That’s Right! I Have Two Of Them Now!
If you have read any of my posts or seen my Instagram feed for Ellison Hartley Horsemanship, you have seen the paint mare, Ruby that I have been working with. She was broke and had all her early training the western way, so it has been an interesting challenge to get her going how we want her to under English tack.
My friend, Jen, who is Julia’s mom (the girl on the cremello on my Instagram) bought a bay quarter horse gelding a while back named Diesel. He came from a reputable western trainer and evidently has great bloodlines (not that it matters much with a gelding, but always good to know).
When He Lived At The Boarding Farm
Diesel lived in a boarding barn when Jen first bought him. There was a ring there and trail access also. She rode him a little in the ring and out on the trails. He never gave her too much trouble. He didn’t do anything dirty. It was just things like having to crop him because he didn’t want to go down the trail by himself.
Moving In With Pappy and Ginny
Diesel moved to private property where Jen has her old horse and his old pony companion. I think she rode him a few times when he first moved there. It wasn’t as convenient as riding in the riding at the boarding farm. There also wasn’t anyone to ride with. Long story short, Diesel sat for a while. Just living the good life, eating and doing nothing.
Julia Needs A New Challenge
Julia has been working super hard on Ice. Learning to ride him more quietly and calmly. I put them in “bootcamp” as I called it a couple of weeks ago and they made a lot of progress in a short time frame.
She was riding a couple of my lesson horses who needed tuning up as well. Then one day it hit me, the perfect addition to her bootcamp would be to ride Diesel. He wasn’t doing anything besides standing around and waiting on someone to ride him! My theory was it would be good for Julia, as well as for the horse.
Changing The Bit
Jen had lunged him in his tack a few days before I went over. They wanted to make sure everything fit okay, which it did. The only thing that he seemed unhappy about was the jointed bit in his mouth. It was like he couldn’t get comfortable with it in his mouth so he was constantly trying to move it around. It was obnoxious and an annoying distraction, so before we went over to ride him for the first time we had a dig through my bit bucket. When we got to thinking about it, we realized that he probably didn’t like the bit with the joint in the middle because he was used to being ridden in a western bit with a port.
The closest thing I had to that was a kimberwicke. So we decided that is what we would try. On the first day when we switched the bit, it was almost like he immediately stopped throwing his head around. Sometimes horses are complicated creatures, so I thought it was pretty cool that we had managed to address the bit problem and it was quick and easy.
On the first day that we lunged him with him in his tack, he was pretty good. He had his moments of course, which we expected since he hadn’t worked in a while. All things considered though, for how long it had been since he worked he was fabulous
Julia’s First Ride With Him
Jen lunged him before Julia got on him. Jen led her around for a bit( just in case). She went and got Ginny, Diesel’s elderly girlfriend. He is a little overly attached to her. This isn’t something we wanted to address on the first day though. So Ginny came and stood there while Diesel went around.
I would expect any horse that has not worked in a while to be reluctant to. Diesel was reluctant but really did not seem to have a lot of fight in him. He didn’t want to move forward a couple of times. Stopped, backed up, then he got cropped on the butt and went right on with it again.
She walked and trotted and changed directions. We couldn’t believe how great the first ride had been so we figured end on a good note!
We confirmed that we had the bit problem solved on the second ride. No head tossing or playing with the bit weird like before. On the second ride, after a lot of walking, trot, and steering in different directions, she was even able to canter him a little. I mean just a little since it was super hot and he needs to get fit before we can expect him to do a lot of running around!
He made it clear a few times that he was not interested in working. I have to give him credit though when Julia insisted he basically just gave in and did what she said.
Getting A Glimpse Of What’s To Come
The second day when Julia was riding him in the trot, he really got to using his hind end and being light and stretching down for the contact. He had some sort of lightbulb moment and flashed back to his original training and he looked amazing!
Every time he went down the fenceline on the one side he would get into this “zone” and just float around in a trot with his head right where it belonged and his boy relaxed.
If Diesel didn’t want to have to work, he should not have shown us how cool he is capable of going. Now we are just more eager than we already were to get him into a regular training program.
Don’t Worry, I Will Keep You Posted!
So far, so good with Diesel. It will be interesting to see how he progresses. He is definitely a different ride than Julia’s other horse, so she will learn a lot from him.
I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Diesel, my other #babywesternhorseturnedbabyenglishhorse!