Archive for June, 2009

A lot of Firsts..

Well, this is the initial post of what I hope will be an informative, fun, and interesting blog.  Not only is this venture a first for me, but I will be sharing my experiences as I work with my first saddlebred, who also happens to be the first youngster whose training I’m entirely responsible for.  What an experiment!

To date, I’ve had Elvis for four weeks.  He arrived early on Memorial Day after a very long trip from Wisconsin.  Sadly, I’ve not yet ridden Elvis due to a number of reasons, the most important being a quest to piece together properly fitting tack.  However, we’ve done extensive ground work, mostly following Michael Schaffer’s method, and have taken our time getting to know Elvis.

Getting to know Elvis… this has been an experience.  While still learning who he is, I can say that he is by far the brightest and most brilliant horse I’ve ever worked with; he enjoys learning, and has discovered the “game” of learning.  His personality is almost palpable.  He is jovial, jocular, willing, pleasant, and simply a joy to work with.  I can’t compare him to anything specific, but my husband likes to describe him as “more than a horse”, with characteristics of a dog.  I’d have to agree.

As mentioned before, we’ve done a lot on the ground with this boy.  He came with sixty days training.  From what I’ve seen thus far, this was a quality education.  He is solid in long lines, respectful on the ground, and reportedly very light in the hand.  With us, he’s also learned about baths, ground tying, sacking out, leading, walking on trails, voice commands, and more long lining.  I admit, I was expecting some behavior in line with the “crazy saddlebred” attitude, but I’m yet to see it.  In fact, Elvis arrived after ten days of transport in fantastic condition and with a wonderful disposition.  He seamlessly integrated himself into his new home within an hour.  Sure, we gave him ample time to settle, but this was more because we were expecting an understandable issue not because he gave us a reason to move slowly.

One of the best aspects of this introductory period has been watching my husband get to know Elvis.  Actually, this is not only his very first horse, but the first horse he’s ever gotten to work alongside and bond with.  I was very nervous at the onset of the ownership, simply because nearly all of the time “green + green = black and blue”, but I am amazed at how fast a learner and intuitive my husband is, as well as how tractable and genuine Elvis has been with him.  My husband is pictured to the left teaching Elvis how to ground tie.  This was Elvis’ second time (the first being with me about twenty minutes before) with ground tying, and my husband’s first time directly teaching a horse anything outside of respectful leading.

Well, this has been a very generalized review of the past few weeks spent with Elvis.  I wish I had the opportunity to detail each of our accomplishments thus far, all of the funny things Elvis has done, and every one of my realizations about this specific horse as well as his breed in general.  However, I’ve decided instead to pick up from here in detail, partly in tribute to the end of his trial period and the beginning of our friendship.  As many of my readers will know, fully appreciating a horse is a journey in and of itself.  When you have a truly special equine, each day reveals more nuances to their character as well as more layers to what is hoped will be a wonderful working relationship.   I look forward to sharing our progressive steps, as well as introducing a member of one of the most discounted and discredited breeds.


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