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Judith
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xx Horses for courses
« Thread started on: Nov 18th, 2012, 9:21pm »

Will attempt to remove the kitchens thread - not very useful to any of us!
I came across a website 'ponymadbooklovers', which is dedicated to the books that we horse mad youngsters loved.
my favourites were the Monica Edwards books - and still love them. I read the books of the Pullein Thompson sisters, pat Smythe , and lots of which I remember little -not even the titles! I am tempted to find and read Primrose Cumming s books - has anyone read those? I like finding things at car booties,charity shops etc , so will have a go to find some pony books - they have a value on ebay and amazon- and I love finding a bargain!
Charlie won his two classes on Saturday. the judge was quite strict - many scores were in the 50 s.[ and hence you get no points] Wills had mid 60 s for both , but not enough entries for him to get prize money! He has decided to have alesson with this judge - she is a grade 1 judge , so should give some pointers.Wills is ready for medium tests now , its a continuing process of more weight onto the hind legs , more lift and swing.
The wet ground and fields continue , but the boys are out at night in 25 acres of grass. The 3 ponies are in at night, as their paddock has little grass. All 3 live in 1 pen , which is easy for us. keanu needs to begin his education - everything new is a challenge for him , so work has to be very slow and in small steps. A naturally suspicious and nontrusting horse!
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Judith
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xx Re: Horses for courses
« Reply #1 on: Nov 26th, 2012, 1:14pm »

Charlie has returned from a very inspiring weekend. He went to the dresage convention at Hartpury. Both days were hostd by Carl Hester, with mornings showing horses and riders at various levels , and how to improve them. Afternoons were showing Carls young horses[ ridden by 2 girls ,not himself] and then Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro came in to show the advanced movements.
Valegro is a superstar , awing the audience with his presense and personality!
Valegro failed his grading and is a gelding. Most of Carls horses were not expensive. He emphasised, constantly, that the training is what matters. Also that you dont have to go to expensive trainers - havesomeone who can see things and honestly tell you!
So these are 2 points we like - cant afford megabucks for young horses, and I m the person Charlie can get an honest opinion from- though often he doesnt listen!
The whole training process was for self carriage - without tension, without holding onto the reins. This is wheret he training comes in , to be able to ride the horse quietly , with feel and tact. Sounds easy!?
Carl likes and has hot horses - like Wills they are super smart and super sensitive. They are not competed at lower levels , so are well into their Grand Prix training by the time they are in arenas with a lot going on. getting a good stand is a must!
If dressage carries on in this vein I think horse s lives will be much the better! : Carl puts the horses out daily, and one day a week they are out all day. Three might go out together , so although they are worth , they still get to live a more natural life then many competition horses often do. I think this helps in keeping their minds right - willing and unsoured ,the riding is unforced -a real partnership.
With top riders having this philosophy [ not unlike that of an N H er] I think the days of the Germanic pull-in-spur-on automaton horse are numbered.Lets hope so.
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Judith
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xx Re: Horses for courses
« Reply #2 on: Dec 11th, 2012, 09:38am »

I m still on the dressage theme! Its not my prefered horse 'thing' , but with Charles competing so often ,it seems our only horse endeavors are in that direction, at least until the spring, when we shall be starting and backing Keanu . Of course Charlie is still teaching , but the weather pospones many lessons
Charlie went to a Stephen Clarke lecture demo last night. It was Stephen Clarke who was chairman of the dressage judging jury at the Olumpics. He had to see off the Dutchs ' objection to Charlotte DuJardin beating Adelinde [ she of rollkur and hard-em-hard]
Stephens theme was showing various test movements from Novice, Elementary and Advanced levels - doing them well or badly and how the judge would mark and why. He emphasisied that the judge is on thwe side of the horse and rider , but might be left with no choice in marking because of mistakes, poor riding or the horses way of going.
Stephen starts off with valuing each movement as a 10, and asks why he cant give that mark.
There was a lovely moving 4 yr old ,that he did award 10s. Charlie actually queried whether this was moving as an older horse from higher levels would move - but was told that was level current young dressage horses are at. In other words they are naturally a couple of years ahead of horses with less conformation and movement.
Of course that brings us back to the usual probelm. Is dressage just training , or just the freakish movement that some horses are born with? Competitive dressage certainly seems to be the latter. So Charlie is working with a disadvantage with Wills - he is strong and expressive , and moves as well as any LW cob ever could, but he will never get 10s for his movement!
Another problem with the young horses with excessive movement is whether they will still be competing in a decades time. However, properly trained horses can and do compete well into their teens , it would just be rushed or weaker horses that break down [ though there might be plenty of those!]
What it also means is that horses with the 'off the floor' paces ,plus strong conformation , a willing temperament and good trainability are at a huge premium price ....
And I thought showing was expensive!
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Judith
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xx Re: Horses for courses
« Reply #3 on: Dec 16th, 2012, 9:11pm »

Charlie had 2 competetions this weekend . yesterday he won one test and second in the other, and today won twice- the second test with 69%!
Wills had to get these tests in before Christmas, as theres not many dates before the winter champs in February. The key to keeping Wills 'good' is for him to feel at ease in the arena - yesterday it was at Richmond - a place he s not keen on because the cafe is next to the boards! Today ,at Markington, he was much more settled.
No news at all on finding a youngster - having been in touch with various studs it seems young coloured dressage horses are thinner on the ground than we d imagined! nearly as rare as a coloured show cob!
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xx Re: Horses for courses
« Reply #4 on: Dec 21st, 2012, 08:11am »

Well,its that time of the year . Has the land ever been so wet and therefore putting out and getting in so depressing!?Actually some of the horses have been in for 48 hrs , and we ll probably leave them in today as well. At least they are in pens rather than individual boxes, so can move around and socialise.
Charlie is teaching today , although he had to ring before he set off incase the roads were impassable.
This year has definitely been the year when charlie has returned to his dressage roots. When he was 19 he read A Podajsjis 'My horses, My teachers' , which began his love of dressage. but of course Charlie has tried most branches of horsemanship [ except polo!], and not specialised solely in one area. Wills being a difficult horse, and therefore impossible to sell, the only place that Charlie could see a job for him was in the dressage arena. he had done some dressage with him initially , bu t there had been a break of well over two years. Consistant work from April has certainly proved that Wills learns well and is suited to the job. Tension can creep into his work, and overcoming his natural overanxious temperament is an ongoing process! Without N H , which we retrained him in in 2007, he wouldnt be able to cope the way he does. When we got him [ foolishly on my part as he was to be my show cob - I hadnt even dared sit on him when we went to see him . We thought he d be easier to get right than imagined....] he couldnt be hacked out at all, without plunging and 'losing it '. I worked him on the ground for months - getting any sort of a backup was next to impossible , as he HAD to move forward !liberty was like working with -well I have no words to describe it - there was just no rational thought that I could tap into!-, yet once he actually acknowledged my presence he became a lovely light cue horse.
So now Wills , from april, has gained 70 or so points, added to the 30 odd from a few years ago. As well as qualifyin g for the winter champs he s nearly there for the summer champs too. His results are slowing going up the %s , so now consistantly in the high 60s. Will leave elementary for medium tests this year. He did a few mediums in the summer , but needed more ring experience to really do well. The actual componants arent very different , but there are more changes of tempo, pace etc that can confuse the horse- and Wills is very easily confused!
Guinness has had a very easy year , as it just didnt seem worth starting the showing. At the moment he is having a short holiday with the Richmonds , who used to show and produce Ben. Thye will hunt him , and perhaps try to measure him in - as [ as we thought] he s not big enough to be a maxi cob , yet almost too tall for a L W . We shall see!
We were very lucky with summer camp - had a great bunch of people and horses [ which makes teaching easy!] and lots of progress made.The weather was fine too. Reminds me I ve to add piccies to this site , of camp etc. I am very appreciative of our website expert , Peter, for always having the answer to computer problems.
I imagine everyone has hopes for the coming year. From the story of Wills I hope some of you realise it is possible to retrain your horse. yes, it will take time and effort , but with N H as your foundation , you ll make it.
For next year I hope we find a youngster for Charlie , that we get Keanu started and a new home , and that we continue to have the wonderful students and horses come to us that we got used to!
Christmas blessings from Charlie and myself - and may New Year wishes come true.
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Liz
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xx Re: Horses for courses
« Reply #5 on: Dec 25th, 2012, 5:54pm »

Yes, the wet weather is making Bedfordshire pretty unpleasant too. Our field is as bad now as it has ever been - the joys of heavy clay cry

The progress with Wills sounds great, I have memories of him, when we had a camp at Sinnington, with us all in the big field and Charlie quietly sitting in the middle of the field as we all got on with whatver task we were meant to be ding when Wills 'lost it' and spent the next 5 minutes on two legs. Charlie continued to sit there quietly (goodness only knows how!) and continued his instruction to us without giving any indication that Wills was misbehaving in any way. Quite remarkable!

I wish everyone a happy and peaceful 2013 and look forard to seeing lots of old friends st the camps in the summer.
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