July 2017

We are already into the second half of the year, which is hard to believe, and the battle against weeds has now been joined by the battle against the flies. If anyone knows a really good repellent for horse flies then please get in touch asap!

The young mare reminds us all how much a horse needs to learn to cope with human needs. Things she has had to learn (or are still learning) so far include balancing better when her hind legs are picked up and held; getting used to ropes and rug straps around her legs and under her tail; the feel/noise of branches brushing across her back and saddle when she has a rider on; that hay appearing suddenly over the door doesn’t mean something dangerous is happening; and many many more. She has also been brilliant with accepting the JCB and dumper that have been building the arena just behind the stables.

By the time she is an ‘experienced’ older horse this list will have grown enormously, but it is so easy to forget that a lot of what we do with horses is not natural to them. The more they experience when they are young then the more accepting they are when they are older, providing that those experiences don’t leave lasting memories of pain or fear.

Diva has been out to a jumping course with other horses and impressed with her accepting attitude. She has always been brave but is happy to go to strange venues and accept whatever is there. As well as that, she was very settled working amongst a group of other horses and waiting her turn for the jumps. She did find them a tad easy though, and was very quick to become overconfident as soon as she had jumped them a couple of times, but this is a good sign for a horse that will be jumping higher.

Not to be left out, Lexi has also been a very good girl and this week she and Carol were doing beautiful half-passes in the new arena – these are the best ones I have seen her do so she obviously approves of the arena! Diva’s not entirely sure about the rubber flicking against the sides, but Lexi has sighed with relief at having a level surface again and not having to work in the field. They have such different personalities that it is very funny to watch them sometimes.

With three mares in the stable, all nice natured and talented in their own ways, I get really annoyed with people who put down mares compared to geldings, particularly if they own a mare themselves. Every horse is an individual, but it does seem that mares and stallions can be less tolerant of poor riding and treatment than geldings. This means that it is highly possible that a ‘bad’ mare actually results from having bad riding/handling (either currently or in the past at some stage). Of course, geldings can react the same, and some mares do have hormonal issues, but on the whole any horse that is handled and trained well will be a good horse, regardless of sex.

Rant over for the month.
Take care to monitor whether your horse is affected by flies or heat in the summer weather, and have fun riding on the lovely days we are having.

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