When they first got Lucky home, Denise spent lots of time just bonding with him and gaining his trust. Undemanding time is so important for horses, especially with a horse that suffered from the level of abuse that Lucky did. She spent a lot of time getting him used to being touched in different areas of the body. As you can imagine, Lucky had a few areas that he was leary about having people touch. After about 2 weeks of this, Denise was able to touch him anywhere on his body without him flinching and she could groom him without having to tie him.
Soon they progressed to simple following games in the stall and then moved on to the bigger area of the round pen. Eventually, they started to play a version of the Parelli YoYo Game without realizing that's what they were doing, getting Lucky to come forward and then back up.
Even though it appeared that Lucky had no "official" under saddle training, they were able to put a saddle on him and ride him around. Denise said, "I would saddle him, but he did not know any commands or how to neck rein. But we continued to ride him and work with him for 6 months. During this 6-month period Mike and I realized how smart and willing to please Lucky is. So we decided to send him to a calm young man that rode him out for 30 days and taught him what I was not able to. I was a nervous wreck with Lucky gone for 30 days. I called every day to make sure he was doing okay. The last week of his training I went out every day and rode him. He came home for a week and then we came to our first Parelli clinic with Christi Rains."
Which is where I met Lucky and the family that rescued him. I was so impressed with this kind young horse. You would think that a horse that had been abused as severely as Lucky had been would not want anything to do with people. But he was such a friendly and curious horse. He would come right up to you, investigate anything new that came into his view and displayed a huge play drive. He was so calm when introduced to all the tarps, balls, hoola hops, and umbrellas…taking everything in stride without any problems, even on his blind side.
During the clinic Christi helped Denise work on communication cues that Lucky could hear and easily understand, as well as giving Denise strategies for teaching Lucky to respect her space and to learn to be aware of where Denise was at all times for safety. They continued to show amazing improvements throughout the clinic and by the end of the weekend, they mastered every scary obstacle that was thrown at them and finished with getting on the pedastal. Lucky has no idea that he has any kind of handicap. He's just a normal, fun-loving young gelding ready to take on the world with his new partner, Denise.
Denise continues to focus on building a long-lasting and loving bond with Lucky. She is well on her way to meeting her goal of being able to pleasure and trail ride on Lucky, and eventually she has hopes that they might be able to train with the Midland County Mounted Patrol.