Up here in northern Minnesota, horse training can get a little spotty in the wintertime, what with ice, extreme cold and heavy deep snow. This winter had it all. It was the worst ever for riding. A January rainstorm left a solid inch of ice, which lasted all winter, making riding impossible. Then came the blizzards and finally the mud. However, winter is over. I have four green broke horses and for the moment I have no outside trainees so I’m making it a goal to finish these four; Jihad, Dawn Treader, Kiwi and Crusoe.
Green broke and finished have fairly relative meanings so I’ll give my own fairly broad definition here and then get specific with each horse as I proceed to log their progress. To me green broke means the horse stands for the saddle and bridle and then safely allows a rider to mount; carrying a rider it moves out, stops, turns both directions and backs up a couple steps, all to the rider’s aids or cues. Accept for Crusoe, the horses I mentioned in the above paragraph do all these things but they have various levels of ability and traceableness, which forces me to customize my training for each individual horse.
Of course, a finished horse is one that does the job he’s been trained for. My goal for these horses is to do some basic riding utilities, which will include giving to leg pressure, stopping square, backing up without resistance at any distance and turning on whichever leg they are asked. In short, my goal is to encourage some finesse and consistency about what they are already doing.
Jihad is nine years old. There was some evidence of abuse in his past. The green breaking was difficult but he seems to have lost a lot of the fear he came with. Underneath the panic attacks he used to have I can now see a solid, calm horse. Unlike the other horses on the list, I plan to train him to drive, so during his green training I taught him to ground drive and pull light weight. I hope to enlist his help for pulling in logs for firewood next winter. I brought him into the round pen yesterday and he immediately joined up. He was slow and reluctant to move but he was calm. His back was never arched or stiff and we took a pleasant, quiet trail ride.
Dawn Treader, from Stamp’n Kid/Dancer, was born on our place. She’s ultra hot-blooded, meaning she’s very sensitive, and willful besides. She is already very sensitive to leg cues. She half passes elegantly without losing any impulsion or rhythm. She moves out at a fast walk so I have to be careful she doesn’t become jiggy. She has been a tough horse to start but I enjoy her immensely. Similar to my ride on Jihad, Dawn Treader and I had a great, uneventful trail ride–a good start for resuming training.
Dawn Treader has bucked with me on board three times and thrown me off twice. Jihad has bucked with me three times but I managed to stay on. When Dawn Treader threw me I wasn’t hurt, but when Jihad bucked I was stiff for the next few days even though I didn’t fall off. His buck was bone-jarring hard and long.
Kiwi is a five-year-old Arabian, a Titan/Dancer daughter, 15 hands. She is levelheaded and on her way to becoming a good, steady horse.
Crusoe (Titan/Red Dee) is a four-year-old gelding not quite 15 hands and appears to be growing. He is half Arab and half Quarter Horse. A year ago I put in four or five days with him. During these last three days I’ve resumed training. Of the three, he is the least trained as he has only been introduced to training, but so far everything is going along nicely.