gets to be around as many horses as we get do; and that’s the surest way. This lesson helped us realize that by breaking a situation down to its component parts we can make things more achievable. If we can build confidence in performing those smaller, component parts, that confidence we build in ourselves can project through uncertainty.
In this video Jenn’s working on bridling a colt, and she shows some of the component parts for bridling. You’ll notice there’s no bridle in sight. Jenn is able to comfortably handle the equipment, the horse, and the situation.
Now, think about your situation that frustrated you. What could you do, short of handling a few hundred more horses, to get some more experience that you can gain confidence in? Have real world example you’d like some feedback on? Get in touch with us here, or better yet come on out to our inaugural horsemanship workshop at the ranch in May.
“We’ve been preparing for this for over 20 years. When we first got to see Ol’ Nub Long introduce us to his interpretation of what Hunt and Dorrance had been trying to show the world about horses; it seemed impossible that we’d ever have our own program to offer because there was so much to take in.”
We feel like we’re ready, and we’re excited to share the opportunity with you. And do we dare mention the week will end with an acoustic, private concert with Steve Turner Music – a Nashville recording artist?
Jason helped Zach dig into a bit about “the why” of how he became who is is. We hope you enjoy the podcast as much as Zach enjoyed sharing; Jason does a great job, and we look forward to riding with him someday.
Triple Crown Feed is our feed of choice when Mother Nature (ie – the beautiful grass of South Dakota) needs a little help. When it comes to our older horses, foals, or our performance horses, we don’t look any further than Triple Crown products – specifically Triple Crown Senior.
Triple Crown Senior may be our feed of choice, but this company offers many products that may be a better fit for your horse’s specific needs. The 30% Ration Balancer can supply your horse with all their daily vitamin and mineral needs in as little as 1lb/day/1000lb horse. Triple Crown Complete can provide maximum calories in this beet pulp based, 12% fat formula. There is an option for every horse.
Triple Crown feed is a plant based feed consisting of alfalfa and beet pulp, rice bran and other forms of healthy fats. It contains essential amino acids as well as pre-and probiotics which are helpful for all horses, but especially those going down the road who may experience stress.
It’s high in fat, and low in sugars, which is important for all horses. Fat is one of the most important things a performance horse can have in their diet because it aids in quicker recovery times and is an excellent source of energy for anaerobic activities, such as sprinting. And it’s exceptionally helpful (see link above) in the older horse when their teeth begin to fail. Just ask our two senior citizen stallions, WDX Banjobreeze Baby and WDX Nukem, how they like their feed — you’re going to get an overwhelming, YUM!
Proper Nutrition is the key to the health and performance of your horses. Triple Crown Feed is a premium horse feed designed to help your horse get all they need. From fixed formulas, to the addition or organic minerals, prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes, they want to make sure your horse has maximum nutrition.
To kick off the new year here at the ranch, and to celebrate all that’s going to take place here this year, we’d like to give away a Triple Crown goodie package, so you can see the results for yourself!
What are you currently feeding your horse? We’d love to know why you feed what you feed.
We’d like to introduce our newest stud prospect, four year old, DX Tabasco Tivo, aka, Cisco. He’s gorgeous, brown, kind, quiet, and friendly with a pretty good start under saddle. He’ll be getting his own stallion page soon enough but we wanted to show off how pretty he is- now. He is by our stallion, Poco Tivio Pep, and was the last foal out of one of our oldest broodmares- Sniper Rae Buck.