dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, November 9, 2012

Steele and the Surcingle

Today I went to visit a friend who recently bought a Quarterhorse filly named Lyric. She's as cute as bug and a total trap.
don't look too close or you'll want one too. 

Later, at lunch we were talking about training. She asked if I had a surcingle. I said no, but I was intending to get one. It ends with her loaning me one since she won't need it for a bit.

At supper I tell Ed "Sherry loaned me her surcingle"

"what?" he asks

I repeat what I said.

"You're not making sense. What did you get."

I repeat slowly "a sur-cingle. It's one word" I add helpfully.

"What is that?"
I explain that a surcingle is- that it's basically a way to ground train and drive a young horse as part of their early training. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surcingle)
a training surcingle

"So are you going to lunge him? I thought he was too young". And here I thought that he didn't pay attention when I go on about horses.

'yes he's too young to lunge but he's not too young to get used to the sensation of having a girth on. I'm going to start him tonight.'

"I bet he doesn't care" is Ed's considered opinion.

I am more skeptical  After all I have more experience with horse training.  I know that getting used to the sensation of something around their girth area is not easy for horses.

I head out to the barn. After a good grooming (seriously, how much mud can one young horse cake on!) I get out the surcingle and introduce him to it:
"This is a surcingle" I say "it's to help you get used to having a saddle strapped on and to help you learn about rein aids. This will lead to you impressing everyone at a show".

Steele sniffs it and yawns.

I lay it over his wither.

He shifts slightly.

I take it off and put it back on.

His eyes droop.

I put the girth on. When it comes around his belly his head comes up and his ears swivel back. I give him a scratch and he goes back to sleep.

I undo the cross-ties and walk him up and down the barn aisle. I expect him to react to the constriction as he moves.

He heads to the hay pile.

I put him in his stall with it on and I putter around. Steele eats his hay. After 15 minutes I go into his stall. I wiggle the top of the surcingle. 'nom nom nom' Steele continues to munch.

I undo it and take it off. Not even an ear flicks.

I go back in the house.

'That was fast' says Ed.

"Remember your prediction?" I ask

"was I wrong?"

"no. He couldn't have cared less."

"that horse is the most laid back animal I have seen" He says.

How on earth could I argue with that???


  1. Ha ha - Steele is a star! It sounds like he isn't going to be overly dramatic about his training :)
    Rogo was the same - first time having a blanket on, first time having a saddle on, first time having me on - all were complete non events. He didn't like the bit though. That took some convincing.
    I'm enjoying your blog. You write very entertainingly.

  2. You're making me want to dig out my old training videos of Roxy! Here's hoping he remains a calm and cool character! It seems like he's headed in that direction! Way to go Steele !

    1. the only thing that seems to get him really excited is dinner. :)

  3. ROFLOL! I LOVE the conversation between you and your husband. :D It's amazing sometimes the things they pick up when we think they aren't listening.

    I'm with your husband. I knew Steele wouldn't care less. Chrome was the same way. He didn't act like he even noticed it. I think I have a video somewhere of putting it on him for the first time. I was using clicker training though, so he thought it was the best thing ever. :D I'm with Carol. Everything with Chrome has been a total non-event too. Gotta love our boys!!

    Oh and your friend's filly is cute! What an adorable, feminine face!

  4. Steel is going to be such an easy guy to start!! I hope you keep up with your blog over the years so I get to see how he grows up. He seems like such and old soul. I bet he and Chrome would take over the world if they ever met.


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