Dakota is a 10-year-old spotted Saddle Horse, and he has a few issues. I told Ray that, last year, Dakota got tied up to a hitching post, and I was bringing my saddle out and dropped it out my arms. That spooked him, and unfortunately, the hitching post was not secure. That top rail came up, and he was tied to it. Of course that spooked him even more. I got him together and put him on the other hitching post, and I went to go pick up the saddle and put it on him, not realizing that the other hitching post was in the same condition as the first one.
The odds of it happening twice with me are probably higher than most, haha, but he took off down the road with a piece of hitching post attached to the rope. He beat the heck out of his legs. So he’s always been very head shy when it comes to being tied up and having anything like the saddle brought out. So Ray helped me work with him through that. When I saddled up to ride him on Saturday after Ray had worked with him, I brought that saddle right around the side of the trailer which normally he would have spooked, but he just looked at me as if to say, ‘Oh, ok, no problem.’
Ebony is a Tennessee Walker mare that is blind in one eye, so she has very high flight drive making her difficult to ride at times. So Ray started with the groundwork and getting her attention, working both sides because she basically is two different horses when we visit on one side. He gave me tips on how to proceed with her with the groundwork, with working with a round pen to build her dependency on me. She did respond well to Ray, and I have seen an improvement. I would recommend Ray for this sort of thing.
One thing Ray did, he took the time with me to explain how all the groundwork I’ve been doing with Ebony would transfer to in the saddle. That’s always been a puzzle for me. So that was very useful. He gave me so many tips. Probably the most useful thing with me is my mindset and body posture when dealing with these on various issues. I appreciated his time a lot. He was enjoyable.
My mother is 85 years old in a wheel chair. We loaded her up and took her to go see Ray, and she enjoyed him so much she wanted to see him again on Monday!!
We have a Quarter Horse/Paint named K.C., and I always called him a “two person horse.” He took two people to load him, and it took two people to be able to ride him.
Before Ray Ainsworth came into our lives, my barrel horse, Cutter and I had a love/hate relationship ruled by anxiety, anger, and fear. Any time I rode him, it was like a fight to the death. On the ground, he would not listen. He would run over me. He would step on my feet. When saddling time came, he wouldn’t stand still. All the while, my frustration would build. Once I finally placed the bridle on him, my next challenge would arise. I would have to basically take a running start to get on Cutter because he was NOT going to stand still. Once in the saddle, I had almost no control and that made me angrier. Cutter would have his head up so high that I could touch his ears. Walking was not a gait in Cutter’s book. We were half trotting-half running everywhere we went. No amount of bit or hackamore could keep him from doing what he wanted to do.
I bought this young mule when he was 3-years-old. He was nervous, standoffish, you couldn’t do anything with him. I didn’t want to get hurt trying to break him. Ray said, “I can fix that mule for you.” Ray worked with him twice before he got on his back. He knows how far to push the horse and when is enough. He knows not to push him beyond his ability to learn. He had about five or six sessions with my mule, and then we started trail riding with him. Ray doesn’t like to call it training the horse. He teaches the horse.