PK Horse Training and Colt Starting

Lila

Lila was a four year old Thoroughbred filly.  Her dam's owners had bred her with good intentions, but after Lila was born she was not handled.  She was rescued four years later and was not even halter broke.  Once she was able to be caught and haltered, the rescuer decided to send her out for training.  We managed to get Lila in the trailer and haul her to our farm.  She had never been off the farm where she was born and she was terrified!

When Lila arrived she was quite aggressive.  She would kick out with her back feet and strike with her front hooves.  She had never had her feet trimmed or been asked to do anything.  Lila had completely missed out on the training that most horses receive as youngsters.

Since Lila was so scared, we began working with her slowly.  At the same time, we knew Lila's rescuer was eager to have her trained so she could be rehomed.  We began with baby steps and short 20 minute lessons with her.  She quickly learned to lead, tie, stand for grooming, and have ropes swung around her legs.  Getting her to pick up her back feet without trying to kick us was a huge concern, but we kept working at it.

While she was learning manners, Lila was being ponied on the trail and exploring the world for the first time.  She was also introduced to the saddle and other tack.  While very apprehensive at first, she never offered to buck, rear or bolt. 

We began riding Lila in the arena without incident.  Soon she was going out on the trail by herself!  Only 45 days after leaving the farm where she was foaled, Lila was well on her way to  becoming a great horse.  She could walk and trot under saddle, trailered like she had been doing it her whole life, stood tied quietly, got her first set of shoes and was going over all our trail course obstacles.

Lila left after 45 days to go to an eventing trainer.  After starting her over jumps, the trainer fell in love with Lila and kept her as her competition horse.  From rags to riches - way to go Lila!

        

 

Trigger

This young horse was purchased in 2010 from a woman who had run out of money to feed her horses.  He was a four year old National Show Horse gelding that looked like a yearling when he arrived.  He was very thin and malnourished.  According to his former owner he was part of a lesson program where children learned to do ground work with the horses.

Trigger had decent ground manners when he arrived, but he had not been started under saddle.  He was very herdbound and became extremely nervous and unpredictable when he couldn't see the other horses.  Trigger was also a picky eater.  We managed to get him up to a decent weight before winter and he was started under saddle at that time.

Being an independent thinker, Trigger's saddle training progressed with some challenges.  Unlike the thoroughbreds, Trigger was a little on the lazy side and took a lot of encouragement to get him moving forward.  He is now doing walk. trot and canter on the trail and in the arena.  Trigger is also tackling trail course obstacles like he's seen them a thousand times before.  His confidence has grown dramatically over the last few months.  Trigger now goes out on extended trail rides by himself and doesn't become nervous.  He has also learned to neck rein and move off of leg pressure.  On our homepage, you can see him ponying another horse out on the trail.

After using Trigger as a trail horse for two years, his skill and talent really started to develop.  It was decided to find him a home where he would be used in a more competitive discipline.  He was sold as an endurance prospect, but his buyer realized that she is not ready to be a horse owner.  He is currently available for sale; located in Oregon.

 

Wrangler

Wrangler was a nine-year-old registered paint gelding that came to us through a fellow rescuer.  We bought this gelding to save him from severe neglect.  Wrangler was very emaciated and sick, plus he had a two year history of bucking off every person who had attempted to ride him.

Once Wrangler was healthy we began to recondition him.  We started to walk him around the arena on the lunge line and gradually worked him up to lunging for an hour at a time at the walk and trot.  He was the sweetest horse I had ever worked with (on the ground) and was so happy to be in a safe home.  We soon found out that under saddle he was a completely different horse.  Wrangler had obviously been beaten with a whip and aggressively spurred in the past.  He was terrified to have a rider on his back.   Sudden hand or leg movements would send him jumping.  Wrangler would also become very nervous around other riders who were rough handling their horses.  Pulling on his face would cause him to buck.

Knowing what would trigger Wrangler to buck was very helpful.  Unfortunately he was afraid of pretty much anything the rider did in the saddle unless they were sitting perfectly still and not making any noise!  We took baby steps with him and never got to the point where he felt he needed to buck to escape from pressure. After three months under saddle he had only dumped his rider twice.  Both times it was rider error and could have been avoided.  After about four months of retraining, Wrangler understood that he was not going to be hurt or abused.  At that point we were able to start pushing him more and getting outside his comfort zone.  He has not offered to buck since then.

Rehoming Wrangler was a difficult decision.  We pondered for many months if we would keep him or try to find an exceptional home for him.  Eventually Wrangler was rehomed with his breeder.  He is being ridden by children now and has plans to barrel race in the future.

 

Onyx

This gelding was purchased at a local auction in order to prevent him from being sold for slaughter.  He was a Tennessee Walker (no papers) and about 15 years old.  He was already broke to ride, but was very herd bound and lacked manners.  His previous owner had not ridden him in over a year due to her own medical conditions.  Onyx came to PK training for a 60-day refresher.

Since Onyx was out of shape and needed some significant hoof rehab, he was started out with light lunging and short rides in the arena.  He was also introduced to trail horse obstacles.  Onyx was not spooked by anything we put in front of him.  After 30 days his feet were in good shape; his trail rides began.  He was good with traffic, bicycles, other horses, and everything else we found on the trail.  Onyx was a bit on the hot side; it became obvious that he needed at least an intermediate rider to keep him under control.  He is currently being ridden on local trails.

Sombra

Sombra was a Thoroughbred mare that came to us from Emerald Downs.  She was five years old and had very little manners.  She didn't know how to tie, load in the trailer, or pick up her feet.  She was horrible with the farrier as well.  Every time she was asked to do something like accept a saddle pad or pick up a foot, she would kick very aggressively.  While she had a very calm disposition, she didn't have much patience.  She didn't like to stand still and was constantly pawing or trying to get away.

This mare had already had a few months off after racing when she arrived.  She loved being handled and was clearly upset when the other horses were being worked and she was stuck in the pasture.  We began doing ground work with her and ponying her on the trail.  She learned manners and to respect people.  After many broken halters and lead ropes, she learned to tie - even to the trailer!   She quickly began to lunge on the line and freely in the arena.  Within 30 days she was ready to take out with the other horses.

It didn't take long to discover that Sombra's true passion is trail riding.  She has three beautiful gaits, a perfect Whoa, and excellent transitions.  She has a very light mouth and is responsive to her rider's cues.  Sombra can be ridden in a halter or a snaffle now.  She has transfomed into a wonderful horse.

Sombra is now living on her owner's farm and will enter training for mounted shooting competitions.    

                                           

JT Antes Up

This mare was saved by her owner from going to a slaughter auction.  As a two year old she had gone ito training but didn't make the cut as a high end show horse.  Afterwards, she was used as a broodmare until she was in her teens when the farm owner decided to have a dispersal sale.  The mare had an extremely docile temperament and was fairly easy to restart under saddle.  It turns out her biggest challenge was over coming soundness issues after many years of hoof neglect.

 With a new set of shoes on, Antes Up was ridden in the arena, ponied on the trail, and started over trail course obstacles.  After only 4 weeks of training, she was ready to go home with her new owner.  She was used for several years as a trail and arena horse.  She was safe enough for beginner and young children to ride.  Unfortunately the neglect to her feet during her broodmare years caused permanent, debilitating arthritis in her front legs. At the age of 19 she was laid to rest.

Hershey

This yearling mustang gelding arrived from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).  He was born in a wild herd of mustangs in central Oregon, was rounded up, gelded, and then became part of a youth training program. 

Soon named Hershey due to his rich, chocolate color, the scared little gelding began his domesticated life at PK Training.  At first he was very difficult to work with; he would try to jump or climb out of his enclosure whenever people came near.  It took about three weeks before we could reliably halter him and take him out of the round pen.  After about a month of handling, Hershey's progress was equal to that of a horse born in captivity.  Some of the things he had learned were how to tie, lead, pick up his feet, load and haul in the trailer, and pony behind another horse.  He was ponied at over a dozen trail systems across Western Washington.  Hershey also learned to navigate trail course obstacles and carry a saddle.

When Hershey is old enough to carry a rider, he should be easy to start under saddle since he already has all the tools he needs to communicate effectively with his handler.  After three months of handling, he was adopted by a family who plans to use him as a trail mount when he is older. 

Class Act

In 2009 we fostered a horse for Save a Forgotten Equine (SAFE), a rescue in Monroe, WA.  Class Act came to us to be assessed and restarted under saddle.  She was a retired thoroughbred brood mare that had ended up on the feedlot some years earlier.  While she had a faded racing tattoo, we were never able to get a positive identity on her.

While the majority of her history was unknown, Classy was broke to ride but had not been ridden in several years.  Her previous own stated she was hot and had difficulty under saddle.  Starting with groundwork and light lunging, Classy was gradually reintroduced to a rider. Other than some occasional head tossing, Classy never gave us much trouble under saddle.  While she was never enthusiastic about going to work, she still enjoyed cantering out on the trail.

 After less than a month of training and conditioning, Class Act was entered in both English and Western classes at a horse show.  She was able to place in several classes.  After the show one of her riders adopted her.   Once viewed as a throw away. Classy found her forever home and enjoyed light riding well into her twenties.

                        

Thunder

Thunder was a nicely bred 6 year old Quarter Horse gelding.  Although he had prior trail experience, his owner had been bucked off and received injuries.  While Thunder was broke to ride, he had a lot of holes in his training which negatively affected his performance.

When Thunder arrived he was afraid of people and very difficult to catch.  He was also very head shy; he didn't like having his ears or face touched.  After a few weeks of ground work, Thunder learned to respect and trust people again.  He was restarted under saddle and made rapid progress.  After 30 days he was being ridden by beginners.  He was also comfortable having his ears touched and ropes swung around his head. 

Thunder was rehomed after 60 days of training. He is now living with a family who uses him for calf roping and other western events.  Their daughter rides him on trails. 

                                           

Thor

In 2009 Thor arrived at our facility for boarding.  When he stepped out of the trailer our jaws nearly dropped to the ground.  Out walked a teenaged Arabian cross gelding that was at least 250 pounds under weight.  He had suffered a leg injury the previous year and had been locked in a stall to avoid further injury.  Thor was very nervous and paced constantly.  As a result of lack of food and exercise, he had lost all of his muscle tone.

 It was obvious that after Thor gained his weight back he would need extensive reconditioning before being ridden again.  We began with hand walking and light lunging (15 minutes) daily after he was physically healthy enough to exercise.  He had a number of other issues, both health related and behavioral, that also needed to be addressed.    After 30 days of conditioning, Thor was restarted under saddle.

We were told that when Thor was younger he used to be a show horse.  He was very rusty and needed another 30 days of training to regain some of his prior skills.  Thor's owner was not comfortable riding him since he was often spooky and flighty.  As a result we also focused on desensitizing him to various objects and trail course obstacles.  We also rode Thor extensively on trails and took him on prize rides.

 Thor has spend the last four years as a member of a therapeutic riding program and giving lessons to children.  He is currently available for adoption through Camp Berachah in Black Diamond, WA.

 

Henry

This cute thoroughbred gelding arrived after his owner started him under saddle and realized he had issues that she was not able to resolve.  Henry was often reluctant to move forward, and he would also buck on occassion.  Henry's owner also wanted him to have trail exposure since she planned to use him as a trail and eventing horse in the future.

 Unfortunately Henry had a respiratory infection when he arrived.  He spent the majority of his 30 days in training in quarantine on antibiotics.  Despite this set back in his training schedule, Henry did learn to walk and trot nicely under saddle.   He also learned to load calmly in the trailer and ride through various trail course obstacles.  During his stay he went on several trail rides.  On one ride he went out solo and encountered an enormous bull elk.  While very curious of his unexpected hooved trail partner, he never spooked and continued calmly down the trail.

                      

Macaroni

This little mare was rescued in 2011 by PK Training.  She was starving and had severe digestive issues due to untreated ulcers.  In addition, she had a halter imbedded in her face and was extremely aggressive towards people.  Our plan was to return her to a healthy state, start her under saddle, and then rehome her as a trail pony.  Her disposition proved to be rather unpredictable as she would randomly bite or kick out at people with little or no warning.

It became evident from the beginning of her training that Roni actually wanted to work.  While she was not always easy to train, she truly did want to be with people and go out on the trail.  After keeping her in training for a year, the search began for a new home.  Since Roni stands at only 13.2 hands and can exhibit aggressive behaviors at times. we knew she would be hard to place.  She also feared having other horses behind her; on the trail she had to be last in line.  The only prospective homes for Roin wanted to use her for a broodmare, so the search continued.

In the spring of 2012 our main horse used for training injured himself by attempting to jump over the pasture fence.  Since there were still horses to train, Roni had to step up to the plate.  She was diong very well in the arena and out in the woods, and she was a natural at trail course, but she still needed to learn how to pony.  When our yearling mustang was ready to hit the trail, Roni took over.  At first she didn't like it at all and despised having a rope across her flank.  However, after a few days she really took to it. 

Currently Roni is recovering from a torn suspensory.  We are hoping for a full recovery.