Max the Haflinger
Meet Max. Max is a two year old Haflinger colt who now lives near Fredericktown, Ohio. He has been at an auction and would probably have been sent off for slaughter, if Julie Copper did not buy him. She looks for good horses at the Sugarcreek auction, buys them and then tries to find them a new home through her website.
Haflinger is a horse breed that was developed in Austria. These horses are supposed to be very calm and docile so that basically even the youngest member of the family can handle the horse safely. They can be ridden, pull a cart or even be used for some farm work pulling a light plow.
So far Max has been with us for two weeks and his character has shown to be just the calm horse as a Haflinger is supposed to be. Initially some at the farm have been worried that he might behave a bit pushy and aggressive because when he got there he had been a stallion. By now he went through the "procedure" and is now officially a gelding. He has not changed a bit since then. So that's a good sign.
There was no problem loading him onto the trailer. He walked right into it. He leads very well and is really a people horse. I also discovered that he seems to understand German better than English. Saying something like Nein, which means No in English, appears to have a better effect. We don't know nothing about where he was born. However, I assume that he was born on an Amish farm somewhere in Ohio, because the Dutch dialect the Amish speak is very close to German. I may be imaging all of this but somehow it feels about right.
I have started his training program, which really is me being trained on how to communicate with a horse. With the help of Terri Kucera Max and I have learned to move and stop, turn towards the human and to release the hindquarters all based on body language and a few words. It's impressive how far that gets you. I can now walk up to him or into his stall and indicate him to move his butt around and face me - just by a small gesture.
As Max is only two years old, he is still too young to be ridden. According to the veterinarian he should be developed and strong enough by March or April for that. In a little while I will be shopping for a saddle so that I can start him getting used to all those things on his back and at the sides of his body. As he is a light draft horse I will need to find a saddle with a wider tree that fits well with the shape of his back. However, it is too early for that as he needs to get a bit more flesh onto his bones. Due to his history his nutrition wasn't the best and he needs to recover a bit more before his body shape becomes more real.
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