Miss Scarlett: The Early Months

Follow AQHYA member Tara Osburn as she raises her AQHA Young Horse Development Program filly.

By Tara Osburn
The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 7, 2013

Miss Scarlett, aka KT Docs Mamba

Read Tara’s first blog, “Meet Miss Scarlett,” and learn how she came to be a participant in the AQHA Young Horse Development Program. (Tara Osburn photo)

Editor’s note: Tara Osburn received KT Docs Mamba, aka “Scarlett,” in fall 2013 through the AQHA Young Horse Development Program from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder KT Ranch. The following report is what Tara and Scarlett have been up to in the past months.

As soon as I took Scarlett out of the trailer and into her stall, she was right at home with me in Gaston, Oregon.
Initially, I didn’t turn Scarlett out in pasture every day because I wanted to work on bonding with her, which in turn made her easier to catch. In the meantime, I’d take her out on the longe line, plus let her eat grass and see our other horses from a distance.

However, Scarlett now gets to go out to pasture for a few hours so she can have more grass. Since we live in the Northwest, sometimes the weather is less than ideal, so I take her out and lead her and let her graze. I’ve found that Scarlett loves to play out in her pasture, plus she’ll follow me around and sometimes cuts me like a cow; it is super cute! This sight is a lot different from the first time I put her out; back then, she would run around and play, but she wouldn’t be running to me but away from me and she was very hard to catch. It’s so nice that she now is really easy for me to catch!

Early Lessons

As far as arena work goes, we are doing pretty well. Here are a few of Scarlett’s earliest lessons:

  • I taught her to let me pick up all of her feet and clean them out.
  • She leads very well; we walk, trot, stop, square up and back.
  • I can longe her, but I’m very careful not to do it very often so that it doesn’t stress her joints. Usually, we longe at a walk.
  • She lets me take her blanket on and off.
  • She is able to be tied up, with hopes of mastering the cross-ties soon.
  • She has been bathed several times.

With regards to her first baths, after Scarlett was quiet in the wash rack, I began to slowly get her accustomed to the sounds and feel of water in there by just rinsing off the floor and then the walls, because they made a different noise. Scarlett’s feet would get wet and she would just kind of look at me, stand there and not care too much.

Scarlett loves getting brushed and letting me braid or band her mane, too! I’ve even accustomed her to clipping. To do this, I took out my clippers and took off the blades and let her listen and feel the vibrations, and she was really quiet about it and didn’t mind it all too much. After a while, I put the blades on so that she could hear the difference in the noise, as well. I’ll keep doing that, and soon I’ll be able to clip her with ease.

Soon, I hope to have my trainer come over and help me with Scarlett so that we can advance with training for halter and showmanship classes. I’d also like to get a second opinion on how Scarlett is progressing.

I do have to say that Scarlett is very easy to handle. While I was on vacation over Christmas, Scarlett was in the care of my grandma, who is 77 years young. Grandma was very impressed at how well and obediently Scarlett led out to pasture.

Scarlett is also very nice and quiet around children. My 6-year-old cousin came over to see the horses and asked if she could help me train Scarlett; my cousin wanted to lead Scarlett and brush her. Scarlett was sweet and especially quiet – I was very proud of her!

Goal Oriented

I have been communicating through Facebook and emails with several of the other Young Horse Development Program participants, which has been really fun to hear from everyone and about how they are doing with their foals. Brooke Brumley and I are going to try to get together and possibly carpool to go to one of the AQHA shows this year since we aren’t too far apart.

I hope I will be able to do a lot with Scarlett this year, her yearling year. My plan is to take Scarlett and my gelding, “Worthy,” to as many of the AQHA shows as possible. Initially, my goal was to run for the Justin Intermediate of the Year award (formerly known as the Justin Rookie of the Year). But after reading The American Quarter Horse Journal, I learned that I can show Novice for three years and then go for the Intermediate of the Year award. I think that is what I want to do! This way, I can get some practice in with Scarlett and Worthy, then I can later hit the show road for the Intermediate of the Year award with Scarlett once she’s older.

I have a few training-related goals in mind, too, for Scarlett:

  • I’d like to take showmanship lessons with my trainer.
  • I want to improve our turns, teach her to sidepass and teach her to back straighter
  • I want to continue to desensitize her so that she won’t be fazed by anything when she gets older.
  • I want to work on tying her in the cross-ties so that she will be able to be tied up anywhere, but I will be sure to be extra careful when we do that.
  • I want to personally practice banding her mane so that I will be able to have it looking really nice when it comes time to show!

The opportunity to raise Scarlett through the AQHA Young Horse Development Program has been fantastic. I cannot tell you what an amazing filly I have. She is exactly what I have wanted and is a perfect match for me. I hope to do many great things with her in the future!

Read Tara’s first blog, “Meet Miss Scarlett,” and learn how she came to be a participant in the AQHA Young Horse Development Program.