dancing horses

dancing horses

Friday, July 15, 2022

Smarty Pants

 First of all a quick update: 

Thank you everyone who weighed in through comments, FB, email to provide support with the Irish/Carmen/Quaid triangle. Things appear to be on the right track and I'm feeling much better. When I take Carmen out Irish is fretting a bit but not to the extent of before. When I return her he's excited but will shoo when I tell him.  I've noticed that he and Carmen are staying farther apart and Quaid is allowed to be closer. Yesterday when I took Quaid out to work him, Irish nickered at him when he returned and they touched noses. It was very sweet. Carmen and him touched noses and there was a little squeal but nothing else. Taking the advice on ACE seemed to help as well. I stopped it and taking it away didn't seem to make anything worse and might have even made it better. 

hanging out while Carmen is working

Now onto Quaid. 

During the week I am alternating between working Carmen or Quaid. On the weekend I try to work with both.

He continues to be sweet and friendly. I've been taking him out and doing small sessions in the ring. The lessons are simple: leading, yielding his hindquarters, yielding at his head, lunging a bit etc. The overarching goal is to have him focus. I have been following the TRT protocol as well as what I have learned from Mike and Nikki in the obstacle clinics.  When I get success or a try I stop and let him think about it.  

Can I play too?

This is the first time I let him into the back field. I love watching his trot- it looks so smooth and forward. 

I keep the sessions short and have been gradually getting longer. I don't want to overwhelm him. Rather than worrying if I'm being too soft or too demanding I'm staying focused on his response and using that to make a judgement call. Some of my sessions are just 'let's stand here and be groomed.' I am sure that there will be some who think I'm going too slow or too fast. And that is all okay. 

The things that are a struggle for Quaid: 

1. standing tied. He will stand still as long as I'm grooming him but once I step away he protests having to stay in place. I've been gradually increasing the time. I need to do it more because I need him to be oaky with this before we trailer anywhere. I am thinking I will tie him in his stall in the evening while I putter around so he can get used to it. 

Why am I restricted? it is not fair! 
(note I moved the rope after taking the video)

Interestingly, if he does a big protest and something happens (like hitting something I thought was outside of his range) he immediately stops and looks at it with curiosity. So it feels more like temper than freaking out. 


2. Yielding at his head. He tries to back up or walk sideways rather than step across (turn on haunches). As soon as he takes a good step I stop and let him think. I am sure he will get it with time and persistence. 

Things that are easy:
1. leading. I know he has experience with that, but not with how I want him to be. He struggled a bit with not passing me when leading. Now as soon as I stop he catches himself. He understands the task even if he struggles to follow. Which is all fine. 

2. yielding his hindquarters. I suspect this has been done in the past because it was so easy. 

3. Lunging around me. This is actually easy and hard. He wanted to stop and go the other way when it took him away from the paddock. It's clearly about the draw of the other horses. I keep the pressure up until he switches back and then soften. He's figured it out even if he doesn't always like it. However, stopping is a great reward for him so that helps. 

4. Being rubbed all over with the whip. It didn't take long for him to learn to stand while I rub it on his neck, back and legs. 

5. Grooming. Like I've said, he LOVES being groomed. I can pick up his feet and clean them. The other day I sprayed and brushed out his tail without issue. Fly spray was easy to introduce and now he barely reacts. 

So Quaid continues to be a smarty pants and I'm having a lot of fun. 


His coat is nice and shiny. He's trotting downhill which 
makes him look downhill than he is


  1. Glad to hear things are settling down. Quaid is so cute(and smart!)!

  2. ohhh 🥰🥰 but he is soooo pretty 🤩 ❤️

  3. Gosh, he has beautiful movement. You're going to glide like you're on wings when you ride him. Sounds like he came with a lot right, and you have the rest of your life to work on the rest. Glad things are better for Irish, and he managed to not hurt himself. They always do figure it out...eventually. I can't take a chance with even a minor injury on Tweed because this is the riding season, so I'm ridiculously cautious. I don't even believe in what I'm doing, putting him in bubble wrap, so to speak, but I can't help myself. haha.

    1. I’m excited for when I will be riding him. And I would never criticize you for being cautious.

  4. awwww what a good baby! so glad he is doing well, and even more glad that Irish is slowly but surely normalizing again!

  5. So glad things are settling down! Sounds like he's a smart cookie. I'm sure he'll soon discover that his baby tantrums will not get him what he wants.

  6. Good to hear things are calming down. Quaid is beautiful and smart. In my opinion you can never go too slow with horses in training. Have fun.


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