Now here are some comments from Skyler's 1st foster home ( 1/26 - 3/5 ):
27-Jan: ...this evening I put his hay in his paddock, and then just stood there. He watched me for a moment and then walked right up to me! He wand to sniff me all over, introduce himself and see who I am. He was calm and nice about it, not pushy or frightened at all. He was very interested in my hands, but I'd just fed all the other horses, which includes some tasty stuff! He nudged my hand gently, I stroked his chin, and bottom of his jaw a little. He liked it and moved his head so I could rub a bit on his cheek. All the while very respectful of my space and not pushy at all. I am very pleased. He seems to be very gentle overall, kind and in need of affection. Even last night in the dark he was listening to me really well. Anyway he seems to be a really nice boy. His feet look very good, he has a sparkle in his eyes, which are the nicest blue. He is a bit thin, but not too overly thin, though he is pretty hairy. He just has a very kind, soft eye. But I think he will place easily enough, as far as ground manners go.
31-Jan: I managed to work with Skyler for quite a bit yesterday. He is a very sweet boy, mellow, kinda shy. Definitely has some decent training though. ...I would say he has ground manners just that he tries to see what he can do with a new person. He responded instantly to everything I asked, or blocked. He does tend to want to crowd you when you walk, but he stops when you stop, goes when you go, turns when you turn. If he is here long enough I can polish that up so he will know to keep a more respectful distance at all times and pay attention a bit better. I would say he has been worked ala 'Parelli' or some form of "natural" training... He has pretty nice movement overall, I only walked and trotted him a bit in straight lines and large circles to get an idea. No canter, lope. I may turn him loose this afternoon and see if I can coax him to a canter and get an idea... His walk stride is really nice, and he has a smooth trot, he really uses his hind leg joints. (I ride dressage so this is something I always look for, do they know how to use their joints and bend....) He is not real even in his strides, but that could be due to lack of work too, hard to say. He does need muscle and of course strength. I would say if he has been under saddle, he'd be a nice riding horse just based on what I saw yesterday. He did everything I asked easily and without any fuss at all. He will quietly pick up a foot when asked, he will allow touching all over his body, ears, sheath, everything. 1-Feb:Yes I do believe he is art draft of some sort. He is definitely 'paint', a dark sable brown and white. Not sure if he would be called a "medicine hat paint" because the 'hat' extends down one side of his face, but it is separated for the other side under his chin. He has the blue eyes, and the "hat" for sure. Anyway I think he may be a stall as 16.1, he is definitely 16 hands. Course I would have to really measure him, I am guessing based on my height and experience (and other horses). He is built nicely, I think. He reminds me very much of my little Friesian mare in his build overall. His croup is slanted quite a bit, a daft trait for pull power, but enables him to step underneath easier too. He has feathers, but yeah it's winter, but his chin and face shape looks 'draft' to me, Percheron possibly. I can say I have never seen a pure QH paint with conformation like this boy. There is draft in there somewhere. And his overall demeanor is more like a draft, mellow, laid back, easy going, gentle..... He's very cute!! He adores my husband, and my husband thinks he is the cutest thing...
5-Feb: Haven't yet gotten a saddle on him yet (my husband doesn't want me to try alone)... I am not anticipating any fuss though, he is obviously extremely well mannered and well trained. I did turn him out yesterday... I 'ran him' a bit, he has lovely movement!! and at liberty in my huge arena he "longed" himself around me while I used only voice for walk, trot and halt! He did everything I asked instantly. So he is a very good boy!
9-Feb: I got Sky saddled. He is no problem!! He has been ridden I am sure cause the saddle was a non-issue for him. ...I walked up to him with the pad, let him look at it and sniff, then I tossed it up on him. He just stood and sighed. I then approached him with the saddle again letting him see it and sniff it, then I placed it on him. Again he just stood, relaxed. I ran my arm under his belly where the cinch would go, no reaction. (good!) I then grabbed the cinch and brought it up against his belly, once more no reaction, so I went ahead and threaded the billet and got ready to begin snugging it.... As I began to tighten the cinch he stepped sideways a couple steps, I stopped of course, loosened it a bit; we stood and waited unto he was relaxed again. Then I snugged it a bit more. Each time he just quietly stepped sideways and we allowed him to do this, and each time I stopped snugging, allowed the girth to loosen a smidge and then we would just stroke his neck and wait fro him to be fully relaxed again. This only happened like three times. When I did the final 'snug' making the girth tight enough to mount up he didn't move! At this point I had my helper just walk him around a bit. He was fine! She slapped the stirrups against his sides, he smacked the saddle seat with her hands, he just stood (looking at her like she was nuts!). I took him and asked him to walk on around me, then asked him to trot. again, no issue!! He trotted on nicely, changed direction, trotted the other way nicely and quietly. He does real well on voice commands, especially on a line. That was where I left it, I unsaddled him and put him back. I do want to try a bit, or two. I'll do both snaffle and a curb and see how he does with them in hand. Then if I can get my buddy to get on him, we'll try a bit of riding just to be sure he is ok with a rider.
15-Feb: Today I put bridles/bits on Sky! He was really good about it... He didn't like the curb bit at all, but was fine and calm with the single jointed snaffle. Did a little work in hand, he responded ok, but obviously has not been worked that way before. He has a very soft mouth though and I was very pleased with him through trying these bridles on.... No issue whatsoever though putting a bit in his mouth!! I also did some grooming ... I did manage to get lots of the mud clods off though, and he is shedding like no tomorrow... He really is a good boy...the bridling and bitting went fine, just as I suspected it would.
19-Feb: I got him cleaned the other day, but his undercoat is so thick he was still damp after being in the sunshine for over four hours, so I blanketed him overnight. He is such a good boy!! At first he wasn't so sure about water and being hosed off, but by the time I'd finished shampooing and rinsing (what a job that was!) he was fine with it, happily grazing while I finished rinsing. But, even though it was 70 degrees out and sunny, the water was cold and the poor baby was shivering when I'd finished. And no even with all the scrubbing and shampooing he didn't get fully clean. Still he looked a lot better....
Skyler's 2nd foster home ( 3/5 to now ): ... I have ridden him twice. I am NOT a very experienced rider. I am also not a very confident rider. I agreed to give Skyler a try only because he is such a solid, sweet horse. In my opinion, he is green and is ready for the next level of training. He's not push button yet. He IS willing and wants to please. He didn't express any tendencies of bucking or anything like that while I was on him. I wish I had more experience and could provide him with more training. He will do very well with additional training. Sklyer is a super sweet horse. I think he would love to be connected to a person that would dote on him and shower him with loads of attention. He does LOVE attention and to be groomed. He's very patient and will drop his head into your arms for scratches.