Kyhlwood Training

It is not just about the horses,

it is about life, love and learning.

Life at Kyhlwood Training

There is a lot happening at Kyhlwood on a daily basis. No matter if students are here or not horses still need to be cared for!

Maintenance Woman

June 1, 2020

   Some days I feel more like a maintenance woman than a horse trainer. Today was one of those days. Between mowing and putting up fans I didn't get much riding done. 

   We had a bit of a frustrating moment when I went to do Oliver's medication tonight. When I went to flush with saline nothing would go through. After a FaceTime call with the fabulous Dr. Sampson we were able to unhook the tubing and put his medication directly into his IV port. I think Oliver may end up being a happier guy because he doesn't have to wear his halter with for the tubing to attach to. 

   He gave us a scare earlier today when he cast himself in his stall. He was wearing a neck cover to protect his IV catheter and had to have a fly sheet to keep the neck straight. With it being so hot today he was sweaty. He decided to have a good roll and cast himself against the wall at the back of his stall. Being cast is when a horse rolls too close to a wall or a fence, they get stuck and are unable to get up. The easiest way I have found to get a horse up is to put ropes around the legs that are closest to the ground and then pull/roll the horse over. You have to be very careful when putting the ropes around their legs so you don't get hurt and careful not to damage their legs as you help them roll back. Luckily Oliver was a sweet quiet boy while he waited for Scott and I to help him. 

   We put 3 fans on Oliver and Nugget's stall. We also swapped his hot fly sheet and neck cover with a light weight mesh PINK hood. Hopefully this will help him stay a little cooler and he won't get quite so itchy. 


Eddie the Great

May 30, 2020

   Eddie is a sweet, handsome 5 yr old AQHA gelding that I got last fall. He was a little thin soled when he came so he spent most of the fall and winter getting his hooves in top shape. This spring I took him to the barn in Waverly to start his training and in the first 24 hours there he managed to slice his pastern open. After stitches he ended up on stall rest for almost 2 months. It was a very difficult place to heal and Eddie ripped off his bandage and chewed his wound open numerous times. When he FINALLY healed enough, we got to work. It was probably the longest I've ever owned a horse without being able to do much work with them!

   Eddie is very well bred. His sister is a phenomenal western pleasure horse. He is a great mover and naturally carries himself correctly. Everything in Eddie's world says he should be a western pleasure horse. Except Eddie's heart. Anytime we are working in the arena Eddie has little motivation and doesn't seem to enjoy himself. A lot of people would say that doesn't matter  but I want my horses to enjoy their jobs. Eddie is a super sweet, snuggly, willing partner until you ask him to do something over and over and over. He turns into a dull, uninterested, lazy ride. The unfortunate thing for Eddie is the majority of horse training is repetition. I try to spice up his work life a little bit but there are only so many things I can do to keep the interest of a horse who doesn't want to be there. 

   All of our horses get to spend some riding time on the trails. It's like recess for their brains. Eddie has been on 3 trail rides. He LOVES trail riding. This brings up a dilemma. Do I assist Eddie in pursuing a career that he was bred for? Something he would undoubtedly be very good at with more training? Or do I help him become the best he can be at something he loves? Does it honestly matter if he becomes the best show horse he can be? I don't think so. I know it definitely doesn't matter to him. 

   Eddie can be a stellar trail horse and a gorgeous one at that. Today when we worked on crossing the tile pond I saw more interest, curiosity and joy in Eddie than I really ever see in the arena. He still has to work in the arena, he still has to be a well broke, well rounded horse. However for now our focus is going to change from things such as balancing and slowing his lope to learning how to cross water or go down steep hills.  I am hoping that the hiatus will refresh his brain and his work ethic. I made a similar decision with Paisley a year ago and she has amazed me with her work ethic this year. Hopefully by backing off the pleasure training Eddie will learn to enjoy working while we 'work' on the trails. 

Beautiful Day!

May 29, 2020

    The horses all thought today was a beautiful day for a nap. When I went to get them from the pasture for breakfast several were laying down napping. Oliver even got to spend the day in the front pasture with Holly but it will be his last day turned out for a while. He needed to have an IV catheter put in today. His neck was getting sore and a little puffy and I was having a harder time finding a vein every night to give him his medication. With the IV catheter in he can't be running and playing.  Hopefully the next 3 weeks go by fast for him but at least he has his little Nugget to keep him company in their stall!

Kid Broke?

May 28, 2020

    I have a lot of amazing horses available right now. Some are my personal projects, some are rescues and some are clients horses. They are a wide variety of ages, breeds, sizes and disciplines. When I sell a horse I want to make sure that they are the best match possible for their new owner. Not only for the safety of the new owner but also for the safety of the horse. I don't want my horses bounced around from home to home.  The best way to ensure this doesn't happen is to make sure they are the best possible match with their new owners. Many new horse buyers don't necessarily know the right questions to ask when talking to sellers. There are also sellers out that will gloss over and hide issues because they need the horse gone. I think finding the right match takes honesty from the buyer and the seller. 

   One question I get quite often is if the horse I am selling is kid broke. This is always a difficult question to answer.  Although ALL of the horses I sell have been ridden safely by kids it doesn't necessarily mean they are broke enough for YOUR kid. When asking about a horse try to be specific about what you are looking for. Make a list of your needs, wants, deal breakers and what are things that would simply be nice. Needs should be the list of things that are absolutely non-negotiable. These should be things like experience in the discipline you plan on using them for, level of rider experience, breed if you plan on showing at breed shows or breeding, etc. Wants should be things like age and size. These are things that would be slightly negotiable if the horse meets everything on your needs list. Deal breakers are things that no matter how good of a match a horse is on your needs & wants list you are not willing to deal with. For many people these are things like cribbing, buddy sour, bucking, biting, etc. Nice things should be things like color or registration papers for some. Some things on one persons nice list will be on another person's needs list. For example if someone plans on breeding then registration and breed should be at the top of their needs list. For someone that is planning to trail ride, registration papers may not be as important. 

   Make your list and stick to it. I find that people who have made a list before starting their search save themselves and sellers a lot of time and headache. 

Water Babies

May 27, 2020

   With all of the rain lately it has been a perfect chance to practice crossing water. Crossing puddles, crossing moving water, crossing narrow streams or crossing deep water all have their own individual challenges. One of the big challenges is that horses do not have strong depth perception. Depth perception is when your brain takes information from each eye and combines them to make a 3D picture. With horses their eyes set on the sides of their heads so the ability to see something with both eyes is very limited. Due to their limited depth perception horses need to rely on their rider to assist them in knowing how to appropriately cross. Many riders have issues with horses jumping or launching across streams. Today we worked on crossing quietly without jumping. We also worked on not stopping to play as many horses will lay down.

   Marty has discovered that he absolutely loves water and the challenge now has become keeping him moving because he wants to stop and play!  He is getting braver and doesn't need a lead horse anymore to go into the tile pond. Memphis plowed right in the first time she crossed behind Alex but had to think about it a little when she had to go in on her own. Shimmer has worked on water crossing in the past and was the same great girl through water today! 

Rain, Rain Go Away

May 25, 2020

   Anyone else already sick of the rain? I was out doing chores this evening and it started coming down so hard that it actually looked like it was snowing. I think the horses prefer the rain to the sticky muggy air, I know Auggie LOVES the mud!! 

   With all of the rain and our annoying friend George (the beaver) I have to keep going out to clear the dam in the spill way. Yesterday I went out and spent an hour and a half clearing out the dam and opening the spillway. By today that sneaky George had already rebuilt the whole thing. It works out well for us to be able to choose when to have a little tiny creek and when to have deeper moving water to practice with. It doesn't work well when stinking George keeps trying to overflow the whole pond. 

   Before the rain today Oliver got to go out and play in one of the front pastures with Nugget. It made me so happy to see the difference from the scared, shaky gelding that I led into the stall on Friday to a goofy, playful guy running around with his Nugget today! 


Sweet Oliver

May 23, 2020

    Since Oliver arrived he has been a shy, spooky and timid guy. He was hyper sensitive sounds and touch. Every time I would ask him to move out of my way while cleaning his stall he would rock all his weight back on his hind end and his whole body would tremble. He would panic when he heard the dogs come into the barn or when I would pour his grain into his feeder. He lost his mind and I thought he was going to go over the top of his stall when Scott started the weed whipper outside.  Bumping into his grain bucket or getting hit with Nugget's tail would cause a tremor episode. Dr. Sampson examined him and although she found evidence of arthritis in his knees and ring bone in his left hind those findings didn't explain all of his other issues. 

   The Oliver we were seeing didn't match up with the history we were given. We were told that Oliver had been a trail horse and had been hauled all over the country riding trails. He has been used as a therapeutic horse and used for Wisconsin Badger Camp. None of this fit with the timid, spooky gelding we were trying to figure out. 

   Dr. Sampson suggested that we test Oliver for Lymes disease. The stiffness, multi limb lameness and hyperaesthesia (increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli) are all clinical symptoms of Lymes that Oliver was exhibiting. Lymes often goes undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed due to the symptoms being vague and onset being gradual. 

   The person I got Oliver from had only had him since last fall. She had the flyers and a copy of his papers but that was really the only background information she had available. The other horses and donkeys on her property were well cared for. They were all chubby and shiny with their hooves in good condition. I assumed that Oliver and Holly were just on the bottom of the pecking order and the other horses weren't letting them get to the food. Knowing what we know now it seems more likely that Oliver was too sore to push his way in to eat. 

   I now believe Oliver's original owners sold him because he began exhibiting signs of lameness. According to the person I got him from they dropped the price from $3500 to $600. Then when the person I got him from tried to return him after seeing some of his issues they refused and told her to dispose of him. 

   Luckily for us she didn't and Oliver ended up here at Kyhlwood where we are willing to try to find the cause of his symptoms. Even luckier still the Kyhlwood horses have an amazing vet in Dr. Sampson. I would have never thought to test him for Lymes and I think its a pretty good bet to say that the previous owners and their vets never thought to test for it either. Thanks to Dr. Sampson we know what is causing most, if not all, of Oliver's symptoms. 

  Oliver started a month long regimen of tetracycline yesterday. I gave him his first dose at 8pm. When I went into Oliver's stall today he was a completely different horse. He was sweet and snugly. He wanted to love on me and was freely and happily moving around his stall. He followed me around his stall nuzzling my hat and checking out my glasses. In the two hours I spent with him this morning he only trembled once when he moved too quickly. The noises of me pouring his grain and the dogs running around didn't bother him in the slightest. He wasn't bothered by Nugget's tail hitting his legs. I can't even believe how much of a difference his treatment has made in less than 24 hours. I am so excited to see how he continues to improve.

   Dr. Sampson Oliver and I are incredibly grateful for you! Thank you on behalf of all of the Kyhlwood horses and owners but especially thank you from Oliver today! 

Not Always Pretty

May 22, 2020

     We worked for quite a while on the tack room and barn today. After a while we decided to get on some horses before the rain comes this weekend.

     Marty was a very good boy and worked on giving to the bit and leg pressure. He is such a sweet, honest horse that really wants to please. Marty was here in 2018 to be started under saddle. He is back this year to get more experience in the arena and out on the trails. Jammi showed off his side passing so I could get a photo. She also did a flip off of him!

   Addie is doing well but just like any horse that comes in riding her has its challenges. Addie is a sweet, well mannered TB cross mare. She is 16 hands and 18 years old. I purchased her through the Central Iowa Exchange online auction. She has been with us for a little over a week now. Addie is a bit of a puzzle. She is honestly quite lazy but can't seem to relax enough to stop trotting. Abigail spent the majority of their ride trying to get Addie to relax and walk. Addie has a tendency to yank her rider's reins and lean on the bit any time there is any pressure. She is getting softer but as you can see from the picture its hard work and not always pretty! 

   Most of the time the pictures I post show the 'after'. The photos usually show a soft, quiet horse that is coming along well. I didn't choose to post the pictures yesterday of Memphis and Marty's 1st crossing over the water when they tried everything they could think of to avoid getting their feet wet. I didn't post a picture of Jammi's saddle starting to slide today. I didn't post a picture of Eddie throwing a buck in when he was sure he had worked too hard. I didn't post a picture of Priyah's temper tantrum during her lesson. I want to remind everyone how many not so great moments there are leading up to all of the spectacular moments. You need to make sure you are working through all of those tough moments, pushing through the rough spots to get to the great ones. I have a lot of horses come in that have what we call 'holes' in their training. Often times it was a spot in their training where the horse was resistant and instead of pushing through it they just skipped over it. If you skip over something it will show up later and could possibly hurt someone.

   Oliver started his antibiotics today and we should notice a difference in 2-3 days. Everyone keep your fingers crossed and lets all hope that he starts to improve! It looks like Mercy bowed a tendon today so she is in the stall next to Oliver keeping him and Nugget company while she rests her leg. 

Tricky Trails

May 21, 2020

  Busy afternoon today! Jammi and I worked for a while yesterday organizing the tack room but it looks like we've made more of a mess! We took a break from cleaning to take Marty, Memphis and Clover for a trail ride. We worked on natural obstacles including crossing water and the slide hill. Memphis charged right up the hill and happily slid right back down when I asked. She needs a little work on not rushing down the hill. Marty was completely confident going up the hill but when Jammi turned around to come down he wasn't so sure it was a great idea. She gave him some time to think about it and praised him every time he moved his feet forward. After a minute or two he slid down; the expression on his face was priceless. He couldn't figure out why in the world his feet were moving without him moving them.

   After we played on the hill for a bit we headed over to the spill way. I had to clear out part of the dam that the beaver keeps rebuilding before we had any water to practice crossing. Memphis was fairly confident crossing but had issues trying to jump.  After some work she was crossing nicely. Marty was sure the water was going to suck him in. He needed some convincing but slowly got braver. Once he got brave enough to touch it Marty discovered that the water is actually VERY fun. He got Jammi's legs pretty nice and soaked, luckily Rachel and I were far enough out of the way.

   Dr. Sampson got the test results back from the blood that we pulled on Oliver. There is good news and bad new. Unfortunately Oliver tested positive for Lyme disease. This explains a lot about him. Persistent Lyme disease can be linked to weight loss as well as chronically stiff and swollen joints. Both of which have been issues for Oliver. I am grateful that we have something to treat him for and know what is causing his pain so that we can address it. Dr. Sampson is sending Oliver's blood to a lab to have his tests confirmed. It looks like Oliver will need to be on antibiotics for at least a month but I am excited to see him once he has recovered!

Dental Day

May 20, 2020

   Oliver, Addie, Fiona and Holly got a visit from Dr. Sampson today. Holly and Addie both had what we call a wave mouth. A wave mouth is where the teeth wear unevenly and cause the surface of the teeth to look like a wave. This is detrimental to a horses health because they can not chew properly.  Often issues with teeth are one of the main causes that horses can't maintain a healthy weight. Horses do not chew up and down like people but rather side to side with the surface of their teeth grinding their food into smaller and smaller pieces. If you take two legos and rub the flat sides together it moves pretty smoothly but if you flip them over and rub the bumpy sides together it catches and doesn't slide smoothly. That is what it felt like for Holly and Addie to chew. To fix this Dr. Sampson takes a file and makes them smooth again. They were both happier girls tonight eating their dinner! One good surprise was that based on Holly's teeth she seems to be a little younger than we were originally told!

   Fiona's teeth looked good except she still had one of her wolf teeth. These are tiny teeth that don't really serve any purpose. They are usually right where the bit sits in a horse's mouth. This can cause pain when pressure is applied and can often cause a horse to toss their head, refuse to take the bit or have issues steering. Her wolf tooth came out very easily which is one of the reasons we do it when they are young before the roots can grow bigger!

   Oliver's teeth looked good but surprisingly he also still had his wolf teeth. Knowing that he has been a riding horse for a long time without issues we decided to leave them for now. They may be in a position so they don't interfere with the bit. Taking his teeth out would have been a lot more difficult and more painful than taking Fiona's tooth out since he is so much older.  Other than his teeth looking good we didn't get much good news about Oliver. His hooves are in pretty poor condition but hopefully time, good nutrition and a few visits from Brandon will correct that. Oliver does have arthritis in both knees and likely other places in his body. He has what looks like ring bone in his back left leg. Ring bone is excess bone growth around the pastern. Over all Oliver is very sore. We believe the soreness and nerves are what makes him shake but we did pull blood to test for a few things to be sure. We have started him on some pain medication and he is going to be on stall rest for a while. Hopefully we can get him comfortable and then can start having fun with him. Neither the arthritis nor the ring bone are career ending. While he is on stall rest he has a special buddy that you all may know! Little Miss Nugget is back! She is already hard at work babysitting for Oliver. 

   We have two horses that are back from the summer of 2018. Marty has come back for some additional training and trail experience. Memphis has come back to be sold. Although her current family loves her they have two other horses that they ride and she doesn't get used very often. We will spend some time riding her and figure out what she remembers. After that we will need to get some videos of this cute little grulla mare!

Packing on the Pounds

May 19, 2020

    Oliver and Holly have been hard at work eating for the past week. They have both started letting go of their winter hair that they were desperately hanging on to. Both Oliver and Holly's personalities have started to come out.    

    Oliver is a very sweet, snuggly guy. He does get nervous easily and is on the timid side. He is more attached to Holly than she is to him. I think it comes from his insecurities and she is a bit of a security blanket for him. I have slowly started having them spend time apart at night and he is slowly getting more independent. I have ponied him out on the trails and he did very well. He wasn't spooky and was content to just walk along with Hadley. He does have a bump on his back that I believe is just from being so under weight but I will have both Dr. Sampson and Jody Bardole check him out before we ever get on his back. Oliver weighed 1126 pounds when he first came to Kyhlwood Training. Today he weighed in at 1158 pounds! 32 pounds gained in ONE week! A lot of that is water weight in the beginning but I'll take it, a gain is a gain!

   Holly is a bit more independent. She is a little pushier on the ground but has pretty good manners over all. She was hard to catch the first day I went to get her from the pasture. Once she figured out that leaving the pasture meant dinner she comes straight to me every night. Holly came in weighing in 946 pounds. Today she weighed in at...  Drum roll please... 1003 pounds! She gained 57 pounds! 

   So happy that these two are thriving here at Kyhlwood. I am excited to learn more about them and eventually get to see what they know!

New Home!

May 17, 2020

    Denver found his forever family today! Sami, Clint and their 3 kids made the 3 hour trek up to meet Denver this morning in the rain. I can't even explain how happy I am for this little kill pen horse to have such an amazing family in his corner now. Sami understands that Denver still has some trust issues and is excited to start working with him and building a bond with him. 

   In February Molly, Rachel and I went down and spent the whole day at an auction in Kalona, Iowa. It was a difficult day. Seeing over 200 horses that had been dropped off at the auction was heart breaking. I expected most horses to be skinny or unsound. Surprisingly this was not the case. After a long day of debating, we selected a few horses to bid on. Unfortunately the bidding goes so quickly that I missed out on the first gelding I planned on bidding on. I ended up buying a 17 yr old saddlebred mare, whom we later decided to call Mercy. The other horse I bought was Denver, a super cute 12 yr old QH gelding. 

  Denver didn't need to gain a lot of weight but needed a lot of work with trust. We've been working with him over the last few months and he has been coming along very well! When I got a phone call last week from someone that had a friend interested in Denver I was honestly a little apprehensive. I have grown to like Denver so much and I know Jammi adores him. I reminded myself that I can't keep them all and that a great home was the most important thing.

  I am so glad that I went with my gut because I don't think I could have hand picked a better family for Denver. I am so excited for Sami and Denver. I think they are a great match and Sami will bring out the best that Denver has in him. 

Fairly Quiet Day

May 16, 2020

    Rode a few horses today but over all it was a pretty quiet day. Even the horses that were ridden didn't have to work super hard. Except Fiona but that was her own fault. 

  Addie had a good ride today. She is a bit forward and so far has needed lunged before we get on her. Abigail is still totally in love. After their ride Abigail worked on crossing puddles and Addie followed he all over the arena like a puppy. 

   Eddie had a decent ride, not his best by any means. He is a typical gelding and has decided he will get to things in his own time. Some days he is soft and quiet. Other days (like today) he is lazy and a little hard sided. His unbelievably sweet personality makes up for the questionable work ethic!

   Fiona had a rough day. We were working on steering and she was doing well at the walk. She was struggling with stopping and would throw little temper tantrums any time I would pick up both reins. Ever time I asked the temper tantrum would get worse. My gut told me that if I stayed on we were going to flip over backwards. I decided to get off and sure enough when I asked her to walk forward on the lunge line she immediately went straight up in the air and over backwards breaking her saddle.  After she knocked some sense into herself she settled down. I got back on and we worked on stopping and backing. Fiona can now turn at the walk, stop and back.

   I have someone coming to see our sweet Denver tomorrow. I am excited about the future for him but sad that he may be leaving us already! He is such a cool little horse that I should have known he wouldn't stay long. Once we worked through all the trust issues he has become an absolute doll. He has been great on trails and is coming along well in the arena as well. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that this is the perfect family for this cutie!

Busy day in the Mud

May 15, 2020

Luckily it was warm and windy so everything started drying out pretty well today! 

  Fiona had her first ride ever! She did pretty well. She was a little nervous and is a little dramatic but was a good girl over all. She is very sweet and will be a fun project for the summer. I think she could easily make a cute little all around pony!

   Addie had a super busy day. She was ridden by Anna for a bit then passed on to Jammi and then Abigail. Abigail has decided she's in love. Addie has been a trail horse but I think she may have missed her calling to be a little (BIG) English/dressage horse! She has a super cute trot and a nice ground covering canter. By the end of her ride Abigail was doing flips off of her!

   Sierra is coming along very well and had a good ride today. She was very distracted by Fiona (whom she wants to be her new best friend) and had a little extra motor today but over all was a good girl. 

   Oliver and Holly got to go out on grass for the first time since they have been here. They were a bit naughty when they needed to come in for dinner as they were having too much fun but after we made them run for a few minutes they were begging to be caught. 

New Faces!

May 14, 2020

With Spring in the air there are a lot of new faces at Kyhlwood Training. 

    Oliver is a sweet, registered AQHA gelding. He has extensive trail experience. Oliver needs to gain about 100 lbs before we will be riding him. I have ponied him out on the trails and he was a very good boy!

    Holly is a senior mare that came with Oliver. She needs to gain about 150 lbs. We were told that she is extremely broke and was a kids horse. She is very sweet and LOVES breakfast & dinner time. She and Oliver are very attached to each other so we will slowly begin working on getting them comfortable independent of each other. 

    Addie is an 18 yr old black mare. She seems to have some thoroughbred in her. She has been a trail horse and needs a little work on riding out. I would also like to see what she can do under an English saddle. Based on her movement and motor I think she will be a lot of fun!

    Fiona is a SUPER cute 2 yr old pony mare. I am guessing a welsh/POA cross of some sort. She is friendly and naturally curious. You can tell someone has put some hard work into her ground work and I am looking forward to starting her under saddle! I need to get a picture of her!