It’s never easy, and that goes for buying and selling horses. Unless you are a horse dealer, it’s most likely that you are parting with an animal that is part of your family and while there are always reasons that the horse might be better suited in another home it will have been a hard decision to make. For buyers, you really don’t get to know the horse until it arrives and settles into your property and there are bound to be some teething problems along the way.
This blog is the story of a horse that I sold recently. Wellsdale Kandoo It All (Tally) had, like all of my horses, been with me since he was a yearling. Now ten years old and gelded a couple of years ago, the weather in Queensland did not agree with Tally. I moved six horses to QLD and only Tally had this poor reaction to the insects – they loved him!
As I rarely sell horses or need to advertise, I found Tally a wonderful home with a family in the cool Southern Highlands of NSW – the area Tally had lived all his life. He was going to be a family horse, attending Pony Club with a fifteen-year-old and being Mum’s riding horse at other times (to be honest, I’m not sure Mum ever got a look-in).
Taking a horse to a completely new environment is always going to be a big adjustment for the animal. Then, getting on and riding it with your different cues and signals adds an entirely new dimension to the process. Thankfully, the new family were Kandoo GOLD members so had full access to the Kandoo Online Training and the bi-weekly zoom meetings to support Kandoo members.
Were there teething problems? Yes, of course, there were. When you are dealing with an animal and not a machine, it will always be more complicated. This is the very reason I stopped taking horses in for training – the owner MUST train their own horse if they want lasting results that are in the best interest of the horse’s welfare. It’s no good if I can get your horse to do XYZ if you don’t know how he/she learned how to perform the movement because if things start to go wrong you will need to know how it was learned in order to fix it.
One of the best things about the Kandoo Equine Online Training is that each of the lessons is set out in a step-by-step way so that you can watch the video and read about how to teach the step before going out and starting with your horse.
Tally’s new owners did exactly this with each of the lessons. Tally was very emotional when he settled into his new home and started enjoying a slightly different, possibly richer, diet. On one early occasion, they took Tally to a nearby Pony Club grounds and long-reined him in the round pen only to find he bucked like a bronco. They contacted me and sent me video and together we worked through that behaviour and a few days later they had a different horse.
One really can’t expect a horse to behave like a motorbike. I think we need to be careful with mechanomorphic language such as suggesting the horse has ‘buttons’ or ‘gears’. Horses have learned, habitual responses to cues that we teach them. My cues will be slightly different from yours and when you get a new horse you must teach him/her your cues. Of course, there will be a learning and adjusting period where the horse is likely to trial responses, probably some you don’t want, when searching for a release of pressure but if you are clear in precisely what you are teaching and wanting the horse to do, this should be a reasonably short period of time.
Young Sarah has done a wonderful job teaching Tally her cues. While it took a few weeks for her to learn how to control Tally’s emotional level, once Sarah got him into the engagement zone, there was no stopping them.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sarah and Tally on their work together and thank Sarah and her mother for taking the time, learning and effort required to build a strong relationship with their new family member. Having owned Tally since he was a yearling, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see him so loved and appreciated. Thank you!
P.S. This just in:
Also Sarah and Tally went to the Moss Vale show today.
Tally got reserve champion district Galloway. Today was his first show in the “double” bridle. Sarah had been introducing it slowly over the last 3 weeks and he was just as beautiful and soft as ever! Sarah and Tally even got first in the pair of riders with Sophie and our palomino pony. That must of been a sight!
I can’t tell you just how happy Sarah is.
Next week they are off to camp at the Yass show.
There’s no stopping her now!!
The only thing wrong with Tally is he keeps letting our new calf suck his lovely tail.
Big tough Tally and the little poddy calf are best mates.