|Abrazos Adventure Portales New Mexico
offering family and individual recreation to Portales, Clovis, Cannon AFB and the
surrounding area with horseback riding and lessons
Wendy Toombs owner/instructor 575.760.4444
Golly is a nice example of the American Quarter Horse. This chestnut mare’s registered
name is Golly’s Little Gal. We purchased her at the Clovis Horse Sale March 17, 2002. She
was a year old at the time. She was born May 4, 2001.
We bought Newbie’s mom at the same time and the two of them brought flu into the barn.
We finally had to shut down for a couple of weeks while the bug ran its course. About half
the horses came down with it.
She had never been handled before we got her so at the sale Ray had them run her
through a chute where they put a halter and drag rope on her. We then loaded her into
the trailer. When we got home, he backed the trailer up to the pen gate and unloaded
directly into the pen. Because she was not broke we couldn’t doctor her.
It was about 2 months before she was comfortable with me touching her. I had her come to
me and I used her grain as bait. It was a slow process but it worked. When I started to
actually handle her I found out some horses do not want you patting them. It took several
sessions of stroke, stroke, sneak a pat, stroke, stroke. Golly is more reactive than most of
our others so we approach her a little differently.
I use a hair dryer in the winter to warm the bit before putting it in the horse’s mouth. One
day I had pulled her out for a training session and wondered if I had the hair dryer lesson
with her. I convinced myself that I had. I had her looped around the hitch rail while I went
into the tack room to warm the bit. As soon as the sound started I realized we had skipped
this lesson. She bucked inside the barn. I just stayed out of her way inside the tack room
until she exited. After she got out of the barn she quit bucking and I was able to catch her.
I realized that I had to make that the lesson for the day so I used treats to convince her
that the dryer wasn’t going to eat her. It took several sessions to fully convince her all was
well. Not long ago, her rider went in to warm the bit and I had a chuckle as I watched Golly.
She had her head pointed toward the sound, ears forward and lips licking. Mission
accomplished, she associates the sound with something good.
We had the round pen set up with an extra gate so we could let the horses ‘self study’
about loading and unloading. I would feed them in the trailer and they could come and go
at will. We started with the big trailer and then graduated to the two-horse trailer. When it
came time for Golly to do the two horse trailer I fed her the evening feed. She loaded and
ate. The next morning she was still in the trailer. She didn’t know how to back out. That is a
little item that Dan is going to work on this summer (09). Right now we load her in the back
compartment of the stock trailer and she can turn around to come out.
There have been a couple of times we considered selling her because we weren’t sure she
was going to work for the school. The summer of 2008 I put her in with experienced riders
and was able to keep her going in the cold weather. She has done fine and seems to be
getting the hang of being a school horse. She still has a lot to learn so that is also good for
the student’s lessons.