Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The best darn training tool I never bought!

 A brag and a tiny rant There are clinicians out there that will tell you that all you need to train your horse to , lead,rein ,run barrels load in the trailer , and on and on is ,their very special wonder stick! halter ,bit, saddle etc.
But really that is no magic bullet! It takes time, patience, effort, more patience, and the ability or willingness to use what is at hand .
For example , I don't use a round pen, I like corners, I use them in my ground training and halter breaking. Why? well to be honest when I started I didn't have a round pen, still don't , I have a working pen about half the size of a regular arena but not the typical round pen. So I used what I had, and what I had was a group  of smaller pens we use for sorting cattle. They have corners ,so I learned to take advantage of them .I could go on about how I do that but for the moment I will leave it at that because this post is really about a big old barn of a stock trailer and some sweet smart colts.
The reason I say it is the best training tool I never bought is because I actually don't own it. The trailer belongs to my dad, it is a big 4 horse lift off stock combo. It is about 30 yrs old and it is a bit tired, but I love it,it has hauled my horses, mine, dads, and other cattle and bulls, a piano, a house full of furniture or several,  a lawn tractor, I am sure a thousand bales of hay over the years, posts, rails,and so much more.
It is also the one trailer in my world that I can absolutely guarantee,I will get any horse to load into it.
Even young Harley, who had unfortunately won a battle of not getting into my uncles angle haul. This was regrettable but it was and extremely hot day and while he wasn't spooked or really fighting  he was also not getting in . In 30 degree Celsius,which BTW felt like 40 C in the trailer , I figured that was just not the hill I wanted to die on. So a week later , I got out the old blue stock and Harley ,thought  he was going to win again... nope! I did not drag him on or whip him we just back up to the chute, opened the slider and walked him on, with no options to go right or left, he had only to choose forward or back, and with some time and patience guess what he chose? Yup the only thing more stubborn and determined than an appy cross colt,is  well, the appy cross colts owner ,ME!

But I prefer it not to be a battle of wills so I went out tonight to practice loading Maks and Tango. Maks because he is sold and Tango because he is for sale (tomorrow will be Spite and Casey's turn )
How did it go?
Well the combo of patience , encouragement , a really good open trailer and some darn smart colts was the perfects mix to create this

 As you see it is quite open and lots of light comes in, it is however LOUD , and when they first put a foot on the noise often makes them hesitate, but not for long Tango actually wandered around in there for a bit and was making a huge amount of noise but it didn't seem to bother him after the first step.

And yes there was a pail of "cornflakes" grain in the trailer once they got in so the experience ended in a reward but I did not use the treats to coerce them on , just the commands they have come to know, and lots of pats and "good boys" . And good boys they certainly are!
 That big old trailer is nothing fancy, but it is sure a handy thing to have around, and it works for me .
So the lesson here is learn to use the tools you already have and maybe that "magic stick" can stay in the tack store.
Just my opinion. Stay safe friends


Anonymous said...

No magic sticks here, either (actually there are quite a few at my barn but I don't go in for that sort of thing).

Like the no fuss no muss trailer loading - the openness of the trailer is a big plus. Patience is my biggest tool - with the horses and with myself!

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh that is wonderful it is good to have them practice and now it is going to be perfect come loading day. Easy is your friend:):) Hug B

kden said...

Great story. Sometimes the best tools are the old tools.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Good for you! We all know it is sooooo much easier to teach them when they are young instead of waiting until they are all grown up and easily outweigh and out muscle us. Giving them one option and making it their choice is an easy way to instill the good behavior everyone wants.

Dang those are some good looking boys ya got there.

Reddunappy said...

Awesome kids you have!

4RRanch said...

How nice for the buyer to already have them trained to load. Nothing more frustrating than going to get one and can't get it loaded. Handsome fellas.

Sherry Sikstrom said...


Sherry Sikstrom said...

Thanks I am pretty pleased with them

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Yup the magic is what we make when we do the work!

Sherry Sikstrom said...

Yup been there