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Hoofbeats - The Blog 

Welcome to our blog page, HOOFBEATS, where we talk about the countryside with a main emphasis on training and caring for horses and ponies. If you would like to contribute ideas and information about your own experiences, we would be delighted to hear them. Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com or post to our Facebook Page, Horse and Pony Info. If you're into Twitter, you can contact us @horse_ponyinfo.

IMPORTANT - The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you to contact your veterinary surgeon or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse. Prompt action is important.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are some horses impossible to train?

I wonder how many desperate horse owners key this question into their internet search engines? It popped up among the many queries which bring people to our website this month. Of course the question itself conjures up all sorts of other questions - how much experience has the owner got? How old is the horse? Is the horse young or an older one with bad habits? Has the owner tried asking an expert to help?

Are some horses impossible to train, then? I believe only very few are and probably for physical rather than mental reasons. However, many people will find it hard to train certain horses. The vital thing is to know when to throw in the towel, give up and call in the help of an expert. It's safer for the rider and kinder for the horse. If a horse is behaving badly, the first thing to consider is whether he or she is in pain. It's worth asking a vet and a dentist to check to see if there is anything seriously wrong.

An intelligent horse learns quickly but this is not always a positive because he learns bad habits as quickly as good ones if he thinks he can get away with them. Horses are herd animals and feel secure if there is a definite pecking order. This means that the rider should be Number 1. A leader, or boss, horse will keep trying to take control so be ready for this. The Monty Roberts Join Up method works well to establish this. See www.montyroberts.com for more.

I have often found nervous horses to be easier to manage in the long run than boss horses but they can be very difficult until they settle down and learn to trust their trainer. I have a nervous pony at the moment who came from a difficult background where he was obviously treated roughly. He doesn't trust humans as a result and shows no affection whatsoever. It has taken me a long time to catch him and get him calm enough for experienced children to ride. Interestingly, once he starts to work, he is very good. He loves jumping and he recently tackled a cross country course for the first time and jumped everything except the coffin fence. But at home, he is still nervous and difficult to catch, even now. He needs a lot of time and TLC.

Partnership combinations to avoid
Boss horses and nervous riders - (the horse always wins this contest!)
Nervous horses and nervous riders  - (who frighten the life out of each other)
Young horses and beginner riders - (neither has enough experience to teach the other)

If you feel you have a horse which is impossible to train, don't blunder on expecting him to change - get help fast! It's amazing how many seemingly difficult horses can change immediately when an experienced trainer takes over. Learn what works for your horse and you can then apply it yourself.

5:04 pm gmt 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Horse riding students bring extra cash
webassets/Acejumpscrosscountryfence.jpgOne way of earning a little extra cash during the summer months is by taking students from abroad to ride. Before enquiring abut this, you need to have teenage children of your own and well behaved horses and ponies.

There are several agencies in Ireland which will help you find a student for the summer - usually aged 13 to 18. Students come to learn English in a family environment and riding is useful as it keeps them busy and gives them exercise.

Our students this year came from France and we had two brothers, one who came for two weeks and the older one who came for three weeks. Agencies insist that students come separately as otherwise they will speak their own language to each other.

We had a lot of fun with our students this summer. Both are good riders so were able to ride most of our ponies, including one which is too lively for other children. We tried to give them as much variety as possible, including pony games, hacks, showjumping in other friends' arenas and, the finale, a practice around a cross country course.

Agencies will pay families from €250 to €400 per week to take students so it is well worth finding out about.
1:56 pm gmt 

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Horses racing on a frozen lake in Switzerland
copyright: Gilles Oster - Fotolia.com


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Reading on the beach or in the bath? - STAR PRODUCT OF THE MONTH

I'm addicted to reading and I love the NEW KINDLE OASIS because it's waterproof. Believe it or not, you can drop it into water and it will still work. No more worries about taking my Kindle to the beach or pool. It's ideal for my husband who likes to read - and fall asleep - in the bath! It's also got built-in Audible so I don't need to take two devices with me and can switch from reading to listening whenever I want.

(Suzanne - Editor of Horse and Pony Info) 

Watch out for laminitis in small ponies and Native Breeds. Keeping weight under control is vital.


Bitless riding is becoming more popular. Read our articles by three experienced bitless riders


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