If you want to bring life back into focus, to feel more grounded, to know what is important and help someone else, I highly suggest volunteering at Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio.
In a barn on a hill you can surround yourself with life and death challenges that will remind you that life is truly a gift. There is work for anyone from mixing milk or cleaning stalls to washing foal bottoms or simply sitting and giving much needed love.
And that may have been the biggest take away I got from my recent visit to Last Chance Corral; food and care are needed but LOVE should not be underestimated. Many of the foals are sad or depressed…something that cannot be explained but must be felt.
All the foals I have been around before Last Chance Corral have been secure in their knowledge of who they were because of their mothers. At Last Chance Corral this knowledge of security and love must come from the humans and amazingly the foals respond.
This video is only a glimpse into my stay at Last Chance Corral. Spread the word…it might just help to save a life.
I have officially been in the truck too long! I found this video on Youtube where they are comparing ‘regular people’ and ‘horse people’ and the clip at 5:55 had me laughing with tears in my eyes!
This could be caused by the fact that yesterday we spent ten hours in the truck pulling the trailer from Ohio back toward Texas and we are back in it today…already two and a half hours down the road. Our kids have been raised driving long distances and I have always wondered how this has affected them.
Two years ago we pulled into our destination after a five hour drive and our ten year old said, “Wow, we’re here already!
We have known for years that all this travel is good for the horses…maybe it is good training for the kids also!
**Here is the video…leave a comment and let me know which you thought was the funniest.**
“Hi Stacy, just to follow on with this a little, I have been following your Jac series with interest. Very thought provoking and inspiring stuff. It got me thinking about the differences between a very well bred horse like Jac’s brain and others without such amazing bloodlines. Do you notice a marked difference in the brain and trainability of the well bred reining horse?-Scott”
The best way for me to try to describe it is to compare the horses to dogs. A horse like Jac that comes from a line of horses that has been breed specifically for reining is like buying a border collie that has come from a line that was bred specifically for herding.
Big breed associations like Quarter Horses have bloodlines in them that are well known for certain traits. Training theses horses has a familiar feel because they have been breed for physical and mental traits. Just as a collie will work livestock more naturally that a doberman a reiner will often train easier than one not bred for it. It makes the training easier…but doesn’t necessarily mean that the horse is more intelligent, just that it excels in that area.
Buying a horse with unknown bloodlines or bloodlines that aren’t sport specific might be like going to the pound and adopting a dog. The unknown factor doesn’t mean that the dog is less intelligent or less trainable and amazing animals pop up in many places…..just watch this bunny rabbit!
“Stacy, What percentage of ‘failures’ in horses do you get, or do you research their bloodline and background and pretty much know beforehand if the horse will train well? I love watching your videos!”
Interesting question! The answer to the question really depends on how the words ‘success’, ‘failure’ and ‘goals’ are defined.
Newt likes laying down on the job.
With my own personal horses I have the freedom to make an educated guess about what the horse will likely excel at…but if it doesn’t work I can change the goal. An example of this would be a horse I bought a couple of years ago as a ‘project’. My main goal was to rebuild his foundation so he could be a solid citizen. Along the way I trained him to be a reiner. He was good at it…but he was sold as a roping horse. I didn’t consider his career change to be a failure…it wasn’t my main goal. I don’t know if you ever watched the cartoon Lilo and Stitch but the main character, Lilo, always said she was looking for the creatures ‘one true home’…that is how I look at my horses.
I think your question was probably more ‘sport’ specific, so I will answer it that way also.
Many of the horses that I ride have been ‘created’ because my husband Jesse has recommend certain mares be bred to certain stallions. Jesse has ‘created’; Whizards Baby Doll (Roxy), Can Can Vaquero (2011 Freestyle Champion), SV Peppy Whiz (Rookie of the Year Horse) and other horses that have won over $100,000 in combined earnings. Jesse ‘created’ Jac also. Jesse was trying to create horses that would be successful in the reining pen. If we define “success” as horses who earned money in the reining pen then with his knowledge he has had about a 75% success rate. The rate is lower that maybe it could have been because some horses were sold to people who didn’t rein with them, they showed in cutting or barrels or trail rode. They weren’t ‘reining’ money earners…but they were still nice horses….were they a success or a failure?
One of the reasons that training for the public can be a challenge is because of how these words are defined. I have the freedom with my own personal horses to ‘go with the flow’ and know that success is having a happy well trained horse that will be enjoyed by someone. That is the reason why I can enjoy all horses…because my ‘success’ isn’t defined by the show pen.
The goal for Jac’s first horse show wasn’t to win a prize, the goal was to use the whole experience as a learning and training session.
The atmosphere is a lot of the training; many horses around, warm up pen, bathing, riding, preparing, walking into the pen alone, odd hours, etc.
Gathering information is key to predicting how a horse will handle future experiences. By making the first several trips to shows very low pressure the horse is more likely to have a positive experience.
Jac’s first class was a green horse class and the goal was to do the maneuvers correct with little or no degree of difficulty. Unfortunately, Jac broke gait (went from a lope to a trot) when slowing down from the large fast circle to the small slow circle. In the video I explain, “I’m going to blame that on me…I wasn’t helping him or guarding him…I was using the class to gather information. Had this been a show I was concerned about I would have helped him. Instead I learned Jac was very relaxed.”
The learning that takes place at a show is not only the horse. The rider also learns how to better prepare and show the horse.
I answer a question about my goals when taking a horse to a show or a trail ride for the first time; what types of things do you do to ensure a good experience for the horse.
I explain that many people ride their horses harder at a show or when they haul them somewhere than they do at home. When this happens the horse learns to expect hard work when they are hauled.
I ride my horses harder at home than I do at the shows so that the horse learns that traveling doesn’t require more work.