Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Think They Got This One Backwards...

One would think that when choosing between an un-broke, un-handled yearling and a broke, easy to handle adult mature horse for sale purposes... especially in todays horse market... most people would want the mature broke horse. When offering these two for sale, one would think that you'd have better luck getting money for the older trained horse vs. the younger UN-trained one. 

Well, apparently thats not always the case. 


Ad Text: Beautiful Mare and her 1 1/2 year old Filly. If Momma goes baby goes...will sell baby only! Mare is broke and gentle although well spirited..Baby is not broke. I managed to get a halter on her when she was younger, she is outgrowing it and I cannot get it off, need someone who can handle this type of situation to get her soon. Mare is 5 yrs old. I am North of Muldrow about 45 minutes. xxx-xxxx


Mom is a halfway decent mare herself. I gotta admit, while she's not perfect, I might not kick her out of my barn. The one glaring thing I can see about mom is one heck of an upright shoulder. But she's got a nice hip, a great shaped head, and would, with some conditioning, probably make a great trail horse. In the picture below either she's pregnant again or she's got a very big hay belly - but she's a pretty typical quarter horse type mare. No idea if either of these two are registered, my guess is mare might be, but filly is most likely not.


So deal is Easy Going Mom is Free, yet the un-broke and I will admit CUTE - can't even get the halter OFF filly is $400? Something is seriously backwards here. 

Yet the sad part is this is a very easily fixable situation - for a person that has a clue what to do - which obviously the seller DOESN'T. 

Grab the mare, cause if the mare goes, the baby will, right? Put said mare into some sort of pen or semi-enclosed area. 

Start round penning MOM. Don't even bother trying to remove the fillies halter first, or even bother with the filly. The mare, if she IS broke, will hopefully have had some sort of round pen training on her, and will know what to do. If the person doing the round pen gets Mom to follow them around after a few minutes... guess what... eventually the baby will get a clue. 

Herd psychology in this situation is pretty easy to figure out. The filly will learn not only from watching the way mom reacts, but will learn from the human as well. Filly is not so much scared of people, she just hasn't yet been shown that people are cool. Her few experiences with people have been (and I'm going out on a limb here)... maybe at birth where she might have been handled, or not - depending on if she was born inside or outside; but at the very least when they put the halter on her. That much is fact from the ad itself.

That might have been "traumatic" for the filly, (enter sarcasm here) depending on the so called skill of who did it. Sure doesn't sound like the owner/seller has much YOUNG horse handling skills. (Which begs to ask the question why breed if you don't have a clue? Oh right...cause baby horses are KUYTE!!!!) I say "Traumatic" as in she was forced to go near the scary humans and OMG they PUT SOMETHING ON ME! *envisions filly running away frantically to saftey of mom, who just ignores the filly. lol* (Ok, sorry, had to throw that in there.)

There is nothing wrong with this filly that she can't be handled. She just HASN'T been handled. There is a very big difference.

So, if one can manage getting her in the round pen with mom, she's very obviously going to do whatever mom does. So if mom is running around the pen at the direction of a *gasp!* human... while at first baby won't know why shes running too except MOM's doing it... within a couple of times she'll start to watch the human in the center and start responding to the human's body language. 

This isn't Parelli Round Penning. This is the good old fashioned get em moving forward, asking for forward motion, getting them to stop on their hindquarters, shifting their weight, rolling back, and again moving off of their rear. This simple exercise accomplishes so much and it is so underused. When Mom is asked to either stop and look or come in to the handler (depends on who you talk to which way is 'best'), she'll still drop her head and start licking and chewing. Then, most likely she'll start following the handler. Guess what. 

Baby will too.

Heck, if you could get the two of them in a trailer to a place that has a large enough round pen, you would be able to use the round pen as a temporary stall for the both of them, and you wouldn't even have to worry about how you are going to get baby to and from the RP. (Well other than her following mom.)

The next step would be to remove Mom, and start a process ALL foals have to go through ... its called WEANING. Obviously the current seller HAS NONE Of those skills, or they wouldn't be screaming for help in this manner.

Weaning is not the cruel, monstrous, horrible thing some of the "natural horsemanship" gurus would have you believe it is. Its a natural process that happens IN NATURE, in the wild herds. Mare has a foal, a month later usually gets pregnant again in the foal heat, nurses the baby by her side for the pregnancy, and around the end of it, starts gettin' real unfriendly towards the now yearling offspring. Of course the yearling doesn't like it! But eventually mom makes it clear that the 24-7 milk bar is Closed. Some mares will nurse the yearling and the new foal at the same time, but those are few and far between. Most don't have the patience for it. 

The very best thing for this filly, would be someone that can get her handled to the point where they can slip the halter off. A week, maybe 2 with round pen work, using food as a reward (No, I'm not referring to horse cookies...I mean no hay is given to the foal unless the foal does something to earn it. Something like be scratched on the neck. Or allow itself to be approached by a human. I've halter broken many foals in a very easy, quick, painless way doing it this way. Not all the foals food gets withheld, you feed half of their ration of hay in the am, and feed handfuls of it thorough the day in small amounts. I've even taught foals to stick their noses into the halters reaching for the hay this way. After a few days of this, they figure out really fast that being haltered is GOOD! They get scritches, and yummies! Life is no longer so scary! 

Well of course, there is a much faster, yet more expensive way of having some one good with a rope throw one round her and catch her that way, then have a very brave vet go in and give her a tranq... THEN take the halter off of her as she's happily in La-La land. Heck, if you are going to go that route, might as well then call a farrier out and have her hooves trimmed at the same time cause if they can't get near her to remove the halter, there ain't no way she's ever met a farrier!

A nearly 2 year old filly like this would take a bit more time to earn her trust, but it still can be done. And hey, really for $400 in this market... getting a broke mare you can ride and enjoy while working with the younger one...thats maybe not so bad of a deal after all!

(Thanks to Crow for this one!)

1 comment:

  1. wow wow wow. that's all I can say.. heck my mare started weaning her foals, even the last when she WASN'T pregnant, when they were about 9-10 months old.. I've seen mares still nursing their 3/4/5 year old babies.. if you don't know what you are doing, don't breed because they are KUYTE!

    those oh so *KUYTE* babies turned into dangerous 1000+lb beasts that apparently people don't connect this to lack of proper training..

    I wish people would use some common sense!