As promised I thought I would share my experiences with the different element Horses we looked at in overview in the last blog.
Wood horses are a very interesting bunch. They are not for everyone because they require a certain person to step up to the challenge of being their person. I jokingly refer to Wood horses as CEO’s (Chief executive Officer) of their own corporation. Each human they encounter unknowingly (or knowingly in some cases) submits their resume to be their person and the Wood horse looks you over and says you are fit to fetch my coffee but certainly not to be in charge or even VP (vice president) of their corporation. So, you better bring a very good resume if you want to even co-pilot with a Wood horse. They are horses that I am often relieved when their owners bring to train with me because they are a horse that often suffers abuse because of their strong opinions. The problem is they wont take abuse and that often subjects them to more harsh training because they will fight back and not stand down to dominance and dominant training methods.
That doesn’t mean you can be a pushover with a Wood horse because they will walk all over you if you are. They are looking for balance and fairness in their training and a person who is (in my opinion) a formidable match to them and worthy of their efforts at work. They do not suffer fools and most certainly out smart a lot of people.
I have had a few Wood horses in the last few years and they are a good challenge for someone who is a grounded and clear individual who can convince the Wood horse that your idea is as good if not better than theirs. Once you have proved yourself to the Wood horse, they will work work hard for you and willingly as though they have deemed you worthy of their efforts.
I had a horse named Spade come in for training about six months ago and he had been out of work for about four years. He was quite happy with this arrangement and long vacation so he was not on board with coming back to a training program. He let me know that he was committed to his retirement everyday when I asked him to participate in his training program. People always asked me how I got through to him because he was quite balky (one of the worst I’ve dealt with) and he was prone to throwing his weight around once you did get him unstuck in a not very safe way. How I got through to him was appealing to him with very fair questions that were easy for him to achieve and literally only asking for one step at a time. The bar was low and the praise and appreciation was high for any effort he made. He eventually, realized that not only was I fair but I was quick with appreciation for him and he liked that. I also helped his person understand that there were some underlying physical issues behind his balking and it wasn’t all his nature. So with the help of my Vet and a very patient program designed specifically for him. Spade has become a very willing soul and went from virtually un-rideable or manageable on the ground, To helping his person learn some new more advanced training. Their crowning achievement was being able to go on my Beach ride clinic last year.
My opinion of Wood Horses is I quite like them but they can be challenging and you need to be sure of yourself as they are of themselves. If you have a Wood horse, make sure you are aware that when they get out of balance health wise, Their liver is the organ that gets affected most often. This can cause Muscular skeletal issues (stiffness that they never seem to work out of) as well as chronic hoof issues (poor quality hooves and abscesses). In addition their behavior traits can become very difficult to manage with that physical imbalance.
For my UK people, I am going to be doing and online clinic preview with dates to be announced so keep a look out. If you are interested in the UK clinic you can get more info and Register now