Youth in Action: A Month of Success

With the hopes of becoming a better horseman and earning a scholarship, AQHYA member Miranda Raithel, 13, is raising her first young horse.

By Miranda Raithel
The American Quarter Horse Journal
December 16, 2013

Miranda Raithel and "Carl"

Thirteen-year-old Miranda Raithel of Falls City, Nebraska, received her colt, "Carl," from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota. (Miranda Raithel)

Editor’s Note: Miranda Raithel was one of 17 American Quarter Horse Youth Association members selected to participate in the 2013-14 American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program. While caring for and training foals bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, these young horsemen and -women chronicle their achievements, with the culmination of the yearlong project being the chance to earn scholarship money and prizes from AQHA corporate partners.

I was very excited to get my Quarter Horse colt home from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota. It was a long trip to my home in Falls City, Nebraska, but “Carl” weathered the trip well. I am very excited to learn more about the horse industry, horse nutrition and horsemanship through the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program, which is what Carl and I will be participating in for the next year.

Once we got home, I let Carol come to know his surroundings for a day or so, then I jumped right into working with him on the ground. I sacked him the first day, and he didn’t mind; he was very gentle and would let me do anything I wanted with him. He didn’t even run and play when I turned him loose. He was so dopey and gentle! I turned him out with my show heifers at night: The heifers and “Carl” come in my cattle show barn during the day and he has his own stall.

After I finish with my cattle, I work with Carl on flexing, longeing both directions and backing up. He is getting the hang of it nicely, and he will change directions “on the fly” when I ask. He is very respectful. I only work with him about 15 minutes at a time and only three times a week. I think a horse needs to like what he is doing, and I don’t want to push him too much while he’s little. Carl was already broke to tie when I got him, or so I think. He just stands tied quietly when he’s tied.

Carl has done many things in a quiet manner since I picked him up. He has traveled to my trainer, Alicia’s, arena and we took a lesson on showmanship. He has traveled to the roping pen and been tied next to a crazy, barking dog, and he has been exposed to just about every loud thing on a ranch, including working facilities, mean cows, dogs, trains, combines, tractors and my boisterous parents!

When it comes to nutrition and veterinary attention, Carl has had the best possible care I can give him. He went through a vet check given by my vet, Dr. Beth Herring-Hill: Carl passed with flying colors. Dr. Herring-Hill taught me about basic nutrition and a deworming regimen. This was very helpful, as this is the first young horse I have raised. His nutritional needs are very different from a mature horse. I learned that he needs more feed than I thought. Carl also eats a probiotic supplement that I top-dress on his feed once a day. These “belly piranhas” are bacteria added to his stomach to keep him on feed and his digestive health on track. Dr. Herring-Hill also taught me that I need to deworm my young horse once a month. Additionally, I talked with my farrier, who looked at Carl’s feet and told me that I could wait a while before trimming him, as his feet were excellent! I have been working with Carl on picking up his feet for his future trimming, and Carl is doing awesome.

I have witnessed several changes in Carl’s behavior over the month. He is happy to see me when I walk in the barn, and he greets me with a joyful whinny when I arrive. He has now started to run and play with our fat show heifers, which is awesome to watch. I think that is really great, too, because he makes them exercise by giving them chase. It’s funny, because they lick him and love him; he often comes in from the turn-out lot with swirls from their licking. This makes him have a really bad hair day!

I think the acclimation to our facility, beginning groundwork exercises and learning about horse health made the month of October a success!

Because opportunities abound for horse-interested kids, the new AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, captures those adventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen through AQHYA at www.aqha.com/youth-in-action.