Six's Story: From Spooky, Abused Appendix To Bombproof, Willing Riding Buddy
I am the proud owner of a 14.2hh, 17-year-old flea-bitten grey Appendix Quarter Horse gelding registered by the name of Redneck Bud, barn name "Six". I've had him for approximately two months now, and my mother for nearly two years prior. He's been through many a bad home, and, save for his breeder, we are his first good home.
He was abused, neglected, and blown up on gymkhana or speed events, most notably barrel racing in particular. When I first got him, he spooked when I jumped near him, such as when mounting bareback; shied when a rope was flicked near his head (he was hit in the head when at his abusive home and is consequently nearly blind in his left eye); got "on the muscle" when he trotted and loped for extended periods.
I started with him getting on the muscle when trotting or loping. I would trot and lope, then walk, pet his neck, and praise him calmly to soothe him. He soon got to the point that we can trot and canter all we want and he does so calmly, without getting faster and faster.
Then I addressed his issues with me mounting bareback. I started by lifting my leg, and placing it on him. Then less slowly. Then I would place a step beside him and lay on his side, then on his back. Then put my leg over. Make tiny hops before doing so. Make bigger hops. Make bigger hops then lay over his back and swing my leg over. Use a smaller step. Discard step and hop on the ground. Swing my leg up and pull myself up.
Now I can swing from the ground and "Indian Swing Mount" him with him loose and he stands perfectly still as a stone statue.
Finally, I addressed his issues to do with the rope, by swinging it first at a slight distance, then gradually getting closer. Now I can sit on him and flick a lead back and forth while it is attached to his halter.