Excerpt from Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners due for release January, 2010
Third Trainer proved the charm with Saddlebred
Dennis talks about a long letter he received from a gentleman who had all but given up on his horse and subsequently concluded Dennis was a “gift from God.”
“I had a Saddlebred that the owner had sent to other trainers for what I believe was a period of nine months between the two of them. He’d blow up under saddle and in the harness. He (the owner) had heard about me from the mounted police up in Minneapolis. We had to do a lot of undoing before we could start doing. I had him three months, and I don’t know the trainers, but I do believe that they were pretty whip-happy. This is one issue we discovered that leads to a lot of other areas. This horse had learned to have no trust and a total lack of confidence with the people that worked with him. So, we had to deal with that and get the horse over his concerns. He wasn’t a mean horse. He was a kind horse. But, whenever you got in the saddle or hooked him up in the harness, he couldn’t hold it together. I started him just like I would a two-year-old. I think when they started him, they just got on and went, instead of giving him the basics, putting a good foundation on him. I started in the round pen to try to get some of the cobwebs out of his head. There were times when I didn’t think it was going to work, and that’s why I kept him three months. I knew this was this horse’s last chance. As it ended up, I did take the horse back to the owner’s property after he was finished with the fixing process, and I don’t normally do that. I hauled the horse three hours north of me because I wanted to see the horse in his environment, and see what kind of rider and driver this guy was. I took him out and rode him at this guy’s place and hooked him up in the harness. The horse used to run away with the harness. He’d grab the bit and run, and did the same thing in the saddle, although here he’d rear first, then grab the bit and run,” Dennis explains.
The homestead test for both the horse and the rider demonstrated that what this horse had learned in the last three months could be transferred to the new facility and the intended future rider/driver.
“The horse is doing very well. The owner called me. He had gone on vacation for a couple of weeks. When he came back, the horse was fresh because he hadn’t been worked during this time. The horse held it together on the first day. I think we got him over the hump. The horse was much happier, much more secure. I don’t think that horses like falling apart any more than we want them to. If we don’t give horses confidence, we set ourselves up for failure as well as them,” Dennis asserts.
About Dennis Auslam
Dennis believes a problem horse is a rare find, but people who create them abound. He works with horses, and people, to help all involved gain the self-assurance, understanding, trust, and skills to find a happy connection for both.
Dennis & Michelle Auslam
(507) 430-0342 cell