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Adrienne
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xx saint to sinner!
« Thread started on: Dec 28th, 2012, 1:33pm »

Hi, do you remember me and Bailey, my lovely quiet boy who is usually a joy to handle and ride, albeit can be very lazy in summer. Well, at this time of year, every year, he changes into a monster! Need any help or suggesstions. He lives out 24/7 in a 2 acre field that was saved for winter, with his field mate. He's only getting a small amount of quick beet, a handful of fibergy and lexvet minerals. At the moment they are having about a 1/4 bale of hay cos they're still more interested in grass. I changed to hay this year thinking it might be haylage that made him so daft, but obviously not! He's only got a thin rug on cos I thought if he'd all that energy he could use it to keep warm! He's still good as gold to handle and he sets off on a hack fine, but then it's as if something switches on in his head and he gets really forward, joggy and I can hardly hold him in trot. Underneath he feels really tense as if he's about to explode. I try to stay very calm and talk to him and sit quietly but when he's like this it does knock my confidence. Come Feb/March he'll probably be back to his old self, it's just what to do in the meantimehuh
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Liz
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #1 on: Dec 29th, 2012, 11:24am »

Hi Adrienne, I remember you and (butter wouldn't melt in his mouth) Bailey - he was lovely! Judith or Charlie will give you some great suggestions all I can think of is to ensure you do enough groundwok to get him thinking. Not just simple repetitive stuff, but challenging stuff to make him really think, so I would sideways away and towards, HQ turns and backing up in circles or squares. But I'll be interested to hear what Judith has to say as that'll be worth lstening to!
I know what you mean about not wanting to knock your confidence though, my previous horse was not known as 'the yellow peril' for nothing! Milo occasionally rears when we're doing liberty and I have trouble getting that imagemout of my mind when I'm riding him, but in all honesty, he's only once, very early in our partnership, offered a rear and thst wasn't a full up in the air one like he does at liberty!
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Adrienne
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 29th, 2012, 12:57pm »

Thanks Liz, must say haven't done much groundwork last few weeks - it seems to have never stopped raining and not being on a yard where there's facilities by the time I've fed and poo-picked I'm ready for home! I'm already telling myself off - excuses, excuses!
I think he does need to switch his brain on to me so will try to get some cones etc round to the field and do more with him on the ground. I do enjoy doing that with him and often tell myself I'm just going to brush him, then do some groundwork and not put myself under pressure to ride. By the time I've done that I often tack up and go! It's trying to get past the 'What ifs'.
On the plus side my little sec A is at home for the winter and she's really enjoying the attention. I take her out for a walk with the dog most days and do some ground work and spook busting. She's like a sponge and soaks it all up. Think I need to be more inventive with her. We did a few lead rein training sessions with the grandchildren and she took to the pony club games like a duck to water. Looking forward to the spring when they are going to start these again - the girl who does them is great with young children - little bit of teaching and lots of fun.
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Judith
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #3 on: Dec 31st, 2012, 08:26am »

Hello Adrienne
lovely to hear from you! Bailey certainly woldnt be the only horse that acts like this in winter. Seeing he is outside you would think he d be more sensible , but horses have their own opinions! Perhaps he was hunted at one point? Its amazing how long they remember things - our hunted horses always perked u p come October.
Firstly, remember that he is a sane soul, and trying to control your own 'what ifs ' is the place to start. Any thoughts of bad things happening immediately sends signals to our flight&fight part of the brain , and the signals then enter our muscles. We may not realise this , or feel is , but the horse does. This is where A T comes in. When you think 'what ifs ' immediately think of your head neck joint - and check that the back of your neck isnt tightening. Then check your breath - send the air deep to the bottom of the ribcage. 'Drop' your weight onto the saddle . With these things in place signals of nervousness will not get through to Bailey . I know its easier said than done , but having that faith in being in control of your reactions is calming in itself.
Liz has given good ideas on the actual riding side. Groundwork both gets rid of excess energy and prepares their mind for obediance! Even a small space is bette rthan nothing , where you can practise backing up a few steps , or a forehand yield. For 'fizzy' horses these 2 patterns are vital in getting your horse settled. The mental discipline of not going forward is what he needs to have. Again , be calm and confident when you work him - no what ifs!- remember your breathing , neck and dropping your weight onto the ground. Make sure you get the attitude you want before you get on him, then he learns that you wont give up. Let us know how you get on. And if you need more help ,just ask.
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Adrienne
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #4 on: Dec 31st, 2012, 4:27pm »

Hi Judith,
I also think that Bailey has hunted at some time in the past cos it's usually October when he starts like this he just lulled me into a false sense of security this year!! I did have a long ride yesterday and he was as good as gold. I spent 10 mins before I rode doing some backing up and HQ yields, then I stroked his eyes {which he loves} and had a quiet word about his behaviour! So whether it was that that worked or he's just got the ants out of his pants the other day I don't know. Thanks for the A T tips, I was trying to sit deep and relaxed but had forgotten about the head/neck bit. I know I ought to have a lot more trust in him cos it's so rare he does anything to really scare me, but since the accident last year it doesn't take much to knock my confidence when riding. Trouble is in my heart I think I'm still a fearless teenager, but my head doesn't agree!! wink
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Judith
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #5 on: Jan 1st, 2013, 10:37am »

I know just how you feel! There comes a time when falling off and the jarring that sends through the body is to be dreaded! I used to ride newly backed horses without fear, and if I was dumped , no matter. Sometimes I just wore a headscarf with these young horses. Our fears and tensions do have an effect though, and generally speaking I got away with it without incident. I see it in young riders , we know someonwho is a novice, yet has taken up hunting. With youth and no fear he does fine.
Of course give him a few decades and he ll be like us , self preserving!
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Judith
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #6 on: Jan 1st, 2013, 11:17am »


I d like to wish everyone a very good New Year, and hope your aims /wishes/dreams come to fruition this year.
Charlie at least is on course - doing so well with Wills. They have 2 competitons this weekend. Charlies usual caller isnst reading the tests , so he ll have to learn them well. In fact theres now a feeling callers shouldnt be allowed , and may be stopped altogether.
We havent got far with a youngster for Charlie is bring on in Wills' wake. Finding a horse with right conformation,movement, mind set and intelligence will be difficult.

I have been reading a 1939 childrens book called 'The chestnut filly' by Primrose Cumming.Very interesting in that the stages and logic in rebacking this filly mirrors N H in so many ways.
The filly has been 'knocked about' so the story follows her reducation . The boy who has bought her , and has help from the gardener, now procedes with a copybook breaking -in.
This is a childs book, and no doubt the writier hoped to inform as well as entertain.
Typically of this period ,the filly has a high % Arab blood. At one point on a trip out the filly is discouraged from 'talking' with farm carthorses!There are still shades of horse snobbery in lots of the horse world all these years later ,where 'blood' is a plus and heavy /native breeding = common.
The writer may be good on the backing process but completely ignores the fact the filly lives in isolation ,stabled, and only gets grass if cut for her [ lawnclippings!],so I think/hope we re more in tune with horse s needs these days. However, in the days of horses for work/transport etc many would be kept like this.
The boy has to begin by getting the fillys confidence , so his first task is to be able to stroke her. he only strokes the neck and shoulders on the first day, and the next day manages all the legs and body.
Next comes leading , then'short lunging' where the pony is on a halter and line and circling at walk, learning to stop and start to voice commands, all done quietly and at a slow pace.The filly is then led from the bridle , and vaseline [?} is used to get her happy with the bit.
The stable rubber is 'flopped ' over her when she is groomed , then she is allowed to sniff the saddle; then the saddle is put on her back. However, the boy comes slightly unstuck by girthing her start away. The boy then feeds grass off the saddle and spends acouple of sessions repeating this till he tries to girth again, but this time very loosely.
The next stage [ which we wouldnt do but I can understand why they did it] was to tie string from D rings on saddle ,around the quarters and to the other D rings. After the filly used to those, then the long reining begins.Firstly on a circle, then through streets [!].
She is then backed in the stable , then sat on when circled , then ridden away. Schooling takes place in the 3-4 hours she s being ridden[!] and she is gradually 'bridled' by backing up and then being put in a double bridle. The bridling is our equivelant of 'contact' or outline. It is indeed not hard to get by using a curb bit! 'Soft feel' is a kinder method. The whole process takes a summer holidays, which would be right for a backing , but a bit optomistic for a restart.
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Judith
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #7 on: Jan 4th, 2013, 07:03am »

Guinness has returned from his holiday with the Richmonds. It was very good to se him again, and we had a nice ride yesterday.Wills was also very pleased to see him! I may seek out a physio to try and sort this right lumber/sacroiliac joint , so that riding becomes comfortable again.
Now we are back to 7 horses and I m still on the trail of a youngster for Charlie to dressage in future years. We have a couple of possible rising 2 yr old fillies to see. Its always fun horse shopping !
We have begun Keanus education , after I did some sessions in the summer. he was not forgotten anything , and I think living with Polly and Idaho has been a good thing. He certainly is more trusting of us , and not quite so 'bracy' when asked to do something. He must have grown, as the bit I was using is now too narrow . I didnt want his head to grow- just the rest of him! our first session was a recap. getting him listening [ as Idaho and Polly on the other side of the wall] , then leading on both sides, stop,start, walk, and trot beside. he did very well. We re hoping in the spring to take him out into native or part bred Welsh classes, just for his education- he wont set the show world alight but shouldnt look much out of place.
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Liz
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #8 on: Jan 4th, 2013, 5:42pm »

Lucky Wills to have his chum back again smiley
When it comes to finding the young dressage horse are you looking for any particular breed? Coloured? Unbroken? Best of luck and I hope you find what you're looking for as I found it a thankless task. One reads the advert and it sound great but the real thing is so far off what was written. Fingers crossed you find what you want nice and quickly.
I definitely agree with you both about falling off, I don't bounce as well as when I was younger - I just need to persuade milo to pay attention to my plan to stay onboard.
That book sounds interesting and quite a social commentary on horse breaking as practiced in pre war days. I don't think the Pullein-thompson books delved into that aspect at all as far as. i can remember.
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Adrienne
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xx Re: saint to sinner!
« Reply #9 on: Jan 5th, 2013, 5:30pm »

Well, touch wood, Bailey has settled back down and has been good as gold last few rides. A friend of my daughter has ridden him a couple of times and he's been good for her too. I've also been riding my friend's 12.2 pony - not as far to fall but not much under me either - don't know which is worse!! Nora is having great fun, I can't keep up with her, trying to think of different things to do. Today I asked her to put her front feet up on a railway sleeper, she did it immediately, stood there like a statue; I'm sure she's been here before. Hope your search for a new horse doesn't take too long; I agree with Liz, horse adverts are like house adverts, you get good at reading between the lines, but somewhere out there there will be The One waiting. At last we've had a few rainless days but the ground is still saturated, I just can't see it drying out all winter. We've been and booked a holiday in Barbados in March for when the horses go back to their summer grazing and no more feeding and poo-picking; something to get me through the winter!!
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