Thursday, February 4, 2021

Taney Town, A Marsh Tacky for Our Program's Future

It was not the kind of conversation that most doctors have with a patient who is a lawyer. It was even more remarkable in that I barely knew the doctor.  He told me that my spine had a little glitch in it and that if it took a hard blow I would be much more likely to become paralyzed than are those who do not have th3 little glitch.

The news took me back a bit. I asked him if he was saying that I had to stop riding. he told me that riding was not a problem at all, but that falling off was. He said that I should stop riding horses that were not trained well to saddle.

To my surprise, he asked me if I had some young people that could ride the rough out of any that I was training. Well, it turns out that I do have a few first rate young riders who are also first rate young horse trainers.

I only wanted young people over 18 to begin the early training under saddle for program horses, although some other teens do great work training their own horses.  One must understand what it means to do early saddle training on our horses.

It is not a rodeo. Our horses tend to be quite easy to train under saddle for several reasons:

1. Genetics--Colonial Spanish horses simply tend to have a better temperament than modern horses.

2. Lifestyle--Our horses live in bands and are outside 24/7. They do not experience the  chronic stress that most modern horses are subjected to through living solitary existences in stables. Most of our horses live most of the year entirely on grass, forbs, and hay and are not subjected to  sugar ingestion. (At the moment we are feed horses more commercial feed in order to stretch our hay stores out into the spring. I do not like doing this but a few months of eating a regular diet of horse feed is not something that will be impossible to detox from their systems.)

3. Human interaction--Our horses rarely have negative interaction with people. Being handled appropriately by people who understand natural horsemanship and show neither inappropriate hostility or, even worse, unwarranted fear of  the animal allows the horse to feel secure in the presence of humans.

4. Our horses have generally had many hours of training and handling before a rider mounts up and takes the reins.

With all of that said, I had a great deal of unease with the training of a five year old Marsh Tacky Mare, Taney Town. My unease was not so much with the horse as it was with the horse's intended purpose. For the next two or three years I expect to be her principle rider. She can join  Janie, Joey, and Peter to give me a string of horses to use in trial riding teaching and training that could give me a comfortable 1,200 miles in a year of riding. I felt rather selfish asking Abigail to continue to work with her to get her ready for me.

I should not have felt that way. Abigail seems to have not minded at all. Before long I will be in the saddle and carrying me will build a lot of muscle on the mare. 

In this picture she is behind Holland, a Shackleford Island horse. I suspect that it has been quite a while since these two strains have shared a ring together.

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