RicelandMeadows


Training a Yearling

hankharness1

July 31, 2020

I continue to train our young stock. Hank, our yearling stallion, is learning to wear his harness. I put it on and off. I rattle the chains and fuss with the straps. I make him move from side to side as I walk around. Most importantly, I make him wear the gear for longer and longer periods. We are now up to about an hour of just standing with the harness on in a safe environment.

Today, I introduced him to the bridal and bit. He had to keep it on for about a half hour. I let him learn about it,  by just staying near as he fumbled with it in his mouth.

hankbit

He played with the bit with his tongue and teeth. I lead him around a while, then put him in his stall. I did a few other things as he stood in his stall, wearing his complete harness and bridal. After a little while, he just relaxed stood on three legs and rested. I left him stand and talked to him as I did other work around the barn.

He listened to my voice, but didn’t try to look over his blinders. He just stood like a perfect gentleman and waited for whatever was coming next. After he had stood relaxed for fifteen minutes or so, I brought him out of his stall and unharnessed him.

I started with his bridal first. As I took the bit out of his mouth, he just let it slip right out. I rubbed his ears and talked softly to him. He nuzzled me. I then took his harness and collar off. I made plenty of extra noise and made a few extra, unneeded movements, just to reinforce that all is well.

I brushed him for a while after removing his harness. He is a great student. Next we will begin line driving him on long lines teaching him to go, stop and turn. Very soon he will be going with the team, not to pull a load, just to learn commands and patience.

Hank is an April baby.  He will soon be 16 months old. It is a bit early for training to start, but he will be a stallion, so I want his mind busy with something other than breeding. He must learn to be a workhorse first. He will one day be our centerpiece.  This early learning is crucial for his development. Daily handling and good manners at all times is a must. So far, he is passing with flying colors!

 



Anchorman

KNIGHT10819

February 17, 2020

This guy right here is a rock star! He has been my buddy for many years. He can be counted on always! Today, he worked with me testing and training our new Suffolk Punch horses.

redameeknight

Here he is working on the left side with our mare Lakeview Amee as a partner. THey both did great. He does everything I ask. She was good too, but with a big anchor like him beside her, what choice did she have?

redabbyknight

This time, Knight is on the right side. He is an old pro. It makes no difference where he works. He can be counted on to be steady, prompt and reliable.

These new horses are supposed to be broke. I just wanted to be sure that they met my definition of broke. Knight made sure that I didn’t get into any trouble. Once again, I am in his debt.

He and Hoss will soon move to their new home. I am glad that they will be close enough for me to visit. Their new home is a good one, but it is bittersweet that I will say goodbye.

We had a great day of training. Things could not have gone better. Thanks to my son Jake for his help and most especially…thank you to Knight for being my anchorman!



Great Day for Three

abby3

January 17, 2019

Yesterday, I hitched my young filly “Abby” in a three abreast hitch, for the first time. She has been learning very well. Her training has been going very well. This is just part of the training program. She will soon learn to work single too. She is doing well and I am very pleased.

She is the middle horse in the photo above. She is paying attention and learning from me and from her teammates. The nice thing about having Knight and Hoss to teach her, is they can become two very big anchors if needed. She must go where they go, when they go. When I want them to stop and stand, she must do that too. Sometimes, she thinks she’d rather do something else, but good teamwork prevents her from getting into trouble.

I worked earlier this week butchering a steer for my Amish buddy. We had a good day of socializing, and coffee drinking. The steer will be worked up into cuts and burger in the coming days. I traded work with my buddy’s son, for my pat of the butchering. He in turn helped me finish filling the sugarhouse woodshed, yesterday afternoon, just before dark. What a great day!

marvsteer

Our weather is about to turn very cold, close to 0 degrees F. It will be nice to have a good day, inside cutting the meat and visiting. There isn’t much work to that job when many hands help. Good food and conversation is enjoyed by all.

Maple syrup season is under a month away. Abby will help this year. Three on a sap sled is a bit overkill, but having plenty of horsepower is much like cutting meat…many hands make light work. The sled can pull hard at times, but with three horses, leaning into the work together, it’s no job at all.



Almost Screwed Up
March 14, 2017, 6:25 pm
Filed under: March 2017 | Tags: , , ,

abbyharnessnew

March 14, 2017

Abby and I have been working on her training. She is doing very well. I decided that since I had my son’s help, I would hitch her with Duke to a sled. Everything went well as we hitched up…everything that is, until we forgot to hook Abby’s outside line. (it would be like trying to ride a horse with just one rein)

Abby didn’t like the sound of the sled on gravel behind her. She took off and even made Duke run for a minute. I had almost no control, other than a right hand turn. It happened quick ans was over almost as quick. I got them stopped and unhooked from the sled. That is when we discovered what had happened. We fastened her line to her bit and drove off again. Everything went much better. We stayed at it awhile so as to end her training on a positive note.

I was glad to have my son there, as well as, Duke who made it all end quickly. He was a little rattled, but know what whoa means. Having brakes is a wonderful thing! The training will continue, hopefully without any more rookie mistakes! That much excitement is rough on an old man’s underwear!



Abby On The Grow

abby-first-day

December 13, 2016

We bought Abby this year in April. She has fit in very well. Her training continues and will continue for at least another year. I still have to remind her now and then that I am the boss, but she learns quickly. She has come to understand that I will win every argument without violence, but I will win.

Tonight, as I finished chores, I snapped this picture below. Yes, that is Abby on the left. She is growing well and quickly, like most youngsters.

abduke12-12

All horses turn a year older on January first, so Abby will be considered a three-year old. She will get to do meaningful work by spring. This winter, she will pull a sled and a wagon, as we do redundant training. She will stop, she will turn, she will stand and wait. She will go when asked and learn to pull steadily and consistently. The geldings will teach her as much, perhaps even more, than I will.

She is a special lady who pleases me very much. She is strong willed, yet lets me be in charge. She is steady and calm. She is trusting and friendly. She is graceful when she moves. She is my little girl and I think she is beautiful. Soon, she will fill her role as a team member and be an important power source for the farm. For now, her training continues while she learns and grows.



Dress Rehersal
June 14, 2016, 7:17 am
Filed under: June 2016 | Tags: , , ,

Abbydressup

June 14, 2016

Yesterday evening, Abby got to play dress up. I have been putting this old collar on her for a few days now. The collar slips over her head like a t-shirt. She wasn’t too sure at first, but now actually pushes her head into the collar to help get it on. Last night, I put the rest of the harness on her back.

It is good for her to get used to the smell and feel of the harness. The straps hang down and touch her in different places. The tug chains rattle and jingle and even just the weight of the harness, is a different feeling for my young lady. She did great.

You can see by looking at her eye, that there is no fear. She trusts me to keep her safe. I put the harness on and off several times. She paid me no attention except for nuzzling me as I talked to her. This is a big deal, a benchmark in her training. Soon, she will be hitched alongside Duke, as she learns to be driven. It’s hard to say how that may go, but from everything I have seen so far, I think she will be a quick, calm learner.