Buckers and Rearers
I had Cathie come out to work on my filly for her first haltering/leading lesson, which resulted in Brie being the most well behaved weanling at her Irish Draught breed show later that year (really - all the judges said so). Fast forward three years to starting her under saddle. I'm not a professional young horse starter by any means, but Brie was the 7th horse I'd backed start to finish and the first one to present a serious challenge. Brie has a very...dominant temperament and in the 3 years since Cathie had come out she'd turned into a big, opinionated, and spoiled red mare. Everything went smoothly until ride 3 when I added leg and asked her to move forward without a ground person. It all started with a little buck but by ride 11 had turned into full on bucking and rearing about 70% of the time that she was asked to go forward. By this time I was intimidated and had no tools with which to correct her, and was starting to feel completely helpless. Every other rearer I'd encountered had a medical reason that once remedied solved the bad behavior. This was different. Can I just say, if I didn't have Cathie as a resource I don't know what I would have done. Where is there another trainer who you can call up (and trust) and tell them that your 3 yr old with eleven rides to date has a pension for rearing with no medical or physical reasons to justify their behavior, and you're hoping they could help you fix it. That will 1)happily agree to come ride your horse, 2)Estimate that one or two sessions will do the trick and then she'll teach you how to continue on your own creating an independent rider instead of one that relies on a trainer 24/7, and 3)Actually fix the problem. After an hour of basic ground work (where I learned more than the horse...I think) we started our u/s training. Within 30 min with simply a rope halter, reins attached, little Miss Brie was cured of her rearing and possessed a healthy desire to go forward when asked. Sure, Brie tested me occasionally over the next few rides, but it was only a half-hearted attempt and using the tools Cathie left me, I was able to correct her and move on. I never thought I'd feel safer riding in a rope halter instead of a bridle, but amazingly that is what happened. Eventually I wanted more finesse but was not ready to use a bit in case my mare misbehaved again, so I switched to Dr. Cook's Bitless Bridle. I was so impressed with the results that I embarked on a bit-free experiment, where I would not use a bit on any horse I rode for the next 30 days. I kept a journal of all my rides and hope to write an article on my experience. I will just say this what the bit attempts to accomplish in theory the Bitless Bridle accomplishes in practice. I think the title of my article will be "Crossing over to the dark side...One rider's journey towards enlightenment." Anyway Cathie, thank you, thank you, thank you. More than just fix the horse, you empower the rider. Giving horse and rider the building blocks to develop a trusting and fulfilling relationship. I look forward to working with you again in the future. Jenna & Brie, Sharon, MA
Well, Cathie, you're a woman of God-given talent when it comes to working with horses! You are a born natural at it. Cathie had my Mustang, Comanche, at her facility last month to "get the buck out of him." He was seriously cinchy and would go into a buck once saddled that would make the rodeo goers salivate. Fearless, courageous, and mightily talented, Cathie worked with him but 1 or 2 days before she mounted him and had him walk and trot like a real gentleman. I believe it was on day 5 that she said to me, "Okay, let's hit the trail." "What?! Holy, moly are you serious, Cathie?" Oh, yeah, she was serious. Out on the trail we went as she schooled him the whole time to go through bushes, water, to take the lead and to follow. Well, my Mustang who spent 2 1/2 years in the wild before I adopted him is now back home and being ridden by me (a mere novice rider). And the final proud and happy comment - he's being ridden BITLESS. Thank you, Cathie, my no-nonsense, practical, and talented trainer for making my dream possible. Give Cathie a whirl and if you keep your eyes, ears, and mind open, you'll learn as much as your horse does. This lady comes with my highest recommendation. Jane Ingersoll-Mahoney, Spencer, MA
“Cathie worked with my 4 year old Nokota mare "Prairie" and myself to get her started under saddle. Starting with ground work and continuing with her first rides. We learned so much and had such a good time in the process of reaching our goal I was sorry to see our sessions end. Cathie also started my Gotland pony "Jake" ground driving. I went to Cathie's for winter driving lessons (which she very generously offers for free) and he is now a very proud driving pony with his very own buggy! Cathie is a person who will get the job done. If you want your horse started right or you need some problems corrected and you want to be part of the process then you want Cathie. Thanks Cathie for a great job! Dotti Bisson Dutton Downs Sudbury, Ma.” June 29, 2012
Picture coming soon (Note this was not a first ride it was a re-ride someone before me tried and failed bucking, saddle slipping under belly, so I had to start over just getting her to accept saddle then myself bareback, then with saddle, luckily Prairie never bucked during my sessions with her re-starting her.)
Merlin and I… Just a little back ground on me. I have been riding and training horses for over 40 years. But something happened a few years ago and I found myself for the first time in my life questioning myself and should I be breaking horses any longer. I guess things change chemically in our brains as we get older and I never had a bad experience with this foal of mine. But I had some back issues and decided that maybe my issue was more my back and the problems I was having with it. I knew I did not want to be on a young horse if it decided to twist, turn, and buck with me on it at this point and time. My back would not take it.
So being a good horse person and trainer I knew I had to send him off. Merlin is an Arab/QH cross gelding and I would say could be full of it if he wants to play. He is NOT a mean horse but likes to play hard and ruff if he can. At the age of 2 I did not feel he was totally ready to go under saddle so I gave him another year to mature size and mentally. As a three year old I know he was ready to have a job. I sent him up to Vermont for a two-week training course with certified John Lyons trainers. I felt knowing him he needed three or four weeks and asked if they would extend out his time. But, they thought two weeks was plenty and told me I should come get him.
After the two weeks I arrive and he was so over flexed and looking good at the walk trot in little circles, I was excited…but not about the over flexing. They were the trainers now, not I so when it was my time to get on him I was so excited. They had not introduced him to a mounting block and so he got a quick introduction right then and there with me. He settled down and I put my foot into the stirrup and gave it a couple of taps and he was OK and I went for it and while swinging on he slid his hind foot forward to balance and hit the block. The sound scared him. He lunged forward and I was told, I had blacked out for a moment There I was in mid air with my leg half over his back. I lost my balance and fell off backwards from him. My finger got caught maybe under the saddle and it broke. I slammed to the ground (helmet on of course) and hit really hard onto my tailbone and at that point I said aloud ‘this is going to hurt my head”. I saw stars and had the wind knocked out of me.
I said the thing that hurt worst than my finger was, the pride of course. They got right onto Merlin and rode him more. It was not his fault but it was just the thing I was scared would happen to me and my back. I was taken to the hospital and back to the farm; in time to pick up my horse and head 3 hours back to Massachusetts. Now at his point I would have expected them to say we will keep him for a few more days for more work and you could rest at your friends then come and get him. No, I was wrong. No offer at all. So I headed home alone with truck, trailer and horse.
Now this was not Merlin’s fault but now I found myself not able to get on him at all. I needed help big time. I was given Cathie’s phone number and got to talk to her, go and watch her working with a few other horses. I liked how she trained very close to my style so I knew it would work for us. Cathie came several times and worked with Merlin on the ground and gave me a lot of new tools to use to try to help me beyond this problem of mine.
After a few training sessions, Cathie was up on Merlin and we found with the bit in his mouth he really fought us, tossed his head and had a really bad taste about the pressure of the bit, I think from his hate for over flexing. So, Cathie decided to try her bitless bridle on him and he loved it, went off like a trouper. He was much happier and willing to go about doing as she asked. I ordered one my self and continued the work with him on the ground. Cathie decided it was now my time to ride if I was ready, she helped me with that as well. I was up and riding him just walking about at this time. Cathie had Merlin going really well at the walk, and trot in the bitless bridle and knotted halter as well. It was just totally amazing and I wish I had known of Cathie prior to sending Merlin off to Vermont. I think Merlin would have been happier; I would have gotten over my fear quicker with him, because I would have been involved with Cathie and Merlin in his training.
I was totally wowed by what Cathie did with Merlin and how he was so much better to work with on the ground. Today Merlin and I work great on the ground but I personally need a “shrink” I think to get over my fear of him, even though I can ride other horses, and others have ridden him successfully. It’s been a few years since she was out, I may have her back to get over this.
I would highly suggest anyone with a young horse needing training, problem horses that need some help, or just general horse training. She got a lot accomplished in less than 8 visits to my farm. Talk to Cathie and give her method a try. She is a great person to talk to and work with. Lots of fun, she loves to share what she does with the horse’s owner to make things better between them.
After all, isn’t that why we call upon trainers when things are not going well and we the owners cannot fix it?
Terry Holland and Merlin Southborough, Mass.
Re starting a young horse.
I would HIGHLY recommend Cathie Hatrick Anderson to anyone! She has such a talent with horses. Cathie has helped me with so much. When I first bought my filly, Abby, Cathie helped me with working on her ground manners. And when Abby was old enough Cathy rode her after Abby bucked off her first two riders. I was absolutely amazed the first time Cathie sat on Abby!! Abby just stood there! I sent Abby to Cathie's facility for a month for training and there was a tremendous difference with Abby after she left. Cathie also taught me about riding in a bitless bridle and I love it! I now ride my mare in one. Some of the people I ride with even bought bitless bridles once they saw how I rode with one. Cathie took Abby out on her first trail ride, also. I have taken Abby on beach rides and many, many trail rides. I would not be where I am today with my horse if it were not for Cathie. I cannot thank her enough for her hard work with my horse. If anyone needs help with their horse, no matter what the situation, I would highly recommend Cathie!! Jill and Abby