Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Train or Not to Train?

My father in law and I have two very different views on horses. He grew up riding in the back pastures of his families farm land. He tells me stories of when he bought his first horse. He paid 20 dollars for it and he walked to pick it up. Then he rode the horse 3 miles home. He always had a horse, and has always loved riding. But he never had any lessons of any kind. He just got on the horse and rode. He would read magazines and some books, but never really got into much "equestrian" riding. That is what he used to call it. Until I told him that whether you area trail rider or professional horse trainer, it's all called "equestrian".


Me on the other hand, grew up riding in a hunter/jumper barn. I had a great instructor, who taught me some wonderful foundations for riding. I then went on to go to college at the University of Findlay. There I rode with some of the top Western Pleasure trainers and rode on the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Team. I graduated with a degree in horse training and I wanted to go on to be an equine nutritionist. Some day I will finish that.


So, you can see, when my father in law and I brought our riding styles together, you could only imagine the arguments. I was told many many times, "That's not how we do things down here." And many times I would come out to the barn and he would have my horse out and he would be working with it. It took about 4 years to get things straightened out. We still have our moments, but it's a lot better. My father in law started doing one of the Natural Horsemanship Programs. Which I think was really good for him. Because sometimes he would do some really stupid things with the horses. We have about three round pen panels that are completely destroyed because of him "working" horses in the round pen. I can honestly say I have never had a horse go through a round pen panel.


So, the other day, our ideas of horses clashed yet again. He sent his 21 month old filly to a cutting trainer. It just so happens to be the trainer that I really want to send Ozzie to. But what I find rather annoying is, the filly he sent, looks really young still. And nobody is going to ride her when she gets home. My father in law wants to send her for about two or three months and then bring her home and turn her out again for about six months. Then why doesn't he wait until the summer to send the filly? I just don't get it. Here is a picture of the filly as a weanling. She was a cute little thing. But now, even though she is "two" according to AQHA, she still looks like a yearling to me. She is still extremely down hill. That was a picture I took of her about three days ago. She has a lot of growing left to do. I would understand sending her to a trainer if she was going to be shown in the summer as a two year old, but she isn't. There is not a show in site for this filly. My father in law's wife, who doesn't know how to ride, wants to just trail ride her. I just don't understand the rush. So, there she is, the 21 month old filly. Would you send her to a trainer right now? If your plans were to just use her as a trail horse?

I did start training Ozzie when he was two years old. But he was defiantly two. And this is what Ozzie looked like as a two year old. He looks a little more grown up than the filly. And I had plans on showing Ozzie. Even though I got pregnant and those plans went out the window. But I was just wondering what every one's thoughts are. Would you send that filly to a trainer?

And I should add, that this trainer is a good guy. He is all about bending and being supple. I really like him, I just think the filly is a bit young.

16 comments:

Rambling Woods said...

I know nothing about this..but she is very pretty...

Margaret Cloud said...

I am sorry but I know nothing about this. Your horse looks so pretty, good luck with your father-in-law, looks like he is from the old school called "know it all".

Melanie said...

I will definitely side with you on this one. If she were mine, I would start all of the ground work this summer, and do some light riding by late summer/early fall. The key here is "light." She looks like she has a lot more growing to do, and heavy training will just set her up for future problems.

Also...if she is just going to be used as a trail horse, why not take your time training her, and then send her to "finishing" school as a three-four year old??

Do you have any hope of winning this one, or is it already a done deal?

Danielle Michelle said...

I would do a lot of ground work with her, ger her used to a saddle and whatnot, maybe ride her lightly in the late summer and turn her out to grow until next spring! If any kind of show is in the future for her maybe just show her halter to get her use dot it all. If you are only going to trail her - no trainer - I mean, why bother? But if you eventually want her shown get her started yourself and send her next spring.

Pony Girl said...

I'm not an expert either, but I agree that she looks young. Especially if she is not going to be shown, I would think waiting would be best. Give her some time to fill out and develop a bit. Like Melanie said, a lot of ground work, especially desensitizing and pre-trail work, can be done before she is broke to saddle!

gtyyup said...

I think Melanie is right on. She could be started, but what's the point? I'd hate to be in your shoes on this.

Tj and Mark said...

I think it doesn't really matter since it is your father-in-laws horse. (I am smiling here!) Sometimes you just gotta let it go and since the trainer is good, he will probably keep things light. She sure is a cute little thing.

Deanna said...

I think your father in law just wants to be right. I totally agree with you, there is no reason to send this filly for training right now.

Is there a way you can get him to think it's his idea to send her later? And then some how tell him he is very wise? His resume isn't nearly as impressive as yours and perhaps he would like to feel as though he knows better. Stroke his ego a bit, and see what happens...

The Wades said...

I couldn't to even try to fake an answer here. I hope TJ and Mark are right--the trainer will use good judgement. Good looking animals. :)

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I understand your frustration. You would think that a person who has spent their whole lives with horses around would be able to learn and grow with the times, but sooooo many of them can't(It's not just men, but a majority are).

Here is probably a tiny little insight as to why your father-in-law wants to send this immature baby to the trainer now...he HAS put horses through and probably over panels. He has probably tried to work with older and more difficult horses and knows how much harder it is to handle an older, stronger horse. In his mind, he is giving this filly a head start because he is not letting her get big and stout.

Now most of us know that it is not overly difficult to start older, more mature horses if they are handled correctly, but I think maybe your FIL hasn't quite gotten to that point yet(since he is just now learning some natural horsemanship stuff).

Believe me, I KNOW how frustrating it is to deal with the "that's not how we do it around here" mentality. But maybe if you concede to him that "starting" her for a month of groundwork and very light riding, might be a good thing, he won't push too hard to keep her there for several months.

She is a cute little thing and looks to be in good condition-so a month of light work might actually help her develop. The optimum word there is "light" work of course.;)

And giiirrrrllll-my brother had 7 foot panels built so horses couldn't get away from him...some people just can't figure out what they do soooo wrong.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Just wanted to say Good luck with trying to teach an old dog some new tricks.
I have no experience with horse training, so have no advice. But I do hope it all works out in the best interest of the filly. :)

~Lisa

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'll have to agree with you on this one.

Amanda said...

I grew up in rural La around those "Old Time" cowboys. I know exactly what you are up against. Just tell yourself "It is not my horse,it is not my horse" or you can drive yourself nuts. At least he is sending her to a good trainer and not going to do it himself. Have trust that the trainer will know what to do. The stories I could tell you!!

Palomino Girl said...

I would be nervous about sending a horse that's so young, but if this trainer is as good as you say he is, he'll know not to push her too hard.

What difference does it make if he sends her to the trainer now or if he waits? I mean, really? It may not make sense, but she's going to get broke at some point, right? So why wait? Maybe he has the money now, the trainer has an opening, etc. I know quite a few trainers who break horses, then send them out to pasture for the summer to grow and fatten up and what-not, and then bring them back in in the fall to really get them broke. I'm not saying it's right one way or another, but I don't think it's completely absurd! :D Devil's advocate!

Stephanie said...

I am on your side too. I think there is a lot stuff a two year-old can do and learn, but it's best to wait till they are a little more mature than to start riding.

One of my old gelding practically looked all grow up at the age of two - knees closed, very mature looking - I though that summer was a good time to start him.

Patrick on the other hand has been slow to mature and spent alot of time at the trainers - but a relatively short time being ridden.

Paige said...

It is awfully common to start cutting horses that young and that little--although usually with the intent of showing them in 18 months.

It is also common for them to stay a hair downhill their whole lives

I would not send her that early, but I would imagine that they will be awfully light on her so as not to stress her that much. I have sent other fillies that age, but it was for heavy duty feeding and just fitting up---the actual saddle time over a four month period was pretty slim---