Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Horses › Trouble with New Team
- November 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm #86497
what a great thread! thanks for all the ideas, stories, inspirations, …
I want to add just one thing because it helped me tremendously in situations like that: a camera filming the action!
I can watch the video over and over in a calm environment, I can detect things that I couldn’t while I was involved in the situation, I can control if parts of the harness under working conditions function as I envision it when I put it on the horse, I can see minor reactions, intentions too short for a busy eye by repeating the movie, and by taking the position of an extern observer I can also discuss (and improve) my own moves better.November 25, 2015 at 6:12 pm #86500
It has been a while since we had a discussion like this on the forum. It is fun to read. What a great craft we are pursuing. So, what can Donn add to this today, you ask? How about two broken tugs, a broken pair of lines, and a slightly bent ego.November 28, 2015 at 7:41 am #86586
Sorry to hear about your struggles. I hope you and your mule or OK.
GeorgeNovember 28, 2015 at 7:59 pm #86592
No, we are both fine. I found the lost tug that had been missing for a few days. I have been driving him, or riding him almost daily. He is just a good reminder to me, of the measure of what is “slow” or “fast” is not up to me, but up to what he tells me. He is gentle and quite, but also likes new things introduced very slowly. When we had the discussion about the age of starting animals one thing that wasn’t mentioned is that some 2 1/2 year olds will not be mentally mature, and might just be that much easier to start in another year. I know some trainer / farmers put it off till the last minute for this reason. With the other mule I worked with recently I never felt that, but it seems like it might be part of what is going on now with Pete. Today I had him all over the tugs, chains and single tree, and just let him figure it out for a good while.December 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm #86733
Any update on how things are going with your mare?
GeorgeDecember 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm #86734
I’ve put the formal training on hold for a while and decided to wait until I get a wooden round pen built. I don’t want to take the chance of running her through a poly-wire pen. Our farm really hasn’t slowed to the pace to allow the time to work her in the capacity I need and want to. Other things have been occupying this time, like putting up a run in for the winter and introducing one of the percheron mares (Abby) I was working this summer with the hopes of having a team that wont bite or kick people for sleigh rides. This has been quite the adventure as I’ve found the mother to be more aggressive towards other horses then any other I’ve had on the farm. The older mare is still charging her if she even gets within ten feet of the shared fence line. There has been no sniffing or touching noses. The mother and daughter will be tied to the wall and as I walk the percheron by the mother will pull hard snort kick and attempt to charge her. While trying to halter and bring them in the mother will consistently turn away from me and charge Abby who is in the neighboring paddock. The intensity of these bluffs hasn’t calmed in the past 2 weeks its pretty consistent.
I tried turning them out together but after a couple charges Abby was immediately pinned in a corner and run through the fence. Tomorrow I’m planning on building a large round paddock and trying to turn them out for the second time. I’m a little cautious because Abby is a leased horse and I don’t want to be responsible for injuring her. I also hold this horse pretty close to my heart.
he mothers anxiety with having another horse on the farm has brought out some interesting behaviors. A couple days ago she tried to bite me while I was unhitching her from the wall. This came as a total surprise.
I’m trying to be patient. Wont attempt to hitch the two until my brother comes back from Sterling College and I have a hand. Whats so ironic is the younger mare and Abby are eating quietly together on the wall while the mother is in the stall snorting and kicking at Abby on the other side.
My winter paddock for the horses is plenty large for three that get along well but way to small for three that don’t. This has complicated things and I don’t really know quite yet how I was going to deal with it.
The farm is still cranking and not showing any signs of slowing down and I’m feeling in need of a bit of a break, maybe a trip down to Crossroad Cultivator to work with them on a McCormick Deering with 6 foot wheel base! I’ve been missing my leased team and the comfort, confidence, and simplicity it could have brought to this fall. Sorry to sound so dreary! This transition has been a substantial source of stress and consumed a lot of my mental and emotional energy. It has inspired deep self reflection that I don’t think I was ready for smack dab in the middle of one intense harvest season.
Time to let the horses out!
December 10, 2015 at 8:16 pm #86736
- This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by Goranson Farm.
I had a mare that was aggressive towards other horses and she was on a “public” farm so we had to fix it. Once I dealt with any leadership doubts she had with me she was easier to work with around other horses. She knew she didnt need to pay attention to anyone but me. She was never perfect but not a problem after the pecking order was established with me at the top.
I have friends who dont work mares anymore because of a few bad experiences.
You will be fine. taking time off to not over think things is always good on a farm.December 12, 2015 at 1:47 pm #86743
I Read your note. I’m a little worried for you. It seems a bit early in your teamster life to come up against such a big challenge. Horses and people are a lot alike in that early experiences seem to stay with you for a long time. Its hard enough to try and rid a horse of an earlier memory, another thing for an adult. I wouldn’t like to think that you will always be expecting trouble from your horses. I say this because I had no choice in my own beginnings. Horses were all ex-pullers with lots of problems. They were taught using different methods to GO with the load. And that’s what they did. I would read stories about gentle giants and think what are they talking about. Took me a long time to give up waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I don’t want that for you either. You should be driving quiet horses, and gaining much needed experience so some time in the future you have tools to deal with problem horses. Oh-oh, I feel some advice coming. I wasn’t going to give any, but…..i was just thinking, it might kill two birds (horses), if you boarded out one of your mares for a month or two, mom maybe, get her out of the picture, and hook the young one with rips mare and see how they go. It will be different, better I don’t know but different for sure. An old timer told me once, remember son, you ain’t married to ‘em. My problem was I thought I was. Alright, carry on and best of luck. mitchDecember 13, 2015 at 5:48 am #86750
I agree with Mitch.March 19, 2016 at 7:01 am #88438
A few thoughts have come to me lately. I remember being skeptical about the foundation under these horses when reading your experiences. Recently I’ve had some insight I think worth sharing.
I have a team of 15 yearold’s that I am transitioning away from. I have a local couple who has been working with me and boarded my new team during 2015. The plan has been for them to take over the older team.
The bays were at a high point in functionality during the fall, and I had high expectations for a very smooth transfer. We moved them to the new farm in December with the idea that I would work them there with the new owners to get out their wood in exchange for their boarding the other horses. Also a custom sawlog harvest of 20mbf would give us time for good teamster and husbandry training.
The projects have all gone well, some of which has been just me getting logging done because it has been challenging terrain, timber cutting, and weather of course.
The pertinent part is that these horses fell apart when they first moved there. I was astonished at the anxiety and foolish behavior. I have had them off the farm before, so I really didn’t want to accept that they would be that put out by the move, but after 3 months of working them there, I am convinced of it.
I am a pretty consistent routinist, so having them off site must have rocked their world. I was also not taking care of them in the early AM as usual, or on days off. They were not trying to kill anybody, but they were at times too much for novices to handle.
At any rate now that we have had 3 months of semi regular rigorous work, including integration of the new teamsters, they are once again pretty much rockstars. Of course they are horses and unpredictable, and there is no computer chip that warantees anything….
Just thought it was an interesting perspective. I know most teams and teamsters don’t get a three month transition from one farm and teamster to another, but my experience goes a long way to explain why some good horses get a bad name in some transitions.
CarlMarch 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm #88441
Thank you Carl that team of bays were mine and I had no answer.
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