Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Are some horses impossible to train?
5:04 pm gmt
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
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.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Horse riding students bring extra cash
1:56 pm gmt
One 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.