Apache (by Nobel Cash and out of my 401-OK mare, Tobiana) has become my amazing horse. At least that's how he makes me feel! Like I have the most amazing horse in the world. And everyday I tell him he's a genius.
Apache has really "learned how to learn" new things. He finally trusts me enough, and isn't afraid to make a mistake while learning.
We spend most of our time on the ground. We go walking on the 25' line, using body language and pointing, he goes where I want. Then in the huge round pen we mostly work at liberty, practicing the horse's body language of herd behavior.
Apache is a great partner and really likes to follow me, too. He keeps watching to see what we are doing next, and he has quite a long attention span.
Apache's personality is calm and steady, but he really conserves his energy. When we are doing something that is new, I can hear his breathing increase, but he rarely moves his feet extra. He often looks like a sleepy little donkey! But don't be fooled, he is a thinker.
When we are riding in the arena, Apache is very willing to move out at a fast trot or canter. He really reaches out with long strides, and is still pretty new to being ridden. I have a trainer that will be helping me with the riding pretty soon.
We use Monty Roberts Join-Up routine, too. The few times Apache has behaved disrespectful to me, we did the Join-Up immediately, calmly, but thoroughly.
For example, when Apache went through a phase where he didn't want to pick up his hind feet for cleaning. After an immediate Join-Up routine, he was so glad to be allowed to return to me!
Now he picks up his hind feet for cleaning without a problem, as soon as I walk over there.
Interesting because I was so nice to him, too, during the whole incident with the hooves, then with the Join-Up, and after. It's not necessary to growl, speak loudly, show anger or even any displeasure, and I got the results I wanted.
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When Apache's sire, Noble Cash, was up in Canada at KJ Appaloosas, I called and talked to the owner. She said Noble Cash was very calm and an excellent trail horse. I thought they said they didn't keep him in their breeding program because he didn't throw enough color. But they may still have him, his picture is on their site, he looks fat and happy. Also there's a 2-yr-old colt of his named Titan with HUGE loud spots!
Here is a picture of me riding Apache in August 2011. Talk to you later!