Sunday, August 12, 2012

Meet Swayze

About a month or so ago, I saw a facebook post by a friend: 8yr old 17h+ Thoroughbred for sale $1.
I thought at first it was a ha, ha post, but as I read the comments I realized she really meant the statement. I posted that I wish I could help her. That statement alone gave her hope.
Mom and I went to see Swayze and see how we could help. My heart broke when our friend said "I just want to trot."
I remembered from her trial videos before his purchase, that I thought she was ambitious to buy him. He tended to brace against the bridle and move sideways. Tension reigned over him. Mom started by doing a body check to see if he had any areas of pain. Body wise he was not too bad with some slight weakness in his back and over development of the under side of the neck.
Swayze 2011
Then Mom moved onto his tack. His saddle right now is okay, but may need adjustment soon. As soon as his bridle was on, we both noticed he did not like the bit a two piece full cheek. When contact was applied he tensed and raised his head. We also decided to try him with out the standing martingale.
Now onto the ride. Just like a lot of horses, Swayze reflects his rider. She was tense and up, so he was tense. Mom worked on using weight aids to slow and halt him. His owner was amazed as he responded quietly. Swayze has a great walk and a swinging trot. Unfortunately his owner is not yet comfortable with that movement. By the end they both were calmer and more relaxed. His owner felt like there was hope. She told us a lot of other people told her he may not change. Mom and I were both pleasantly surprised by Swayze and his ride ability. Time would be what they need. We let her borrow our 5.5 KK three piece to try the next time she rode, since he really did not like the two piece. Also we showed her some clicker training to give her a fun activity, no stress, to do with Swayze.
The results were great. His owner said he responded well to the new bit and she was feeling much better about their future.
Saturday morning, Mom did another lesson with them both. The main focus was the half halt. Using weight aids, she slowed the walk or trot to a halt. Swayze stayed so soft and long, keeping his head low. Mom is trying to rework the conversation between horse and rider into a calm and confident one. Overall Swayze is looking much happier and his body is changing in a good way.
See how nice his lower neck is looking?

Great walk and Happy horse
Next time I may get on him to see how he is with me. Plus, his owner may come out and ride some of our horses to build her confidence in her own skills. I am so glad she is feeling so much better about her connection with Swayze.


  1. Thanks for sharing that story! Lucky her to have you and your mom close enough to help. Frankly I'm a bit jealous ;)

    1. I have had so much help over the years and Swayze's owner is one of the nicest people I know, that it was a given that we would try to help.
      Ah,yeah you are a bit out of the neighborhood :)

  2. I'm surprised it didn't occur to her to take some lessons before deciding to sell him!

    1. Carla, that is the saddest part. She did seek help from others. She got him late last year and he had come a long way, but still had some issues she thought she could not handle. The people she asked for help, gave her gadgets and focused too much on what he should do versus what he can do. They basically told her he was hopeless, which is crazy because he is a very nice horse. She is also dealing with an ER nursing job and a critically ill mother. She only needed someone to see the good in what she has and not focus on what she does not.