From Couch Potato to Happy Working Horse
The story of a 17yr old TWH’s comeback
Recently I had the opportunity to help out a horse and his owner. This horse was a 17 year old Tennessee Walking Horse (TWH) gelding who was basically a “couch potato” for 10 years. He was a pet that was maintained health wise, but not used except maybe twice a year. The catch here was that when he was pulled out of the pasture for those two short rides he was allowed to be the boss of his handler. Head rubbing, shoulder checking and bullying. He was also trotted (a sin for a TWH) under saddle during his rides. All of this behavior was thought to be “cute” and playful .
He has found himself a new owner (who was trying to buy him for the past ten years and finally was given the opportunity). His current owner is a great horse trainer herself, yet will be the first to tell you she doesn’t know about the TWH gait enough to get a horse to do the gaits correctly. This is when she found Mystic Meadows and my training program. I had the horse for 7 weeks. Starting with ground work the gelding and I had to come to some understanding that bullying, especially running me over was not allowed. I worked on yielding, round pen work, and basic ground respect. Once he was solid with these exercises we moved into saddle work. He was very out of shape and wanting to continue to trot. With more flexing, some explanation of what I was asking and some time he is now strong in his smooth flat walk and starting to devolpe avery nice run walk.
The owner has also learned a lot about riding a TWH properly. She was ‘old school’ type rider. Think it was proper to lean way back, throw her feet forward, crank up the head and GO! Well she is now sitting balanced and proper on the horse giving him the best chance to stay balanced himself. They have become a great team together. He is now back at her farm and they are looking forward to some winter trail riding! The gelding will be returning in the spring for another quick tune up to make sure they are on the right path still. Then a full summer of lots of riding is ahead for him and his owner!
Thank you to his owner for letting me be part of an amazing start to his new life. He is a much happier and more laid back boy. You are going to make some wonderful memories on his back! Happy Trails!
A Saddlebred’s Story
10 yr old basically unbroken to saddle
A saddlebred owner called me this summer asking if I would have any interest in working with her 10 yr old mare. With the saddle seat style Saddlebred and Morgan horses being where I first learned how to ride, I was of course willing and excited to have her join the training family at Mystic Meadows.
She had been in training with other trainers, passed around from owner to owner with not much sucess. Her current owner was willing to put some time on her and give her the best chance she had to succeed.
The mare came to me scared to death to have a rider climb on her back. Along with emotions, she has a bad club foot and a weak leg on the other side. Between my Farrier and I we came up with the angles to put her feet and added a small plate shoe to help hold her hooves together. I spent the first month just gaining her trust on the ground. She passed every test of skill and trust I could think of on the ground. From exercise balls rolling off her back, plastic bags waved at her, long lining, line driving, and free lunging, just to name a few. My first ride on her was nothing short of drama filled and exciting. She locked up and started to panic as soon as I asked her to move forward. I could tell this was not an attitude, but rather fear. I worked on slow, short rides for the next few weeks. Having someone pretend to lunge her while I was on her back let her put ground work and saddle work together in her mind. She then began to trust me as her rider.
The other day her owner came out for the first time in three month (she live hours away from my farm and works 7 days per week). She was there to see a totally different horse than the horse she dropped off. The mare is now confident with her rider. Working on gaining the skills to have multiple speeds of the trot from jog to extended trot. And to the surprise of her owner she is also cantering both leads. The owner finally got to have a fun and enjoyable ride on her mare. To me that is a SUCESS! She is still going to leave the mare in training for the rest of the time she had planned. She says if you have been able to do this much in this short of time, I can’t wait to see what the next 3 months can bring!
Next goal, road and trail riding. And I can’t wait!
Happy Horse Owner: Review copied from Facebook
I just really want to give a huge shout out to trainer Suzy Wyckoff of Mystic Meadows Farm. She is a top notch gaited horse trainer(although she does all breeds her passion is gaited). She uses patience and persistence while training. I have never seen her express anger at any of the training horses and while my horse has been there I have seen her work magic on my horse and the other training horses. She does not just work on the horse’s “gait” but works on every aspect of what that particular horse needs. What I think is truly outstanding is that she really strives to get the horse and rider working as a unit. She encourages owners to come out and spend as much time as they would like watching and being apart of the training. On top of all of that, my horse receives top notch care and the barn is always spotless. Everyone on staff is very kind and very welcoming. It is a family owned business and you are made to feel like you are apart of that family no matter how long or short of a time you are there. Nancy E