About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

YingYang of a weekend

Oh Laz!
Where is my wonderpony?!
  Where are we now in our progress of training?  Over the last four days, I found out some truths.
I discovered that our foundation is swiss cheese. LOTS OF HOLES.

We had four days in a row together! I can't remember the last time I was able to swing that and I was SO excited to work him and be with him Thurs-Sun.

Thurs-  I already did a post on that

Fri-  He was uppity.  Next door, there is an Arab farm and there is a 5 month or so (adorable) foal and their BO was walking him up and down the road.  It made Laz frantic.  He froze.  
Staring at Foal right before he blew up and knocked my phone out of my hand...nice.
 Then, he BUCKed and fart and try to bolt practically ripping my arm out of socket.  Whoa buddy, but I got him to come back.  We continued our hand walking and he was ok.  The foal went away, so I had Laz's attention back.  To get his attention prior, forget it. I tried and I failed.  Short of screaming in his face (which I'm not going to do) he didn't even hear/see me.  Not good.
So, then, after a few good minutes, I rode him in the round pen and we did OK.  He was spooky and jumping around but I did get the bitless to finally fit.  
Bonus on that, Bummer on horse behavior.

We finished as Stormy, his Arab man-crush came in so we let them play.  Laz is like the home schooled kid so I enjoy when he's able to play with others.

Saturday-  He was awesome angel baby and we were alone at the farm so it was quiet.  Hmmmm, beginning to see a pattern here.  Laz pays attention to me when it's quiet and has no distractions.  
Well, now that's not really a reality that I can depend on "QUIET ON SET!!!"  He has to deal with his environment changing while not turning into a monster.

Sunday-  (**I went to visit sweet Enzo and Janine at their farm, but I will post separately about that because it was so interesting but too much for this post as well) So, Laz started out quiet, lazy dazy, soft mouthy playful during grooming in arena. 
 Two other boarders were there riding.  Laz started to pay more attention to them.  The neighbor cutie pie foal was out for a walk again, and of course, all eyes on him.  The foal's Mom was screaming for him, and then foal in return whinnied back. Laz started his rockets and all I could do was circle him around me, trying to change directions to get his attention.  He circled and never once looked at me-his neck and head were cranked towards the foal in the road.  He was FLYING around maniacal and was so powerful, scary and dangerous.  He would only stop when he wanted to, to HONK snort at foal, freeze and then he was off flying again with NO regards to where I was.  He kicked out at me and I cracked my whip on  his rump for doing so. I was SO PISSED!!! Really?! You are going to kick out at me...you are more concerned with this foal then running over me?! He was racing around crazy. I called him a M'F'er.  In fact, I screamed it.  Sorry...but I did. I'm being honest. I was pissed and wanted to cry that 'where was my horse and who wants this BEAST??'  The truth is, I felt very frustrated with his crazy behavior and didn't really know if I was making it worse or better. 
Should I have stopped and put him away? I didn't even trust him to walk alongside me, he was so psycho. Should I have kept at it and insisted on getting his attention (which I never got!). UGH!!!

After about an hour of his frantic behavior and me now TELLING him to circle, reverse, circle, he was dead wet in a sweat and his attitude was no better.  Of course too, during this, I'm thinking of his foot.  He wasn't at all, but I was.
  We stopped, I rubbed on him and thought I have to get through his brain. He exhaled ( at this point now boarders were out of arena and foal was gone) and we started just hand walking around.  He was fine. I took him to barn and hosed him off (which he stood like an angel for) and then walked him back in the arena, some more.  He was OK, not giraffe neck and honk blowing, but not lowering his head down either and thinking.  He remained staring at the road in the case the foal returned.  He never really paid attention to me, he was just going through the motions.
  I wanted to end it after the 2 hour B.S. brigade, so I asked for three simple tasks: turn left nicely at a walk, turn right controlled at a walk. Stop, back up and DONE.  We stopped.  I petted him, rubbed it all away, took him back in paddock and wanted to sob.
I couldn't sleep all night thinking, well, I have my horse...this is him sometimes.  What do I do now? I'm not a quitter and I'm not willing to give him up.  I know he has it in him to think, I have to figure out how to get him to not blow up and loose his bananas.  More on that later...I think I may have a plan.

Tonight, I'm going out to the barn and starting over.
I'm letting Sunday go but not forgetting.
We will win this battle of fear together and reconnect.
I have to slow it down for him and introduce things s-l-o-w-l-y so he can handle it and master it.


  1. Very nice post! I think you two will be great partners once you get a conversation going. But start with words first! Then sentences, then paragraphs, LOL. Love ya girly!!! J9 & Enzo!!

  2. I sooo remember those days. It became routine for quite some time for me to fear working with Honey. I didn't know how to assert myself as her leader and really get her attention. It seemed the more I demanded of her the more fearful she became. In those tense moments my safest bet was always backing her up, and macking her up a long way. It worked temporarily, but the long term solution (for us anyway) was sending her out for training. Now that she has a solid foundation and I have a thourough understanding of her training specifics we are becoming a great team and can (and have) work through just about any situation. The best thing I have learned as far as ground control is getting them to really respect your space, and when you ask for them to move, they need to move NOW. I personally really like Clinton Anderson's methods, they are simple to understand and are straight to the point.

    Head up and hang in there, you have overcome so much already, it will look like a tiny speed bump in the rearview in no time.

  3. Hard stuff, but so important. I think sometimes foals are very exciting/alarming - Maisie and I had an incident at a horse show much like what you described - she completely lost her mind when she saw a foal in turnout with its mother - I actually think she didn't realize it was a horse and thought it was an alien creature!

  4. Oh no! So sorry that your pony decided to throw his brain out the window. :-/ Hopefully, that was just an isolated incident, BUT of course Laz should always respect your space no matter what.

    Personally, I am not a fan of the Parellis. I know that a lot of people think they're God's gift to horses, but I have seen some videos that, in my opinion, are abusive. And that's just the tip of the iceburg. I would look elsewhere for training help -- just my two cents.

    Have you thought about maybe getting a trainer to come out and work with you guys? Even just doing a lot of groundwork can really, really help. Of course, it's difficult to find, but a good "natural horse-trainer" or even someone very knowledgable in dressage in-hand work could be very useful.

    I've never personally done any research on Clinton Anderson's methods, but have heard a lot of good things about them. I'm also a fan of Monty Roberts. Oh, and there's a great book about in-hand work called "Horse Training In-Hand: A Modern Guide to Working from the Ground: Long Lines, Long and Short Reins, Work on the Longe" that is quite good. You can get it from Amazon.

    Good luck, girl! :-)

  5. Yes, I know Parelli is a love or hate. I'm seeking for what works for me and for Laz.
    What I can understand and what he can understand and painfully basic.
    Dressage is so over our head right now for us both. Something I'd like to do in the future but for now..I have to deal with what issues we have that makes Laz loose his mind and become a bit dangerous.
    What I do like about Parelli is they do cater the training and playing to the indiv horse personality. There is a trainer that does that with Parelli that I've contacted and I'm trying to see if I can afford to have her come and get us started and then have her back once in a while. I dont want to spend money on a trainer that can make Laz perform, then when they leave..I have the same issues b/c it's me holding the lead. You know? So, I've been reading a lot, A LOT from all sorts of natural horsemanship (Clinton, Monty, etc) and think Parelli may work for us. We'll see. I just want to feel comfortable with learning and teaching with him ultimately. :)

  6. Looks like your bridle has a much better fit now. It does take some trial and error before you can fit it first go.
    A screaming foal will get most horses going honestly.
    Looks like you got a parelli horseanality chart. They are useful, however I have a lot of parelli stuff, movies, books etc and have seen them live many times. I am not a fan of all their stuff but some of it is useful. IMO Clinton Anderson gets it done more precisely and with less steps that ANYONE can understand. look up his book downunder horsemanship it's great and has step by step exercises for both english and western that build on one another and create a good solid horse.
    Glad you didn't give up when he was acting that bad though. It sounds like you haven't ever given him a good enough reason to respect your space. I never realized the importance of this until one day I was in the pasture and Suzy went after Indigo. Indigo came galloping in my direction but took a quick diversion just inches from me when I hollered and raised my hands. I was obviously more alpha to her than Suzy was.

  7. Kristen, I am excited for you and Laz that you found Parelli. It's great that you know Janine who has accomplished so much with Enzo. Support is one of the keys to success...

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  8. Sometimes a freak out over something specific (like a whinnying foal and mare, which a LOT of horses are scared of) is just that. My bombproof first horse was terrified of cows, but that was it. With OTTBs it can be tempting to think everything is a symptom or problem of something bigger...the truth is every horse has their weirdness;)

    You and Laz have wayyyy to much success behind you to have a few days mean much. You are doing everything right by not ignoring it, but don't worry to much either:)

    And use whatever program WORKS for you and Laz, no matter what other people think. You will know what's best for your boy:)

  9. OK, one more bit of unsolicited assvice :) , because I know how frustrating this can be...especially when these OTTBs have SO much stamina and can outlast us:)

    If he's bucking/bolting when he sees something that he's excited about, SEND him on. Obviously not when he's going a thousand miles an hour, but when he wants to slow down or stop (like you said, to stare and blow, boy do I know that!), DON'T let him...send him on. You have to be the one to slow him (ie reward him), and that only happens when he gives you something you want...attention, even if it's just an ear in your direction.

    If you do nothing else, keep looking at the picture at the top of your blog...that's your horse:)

  10. Ooof, I have had those days, when you feel like your foundation, the one you have so carefully and with so great a heartful investment been building brick by brick seems to be falling apart! That is not a good feeling. But maybe you are better and your foundation is stronger than you think it is. You have such a great relationship with Laz! I'll bet that little foal was distracting. A little baby horse? Sounds adorable. But I know, I know, the human must always be in charge. Sometimes that is not so easy! I always say this to my mare when she is trying to take advantage of me. I say to her: who do you think you are trying to be the one in charge? Don't you know your livihood as well as mine depend on you listening to ME? But it's a waste because she has no idea what I'm saying. But don't give up! Any good horse person who has logged many miles in the saddle has had days just like the one you are describing. You have come too far and know too much!! Think of where you might have been a year ago! There have been many positive changes!

  11. I'm sorry you're having problems with Laz and the foal. I wish I had advice for you, but I've never dealt with this specific problem before. Good luck and please keep us updated!