Sunday, February 27, 2011

27th February, 2011 Close to you

Photo for illustrative purposes only! Sue with Marmalade.

The phone calls that fill me with the most trepidation usually start off with the words, I've bought an ex-racehorse/unruly Welsh Cob; I'm a novice rider/ this is my first horse/ I've been out if riding for 20 years. The next line usually recounts how the horse has bucked them off/ reared right up or barged straight through them. The chances of reconciling the needs of the owner and the needs of the horse are pretty slim in the first place but not completely hopeless. However, both horse and owner have a long journey ahead of them as the owner gears up to what they have bought through education and experience and the horse is re-educated to its new life. Time, patience and indeed love can help but there are no magic wands here. With commitment, horse-sense and the right sort of help, the two can get it together. They may need to take their journeys seperately at first and meet somewhere in the middle. I often recommend riding lessons for someone who hasn't ridden for a while and point them at June Simmonds at Fir Tree Equestrian Centre. Here riders are taught properly without kicking, hitting or pulling the horses around. For the horse I like to start at the beginning or support the owner in doing so, with groundwork, then gentle desensitisation, long reining and then pre-starting work unless the horse is established in it's ridden work. Few people have the patience to see this journey right through especially if their confidence has been badly knocked. Sadly, these horses can end up back on the market with a few more 'bad habits' incorporated into their repertoire as they try to understand what humans want from them.

Don't take pity on me if you don't know what you're doing and you're not prepared to learn,
Don't fall in love with me because love will never be enough,
Don't take me home unless you are prepared to travel the rest of the way with me,
Set me up for success not failure....