Daylight Spending Time!

With Daylight Savings time I always think I’ll have tons more time to get things done during the day- in reality I only just get MORE busy! 🙂

Things are going great with the CANTER horses here in NC.. Jersey and Vida have moved to their new homes! While we are sad to see them go we are delighted with their opportunities to become the wonderful partners they are meant to be with their new owners and riders.

There are certain questions that I am asked all the time.. here are a few:

Why are all the CANTER horses so quiet?  When do you know when to start their retraining? There are many more but for the sake of time I’ll try to tackle just these with simple answers.

Well, there are certain things we do with all the horses.. number one is that they get turned out for at least 3 months before I hop on.

In this picture (taken last summer) Jersey said.. I’m being turned out for a few months before i startz my retrainings.. then I will be awesome! ( and he was right! )

One can have a few theories about why our horses are so quiet.. and for the most part they really are. There is no crazy bucking during the first rides, not a lot of spooking on hacks.. their biggest acts of distraction are simply that: they just don’t know any better. They don’t realize I’m trying to TEACH them anything… at first I’m just an annoying thing on their back.

Hurreador sez i lives out and I eats my hay..life iz gud..

CANTER has learned through time that our method of turning horses out for at least 3 months before retraining begins is a system that works.. it does a world of good…No, this does not make a horse TIRED, it makes them relax. They are young healthy animals and need the time to “let down” from life on the track. Certainly a good amount of turnout is necessary for their mental health as well as their physical health.. when I turn them back out after training it isn’t uncommon for them to trot or canter off, throwing a few bucks in then. They don’t do this while we ride them though,  I like to think this is because they are happy!

Mazzie sez oh hai!

Not only does it allow them to detox.. it also gives their feet time to be rebalanced, their muscles and bodies to reform and for them to realize that their life has changed… When they go into retraining they are assessed at first with a little walk, trot and canter in the ring.. to make sure they are feeling ok, to see how much steering and brakes I have – or don’t have… Then we like to transition them to a program  of long walking hacks to build muscle, balance and confidence. When their MINDS are quiet my job gets EASY.. The mind that is trusting, and relaxed and happy… THIS is the brain that can be trained!

I love me some Burgiss..!

I feel strongly that a sense of routine, keeping it short and sweet, and starting with long hacks is KEY to producing a quiet confident horse. During their DOWN time the horses live out, are fed, given hay, have farrier, vet and dentist visits.. they are wormed, and groomed, but not ridden.. We’ll bring them up to the ring once in while to see how they are moving. And to assess if they are ready for and WANT a job..

Daisy asks if she can be NEXT!

Each horse is different.. it is not uncommon for a horse to be aloof when they first come off the track.. . some are way too fit, some are just sore from track work, some might need minor injuries taken care of, others might just need a break from people, activity and work.. they’re just babies after all… Such a horse will sometimes not want to be caught in the field..will give you the stink eye when you come out to get other horses.. they’ll often make it clear they want no part of human kind.. Then one day they won’t trot off immediately when they see you .. they won’t herd the other horses away from you.. they’ll cautiously approach me when I’m putting a halter on another horse.. suddenly the aloof one will poke me in the back with their nose… I’ll pick them out of the herd and groom them one day, and soon the one that was aloof is now the one that greets me at the gate.

When they are relaxed and quiet the finally realize I’m not just riding them for my own amusement.. or just to annoy them… I also use a lot of routine with the horses.. and keep the sessions short.. 20 minutes is PLENTY long for a green horse that hasn’t been in work. At this stage of the game I want the horses to think their new job is EASY and FUN.  Quit before the horse gets tired or bored or sour.. that is when the tired overrides the desire to learn and please you.

TB’s love having a job when they’re feeling up to it.. They love attention!


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One Response to Daylight Spending Time!

  1. Dana Resciniti says:

    Suzanne – I love reading about your horses and how you work with them. The photos are fantastic. You and the ponies all look really happy! They are so beautiful and looks like you are getting some lovin’ from them!

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