Meet the Students
(Horsey that is)
I have had a variety of training horses, from 2 year old paints, to 17 hand Friesians most recently! I do not just training eventing or show horses. The horses that come to me generally have had a behavior that another trainer could not get thru…
6 year old Friesian
Finn is one of my greatest success stories. Finn is a Friesian. Honestly, I almost did not take him into training. Friesians can be very destructive, and I have had many a fence bulldozed by them! As draft crosses they can be super pushy, but on the other hand, they can also be pretty hot- which is often not a great combo.
Finn also had a story behind him. He came to the States a couple of years ago from Holland and went through several trainers who said he was not safe to ride. His owner then sent him to a trainer to learn to drive- when he flunked out of that and was sent home, she had no idea what to do with him. Then she found me.
I was curious about Finn and love a challenge, so I took him into training. I could see immediately why people were intimidated by him- he is BIG. He is also what we call in Parelli a Right Brained Introvert- which means he can be explosive. When he came to me, he was very nervous, but just froze. I knew I had to keep him present with me. I spent a month on the ground with him and created a strong bond of rapport and respect. Buckley helped me help him to get more confident under saddle by ponying him all over my trails and roads. After one month, I was riding him. We are now building his confidence every day on the ground and in the saddle!
6 year old OTTB
Topper is a 6 year old OTTB that was passed through a couple of trainers til was sold to his current owner. When she first bought him, he was jumping a hunt course confidently. Within a few months, things started to deteriorate and Topper started bucking. He bucked his owner off over 30 times at the mounting block. There was something about it that set him off.
They had been training with a cowboy for 6 months before they came to me….with no success. They could not get on him. Topper came to my place and within a week I was riding him. Two months later he is hitting the trail, walk, trot and cantering as well as jumping.
Nothing that I did with him was magic- just like Finn, he was unconfident. When a horse starts to lose their confidence about one thing, like a row of dominoes, they begin to lose their confidence around everything. It did not take long for me to gain his confidence on the ground, and by using a lot of release there and in the saddle, he learned that I was not going to put pressure on him. I taught him how to seek the release. By being consistent at letting him know it was there and when it would happen, he grew confident and trusting.
2 year old Paint Mare
Before Apache came to my farm for training, her and her owner had been taking lessons with me. We realized, though, that Apache really needed to be taken out of her herd (which was a group of rowdy geldings) and come to my herd.
Horses learn from each other. Apache- a two year old- was developing some pretty negative patterns of behavior. She needed to come to boot camp which we told her was “Kamp Kelly.”
Apache’s main issue is that when she would get on adrenalin she would lose her mind. She could not come down. This was online and under saddle. Her owner, a confident rider with her other horses, was now not so confident with Apache. I needed to break the cycle.
When Apache came to me, my horses first let her know that running around in the pasture and acting spoiled isn’t a great idea….you get kicked down the herd so you don’t get many perks. Buckley really put her in her place ponying her. She was used to pushing on other horses and not being respectful. The first time I ponyed her off of him, he immediately laid his ears back at her and gave her THE LOOK. She backed up, dropped her head, licked and chewed and said, yes sir. It was all over after that.
I taught Apache online how to relax. I gave her a routine. I taught her how to stretch online which not online helped her topline, but it helped her to mentally relax. I just transferred this to the saddle.
3 year old Westphalian Mare
Emi came to me to be started. She had some pretty negative behaviors, however, that needed to be solved first.
She reared, she struck out, and she double barreled. I had to work with her from the other side of the fence for the first week. I then ponyed her off of Buckley who really let her know how to behave….
Emi is what we call a Left Brained Introvert. She is clever, a bit lazy, very, very food motivated and obstinate. She wants to know what is in it for her before she does anything….
I had to first let Emi know, by claiming my space with the help of Buckley, that I was the leader. I could move Buckley’s feet AND her feet where I wanted them. I was the Alpha, Buckley was #2 and she was definitely #3.
Once we established that and I had her working off the ground confidently, she was one of the easiest horses I ever started under saddle!