Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tex Has Been Reading My Blog

I'm feeling better about the situation with Tex today.  Much, much better.

First, I received a ton of feedback on his bloodlines and did a little research myself.  He has Driftwood once on the top (sire side) and twice on the bottom (dam side).  That isn't optimum but it isn't a death sentence either.  I've heard that Driftwood was reactive but I've also read that he was a good all around, kind horse.  He was one of the top five rodeo (cattle work) horses of all time so I can understand why his name shows up more than once.  Tex was bred to be a rodeo roping horse and that was his first job.

Second, I did some research on liberty work and watched a couple YouTube videos last night.  I think Tex and I could have a lot of fun with liberty work.  I'm excited about the prospect of building our relationship to the point where we are in perfect sync without any tack.

Third, Tex is very happy to be back home and was very relaxed this morning when I went out to feed.  When I gave him his bucket of vitamins, he didn't flinch at all as I stopped by his side and gave him a good-morning rub.  Later, I brought hay into the pasture and tossed it into the feeder.  He stood close to me as I did that and when I turned to leave -- he left the hay and followed me.  (shock, disbelief).

Tex, why are you following me?  

I stopped.  Tex stopped.  He positioned himself next to me and looked over with soft eyes.

I'd like another one of those good-morning rubs, please.

I walked over and started to rub.  He relaxed further.  He didn't flinch when I touched him.

Ahhhhhh.  That feels great.  He turned his head and nudged my coat pocket.  Is there a cookie in there by any chance?

I know that this morning was just one morning.  He will have good days and bad days but this is the best day he has ever had.  He showed me that he can relax and not react.  Obviously, being at home in his own pasture has a lot to do with that as well.

A couple more responses to comments over the last few days:  

A number of you have mentioned TTouch.  I'm familiar with it, think its great, and have used it in the past.  I have been working, over the past year, on the horses using the Masterson Method which is a combination of massage and release work.  It made an incredible difference in Lucy, who was quite tense when I started, and Tex enjoys it as well.  If you Google "Masterson Method" it will take you to the website and also give some YouTube links.  I have been working my way through the training course and have been very impressed with the results.  For me, it works more effectively than TTouch -- but they are both excellent body work methods.

Additionally, I have ordered Tex an herbal supplement that was recommended by Mark and his wife.  They've had good success with it on horses that are reactive.  They also recommended discussing magnesium oxide with my vet as it can also help settle the pathways in the brain that cause reaction.  One of the things that I like about Mark Rashid is that he doesn't push or endorse products.  He said, "Here are some things that have worked for me." and then sent me out to find them.  There are a few clinicians out there (you know who they are) who push their brand of this and their endorsed product of that.  To me, that is an instant turn-off.  While some of them are knowledgeable, they seem to be in it for the endorsement money/marketing of their own products and not for the horse.  I won't work with them and I won't buy their products.

(okay, stepping off my soapbox now)


  1. I hadn't studied the Masterson Method, but I watched a couple demo videos, and much of it is similar to what the TTouch practitioner did. Only similar. The leg stretches, the bends, touching down the body. In one of the videos he described what he's doing and how he's looking for pain or bracing--and that is also similar. I'll have to study it further. But it looks like the Masterson Method will be of great help in your work with Tex.

    What you said about good and bad days--it's important to always keep that in mind. I was just rereading my blog and noticed there has been lots of variation in my horses from day to day, month to month. It's easy to get discouraged, and then they come through for you. My At Liberty work has been rewarding...and frustrating...and rewarding, too.

    It sounds like Tex is warming up to you and wanting to trust, and you have a good FEEL for him. You're doing great, Annette. No matter which direction your journey goes, you'll get a lot of out of it--and so will he.

  2. Many years ago we brought Linda Tellington Jones to Brockport for a clinic and she stayed with us while she was here. Such an interesting experience.

    I am so glad Tex is reading your blog! He is catching your vibes and is getting more and more attached. Again. Progress.....

  3. Glad you're feeling positive about Tex. :D

    Re magnesium - A vet shared with me research that indicated that (from a 10,000 sample study) the average mag content in hay is at best +/- 30% of rdr. Another facet is which magnesium to use. Studies also suggest magnesium citrate is more bioavailable. I have details re dosing and a very affordable source - email me if you're interested. xianleigh (at) earthlink (dot) net

    Val has been getting magnesium for years now, and it has made a huge difference in him dealing with the stress of thoroughbred-ness + being an only horse.

  4. You were in the moment. Both of you. Well done.

  5. Magnesium can be helpful for some horses - others it doesn't make a difference for.

    Good news on the Tex front - he's a kind, sweet horse - this can go right along with reactive, as it does with my Red. I think you two can go all sorts of places together, starting with the liberty work which should be fun.

  6. Awww such good news!! The liberty sounds fun.

  7. Hi, I had already written my post to you before I read your 3/16 post. I’m going to leave it as is and let you read it. :) 

    Just wanted to let you know that your boy is not a product of inbreeding (see definition of inbreeding below). Rather, he is a linebred Quarter horse with three lines to the stallion Drifter in his pedigree: On his sire’s sire line there is 1 line to Drifter. On his dam’s sire line he has 2 lines to Drifter (none of these matings would qualify as inbreeding). Hope this helps and alleviates some of your fear that he was a victim of inbreeding.

    Inbreeding is defined as "the mating of animals more closely related than the average of the population." This includes sire to daughter matings; son to mother matings, full brother to full sister matings and half-brother to half-sister matings.

    Linebreeding is the breeding of two animals who are closely related to the same ancestor or a couple of ancestors, but are little if at all, related to each other through any other ancestors. In a linebred pedigree, a single horse and his ancestors might appear two or three times. This has often been a preferred method of breeding within the breeder communities.

    Information on AQHA stallion Driftwood: Interesting note here is that they mention his good and quiet temperament more than once.

    Information on AQHA stallion Driftwood Ike: Good information here.

    As for liberty work, I don’t know if you’ve heard of or had the opportunity to see Jonathan Field, a wonderful Canadian horseman. He has written a great book, “The Art of Liberty Training for Horses”. I think you would like him and his methods (kind and gentle).

    Wishing you continued success with Tex. Vicki W. ~

  8. I love the Masterson Method. He's doing a workshop right now in Pasadena that I just found out about today. Your post sent me to YT just now to find out more about Liberty training. Can't wait to hear how Tex does with it.

  9. You still have a friend in Tex regardless of the circumstances. Thanks for sharing.

  10. For me, the method doesn't matter, it's being aware and in tune with what makes the horse feel better and getting skin to skin touch. I like running my hands over my horse and listening to what he is feeling, how he is reacting and what he is telling me. I think touch is a great way to build trust. And making any other creature feel better in their body is a good thing.

    Go with what you like and just keep touching him. :)

  11. I've been thinking on this before I responded (to your earlier post).

    I'm not surprised that Tex was flinchy at the clinic. I suspect that he doesn't have good experiences in those (not counting the ones you take him to). He's in a new environment, with new horses and people. It makes sense that he would be reactive.

    But he went and it wasn't awful. then he came home. I honestly believe that for some horses that makes a big difference.

    You've read my posts about Carmen. You know that she's reactive. She will pull back from others- mostly strangers now but sometimes from me. I know it's in there and will likely always be part of her. That's okay. We're developing coping mechanisms- like specific exercises we do to relax.

    I actually think that you can do lots with Tex. Whether you feel safe to ride him or not is completely up to you- I'm sure he won't care either way. :)

    I do like W. Shcillers post on 'anxious' horses. He says you don't teach a horse to not be anxious (that's impossible, same as people) instead you teach them ways to cope so they can be safe.

    You and Tex are still a newish partnership and it will take time.

    Plus he's a red head. ;)

    I've been thinking of trying magnesium on Carmen to see how she does when we start to show.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.