Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The "Falcon" story is long I suppose.  He has always had issues from the beginning.  But still he was great on the trail once I got on him.

Issue 1:  His feet.  1/2012  One hour into a shoeing experience with him standing quietly and the farrier still didnt have his shoes fully on him  but he was standing quietly until the water truck drove by and spooked him.  He danced off of the mat and slipped, ended up stepping on his left newly applied shoe (that still needed more nails in it)  The shoe slid sideways and he must have gotten jabbed with a nail?  no clue.
But after that?  there was no holding him for the shoeing.  He tried rearing several times.  I lunged him then brought him back.  Same result.  Another farrier was at the facility and saw my farriers plight and tried to help.  Between the two of them they finally got him done but not without using a twitch.  And not without dodging several rearing episodes...the total episode lasted 3 hours.  I would have had them quit except that we had on 4 shoes which were only partially nailed on.

1 month in to his training he supposedly got a stone bruise or something and was lame.  The vet came out, took some X-rays and ascertained that he had minimal ringbone issues.  Several injections were given in the area for swelling and pain relief.  Also, the new farrier had basically trimmed his feet down very short and it seemed to take forever for them to grow out as they were working on getting a better angle on his feet.  Finally his feet were looking pretty good...

On my last visit to see him last week he had BAR shoes on the fronts and no shoes on the backs!  Why?  how?  WHAT???  The trainer had not communicated with me at all.  Then told me I owed her money for shoeing.  I told her no-that the farrier had billed me and I had paid him directly for the previous shoeing but this BAR shoe thing was new and I wasn't interested in paying for something I did not know about.
When I inquired about the back feet and no shoes at all, she told me that she had not been there for the shoeing and that the farrier wouldn't shoe his back feet without her being there.
That was a red flag for me-I asked her to explain and she said "well, he is really really good with his front feet but not always with his backs and I have to give him a sedative sometimes to do his backs"

It was all I could do not to be enraged.  So instead of re-educating Falcon she drugged him.
Lovely, just lovely!  NOT!

I have re-read my emails to her about what type of training/desensitization that I thought he needed.
She assured me that she handled those types of behaviors.  I spoke to several people who she had conditioned horses for and they gave her kudos-but what I realize now is that she didn't train any of those horses.  She was only conditioning them for me...
I am too trusting AND I have previously had horses trained in Virginia and PA.  I sent my horse 4 hours away to be trained and 6 weeks later went back-went for a ride-then took my "ponies" home.
Then of course we had to "learn" each other...but at least I had honest/good trainers.

ok...this is already too long for issue 2.  So I guess I will end here and now and ponder it further.
Any advice gladly taken.


Traci Boyajian said...

I'll say something maybe other people won't agree with. It's ok to give up. If the horse is giving you more aggrivation than pleasure, you will probably be happier with a different horse. After all, we spend alot of time and money on horses and we should have a net gain of pleasure for all our expenses. Otherwise, what's the point?

If your horse goals are to learn as much as possible about training and behavior correction, a difficult horse can teach us alot and a trainer willing to work with both of you and mold you into a team would be beneficial.

If your goals are to be able to get on your horse and go out for the day with only a sprinkling of behavior issues that are easily dealt with in your skill level(as no horse is perfect), then this might not be the horse for you.

Unless you can get another well-schooled horse and afford to work with this one too. I don't know what your situation is. I've had difficult horses before and at the time I was really into training and molding a horse but I also had my pleasure horses too.

Now, I am at a point in my life where I just want things to go smoothly and I don't want to be dumped on my butt anymore. At least, I want it to be a raritiy rather than the norm. The horses I have now, I get on them and I am pretty much assured of having a good, peaceful time. And that's what I want.

Horse/rider relationships are like marriages. You can't have major personality clashes and similar things are important to harmony - mutual respect, similar interests, and liking eachother's company.

Sorry about the long-winded comment but I feel your pain and hope that whatever the outcome, you find happiness with a horse. :)

Bird said...

First of all, I do agree to some extent with Traci about a different horse. This IS supposed to be fun, it is in fact, *gasp* a hobby. A passion, a love, absolutely, BUT. Not every horse is appropriate for every rider, and we can go through a lot of physical and mental torment trying to make something happen that may never happen.

On the other hand, WHERE will Falcon end up? With training and feet issues..I'd hope to get him a little more steady on things before he went on his way, unless you found that perfect horseman home, but those are rare..anyway, just some thoughts, I look forward to hearing more details from you :)

Oh, and now I really think I know who that "trainer" is..sending horses out for training is such a scary thing, my friend used 3 different "trainers" in the Wheatland to Folsom area and not one of them was worth a dime. And more than one of them endangered her horses. Yikes. I am glad to have found a really awesome trainer who comes to my house weekly so I can supervise/learn with my horse all at once.

irish horse said...

I will echo the comments that if the horse isn't the right fit, no matter how hard it is on your heart, it is best for all involved for everyone to be happy, even if that means somewhere else.

But it also sounds like Falcon's been given a bad hand in all this, and he isn't to blame for the bad feet or misbehavior, as he hasn't been correctly taught any other way.

Only you can decide if you want to work through this. Maybe turning him out in the pasture, letting him decompress, relax, and re-evaluate in a month. I know when boarding it is hard because of finances, but you really couldn't sell him acting the way he is to anyone "good" probably.

And for the feet issues, I think you'll need to find a patient farrier/trimmer who can work though things quietly. The last thing Falcon needs is sedation or a twitch, since he now associates feet=bad things.

I spent so much time in the beginning just leading, handwalking on trails, spending time not actively training, but quietly training, and bonding with my horse. IF you have the time (I know you have 2 horses) maybe this would create the connection for you both again.