ridecamp@endurance.net: RE: free filly --reply (long)

RE: free filly --reply (long)

Linda Van Ceylon (equine_athletes@hotmail.com)
Tue, 23 Dec 1997 20:32:31 PST

I have an "alpha" mare, Rabbit, now 25 yo., who is a wonderful teacher
for young aggressive horses. I just turn the brats out in the pasture
with her, and before you know it, she has them acting sweet, kind and
submissive. This old mare has always been aggressive and dangerous
herself, in the wrong hands. You cannot turn a timid horse out with her
or she will ravage it. I have to warn the neighbor kids to stay away
from her. Even though, if she trusts you, she is so kind and sweet, you
could not ask for a better friend.

She is also the most loyal and loving mother. She has raised wonderful,
kind, gorgeous offspring. None of her young have her aggression to the
extent she does, but they were all handled from the first hour of birth.
Plus, she does not take any guff from the youngsters, but loves them,

The irony of it all was last year when I took her to my trainer. (Yes,
I took a 24 yo mare who had not been ridden in 10 years to my trainer
and actually paid $ to have him work with her). My trainer is a kind
old cowboy who has trained horses for 40 years or more. He learned his
trade directly from Tom Dorrance.

This trainer could not believe I was bringing him a 24 yo mare to train,
either. I said, "Johnny, this old mare is no longer fertile, I can't
breed her so I'll have to ride her or take her to the killers". "The
killers won't have her", said Johnny, "she's a grey". (Actually, he
just told me that because he didn't want me to take her to the killers).
Since, no one had been on her back for 10 years, and she'd been pretty
much doing as she pleased all that time, I thought Johnny's expertise
would save me time and $ in the long run. (Not to mention the fact that
when I rode her 10 years earlier, she nearly killed me numerous times).
So, I dropped the old mare off for a week. I explained to Johnny that
this old mare was the dam of most of those other horses he'd started for
me. I explained that she had a problem with some arthritis in her hip,
so to take it easy with her. He just looked at her swayed back, grinned
and shook his head.

You see, Johnny is the type of trainer who treats a horse with nothing
but kindness. He get's their attention right off the bat. Shows them
he is "alpha", in the round pen, with his body language and shaking of a
whip with plastic rattles on the end. Once he has their attention, he
shows them what he wants in ways they can understand. He gets highly
upset with people who use any harsh or angry ways with horses.

A week later, I came to pick Rabbit up a Johnny's. He met me at the
barn door with her in hand. He said, "She is the smartest mare I have
ever worked with. No wonder she has such good babies. These mares who
are smart like this, they take charge. They are great mothers, and
great teachers. It's too bad she can't have more babies."

Johnny's statement gave me new hope and respect for this old mare. I
rode her in dressage for the next 3 months. She taught me a lot. I
just hope I can find some time to work with her again this winter.
Right now, she is just babysitting a 7 month old colt, who was a bad
brat until she became his pasture mate 3 weeks ago.

Maybe you can find an ornery old "alpha" mare like Rabbit who can put
this filly in line. The filly is probably just too smart and untrusting
for her own good.

I hope something works out in the filly's favor.

Lindavan, Buhni, Sunny, Fiddler, Rabbit & Rain Maker
Equine Athletes
2921 Moore Lane, Fort Collins, CO 80526

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