Deviant since Mar 6, 2011 | Premium Member until Feb 1, 2018
Oliver Queen FTW!! <333
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And sorry in advance, this turned out a LOT longer than I'd intended x.x...
Okay. So, this horse Isabelle, idk what the heck to do with her. I need some ideas from some other horse people cuz I'm about out of ideas myself.
First I'll go over her background, or at least as much as I know about it.
Her current owner rescued her, along with Charming, form a bad situation where they were starved, neglected, and pretty much abandoned. Since then they've unintentionally fallen into one bad situation after another because their owner trusted the wrong people, but they're finally some place safe now. But from their various bad situations they have been starved, beaten with 2 x 4's and bull whips, tormented by aggressive riders who don't know what they're doing, and intentionally made crazy by a self proclaimed "trainer".
I started working with Isabelle when her owner could barely handle her anymore. She'd become very aggressive and totally unpredictable. She is extraordinarily food aggressive, and became a flurry of flying feet and teeth when she had food. She bullies every horse out in the pasture and gives Charming at least one new scar per day, usually more. She had/has a MAJOR bucking problem, I've seen her buck someone several laps around the arena non-stop. And it's not little crow hopping, its nose on the ground butt high up in the air pitching you right out of the saddle bucking. She hates men and gives them even more problems, but she seems to like girls. Don't get me wrong, she still gives me and every other female who does anything with her a ton of crap, but at least she doesn't try to outright kills us.
Now, I've been told by her owner that this is not the horse she rescued. Her owner says that when she first rescued Izzy that Izzy was a perfect angel. She was quiet and gentle, and could be hopped on bareback and bridleless in the middle of a pasture and she'd walk you around perfectly fine. She'd follow her owner around everywhere, and her owner could even lean on her and use her for support when she was hurting and Izzy would walk her back to where she needed to go. You could lead 2yr olds around on her. She was never food aggressive, or aggressive at all, she was always at the bottom of the pecking order in the group. She'd abandon her food long before she fought for it.
This is why her owner is so upset. She's lost her perfect puppy-dog horse and she's been replaced with a bipolar monstrous nightmare (HTTYD reference for the win ) that she doesn't know what to do with. Izzy has lost all respect for people, but really who could blame her? None of her actions are surprising to me. Not in the least. Knowing what she's gone through, i'm surprised she's not even worse. Where I begin to have problems and concerns with working her, is she doesn't react like you'd expect her to. Like a normal horse would. She always does what you least expect her to do, and with her this can be VERY dangerous. At first I refused to work with her because I didn't know what to do with her to help her. I've only been working with horses for a few months less than two years, and I am well aware that this horse is way the hell out of my league. And then I randomly had an idea on how to help with her food aggression, and it worked. It worked really well. The downside is, that now she behaves only for me at feeding time lol. No one else has earned her respect. She's still a nasty brat for everyone else. But when it got to the point that I could get her to leave her food, the equivalent of outright giving it to me, and she'd stopped attacking the walls around her, I started thinking I could maybe work with her.
Her owner was more than happy for me to work with her, and even eager for it. I'd already spent several months working with Charming and she loves how he's turning out. She'd kind of hinted that she wanted me to work with Izzy before, but I wasn't comfortable with it at the time. Izzy had gotten to the point that the idea of rehoming her had come up, and I hated the idea that she might be rehomed just because she was so difficult to manage on the ground, for just basic maintenance needs like feeding and mucking her stall.
So I started working with Izzy a while ago, and at the same time her owner was paying for another girl to take lessons on Izzy with the new "trainer" at our barn who was giving lessons. I could spend an hour working with Izzy in the round pen and she'd start off horrible and by the end she'd be manageable. I'd come back a few days later, and it was like she'd taken 1 step forward and then 3 steps backward. And it took me a while to pinpoint the cause of this. Because every time I'd work with her again, I had to start over again and again and again. It got frustrating because we weren't getting anywhere. Each time after an hour, hour and a half, we'd finally be back to the basic respect level that we'd been at the time before. And then, one time, I go to work with her and she picked up exactly where we'd left off two days before. And then I figured out what it was. The day in between the two days I"d worked with her, was the day for lessons, and I'd found out that the girl taking lessons on her didn't make it, so Izzy wasn't used.
This didn't happen just once, it happened several times. Every time the girl skipped lessons, Izzy would pick up right where we left off the time before. I know the girl taking lessons on Izzy, and I know she can't ride for shit. She has zero horse sense, she hangs on the bit in the horses mouth, she can't sit right and constantly falls off, she bounces around, she's loud and runs around and is super hyper, and is COMPLETELY unwilling to learn. You'd tell her the same thing again and again and she'd never change. She was at this barn for quite a while, but thankfully she left about a month ago. The only reason Izzy's owner was having this girl take lessons on Izzy was that they were family friends in the past, and she'd hoped that the girl would get better with lessons and in the process the lessons would help Izzy, but it didn't help anyone and Izzy got exponentially worse because of it. I explained all of this to Izzy's owner, and she decided that because the girl kept skipping so many of the lessons that she was paying for that the lessons would stop. Shortly after that is when the girl left. No tears shed on my part lol.
I've been working with Izzy for a while, without the interference of multiple people working with her. I"m the only one working with her, and she's progressed pretty well. Over the summer the stable facilities flooded everywhere. The round pen's were both flooded, the arena was flooded, the paddocks flooded, the pasture, and everything in between because of all the rain we've had down here in Florida this summer. Because it's been so wet and muddy I haven't been able to really work with the horses, because its just too wet to do anything safely. But for the past week, we haven't had ANY rain!!! Not one drop!!
So the barn is FINALLY drying out. It's supposed to rain a little today/tomorrow, and then it'll be dry for a few more days and then we're going to get a lot of rain. But in the mean time it's dry. So because it's dry, I'm sure as hell going to tack up and ride
Yesterday, I go out into the pasture to find Charming, and Izzy comes right up to me. Even though we've been progressing a lot in the round pen, she still runs away from me in the pasture because she doesn't want to work. I hadn't done anything with her for about 2 weeks, and she came right up to me. I hadn't found charming yet, and if Izzy came to me wanting to work (cuz she knows that coming to me means getting worked lol) then I was going to take it. I put her in the round pen and she was better than she's ever been before. She would trot around the round pen and her head was fully turned inward, with her forehead facing me. She'd NEVER done this before. Ever. She turned inward on EVERY turn without having to be begged to do it. She stopped exactly when I asked her to. She gave me her full and completely undivided attention and wanted to work.
I'd told Izzy's owner that I wouldn't ride her. I've seen what Izzy does to her riders, and I didn't want any part of it. But I told myself that if she got REALLLLY good on the ground, that I'd consider it. And I did. Yesterday at the barn there wasn't really anyone around. Yeah the owners were there, and there was one other girl there who I don't mind because she's quiet and she thinks before she acts. But there weren't a ton of people around to cause Izzy to do something stupid, but there were people around in case something did happen. So I tacked up Izzy and worked with her a little bit more just to make absolutely sure that she was having one of her good days, and I couldn't find anything that screamed "DON'T DO IT!" So I put her in the round pen and got on. First thought: Holy fuck she's tall. She felt as tall as Shilo lol. The seat of my saddle was just above my eye level.
I've seen her walk off horribly when people get on her, and for me she didn't move an inch. She didn't even flex like she was going to. She just stood there like a rock and didn't care. It took be about 30 seconds, before I realized that I didn't know a damn thing about this horse. I've spent MONTHS working with charming trying to get him light in the mouth, light with leg pressure and neck reining. Months. And Charming had been the most well trained horse I've ever ridden. He just needs a good kick in the butt to get him to cooperate. Until I got on Izzy, Charming was the softest horse I"d ever ridden. Izzy, right off the bat, is 5x softer in every way than Charming is on his very best days. I've been told that Izzy was well trained, and I didn't know just how well she'd been trained until then. She'd back up by just leaning back and kissing to her, not having to touch the reins at all, just 5 seconds after I got on. I spent over a month trying to get Charming to do that. I'll say it again: this horse does what you very least expect her to do.
A few weeks ago I was told by someone that Izzy was a cutting horse. And this person said that I could ask the main horse trainer at our barn (not the b.i.t.c.h. giving lessons) and that he'd say the same thing. (The trainer had worked with Izzy for a while and rode her a few times, but his work schedule got so busy he didn't have time to work with her anymore). I had a basic idea of what a cutting horse does, but I youtubed some videos just out of curiosity. In watching those videos, and after riding Izzy yesterday, I think I"ve finally figured out what Izzy's main problem is. She's bored out of her fucking mind.
If you watch cutting horses cut a cow from a group, you'll see that the horse does most of the work. The rider doesn't cue the horse to "turn this way, turn that way, chase the cow down there, cut it off, chase it back, etc." The rider points the horse at the cow, gives it the rein, and the horse does the work. The horse thinks and acts for itself and works the cow.
Here's a good cutting video:
The more I think about that, and the more I think about Izzy, the more it makes total sense. Izzy is very independent, she thinks for herself and she does what she wants. Because she's just sitting around, doing literally nothing, she's BORED. So she takes her independence and uses it against the world, because when she was abused it's probably how she was able to survive. Between the other girl who can't ride for shit taking newbie lessons on her and the ground work I've been doing with her, she's basically a High School Senior being forced to do kindergarten work over and over and its pissing her off. I'd be pissed to. It's insulating to her intellectual level. She's not stupid. She might be messed up a bit mentally because of the abuse, but she's not at all stupid.
SO I NEED SOME IDEAS GUYS!!!
I need to figure out something to DO with Izzy to give her a job. Doing basic reining/western dressage/super technical work like what I do with Charming isn't going to cut it. She's so far beyond that its crazy. She can do that stuff in her sleep. General riding cues are there, and they're perfect. You couldn't ask for better. You just have to earn her respect so she'll work with you, and so she'll WANT to work with you. Because Isabelle doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do lol. It's not that she doesn't want to work, because she does. She really wants to. She just doesn't like people because of everything they've done to her, so getting her to work with you is the hard part. Once you've done that, she'll do anything for you. BUT IDK WHAT TO DO WITH HER!!
I need to find SOMETHING. ANYTHING. We don't have any cows, and idk anyone/anywhere were we could trailer down and play with some cows for a day. I would honestly consider putting the two Shetland ponies that the barn has in the arena and let Izzy herd them around. She needs a fucking job. Something she can do that allows her to use her own head, not just becoming an extension of the rider's head. So.... Any ideas guys?? Because I'm at a loss here
This was her facial expression after I rode her yesterday... She seemed so fucking happy to have been DOING something.
Yoyoyo Selene here. I am on Rox's page here. Doing. I don't even know what. Leaving. STUFF to read.
You're a pretty awesome person, Rox. Don't know how or when I met you. You kind of just popped into my life, and we've been friends ever since. You're like a freaking spider. There one minute, gone the next. Except I like you. Hate the spiders. I look up to you as an artist, you're one of my favorite artists here on dA, and that's no joke or empty compliment. I really do mean that. I've never really had a lot of great friends. I'm just not a trusting person to start with, no particular reason. But you're definitely among my best <3 I awh'd so much at your box. You have no idea. It meant a lot to me to know that I mean something to you. Just thought I'd tell you, I always look forward to seeing a response in my inbox from you. I've grown really attached to you, and hell, even grown to love you. -is not good at mushy things- ROX. YOU ARE AWESOME AND PEOPLE WHO DON'T AGREE SUCK.
AND TO THE REST OF Y'ALL. If you mess with my Rox, you are screwed. She's too loveable and floofy to be picked on.