dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Year is Over

And what have we done?

Well, I really had to stop and think. I'm not sure where the year went but 2013 is coming to a close.

Steele is now officially 3 years old. He's just over 15'2 which is the same size Irish was when I bought him at 3. I can really see the mature horse that he's becoming. I haven't backed him yet despite getting lots of advice that I should start him. In the end I decided not to because he just didn't seem mentally ready. I have to say that I'm happy with that decision. But that doesn't mean that we didn't do anything this year. I sat down and tallied up the list of where Steele and I are at in his training:
  • he will stand still in the cross ties while being groomed and worked with. He seldom paws now but stands quietly and respectfully. 
  • He lifts his feet easily- I run my hand down his leg and saw 'foot' and he lifts his foot and places it in my hand. He sometimes get a little antsy if he thinks that I'm holding it too long but corrects easily. 
  • He can be easily caught in the field and haltered. 
  • He leads quietly beside me and does not pull on the line even when spooking. He sometimes tries to get the grass but is easily corrected
  • He opens his mouth for the bit 
  • He's worn a saddle and has had weight across it, does not spook when the stirrup leathers flap around him. He tolerates weight being placed in either stirrup
  • he lunges fairly well, reaches into side reins. 
  • He understands the basics of steering with the ground driving. We've had a couple discussions about steering but I made sure to win. 
  • He's been led all over the property including down the road and has helped me to get the mail. 
  • He will stand tied while being bathed
  • he is respectful of personal space
  • we started some liberty work - he will follow, back up, turn and trot over ground poles without a lead line.
I was watching some training videos by Stacy Westfall. They are quite good and one thing that caught my attention is that she said to pay attention to how a horse responds when you put pressure on them. So I've been paying attention to this with Steele. When he's thinking about something he will do this weird chewing or he will paw and/or stamp his feet. Running away is a last resort.

So my plans for 2014:
  • we won't be working on driving/lunging because the weather is too harsh. But I think that the time off is good for him as well. 
  • I will continue to work on ground manners 
  • Get a saddle fitting so that...
  • he can be backed come spring. I want to find a trainer that can come here rather than send him away for 30 days. 
  • teach him to self load
  • take him off site so he can experience work in other locations
There will probably be more plans as we go along but this is the broad sketch.

I hope that everyone has a prosperous, healthy and happy New Year.

See you next year!
c'mon Irish, give me a kiss, it's New Year's Eve!


  1. wow! It sounds like you have accomplished a lot this year. I really look forward to learning about your horses from the safe distance of a blog... haha, as I have always loved horses but have been too frightened to actually ride. :)
    Happy New Year!

    1. that's okay. They are big and can be scary if you are not used to them.

  2. I'm curious what part of the country you are in. It sounds like a perfect start for a three year Andalusian. It will pay many dividends down the road.

    1. Thank you! I am on the far east coast of Canada. :)

  3. I LOVE that picture and caption!!! LOL!

    There is nothing at all wrong with waiting to start Steele. :) I'm happy that I only rode Chrome a few times during his three year old year. However... doing almost nothing during his four year old year? That wasn't really the plan lol. 2013 went by soooo fast! I can't even believe that it's already over. I also can't believe Chrome turns FIVE in three months... where has the time gone?? I can't wait to read all about Steele's first time under saddle. :D


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