By Jay O’Jay with Bronwen Belenkie
It’s time I posted an update on how things are going at Stoddart Creek. My last entry started and ended with optimistic hopes and the excitement of one of my most challenging training projects to date – training a wild mustang and gaining her trust.
Folks, this is not a project for any green rider to tackle alone. As this process unfolds we are actually building a training foundation that will affect this horse for the rest of her life (so we’d better know what were doing here). Of course, there is always our personal safety to consider – which is put in jeopardy every time we work with untrained horses. So I continue to slowly work with this mare. There is no reason to rush and make slipshod mistakes. The time and patience it takes to work effectively with these wild horses cannot be overemphasized – so I caution anyone keen to take on the challenge.
Starting young colts or for that matter starting any horse simply means that our aim is to introduce them to the world of humans. This mare was introduced to people in a less than an ideal setting. She was handled roughly and carelessly from the moment she was rounded up. Like any horse that is mishandled, this has left deep emotional scars. This has made this particular mare very skeptical and non-trusting towards humans. So, I must work carefully, as gaining her trust will be my biggest challenge.
I currently have the mustang’s owner Matt working on re-establishing a connection with his horse. By using an approach and retreat program to build her confidence in him, I have ask Matt to start touching her gently, first with his hand, then a grooming brush and finally with his lead rope. He’s working exclusively on her left side for the time being. Our goal is to approach her and catch her without causing any fear. Once Matt can put a halter on her, he will start grooming the right side of her body – the side she protects the most. Baby steps.
Come see me at The Mane Event in Red Deer
Other than the wild mustang, working with my other horses and revamping my website, we’ve also been busily preparing for the upcoming Mane Event in Red Deer April 27-29, 2007. I’ll be participating in the Trainer’s Challenge and competing against two American trainers Raye Lochert and Steve Rother.
Three days, three untrained colts and three judges. We’ll all draw straws and see what we can do to start these young horses properly – all the while making sure we keep the interests of the horse our first priority. This we do in front of hundreds of spectators so I hope you can stop by to take it all in. It will be very educational all-round and give you some tips when you work with your own horse. The backbone of this trainer’s challenge is “educational” giving the audience an excellent opportunity to pickup on an unlimited amount of training tips for their own horses.
I’d like to invite you to stop in and say hello at our booth at the Mane Event. I look forward to seeing you there so hope you can make it!
Also, some of you may have noticed our new JayOJay.com facelift – lots of changes and we’re pretty excited by all the new features including:
- My online horse training course
- Online tack store (DVDs, halters and training tools)
- An interactive forum (tell us about yourself, and your horse)
Enjoy Spring and remember, “Success with horses starts with us”!