Last week I was fortunate enough to become the owner of AQHA colt "Barq's lil Rootbeer". I knew that starting other peoples colts and starting my own would be completely different experiences and I couldn't have been more excited to start the journey.
Barq's was owned by a friend who did limited ground work with him but put several rides on him. One incident in August changed her view on him and her first time on him after that he spooked and bucked her off. She understandably lost hope in her colt and along with time constrains from work and taking college classes he was left on the back burner. I was then fortunate enough to have first dibs to purchase him and I couldn't be more happy that I did.
In the first week with Barq's I emphasized the importance of groundwork and desensitizing him. I began each session with groundwork including: picking up feet, standing for grooming, tying, free lunging, lunging on a line and moving off of pressure. I then began work with a flag, tarps and natural obstacles (walking over logs and through water). Once I was sure that he was relaxed and responsive to my ques on the ground I started work in the saddle.
Once I put a foot in the stirrup I knew that my groundwork had paid off. Barqs walked and trotted quietly and was soft in the halter that I rode him in. The flexion he learned on the ground directly translated to riding. After riding my aged gelding for a while Barq's was able to remind me just how important positive feedback and release are to a horse. Not only has working with Barq's made me a better horsewoman but has also renewed my love for the western lifestyle.
Below are the first "family" photos that I have with my two geldings.