Kathi Wilson loves wild horses and recently adopted another gelding from the Steve Mantle Wild Horse Training Facility. She’s going to document her progress with her new horse Razzles. Kathi already has another adopted horse, Snickers, that she uses for demonstrations for the BLM. Follow Razzles and Kathi on their journey as they get to know each other.
Razzles has done wonderful these last few months, and I am now the "official" owner of Razzles as I got his title of ownership just a few days ago from the Bureau of Land Management.To show you how well Razzles has done, my oldest sister Debbie, who has not shown horses in twenty years, decided she wanted to show him during the 3rd annual Mustang Days show held in conjunction with the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas, WY. She entered Razzles in the halter geldings and in-hand trail classes. I am happy to say that with little coaching on my part, the two went on to place 2nd in both classes. I was so proud of both of them! (I included a picture of them showing in the halter geldings class).
As I think back over the months, I remember trying to reassure a frightened little horse at his new home the first day I brought him home. And now a year later, I see a beautiful, confident, smart and willing horse that has brought me more laughs than I can count. Watching him go from the horse that no one would bid on in the adoption ring a mere year ago, to now, being the horse that catches many peoples eyes, has been a wonderful adventure for me. His gregarious personality has people flocking to him of all ages. Razzles is yet another testament to how these legendary mustangs can touch the lives of many people, and I for one am so glad he has touched mine!
Razzy and I are in the round pen today ignoring the snow that is on the ground and enjoying the warm windless day. Razzy was full of energy and was ready to be put to work. I saddled him and then lounged him in the round pen both directions, working on all three gaits of walk, trot and lope. Once he had the "fresh" off of him, I took the bridle that had a snaffle bit on it, and put it on Razzy for the first time. I had taken the reins off so all he had to do was learn to accept this foreign metal thing in his mouth. Razzy chewed it, tried to rub it off and did all kinds of stuff until he finally realized it was okay and calmly stood with it in his mouth. Once Razzy got to this point, I put the reins back on and briefly showed him how to laterally give to the bit just like I had taught him to do with the halter. He picked up on this quickly and was giving his head very well to the right and left. I then showed him the back cue by picking up on both reins and asking him to take a step away from the pressure of the bit. This took a bit for him to figure out, but once he caught one, he was giving me two to three steps willingly. I had done all of this from the ground with out getting on him. I will repeat this lesson a few more times, and then when I feel like he is ready, I will drive him, around the round pen so he gets used to seeing me behind him from each eye, and also to help him understand the cues of the bit much better.
Once I feel like this is no problem for him, I will then mount him and repeat all the lessons from his back. When all of this becomes boring for him...we will start heading out in to the big world filled with other horses, arenas, cattle and many more wonders. I will probably spend some time before I ride him solo leading him from one of my older horses to help give him confidence when going somewhere new.
Overall I have been very impressed with how Razzy has progressed. Usually when I start a horse, I would like to spend a solid 30 days with them. But do to me working 50 to 60 hour weeks, two other horses to ride and the weather, Razzys training has been sketchy at best. But he seems to retain from lesson to lesson and the vet confirmed by his teeth that Razzy is somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 years of age, so I don't mind taking it slowly with him and giving Razzy time to mentally and physically grow up. I am all about preparing Razzy for his future and not so worried about pushing him for today.
January 23, 2012 found me at the vet with Razzles in tow. Once at the vet I unloaded Razzy and waited for the vet to come out. We were there for Razzys first official teeth floating, sheath cleaning and blood draw for a Coggins test. Razzy was busy checking everything out when the vet started rolling up the garage looking door that leads into the large animal side of the clinic. Razzy thought this was pretty scarey and tried to get away...but not too hard as I could hold him. I got him calmed down and was able to lead him into the stocks without a problem. My vet was very appreciative of how cooperative Razzy was being and started asking all kinds of questions about him. My vet is very familiar with my other mustang Snickers, and feels that Razzy is also well on his way to being a great example of the mustang breed.
Once secure in the stocks Razzy was given a shot to make him groggy so they could get his teeth done. I knew he also had two wolf teeth (little teeth that grow in front of the first upper molars) that also would have to come out. This is why I had only been riding Razzy in a halter as I did not want the bit to clank on those little teeth. I have been told that if a bit hits on these wolf teeth it is much the same feeling as biting down on a piece of aluminum foil for us. Either way...I did not want him to associate the bit with pain or an uncomfortable feeling.
While getting more groggy, Razzy surprised us all and started to softly whinny. We all started to laugh and feel sorry for him, so my vet walked over and held Razzys head and talked to him to reassure him that all was still okay. I stood by his head the whole time trying to stay out of the vets way, but close enough Razzy would know I was there for him.
As it turns out once the vet got into Razzys mouth, he had THREE wolf teeth. Two on the top and one on the bottom. I did not know horses could get wolf teeth on the bottom, so the vet said it ws a good thing I did not try to put a bit in his mouth as it would have hit on that tooth and drove him nuts. The vet worked quickly and soon Razzy was free of his three little teeth, and the rest of his teeth were leveled out so he can properly chew his food and not have his teeth rub on his cheeks and cause ulcers.
From his mouth the vet went to his sheath which was cleaned and then a blood draw for the Coggins test so I can legally take him across county and state lines when I show him this summer.
We waited for Razzy to wake up a bit in the stocks, then I backed him out of the stocks and led him around in the yard until Razzy was awake enough to load safely in the trailer. Once home he spent the rest of the day sleeping it off in his stall. My vet was very happy with his attitude and willingness to be worked with and told me he will follow our progress on the BLM site.
Our first sunny (non windy) day found me out in the round pen with the sun shining on my head, alone with my favorite youngster Razzles! After holiday festivities and gale force winds that I thought were going to blow the barn down, we finally had a break in the weather! I took advantage of the unusual sunny day to put my boy through his paces. I started him on lunging, and focused on getting Razz to change directions and stay at the gaits I asked for without breaking to another gait until I told him so. We then worked on lateral flexing exercises and standing still while I saddled him. Razzles graduated up to the adult saddle today complete with a back cinch. No more light weight colt breaking saddle for him! I thought he might buck with the new weight of the heavier saddle and the first time feeling a back cinch. But much to my surprise he acted as if he had worn it a thousand times! YEAH!
Because he was doing so well I started mounting and dismounting from both sides, finally throwing my leg over and asking him to walk off. I am riding him in just a halter for now, as he has a vet appointment next week to get his wolf teeth out. So until those teeth are out and he is healed up, no bit for him. I even got him to trot and stay relaxed. I quit on a good note and let him roll as he was hot and sweaty with all his winter hair.
I then got my cotton rope and we worked on a bow, as you can see by the picture...he is learning well! He is such an easy horse to work with and really tries hard to please you. Afterwards he got a complete beauty spa treatment to include a head to tail brushing, a new bridle path cut with the electric clippers and conditioner put into his mane and tail.
Santa brought Razz a new halter with lead, a water bucket and a horse ball to play with. I will have to see if I can get a picture of Razz playing with the ball.....he LOVES it!!Finally had a nice day with most of the snow and ice melted from my round pen. Saddled Razzles up and lunged him around in the pen, working on transitions from walk to trot, trot to lope and stopping. I did get on his back, but did not ask him to move off. Just a refresher course. I have put all of my horses training on hold until after the new year. It is just to hard to be consistent with weather and holiday festivities impending upon your day. I did introduce leg wraps for the first time today, after taking a few first awkward steps, Razzles totally ignored them on his legs.
After lunging, I took the saddle off of Razzles and we started the basics of working on tricks like my older mustang Snickers can do. Razzles will be a natural at it. He was already bowing after 20 minutes, and laid totally flat on the ground for me twice.
I am realizing that starting Snickers at the age of 12 doing tricks has been more of a feat than his enthusiastic padawan Razzles. Snickers will eventually learn his tricks but not without a lot of horse cookies and encouragement from me. Razzles on the other hand, learns them so fast...I actually have to slow him down to ensure he does learn them properly and stays relaxed in performing them.
I was given a Clinton Anderson video on horse tricks, I am thrilled, will see how many of them I can get my boys to do for demos in 2012.October
October blesses us with a nice sunny day that I take advantage of with Razzles. I lunge him and then work him on walking over the bridge, side passing, backing, disengaging his hind end and giving his head both directions to lateral pull. He was such a good boy that I started laying over his back, getting on, then sitting on him and getting off. Once on him...I just rub on him all over and try to find itchy spots he really likes to have rubbed. He did so well with everything that we ended the session with me sitting on him (as proof by the picture).
End of October finds me finishing ride #2 on Razzles. I am so amazed at the willingness and trust these horses will share with you. I have tried hard not to scare Razzles and give him time to figure out what I want him to do. I have been rewarded, as Razzles (so far) has not bucked or panicked with me when I am on his back. I am very proud of this little guy!
Saddled Razzles up for the 6th time...put him through his paces of walk, trot and lope with the saddle on, in both directions. He did very well. I decided to see what he would do with a little weight in the stirrup...he took that well, so I laid across his back...petting and scratching him. He stood like a rock for me and seemed to not really be bothered with me laying on him. I quit for the day on that positive note! Very proud of the trust we are developing together.
Razzles has been saddled 5 times now, and has not offered to buck since that first night. He now walks, trots and lopes around the round-pen with little encouragement from me. I have him walking and trotting over logs and walking over a bridge. I am very proud of him, he seems to really want to please. The rainy weather is preventing me from doing much more. Soon I will begin to haul him to an indoor arena so I can keep his training going even in the bad weather. Our next step is the bridle and ground driving.
After some preparation and desensitizing of Razzles to the saddle blanket and saddle, Razzles finally stands and accepts the saddle on his back. Yes, he did buck and try to get it off....but once he realized it was not coming off...nor did it hurt him, he calmed down and I was able to lunge him around at a walk and trot. What a good boy for a first saddling!
Day of the big show! Razzles looked very handsome all cleaned up and his hooves all blacked. He was sporting a new black halter. A bath in the wash racks (another first) made his four sock stand out against his darker body color. Razzles managed to get a first place ribbon in halter and a 3rd place in the In hand trail class. I was very proud of him and he tried very hard to do everything I asked him to do.
This August day found me in my truck and trailer with Snickers and Razzles in tow for the Mustang Days Show held during the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas. Razzles easily joined Snickers in the two horse trailer this morning. I smile to myself as I realize that this will be a day of many "first" for Razzles. His first long trailer ride (almost two hours from Cheyenne to Douglas), his first time at a fair with noises and new sights, first night of staying in a stall at a facility and his first time at dealing with all the commotion outside his stall. Later that evening I took Razzles out of his stall for a walk around the barn and into the arena, I know he needed to stretch his legs. Wouldn't you know the arena air ventilation fan kicked on about the time we got into the arena...it was loud and poor Razzles was so scared...he just bowed down with this front legs like a dog stretching. He did not know where to go or what that sound was...thankfully I got him walking and with me petting and reassuring him...he soon ignored the fan and went about exploring the arena.
That day went well for all of us, we got to Douglas, unloaded and I got Razzles and Snickers bedded down for the night in their stalls. So far so good for little Razzles. August 12
Razzles and I were practicing trail type obstacles again... we were done for the night and I was in the tack/grain room when Razzles tried to just come on in the room with me. Well, I stopped him at the door so he would be safe. But he kept trying to come in the room with me as if to say, "Gee Mom... hurry up or I'm going to get the grain myself!!"
The rest of the week is going to be spent getting ready for the Mustang Days show on Friday, August 19th. A trip to Douglas will be his first "long trip", staying in a stall at the fairgrounds, and all of those sights, sounds, other animals and people. Whew! Razzles is going to have his world of sagebrush, hills and wildlife greatly expanded soon.
Sorry about pictures being blurry, he keeps moving... =0(
On a walk down the road to practice leading and trotting for the trail class at the upcoming Mustang Days, Razzles had to stop and smell the sunflowers... well they are CLOSE to roses?! lol
August 6, 2011Here is Razzles loading into my two horse trailer for the first time. My friend Diane brought her 4 horse slant trailer over to practice in first... so I could walk in with Razzles and feed him goodies once he was in the trailer. It made learning how to load in a trailer easier and then when faced with my two horse trailer he loaded on the first try! Such a good boy!!
But the funny thing happened on Sunday. I let Razzles out into the pen that held the horse trailer... he kept snooping around it, so I opened the doors so he could look in and get familiar with the trailer without having to load in it. I wanted him to get comfortable with it. Guess I did not have to worry... I left to finish chores around the barn and heard a funny noise... I walked out and Razzles had loaded himself into the trailer to finish the grain that was left in there from the training session the day before. When he figured he was done, he slowly backed out and looked around to see what was happening. I stood there with a big grin and told him he just completed his training session for the day as I was going to load him again... but he did it all on his own even better!!!
Razzles had MANY firsts this weekend. He stood like an angel for his first hoof trim... even letting farrier use the stand to put his feet on to finish them. Beyond a snort of "I don't know you"... when the farrier first approached him, Razzles soon figured out he was not going to be hurt and relaxed and stood like he had done it all his life. My farrier even commented that he has papered horses that don't stand that well!! YEAH for Razzles.
And because of the heat and flies... Razzles also got his first bath... at first it scared him... but then he seemed to enjoy it. All that massaging to get dirt out seemed to feel really good on itchy spots.
Razzles will be working on riding in the trailer for short trips this week and practicing his trail obstacles for the State Fair Mustang Days show. Plus getting used to other people walking up and petting him... a horse cookie given by a stranger seems to help him relax a lot!
Razzles is home now with Snickers and Duallee my Quarter Horse. I will try to get him comfortable enough in the next few weeks so he can make his first showing at the Wyoming State Fair on August 19th in the "In-hand" classes at the 2011Mustang Days show in Douglas, Wyo.
In fact, my oldest sister wants to show him. She has limited showing experience, but just fell in love with Razzles.
Razzles is a two-year old grey gelding with a blaze on his face and four high socks on his legs. He was rounded up in November of 2010 from the Salt Wells Herd Management Area in Wyoming.
The gelding was offered for adoption as a haltered started colt at the Mantle adoption... but no one bid on him. I decided that he seemed to want to please people and was trying hard to be a good boy in the sale ring with all the commotion that was going on. Trainer, Nick Mantle was the one to gentle him, and Nick also gentled Snickers... so I figured we had success together in horses. I talked to Nick after the adoption and decided to adopt Razzles. (Which by the way is ALSO a candy name! Snickers... Razzles... maybe next one will be Heath!!)