We visited with Remy recently in Oregon where he’s been in training with Nick Donohue. The big dark beauty was about 2 weeks into his work with Nick. We got to see him go through the colt starting groundwork process as Nick checked off things needed before riding. Nick talked about the good changes he’s been already seeing in the big guy. We really enjoyed listening to Nick speak about his horsemanship philosophy.
One key thing he described was having the mentality for “excellence in the ordinary.” Nick explained that to be successful with starting horses, you need to strive for a little everyday. And not to ask for 100% all at once. This is so important when teaching new things to horses. Laying a foundation one brick at a time. It’s also good to remember what Buck said about “going through the good to get to the bad.” As people, we tend to push for too much and this gets our horses into trouble. Nick said that he could have ridden Remy sooner but then there would have been holes in his training. If you take the time and don’t skip things, you’ll end up getting where you want to go so much more quickly. Close the foundation holes first, and you’ll soon be farther along, even if it took longer to get the first ride.
One issue Remy has is submission of personal space. He crowds you with his shoulders and pushes into your space instead of maintaining a respectful distance. Nick described this as more of a mental than a physical push. Nick is teaching him how to respect human space but this is also something that Remy will need to figure out in order to be accepted by other horses in the herd. Turning him out with the other geldings will help him learn. Nick talked about the importance of the herd. “He needs to get out with the herd. They will teach him how to be a horse. Help him to join up with the group in an emotionally stable way.”
Overall it was a pretty uneventful groundwork and saddling session. Nick feels like Remy has a nice mind and isn’t troubled. He is simply uneducated. Happily, it shouldn’t take too much time to help him catch up. The week after we visited, Nick successfully and without incident put the first ride on. He said he thinks Remy could be “another diamond in the rough” like Orion. Remy will complete 90 days of training with Nick. We are taking applications now for his adoption and will be setting appointments to meet him while in Oregon for the middle of November. Put your application in now before this gifted boy finds another home!