The first horse that I ever “gentled” and started under saddle that was not my own colt was a flop-eared two year old quarter horse. If he had a name I never knew it. He was just “the colt“. My mentor, Buck, instructed me to tie the colt up to the iron ring in the barn and brush him every day.
Well, first of all, the floppy ears were more like horns on a bull. He was so nervous and scary that when I went to put a halter on him he snorted so loud I jumped back! There was no way I was going to put a halter on him. Heck, I couldn’t get that close. When I did get close he look like he was going to kick, paw, or eat me. I finally got a rope on his neck so that I was able to halter him. He had very little idea about leading, so it took a good half-hour to get him to the ring. The next challenge was to get close enough to him to begin brushing him. I started with a soft brush on his neck just in front of the withers the first day. That was all I got done the first day. By the end of the week I could brush him pretty much all over,if I was careful, and slow, and deliberate. Eventually, it being spring, he would come in with dried mud on his long winter hair so I even got to the point that I could clean off the mud and some early slipping hair with a sheddin’ blade. After nearly a month I was handling him and brushing him with relatively little problem, except for those ears, and the occasional buck-snort when he thought I’d moved too fast. (to be continued)