Hope you got your fair share of rain yesterday! We got about .50" here.
This week, Jeff came by to do dentals for the horses. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get a needle in to sedate Flash and decided not to push it at this time.
As for Flash's training, I wanted to share my thoughts on his progress so far. At this point, I haven't observed as much progress as I would have liked in addressing his "watchy-ness." I'm more than willing to continue working with him, but based on what I've seen, it's possible that achieving any lasting change could take longer than three more months.
I believe a lot of it is likely pain related, combined with his previous training experience with the Amish. His responses come from fear. Some horses give you the impression that they're giving you the finger, but that's not what I get from Flash. He tends to utilize "freeze" or "flight" & has never opted to "fight" so far.
We could take a more frequent & aggressive approach, beyond what I include in my training cost, through Jen's work (Knotty Equine) to make him more comfortable, but it may be something that's beyond "fixable" at this point.
From our previous conversations, I understand that your main goal is to improve Flash's behavior on the ground, so he is safer around your kids and others. You mentioned that if there weren't significant changes after 90 days of work, you would probably send him down the road.
While Flash has shown some improvement in his groundwork exercises, it hasn't reached the level I would like to see & some days, it's as if we're starting from square one. He does relax when I stand back & allow him to stand & soak during a session, but as soon as I approach him, he becomes tense and alert. Catching & touching him in the pen still requires an approach-and-retreat strategy. There was a brief improvement after his session with Jen, but his apprehension has increased again throughout the week with work as he's returned to his previous state of tension. On a positive note, Flash stands tied well; it would be great if he were as comfortable with people as he is when left alone standing tied!
I haven't saddled Flash yet, as the ground issues seemed more pressing based on our discussions. If he stays here, I plan to start working on that in the next week or two. Truthfully, had you not mentioned that he seems to do better once you're on his back, I would have questioned if he'd ever been saddled.
Not long ago, I would have done everything in my power & believed that each horse could reach the goals we had for them with the right handling & given enough time. I'd have continued to plug along with faith that we would see improvement - if we only just gave the horse enough time. For some horses, that works. I have a draft cross 3 YO gelding in right now that came from a KS kill pen as a yearling. He arrived end of August 2022 & he's really just started to come around over the past two months. Some people are attached to the vision they have for their horse & have no problem investing in it to see if they'll reach that point & others would rather not "wait & see" & opt to send them down the road instead.
Anymore, there are so many horses that are more willing to work with us; right now, Flash is not one of those horses (& may never be).
With all of this in mind, the decision is up to you. If you'd like to give Flash more time, I can certainly continue working with him. However, if you prefer not to invest further in his training, you're welcome to pick him up next week.
Please let me know your thoughts and how you'd like to proceed.
- Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Friday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.