Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Factory Reset Button

(As you may have noticed - I scratched from the Carriage Classic. I am super bummed to say it, but my truck still is not working quite right. The engine needs more work before I put a horse in the trailer behind it. It *might* have been fine to drive, but O is worth more to me than that risk. I would rather stay home and miss a row rather than risk an accident or even just a breakdown from overtaxing the engine. I know I made the right choice - but it still sucks. Ah well, what can you do! Part of being a good steward to my beasts, making these kinds of decisions. Also adulting. Adulting hardcore.)

I think I have found the factory reset button on Dylan. He spent his first week incessantly walking the fence - but on Wednesday, he stopped. He just.... stopped! I'm SO thankful for this, I was getting worried about it!

The trainer he was with said that Dylan's fencewalking was incessant. It literally went on 100% of the time that he was outdoors. He spent quite a lot of his time inside - maybe only getting 2-3 hours of turnout a day, if it was a nice day. He would walk the weight right off of himself, so I certainly can't blame them for bringing him in! I am pouring food into him - he looks about the same as when he arrived, a bit on the thin side, but I think now that he has quit walking, he will gain weight again. K said she figured he would walk a week and then chill out - and she was right! We just needed to factory reset him to Horse-mode. It was surprising to me how it went from one to the other literally overnight though - one day he was walking walking walking, the next he wasn't anymore. And hasn't been!

(Although, technically, when I am in doing something with the mares, he walks a bit. I think he takes it as a personal insult. He also goes to the far end of the pasture and shows off a bit for the horses across the way by trotting a few times back and forth. Once he has done that though, he comes back and eats his hay again. Good boy!)

Yesterday was Dylan's first workout since he arrived. I wanted to wait until he had settled in to the daily routine before I started working him - I wanted him to quit walking. I didn't need him to burn more calories than he was already wasting! He can be hard to catch - another one of his little quirks - and he thought about giving me the runaround for a few minutes. Once he decided to be caught - and he does have to decide, otherwise he will NOT be caught! - I brought him up, groomed and tacked him, and took him to lunge. I am trying to decide if he needs a stud chain or not - he is very, very responsive to pressure on his nosey, and it seems like the stud chain is a little much for him. Still, he is a mature stallion, and while he is quite gentle you still have to pay attention, because you never know. He is very much a stallion and does like to prance, scream, and get a little light in his front end when the mares are moving about. I personally think he is quite easy to handle and pretty gentle, but still, he is not a sleepy gelding by any means. 

Tailmasta now can go by the secondary title, Manemasta. His mane is not thin or long but it is SO silky, shiny and to die for!

He was a very good boy. He is SUPER active with his mouth - I don't think he closed it once while he worked. He rolls his tongue back and forth up around the bit, and bobs up and down towards and away from the contact. I don't think I will lunge him much, if ever - he is more schooled than that and he doesn't need it. Lunging is really helpful for O, but I don't think it will be helpful for Dylan. I will probably long line him a fair bit though! I am going to play a bit with nosebands and bits to try and quiet that mouth a bit. I am pretty sure he had his teeth done recently, but my dentist will check and do him when she comes next month if he needs it. 

I also pulled Dylan's shoes yesterday. I didn't trim him at all - pretty par for the course the first go around, although usually if I am doing client horses I round them off a bit and tidy them up. I didn't bother doing that with Dylan as I already know the process and the changes that are going to take place. I need to snap some pictures though - always interesting to document the process in photos. 

Today was my first ride on the beast! I conned asked B2 to come ride O so that I wouldn't be alone for my first workout on him. You never know! 

B2 on O... I see I need to adjust O's hackamore a bit! I think I had it set for Pmare, it was a long time ago so I can't rememeber. I will have to mess with it. 

Oh yes... this will be good fun times.
I had a GREAT ride. I got a really good feel of this horse's personality and training and I like what I saw. He was great out in the pasture - took a minute to settle while I was mounting up, standing still is not his favorite thing. I walked and trotted him for a few minutes, getting a feel of him and enjoying it. He is very smooth, and very classically Spanish - and he has buttons and more buttons. He is very responsive to half halts and weight. I have to decide if I want a spur or not - I doubt that I will need it but I think I will want them for occasional use. I almost always ride with a spur, though I very rarely use them. 

He is super trained, but he is also super wound. He gets these great moments of relaxation where he strides out and stretches down, and then the next minute he has a very up-and-down walk with his head tucked in. As I rode, he chilled out and because to relax over his back. The trainer said she did a whole lot of gymnastic work with him, and I totally agree that this is going to be the key to keeping him loose and supple through his back.

Once we had warmed up a bit, we headed out for a hack through the subdivision across the way. I wasn't sure how Dylan would react, so I relied on O's quieter nature to help get us back some of the spooky stuff out there. Dylan tried a few times to spook and turn on his heel and go back the other way, but after a few times of that I got tired of it and gave him a bit of a boot forward. Surprisingly, he jumped right ahead and didn't try it again. He led almost the entire way. On the way back is when things got interesting - he started to get increasingly up and up, and started jigging sideways and piaffing in place. He would not. Stand. Still. No matter what I did, he could not keep his feet from moving. He had a few minutes where he verged on a bit of a meltdown, and we went from rapidly backing up, to turning in some tight little circles, to piaffing and piaffing and piaffing. (It wasn't really quite real piaffing, but it was close enough to call it that.) Finally, we moved on and he relaxed. After that, he was great! He walked the whole rest of the way on a longer rein, stretching and leading the way. We had a few little kids who wanted to stop and pet O, but she was feeding off of his energy and she was not exactly on her best behavior either. B2 has driven and now ridden her, so she was able to compare the two - she astutely commented that while she drives the exact same way that she rides, she feels much less stable and sane under saddle than she does when driving. I completely agree with her - for whatever reason, she just enjoys driving way more than riding. She is fun to drive, and not terribly fun to ride. 

I can not WAIT for more rides. I can't tell you how much fun I had. Even when he got antsy, even when he got tight, he was so easy to sit chilly on - we will get on very well. 


  1. Sounds like awesome fun! How does Dylan compare to other stallions you've worked with? I can tell that he's quite different from your mares, but I'm not experienced enough to know how much of that is stallion and how much is Dylan.

  2. That is so cool that he's starting to remember what being a horse is all about :-) I can't wait to continue hearing about your journey with him!

  3. Glad you're having so much fun with him :)

  4. He sounds like he's going to be challenging but a lot of fun!!!