Stacy’s Video Diary Jac-Episode 33- Behind the scenes look at horse training at an expo
Total training time-139 hours 30 minutes
When traveling with horses to shows, trail rides, clinics or expos it is often the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff that seasons them more that the event itself.
Before the event even began I was riding in the arena where I would be speaking. This is also the same arena that the freestyle reining is held in during the Quarter Horse Congress which is why I said, “Jac’s pretending we’re getting ready to go in the freestyle.”
There is a quote that says, “Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”-Robert H. Schuller
I explain that there are often times when riding horses that the horse will anticipate things; for example a reining horse anticipating the lead change when coming through the middle of the show pen….because a lead change always happens in the middle during a show.
Many people think that avoiding the problem area is a solution. The problem with this thinking is that the lead changes cannot be avoided during showing…so by ‘avoiding’ the problem area during training you are actually highlighting the fact that the ONLY time you deal with that area is when showing.
I explain that I do patterns like the 4 leaf clover pattern (shown on the DVD Basic Body Control and Bridleless Riding: How Does She Do That?) at home so that I can ‘open the can of worms’ and work on the issue at home. By using a repetitive pattern, such as the 4 leaf clover, the opportunity to train through the anticipation phase become possible. When the horse knows that a left turn is coming and the rider corrects the problems such as ducking and diving, the horse become aware that although there are repetitive things coming-they should still wait for and respect the rider.
The video also shows a ‘behind the scenes’ of Jac’s celebrity life including getting into Jac’s ‘celebrity’ stall, lunch on the go (PB &J) with Stacy and Jac, saddling up, and warming up for a demo.
The chaos of traveling with horses is what gets them ‘seasoned’; trucks, people, other horses, flags, carts, etc.
Jac encountered his first ‘scared’ moment of the expo when a small driving team entered the warm up pen. Listen as I explain how I used the distraction as a ‘test’ for Jac.
Jac handled this whole experience quite well. I show a closing video of Jac in his ‘celebrity’ stall as the expo is closing (I try sneaking up on him) and we see that Jac is relaxed and confident…exactly what we want to see in our horses.
My favorite part is when I ‘sneak’ up on Jac and he stops chewing…I don’t know why but I always laugh when horses stop chewing to focus…it makes me think of a human freezing ‘mid-chew’ and I can’t help but laugh!
The mini’s finally made the trip to Texas! They went to Maine last summer so this wasn’t their first long ride in the trailer. I postponed bringing them when we moved down in February because I knew they would need to be body clipped as soon as we got here. They grew winter coats for temperatures -24 degrees Fahrenheit and Texas was significantly warmer. We had blanketed the horses in Ohio to prepare them for the sudden temperature change but the minis had to wait.
I got the message from them that they wanted to be clipped….
Texas has been about 30-40 degrees warmer than Ohio so I had the clippers ready to help them remove their coats. These mini’s grow hair coats that are NOT like horses. They remind me more of a Husky dog with an undercoat that is incredibly thick.
They have never been body clipped before but were pretty tolerant of it. It was taking me on average, three passes with the clippers; one to remove the outer layer, another to remove the undercoat, and a final pass to clean up the remaining fuzz.
I used a pair of regular clipper and a pair of body clipper, alternating them to allow each pair to cool. Even so I had to stop after clipping for several hours straight. I’m headed out to finish the job now as it is headed up to 81 degrees today.
Some people consider blanketing, body clipping, etc. to be ‘unnatural’ for horses. In a way they are correct because horses in nature are not body clipped or blanketed. However, they are not telling the whole story when they make these statements. Horses in the wild don’t have their feet trimmed, or their wounds doctored, or many other things that we routinely do for our horses to improve their lives. A horse moving from Ohio to Texas in two days is also not natural…so we step in and help out.
My husband, Jesse, was giving a lesson one day and I heard him say, “People have problems with horses because they either don’t know or don’t pay attention.” I quickly wrote it down and made a mental note to find a photo that would match it. There is so much truth in the statement. I don’t know anyone who chooses to have problems with horse. Most problems are caused because the human didn’t know;
- didn’t know that running home every day would cause a horse who would run away
- didn’t know that catching horses only to work them often ends in a horse who avoids being caught
- didn’t know that rides either add to or subtract from the horses training…and a horse can be ‘untrained’ as well as trained
Sometimes ‘not knowing’ also is a lack of seeing the ’cause and effect’ which is part of the learning process. Someone paying attention would begin to notice when:
- the horse begins to anticipate running home
- the horse begins to avoid being caught
- the horse is declining in training
Many things like rearing can be prevented or stopped if you can see the beginning…the head tossing, the refusal to go forward. Inexperience often causes people to miss these smaller signs. People who succeed with horses often:
- ride with other experts-take a lesson, etc
- watch videos of themselves riding to improve themselves
- reflect on mistakes they have made and make a plan to improve
Everyone makes mistakes…but not everyone learns from them. Be one who learns.
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.**