Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Some Thoughts on Max Part 1.

Firstly, let me say that I am not that knowledgeable about horses. I believe that I have a pretty good instinct when it comes to picking out animals that will work for me, but in the past, it's always been cats and dogs.  I'm still learning a lot about horse behavior both under saddle and on the ground.  I want to write down my thoughts on Max's abilities (or not) mostly to keep track of them and get them organized in my head.

First, some background. I really don't know much about Max's background other than being a pasture-puff.  I have his papers, but can't find much information on his breeders, or the owners listed on the papers. I believe that his breeder was heavily involved in Haflingers, but have since aged and moved away from breeding. From there, it's murky. He did end up at a local lesson barn, but was told he wasn't used much.  I don't know how many owners he has passed through as his papers came with him, but wasn't transferred into the new owners name until me.  There are at least two owners that aren't listed. This barn is still offering lessons and there's a chance I will run into the instructor in the future, so I plan on asking her when I do.  Anyways, after the lesson barn, he went to a woman who had him for almost a year before selling him to me. I don't think she rode him more than once or twice in the paddock.

I'm watching you!

Pasture-puff Status:
As far as I can tell, Max had primarily been a pasture-puff for at least a year before I got him, probably longer.  The woman I got him from said he was hardly used at the lesson program, at least while she was there. She estimated around two or three years.  So, that's a possibility of  up to 4 years not doing much work.  Why?  I'm not sure. He doesn't have any obvious health concerns.  My guess is behavior. He tends to be spooky and bolt when he does spook.  He's also got that stubborn Haflinger attitude that can be difficult for kids to manage.With those strong neck and shoulder muscles, Haflingers can really drag someone around who is not strong, or not prepared.  I'm constantly fighting with Max over grass.  I don't allow him to eat while I'm riding unless I cue him, but he is constantly testing. So part of his pasture-puff status may also be intelligence along with stubbornness.

I'm almost certain Max has been trained to drive.  It's very common to find Haflingers that have not been trained to ride, but do drive.  From the little information I have, I believe his breeder took their Haflingers to shows that included driving.  The woman who runs the lesson barn he was at mentioned that Max had been trained to drive to his previous owner, but I wouldn't trust that type of information.  Last fall, I decided to see how he did being line driven (drove?) and he did very well. He actually responded better to vocal commands being line driven than while under saddle. It's clear that he would need a refresher, but I think he knows his stuff.

Part 2 coming soon. 

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