Tad Coffin does it again!
I brought up a few more horses to play with, and Mr. Coffin generously offered to come give them a test drive. The mare hadn’t been ridden in years. She arrived on Montpelier straight from the New Holland sale with a saddle mark, poultice, over grown feet and a big knee. We let her rest until she was moving sound, and sent her off to be a trail horse. Well, long story short, new owner did way too much, way to fast and I had to go retrieve a very lame horse. Back in the field.
Tad got her lungeing in both directions after a sticky start. I wasn’t certain she would remember anything, but she did great. Then he hopped on. She was amazing. I swear, that horse never moved so well at liberty, and that’s saying something! It took a few minutes as she tested the saddle, but then she really started swinging those shoulders! It looks like she might already have a new home, as one of the women who came to watch was as impressed as I was. Too cool. I should get permission to put Tad’s smiling face on the front of this website, as he seems to be my best marketing tool.
Pony number two is as cute as they come. He arrived with a big bowed tendon. A bit of stall rest, then field rest. I did a little in hand work with him, but never actually sat on him, because I showed him to bunches of people who rejected him straight out of hand. He is short. Personally, the older get, the more appealing the short guys are. I think I will be looking for a Shetland in the not too distant future. Anyway, Tad got him lungeing in both directions. The horse was pretty convinced, as many off track beasties are, that going right was not an option. No. No. No. Talk about anxious! This horse was a bundle of nerves. You could see how bunched up he was. It was a great lesson for everyone watching on how to read horsie emotions and body language. Having watched this show before (and done it myself a number of times) I think in any other saddle than Tad’s SmartRide we would have had a rodeo, the horse was that uptight. He just knew something bad was coming his way.
Once he started to move more forward than up and down, Tad decided it was safe to get on. Horse not so convinced. That took a bit of walking around and sweet talking to get him to stand by the mounting block. It was becoming increasingly clear to all that this horse did not have good memories of being ridden, and was possibly abused (he’s not talking, so I can’t give you specifics), but if one pays attention to the signs, I don’t think you could not have heard the poor guy screaming, “This is gonna suck! Please no!” So Tad just walked. He gave the horse time to realize nothing hurt. The horse started to settle. He started to believe. And I kid you not, it may have taken a bit of time, but the horse that could not go to the right at all was trotting, bending and starting to stretch – to the right! His entire attitude and demeanor changed. The head stopped shaking. The mouth stopped working over time. The eye got softer. He gave up a few really nice trot steps – the withers came up, the shoulder started to move. Amazing. If you guys haven’t been to one of Tad Coffin’s demonstrations, you should go and see for yourself. There is one coming up at Locust Hill Stables (9427 Oak Park Rd. Locust Dale VA) August 7th at 6pm. The results are probably most dramatic on my poor, mistreated, several years in a field ponies, but you cannot fail to see the incredible improvements in the horses’ attitudes and movement, no matter what they have been doing. Go see for yourself.