14 March 2013

Levi, Blue, and Sky, The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos - to work, to work, you go! 

One of my favorite things is going to horse auctions. I really should send someone else because inevitably I fall in love with a horse with big brown eyes, a wild mane, and an attitude, sound familiar?

In the last three years I have purchased young green broke horses, Sky, Blue, and Levi, who I now call the “Three Amigos”.  The thought was that I would work with them every day. Instead the Three Amigos have been hanging out, enjoying the life of teenagers, eating a lot of hay, and getting into mischief. This year that comes to an end. So the Three Amigos are going to get trained this summer and off to work they will go. No matter what!

We will be starting their scheduled training sessions in May. For the first couple of weeks it will be in the round corral. These are the items that we will be working on:

Ground Work - Brushing, picking up their hooves, haltering, tying, standing, backing up, sacking them out, saddling. Getting over their fear of tarps, buckets, items that make noise and fly around. They will also learn to be hobbled and staked out on a large soft rope for traveling in the mountains. 

Round Pen Work - In the round pen we will work with them until everyone is comfortable with basic skills. Standing while getting on and off, turning, stopping, backing up, side stepping, walking, trotting, and cantering. 

Trail & Confidence - We hit the trails to develop their confidence. Here they will learn to walk over logs, properly go up and down steep slopes, cross creeks, cross a bridge, learn that the large rock isn’t going to eat them, and that they can leave the herd and not die. They will also learn how to maneuver trails at a walk, trot, and canter. 

Pack Horse Training & Mountain Manners - To get more of the kinks out and further develop their trail skills, each one will be sent as a light pack horse on the pack trips. With the packs on their backs they learn not to hit the riders knees again the trees and to leave plenty of space when traveling through the bush. This develops their trail skills, crossing creeks, handling mud, trail etiquette, steep slopes, and manners on the trails. This trip will also be the first time they learn to swim the river. The older experienced horses don’t put up with disrespectful young horses, so the older horses do as much of the training as we do. 

Trail & Mountain Manners - The next pack trip they will be used as a guide/ cook riding horse. Pack Trips are great for training young horses as there are many relaxed hours in the saddle. During the trip they will follow along at the end of the group but switch it around so some training is done in the lead.  

Guide Horse at the Lodge - All of our young horses first start as guide horses. Once we feel they are ready we will start to have some of our guests ride them. The guest has to be an advanced rider with a kind eye and soft hands. 

This training period can take from one season to three seasons depending on the horse and of course the trainer.