Welcome to Cool Man and Honey D. They arrived on Monday and have been settling in quite well. They were a mess when they got here and will need a bunch of work before they get into the program. Honey's tail was one big matt and it literally took two hours to brush out. Cool Man's feet are so much worse than what I remember them being when we looked at them 3 weeks ago! They have had little to no attention in the past year or longer, but they are young and have the potential for many years helping our riders!
Honey D is a 7 year old lineback dun Quarter Horse Mare. She is a big girl and once she gets into shape will be able to carry some of our heavier riders.
- First we look at the horse at their home. We want to see what they are like when they are relaxed. If they pass our de-sensitizing test, we determine if we need that type, size, movement in our program. If we need him, we make sure that he is current on vaccinations, de-worming, and negative coggins.
- When he arrives at the ranch, we keep him isolated from the herd for 24-48 hours. We do this for 2 reasons. First we want to observe him to make sure that he is healthy. Second, it is an opportunity for the current herd and the new horse to smell each other and talk to each other from a distance.
- Then we let the new horse and the herd to meet over a fence. This way they can talk about who is the head of the herd. This process can take 1-2 weeks depending on what the new horse is saying. If he is saying "hi, I want to be a friend and mean no harm to anyone" it can be pretty quick. If he is saying "ha! I will take over this herd. Whatcha gonna do about it!" it will take a little bit longer! We want to avoid any injuries of kicks and bites. Letting them work it out over a fence line minimizes thos injuries!
- During this time, we are testing the new horse, conditioning, and getting to know the new guy. As soon as he tells us that he is ready, we do a mock lesson to make sure that he is ready for our riding lessons.
- If he passes, he goes into lessons. If he doesn't, we make a decision about him going back to his owners or giving him another chance. Some horses love this work, but to some, it it is just too intense. They will hate life if we force it and then will start showing behavioral signs of their displeasure by biting, kicking, bucking, colicking... all things that we want to avoid in a therapeutic riding setting!