Saturday, November 1, 2008

1st November, 2008 250% at least

I've come to the conclusion that at least 75% of good horsemanship comes down to the right facilities. If you have a good pen with safe fencing and a way of funneling a horse into it, you can work with the wildest of ponies. Whereas, if you have manky fencing, no way of separating out other horses or only have 10 acre field with nothing smaller in which to direct the horse, you don't stand an earthly. If you're stuck on a yard where there are corridors between the fields made from barbed wire fencing and a gate which is falling off it's hinges at one end, you're not going to find it easy to insist on good manners when your horse is being assailed by geldings on one side and stampeding youngsters on the other.

Another 75% is technique - if you don't know what you should expect from your horse or how to ask him then you're a bit stuck too.

The next 75% is the right horse - if your horse is too big, too fast or has too many issues then that can make life difficult and a further 75% is money - it's so important to budget for training and knowledge when buying anything other than the most straightforward horse. Lots of people expect to pay for riding lessons at some stage in their riding career but groundwork lessons can be just as critical.

All of this adds to way over 100% but each block always appears to be bigger than any other when that's the one you're facing.

Talking of blocks....when I talk to an owner about their horse, I am often met with blocks. Sadly many are imposed by yard owners - my horse has to go out at such and such a time and come in at such and such a time and have his hay in a haynet and no, I can't put an electric fence corral up by the gate so that I can take my horse out of the field without being attacked by others. It is worth considering the blocks to see which are real and which are self imposed and how you might get round them. Could you get some hardcore for that muddy gateway, could you build a wooden bridge over the stream (Linda??) or could you build a pen with 6 foot high railings? I do wonder if our horses feel these blocks too and decide that it's not worth communicating with us at all.