March 2015

A little late on the blog this month, for many reasons. However, we are very pleased to report that the taster session on equine behaviour and sports psychology went very well, and not just because we squeezed everyone around the fire and fed them chocky bics and cake! As everyone was complimentary, we might run some sort of talk every month.

Grumble of the month (which I’m sure doesn’t apply to any of the readers here). Some of the horses that we re-school or buy have obviously had their heads virtually tied down with either running reins or some other device. This means they have unsteady head carriages, don’t accept the bit, often have problems balancing when their heads are NOT tied down, etc. etc. Although a gadget can be useful during re-schooling, they must be used with care and NOT because the rider cannot control the horse.

At least four horses we have schooled in the past year have had problems doing trot to canter transitions purely because they are frightened of having their mouth hung on to; two of these even had problems going from walk to trot properly, and one of those had evidence of an old injury to the bars of its mouth while the other threatened to rear. Both Carol and I have also re-schooled numerous horses in the past with the same issues: one was even jumped in fixed side-reins because the owners were scared of it – after re-schooling it went on to three-day-event (including steeplechase) in a snaffle!
So, please remember that if things aren’t working out between your horse and yourself, then the horse cannot change things – it is up to you to do so. If you don’t know how to do this then get help rather than ‘bitting the horse up’ (putting on a harsher bit) or tying its head down or its mouth shut; none of which are long term solutions and all of which can lead to the horse being frustrated, frightened, or even muscle damage.

On a lighter note, check out our new Photo page, where Carol and I are showing off some of our competition photos. Many thanks to the photographers who have given their permission for us to use these fabulous photos on the website. Many thanks also to the great horses we have ridden, as we have both been lucky to own and ride some fantastic horses and I think most riders will agree that their horses are their best teachers.

That’s all for this month, but with some fine weather outside it is time to think about the forthcoming shows and start getting the horses fit again.

Best wishes and happy riding.

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