May 4, 2015

Breaking Colts: Gunsmoke

This, is Gunsmoke. He is a two year old Quarter Horse from a horse ranch in Montana. Pierson Quarter Horses have been producing great working ranch horses for years. We've been so impressed with their horses that we bought Gunsmoke sight unseen, then drove eleven hours to meet someone part way. All but one of our horses come from that ranch. He has Driftwood and Dry Doc in his pedigree. He is very kind, gentle, and wants to be around us. Hopefully this will make him easier to train.

The Ranch Hand decided to do some ground work with him over the past couple weekends. Then this weekend we finally had enough time to put the first two rides on him.

Teaching them to "flex" is a very important start when training horses. You pull their head around until their noses touch or almost touch their side. They have to "give" their head to you. This will help when teaching them to turn, but also it is one way to get control of a horse. He is doing very well with this. Just a natural, almost like he's been waiting for this day.

The first time you put pressure in the stirrups you have them flexed, so you have control.
 Every time you get on in the beginning you should flex them to the side you are mounting.

Then practice flexing a lot while you are on.

With pressure from your legs and the same noises you used when lunging them on the ground, (clicks, kisses,) you move them out walking at first and then trotting and loping later. The Ranch Hand just did some walking and trotting in circles and practiced stopping. This is the foundation.

So you can imagine what happens now. I take over during the week. The last time I started a horse was five years ago and I decided my horse starting days were over. But, once you start a horse it's important to work with it every day. Consistency is key to making a good horse. This week I plan on brushing him down, saddling and riding him in the corrals and picking up his feet every day.  I will work on lunging him and flexing on the ground and while riding him. Another important thing to review every so often is called sacking out. We have an orange tarp that is just for shaking around the horses, walking them over, and just letting them get used to noisy moving things. This will make them less jumpy. The Ranch Hand will introduce the next level of training on the weekends and I will practice them during the week. I hope this horse can serve two masters! You know what the scriptures say! :)
Stay tuned to see Gunsmoke go to work on the Orton Ranch!

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