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RU Koda

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Photo by S. Ralston
  • BLM Freezebrand 08605123
  • Bay 2-year-old Gelding
  • Mustang # 5123
  • Born Summer 2008
  • Captured from the Callaghan HMA, NV on January 6, 2009
  • Will be registered with the Wild Horse and Burro Association
  • Sponsors: Joanna Barnish and Louis Sorrentino
  • Students: Samantha Rodgers and Rebekah Verdieck

March 2011

I am so glad I get to tell you how RU Koda has been doing this month. He has made me very proud numerous times, just this week. On Monday, March 28th, we weighed the horses on the scale in the Red Barn. We had been struggling with Koda with the scale at the Ryder’s Lane barn, but on Monday he walked right onto it and stood, waiting for a cue to walk off. Also that day, in his session with one of his Ag Field Day students, he figured out how to play soccer with himself and was pushing the ball around the barn with his nose.

On Wednesday, Koda and I had a session with Jose. Koda had been turning in front of the person leading him when asked to stop (halt). Jose addressed this problem, showing me how to ask him to stop through my body language. At the end of our session, Koda halted immediately beside me when I stopped walking. We also worked on changes in pace while walking so Koda pays attention to my body- that way, he senses when I am about to stop. We also desensitized Koda to the spray bottle. Jose was able to spray Koda’s nose, ears, face, body, and legs without him flinching or becoming tense. Koda is so advanced; we have put bags, balls, ropes, traffic cones, and umbrellas on his back, over his head, etc.

Koda and I had another session with Jose on Friday. Since it was raining, I dried him off with a towel and was able to rub him down all over. He was okay with me wrapping the towel around his legs, and putting it over his ears. He’s still not too keen on having the towel over one or both of his eyes. We also worked with him in the wash stall, and he learned the boundaries of being on crossties. After he tried lurching forward on the crossties once, he stood nicely on them. We found that he is scared of the hose, if it is turned on or off, and we will be working with him with that in the upcoming weeks.

Koda has grown into such a sweet, wonderful horse in the five months I have been working with him. Granted, he still has an attitude and will sometimes be rude, but we’re working on that. He will be such a fantastic horse for whoever is lucky enough to buy him.

Written by Sam Rodgers

February 2011
    Koda has continued to improve and is doing very well with his training. He loves attention and
enjoys his time being groomed every day. He stands nicely and picks up his feet very well when asked to do so. He has also shown improvement in his leading and is much more polite and patient when it is his time to be turned outside with the other horses. He has continued to work in the round pen with Jose and has been learning very quickly. He has been introduced to both the blanket as well as the surcingle and did very well with both!
    In the nutrition study, Koda has finished his trial on both the corn as well as the oats. He
performed very well for each of the behavior tests, however we still need to work with him to improve his turns on the haunches. The novel stimulus in the recent behavior tests included a piece of cardboard that Koda was asked to walk over, which he didn’t seem to mind, as well as clippers which he also didn’t seem to be concerned about even when Dr. Ralston clipped his whiskers with them!
    With spring quickly approaching and the weather beginning to get warmer, the horses are
beginning to shed out their winter coats. We have started leaving the lights on in the barn until 9pm in order to help encourage the horses to shed. Although Koda never really grew a significant winter coat, what very little extra fuzz he did have is quickly disappearing. I can’t wait to see how sleek and shiny his coat will become in the next few weeks!
    At the preview following the Equine Science Seminar on February 13th, Koda did exceptionally well! He was very well behaved and was unfazed by the crowd of people. He has quite a presence and seems to love to show off his good looks for everyone at the previews! Koda definitely does not fall short on personality! I can’t wait to see how well he does with the upcoming previews and Ag Field Day right around the corner!

Writen by Rebekah Verdieck

January 2011
     Koda is a very intelligent, athletic horse who does really well working in the roundpen. We have been teaching him vocal commands while lunging and free-lunging Koda. He understands “walk” and “trot,” and we are still working on “canter”. He is doing much better with correctly turning to the inside or to the outside when asked. Since Koda is a “mouthy” horse, and loves investigating everything with his mouth, Jose decided to use a key bit (training bit) with him. Koda has been doing very well with the bit. Jose has also made makeshift girths with his arms and a lunge line, imitating the tightening that a girth makes. Koda had no problems with this, and the next step we will be taking in his training is to get a surcingle on him. We will also be putting him on crossties and teaching him to stand nicely while being groomed.
    On Monday, January 31st, Dr. Ralston performed the first of the behaviors tests of the semester. We are studying the effects of corn versus TMR (Total Mixed Ration) hay cubes on the horses’ behavior. Koda’s “team” is currently on the TMR cubes. The test included walking down the barn aisle, halting, standing still for one minute, turning on the haunches, lifting all four feet, backing up, getting weighed on the scale, and approaching a student standing on a stool. Koda passed with flying colors, especially when asked to pick up his feet. He does need work on turning on his haunches, but that was the first time he was asked to perform that task.
    Though we had been having trouble getting Koda on the scale before the winter break, Dr. Ralston worked with him on it, and during the behavior test he walked right on the scale without hesitation. When he noticed the research student standing on the stool, however, he did snort a couple times, but let her rub both sides of his neck. Koda received almost all 5’s (out of 5) on the tasks he was asked to perform.
    With Ag Field Day and the Auction coming up just around the corner, Rebekah and I will be working with Jose to get Koda as ready as can be. We will soon be moving the horses to the Red Barn on College Farm Road, so we will be doing everything we can to make that go as smoothly as possible. We have been working on desensitizing Koda to random objects such as bags, umbrellas, and stable sheets. He is usually more curious than afraid, and I hope he keeps that curiosity and courage when introduced to the new barn.

Written by Sam Rodgers

November 2010

    Koda has been working every Friday with Jose, who has been working on getting Koda to give to pressure, as well as working on his turns. Koda has a hard time turning to the right, which is his weaker side. However, I have seen Koda improve in a few ways since the first time I worked with him. He is a little more willing to follow his handler without protest ot biting.  On the morning of November 9th, Dr. Ralston conducted a preliminary behavior test on the horses as part of the research on the effect of diet on behavior and trainability. The behavior test included having the horses walk down the aisle of the barn, stop and stand for thirty seconds, allow their handlers to touch their faces and ears, rub the length of their bodies, pick up their feet, turn them in a full circle in both directions, and walk with their handlers on their “off-side” (leading on the right). Koda was a perfect gentleman walking down the aisle; he stood still for thirty seconds and let me rub his entire body while standing quietly. He only moved when I ran my hand down his left hind leg. He followed me into the “weigh room” with only slight hesitation-he had only been to that side of the barn a few times. He struggled with turning in a circle to the right, which was expected, but did well turning to the left. He was not very comfortable with me leading him on the right, but since it was our first attempt, he did fairly well. We also performed a novel stimulus test, during which Dr. Ralston took Koda into the round pen and turned him loose while a student opened an umbrella and hung it on the closed gate. Koda walked right up to this “scary” object, investigated it, and started to bite and play with it. He is such a character!

Written by Sam Rodgers

October 2010

    Koda is a two year old bay gelding with a big personality. He was born in the summer of 2008, and captured in Callaghan, Nevada on January 6, 2009. Since his arrival at our facility, he has progressed tremendously. He allowed his other student, Rebekah and me to touch him all over his body, and run our hands down all four of his legs within a week of arriving at the Ryders Lane barn. He responds to pressure on his halter, and is currently learning to back on cue. He is definitely strong minded and strong willed, but he loves attention! He has a little problem with nipping, but it is mainly because he is bored and wants attention, and that problem is being addressed. Jose Romero-Bosch, the trainer working with Koda, has helped Rebekah and me learn how to work better with Koda and give him the firm hand he needs. Koda loves the roundpen, and every time he is taken out, he runs and plays with whatever toys he can find. When he is being worked in the roundpen, he trots out beautifully and responds very well to cues and commands. He is also learning how to lead outside of the stall, and, although he was a bit pushy at first, he has gotten much better at leading and learning to respect personal space. The only thing he is having an issue with is the transition from the rubber floor to the cement floor on the way from the barn to the roundpen, but he is beginning to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of. He still likes to crowd a bit, but he is definitely progressing. Koda was introduced to the curry brush as well and just loves to be groomed! He is a very free-spirited, opinionated horse with unbelievable potential.

Written by Rebecca Diaz

Equine Science Center

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