Saturday, February 16, 2008

16th February, 2008 Getting it right first time

We have met a little hiccup with W pony and he has now bucked Julie off for a second time. I have been a little suspicious since he came in that he someone has attempted to ride him before - little clues such as the fact that he moved his back away when I stood on the mounting block on his left hand side but not when I stood on the right and then the way in which he bucked suggested that he had a bit of a technique going. It transpires that he the person who had him on loan had tried to back him and he had bucked her off four times in close succession. So now we have a remedial starter to work with that's going to cost his owners more to get him going - it shouldn't take much extra work; he's a nice pony but it narrows the number of people that he could go out to on loan afterwards. Whether his initial reaction to being backed was due to pain (and you'd be surprised how many young horses are carrying some around) or poor technique doesn't really matter, the fact is that it went wrong first time and now we have some history to undo.

The importance of getting it right first time is often lost in the drive to save money; it's a false economy. It is extraordinarily rare for training to increase the value of a horse by more than the cost of the training so you might as well relax and accept that all horses are a liability just like a car. Two cancellations have upset me recently. The first is a valuable dressage horse that has to be loaded into the lorry wearing a chifney and still refuses to go in. I indicated that I won't load a horse off concrete (Kelly would kill me if I did) and we agreed that I would load the horse in the school. A few days later the owner rang to say that the horse would load if it was in the school or against a wall and that as I wouldn't load it from concrete they would just hit it harder until it did load. The second concerned a lady who had bought three ponies the last of which was just rising four. The pony was described as being suitable for a novice but has since bucked it's rider off and gone through a barb wire fence while it was being lunged. We had arranged for me to go down there and to start with leadership exercises but now a woman from the riding school opposite has agreed to go and help.