Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trouble in Pony World

Remember how a week or so ago I was promising that I wasn't going to go nuts and get into all that "natural" stuff just because I'm getting a treeless saddle? Well, I still mean it, but Izzy needed her feet done in a bad way. The regular farrier, who I wasn't too thrilled with, wasn't scheduled to come out for several weeks, which irked me. His schedule never seems to line up with when she needs her feet done. I talked to a friend of mine about it, and we had her farrier come out early to do both our horses.

Yes, she (!!) is a barefoot trimmer (!!). First off, there aren't a lot of female farriers in Idaho. It's just sort of a man's job, and Idaho is old school and patriarchal enough that not a lot of women even want to do that. I don't have a problem with a female farrier, but it was unusual enough to note. Second, yes, she does barefoot stuff. I figured it's not a big deal. Izzy isn't wearing shoes right now anyways, so what's the difference?

I was actually quite pleased. She was good, quick, and gentle, and she talked to me about my horse's feet. I like that. The other guy was fast and efficient, but he never said anything and rarely answered questions. Izzy threw a fit about her last hoof, so we just turned her out, did the other horse, then came back and finished Izzy. It was mostly an attention span problem, and I was pleased with how she (the farrier) handled it.

All's well that ends well. Plus, she's $10 cheaper than the guy I didn't like.

In other news, I got Bear out again today. I'd left him alone because with the presentation last week, I just didn't have time to deal with his form of neurosis. I really didn't have time today, either. It was 10 by the time we were done with the farrier, and I needed to get to work. I hate being late to work because I always have to leave early anyways to get to school. Nothing like a full schedule.

That said, I didn't rush Bear. He's one, like most others, that just needs time. I find him frustrating because he just doesn't have an attention span. He kicks almost constantly when I pick up his feet because he's forgotten I'm there and can't figure out why his feet are stuck. It's not malicious; it's just dumb. He was ok to groom, fussy about the saddle, and then absolutely wouldn't take the bridle. Michelle assured me she'd put it on him in the past few days, but then managed not to be there when I was trying. In her defense, she spent yesterday in the emergency room. (Needle in foot=much pain.)

I finally got the bridle on him with another boarder's help. She's a shorter lady used to dealing with tall horses, so she showed me how to ask for him to put his head down and eventually he just gave up and took it. He was awful in the arena. I think he needs more turnout, because he would just jump straight up in the air, then explode bucking, then stop to look at something, all the while forgetting I was there.

Apparently, his owner is claiming that a friend of hers beat this horse around the head and that explains his behavior. I don't really buy that. First off, just being a big, dumb, pushy baby explains most of it. Second, he's not headshy. Sure, he's not wild about complete strangers running up and grabbing his face, but he doesn't have a meltdown, either. Third, and I guess this is a completely different topic, but who on earth just lets their "friend" beat a horse around the face? Maybe I'm imposing my high standards on others, but there's no way I unleash a newbie around a horse until I've drilled into their head that they will absolutely never hurt it. As for more experienced people, I never let them alone if I distrust them at all.

Anyways... I'm soldiering on. I'm thinking about asking for a contract type agreement so we both know what we're working with. I don't feel like training someone else's horse just because I'm a nice person. (I'm really not that nice. Just try beating my horse around the head and you'll find out.) While I know the owners intend to pay me, I think the best path forward is to discuss exactly what they're willing to pay, what I want to make, and how trained the horse is to end up being. It's hard to make decisions without knowing this sort of thing. Also, I rather want them to provide the tack. It's their horse and if does something stupid, I'd rather mine and Cathy's not be damaged. Is that so unreasonable?


  1. Finding the perfect farrier is a dream come true. Hope this woman works out to be yours. That'd be great!

    As for Bear, patience, patience. Horses like that need consistent, quiet discipline. And, he needs to begin to realize when he is being handled by a human, he needs to pay attention.

    Sounds as if he has not had any regular work at all. Some good ground work might be the best start to get him more focused.

    I think a contract with your expected fees in writing would be an excellent idea. That way, both you and the owners will understand the expectations.

    Keep us all in the loop on this, and do be careful if Bear is a handful to manage.

  2. Yeah, I agree with you. I'd have a written contract of expectations on both sides of the deal. People can say anything they want you to hear but it doesn't mean they will follow through. I had a trainer that taught me lessons and everything whom said I would get commission for working with the little ponies they were selling, but I never got that and even after all the training I put on them, they charged me for even showing them (aka putting "mileage") when they said I could ride them whenever and I always thought that showing would help with the sells? I even paid for everything else too, show fees, trainer fees, stall fee, gas, etc. Then out of the blue they said I owed $35 for using the pony in the show that I trained!!!
    So yes, from my experience, have everything written down definately before hand. :)
    Good luck!


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