Young mare being ridden for the first time in the arena at the starting under saddle course.
Young mare being ridden for the first time in the arena at the starting under saddle course.
The Starting Under Saddle Clinics are going really well. Remember these clinics are also suitable for a horse that is already under saddle that you would like to improve on its foundation training - an off the track horse or one that seems to have missed the basics such as doesn't travel in frame, is not soft in the bridle, in self-carriage or lacks shoulder or hindquarter control. The course is also suitable for younger horses that are ready for a quick ride or two and then be put out again (the 2 1/2 -3 year old).
Below is a short video of one horse in yesterday's clinic. For more information and videos click here.
Within 12 hours of being announced, the first Starting Under Saddle Clinic Series had been fully booked. Another series has now been added to the calendar so email Kate if you would like to secure a place.
Also new in 2012 is the Teen Starting Under Saddle Clinic Course. This is designed for those serious and dedicated teenagers that want the very best start for their equine partners. This course is also suitable for re-educating a horse, such as an off the track thoroughbred.
For a full list of clinics and upcoming events at Kangadoo, check the News and Events Page. Kandoo Equine will be hosting a tent at the Crookwell Picnic Races on 17th March and would love to see you there. Also come and find us at the Goulburn Polo on Sunday 13th of May.
2012 will also see Kandoo Equine sponsoring Equestrian events around the state - beginning with the NSW Police Equestrian Games March 31st - April 1st.
Kate will be judging the Open Hack ring at the Coloured Spectacular in Luddenham on April 1st. This promises to be a great day out - hope to see you there.
To keep up with what is going on with the Kandoo horses, check the Training Blogs page. Young BHM Perfecto, pictured below at 3 days old, already has a blog of his own.
The Australian Stock Yard Company installed the new loading ramp today. The ramp will unload directly into the round pen, enabling completely untouched horses to be safely brought to Kandoo Equine for training.
If you have an unhandled or even a completely untouched horse that you would like to have trained, contact Kate.
Kandoo Magic soaking up the sun.
Early morning with Joker in the round pen.
I was having a first ride on a client’s horse the other day that I was starting under saddle. The owner watched quietly and after I dismounted said “I wish I was more like you”.
I immediately thought she was referring to my cat-walk/model-like/armpit-ending legs when it occurred to me that she could mean my flawless olive skin.....Umm, not asking for clarification may leave me oblivious to yet another enviable attribute – best to find out now (for recent Phuket Beach holiday snaps, click here).
Removing my helmet in readiness for the inevitable increase in head circumference, I asked “What do you mean more like me?”
“Brave” she answered. It would seem we are both a little delusional.
The truth is I haven’t done anything brave on a horse since I was about 14 years old and that wasn’t bravery it was stupidity, I just didn’t realise it, or perhaps define it at such, at the time.
Fear is common sense telling you that the situation is out of your control. Don’t ignore it – listen to it. If you think carefully about what is frightening you will have taken the first step towards building your confidence. The truth is that fear is simply not knowing what might happen next.
It is tempting to look for ways to become more ‘confident’ but no amount of confidence in yourself is going to educate your horse.
CONFIDENCE = KNOWLEDGE + SKILL
If you feel that you need to be ‘brave’ to ride your horse then it is a good indication that either you are not ready to ride the horse or the horse is not yet ready to be ridden. Don’t worry; this is the best place to start!
Next time - “Where do I go from here?”
Raviro is a young Hanoverian colt by Rotspon. The video below shows his first little ride/sit on today.
Thank you all for your stories about patterns and their everyday use in your training. I received some interesting ones but a few themes ran through all of them.
1) Many people didn’t realise that they were utilising this ‘pattern learning ability’ to the extent that they were; others only realised once undesirable behaviours had become established.
2) Once one behaviour/routine was consistently repeated, others were introduced in the same manner; only a very small percentage of the people getting these positive results were going about it in a predetermined and organised way.
3) Those few people that: 1) decided what simple behaviour they wanted their horse to do (e.g. back up when owner enters stable with food) 2) worked out a simple lesson plan with specific goals and steps to achieve them, and 3) took the time to measure progress (a few seconds in some cases) and reward the horse; not only had a better result but had implemented many different behaviours that led to a safer and more enjoyable relationship with their horse.
We often feel that we don’t have the time to do the things we would like to do with our horses, however these little things – put your head down to be bridled, step back when I enter the stable with food, stand quietly when tied and even walk calmly on and off the trailer, don’t take a long time to teach. In fact, just being aware of these little things that so often get overlooked, setting your goal behaviour and lesson plan for achieving it, will get you well on your way to having a more enjoyable equine partner. In addition, if you start addressing all these ‘little’ things your horse’s overall demeanour will change dramatically – if you thought he was fabulous before....just you wait, he will be even better!
Take 5 minutes to think about what behaviours you could change with your horse. Often we know what we want the horse to do but we are not sure how to go about teaching it. If you would like me do write you up a lesson plan for your specific goal, just let me know, I would be happy to do so.
“Horses remember patterns” - this is something I say so often but, just as often, we forget to use this to our advantage. The problem is horses remember all patterns equally well; i.e. the good, the bad and the ugly.
What constitutes a pattern? How many times do you need to repeat something to embed it in your horse’s memory? The answer for these two questions varies from horse to horse but one principle that seems to hold true is that if you hurt the horse, the lesson is learned quickly; becoming established with the minimum of repetition. The following three examples, while illustrating what not to do, are common and can be easily overlooked:
1) If you tie a horse up, he gets a fright and pulls back – this hurts the horse. The next time you tie him up he will remember the pain (whether or not he got free because getting free was not the aim) and may well pull back again to ‘get away from’ the anticipated pain.
2) The same pain pattern often occurs with trailer loading. Many people think that their horse is afraid to get on the trailer but it is sometimes more frightened of getting off. When a horse rushes off backwards and hits his head on the roof – it causes pain. The next time you ask your horse to get on the trailer he knows that he will have to get off again, anticipates the pain (may even start to throw his head a little outside the trailer) and refuses to get on. 3) A horse that gets hit in the face for biting will, quite quickly, skip the bite or attempt to bite and go straight to rearing up. This is another case where the handler fails to see the pattern. The horse never just bites - he will always warn first. If you ignore these warnings he gets more aggressive as a result. When he finally does bite, it is not uncommon to smack him in the nose for it (I didn't say it was a GOOD idea, far from it, just not uncommon). This is another quickly established pattern, primarily because it is fear/pain related. The next thing you know is the horse 'thinks about biting' and rears - he has learned the pattern and quickly skips the middle step, the actual bite.
3) A horse that gets hit in the face for biting will, quite quickly, skip the bite or attempt to bite and go straight to rearing up. This is another case where the handler fails to see the pattern. The horse never just bites - he will always warn first. If you ignore these warnings he gets more aggressive as a result. When he finally does bite, it is not uncommon to smack him in the nose for it (I didn't say it was a GOOD idea, far from it, just not uncommon). This is another quickly established pattern, primarily because it is fear/pain related. The next thing you know is the horse 'thinks about biting' and rears - he has learned the pattern and quickly skips the middle step, the actual bite.
Next time I will talk about all those positive patterns we can use to establish a solid, willing and reliable equine partner.
In the meantime, give this ‘pattern’ idea some thought and let me know what patterns you use; not necessarily in your training regime as such, but just around the farm/barn to make your, and your horses’, life safe, rewarding and above all fun.