Sunday, April 29, 2012
Should he stay or should he go? Dealing with a nappy horse
1:21 pm gmt
Our new 'School Your Horse Help Desk' has been busy. Lorraine received several questions along the lines of the one below
and we also got yet another one on our Facebook page. Nappy horses can be the bane of owners' lives and we ought to know as
we've got one ourselves!
Reader's Question: "My new horse is extremely nappy. On a ride he stops, rears
and spins round. He's good in every other way but it's starting to frighten me. I thought having my own horse was going to
be fun. Do you have any advice for me - I don't know what to do."
Does this sound familiar to you?
If so, or if you just want to find out what Lorraine suggests, click here to read her answer.
The first thing you've got to do is give the horse the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he is in pain so check
back, teeth, saddle fit, the bit and anything else that might be upsetting him. Perhaps he's nappy because he's young, inexperienced
and doesn't like going out on his own. He should have a sensible leader horse to start off with - this is also safer for you,
the rider. But years later ours will still try to nap if he thinks he can get away with it and one dressage trainer described
him as 'intelligent'! He is certainly cleverer than our other horses and learns quickly.
The disadvantage of owning
a brainy horse is that he also learns bad habits (or what he can get away with) quickly too. Lorraine suggests in her answer
that you need to keep a nappy horse moving forward at speed and this definitely worked for me on the road. When the gelding
tried to stop and spin around, I pushed him into trot and kept him trotting until he was well past what he was objecting to.
When he napped again, he had to trot again. It was much harder for him to stop and turn around when trotting. How do I know
he is clever? Well, when he passes the half way point in the circuit of road, he goes forwards of his own accord without any
messing as he knows he is heading home! No more napping once past that point.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Grand National - how to make the race less risky?
1:53 pm gmt
Yesterday's Aintree Grand National produced an unusually close photo finish. But the success of Paul Nicholls trained Neptune
Collonges was overshadowed by the fatal injuries to two horses, including the winner of this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup. Paul
Nicholls says lowering the fences even more will only result in horses going faster and more fallers. How
can what is probably one of the world's most famous races be made safer?
What is the answer to making the Grand
National safer? Having read some of the racing sites today, there's a suggestion that Beecher's Brook be taken away or the
drop on the far side lessened as horses don't expect that on the other side of a fence. The famous fence caused trouble this
year again but, ironically, both horses fatally injured got up after this fence and ran on riderless to meet accidents further
I agree with Paul Nicholls that lowering the fences again will make the jockeys go faster. The fences
looked smaller this year but there were still two fatalities and a large amount of fallers. Too many runners causes all sorts
of problems and the cavalry like charge to the first fence is always alarming! The fact that it's a handicap encourages owners
to enter horses, which often have no hope of getting round, just because they want a runner in the race. Put these two together
and you have major trouble. Always risks with horses
However, there will always be
risks. There ARE always risks with horses. I myself have had two horses of mine put down because of broken legs: one was kicked
out hunting and the other broke his hind hock in a paddock at a livery yard.
My very first race meeting (aged
10), a horse unseated his rider and then galloped around riderless only to run straight into the winning post where he broke
his neck in front of the stand. This was horrific for the crowd watching. You never know what a loose horse will do.
I worked in the horse racing industry for many years and I wouldn't like to see the Grand National go but I believe more
steps have to be taken to reduce the risks.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Results of Horse Photo and Quote Competition
5:55 pm gmt
Congratulations to Sophia Greppi with her wonderful photo. A personalised mug will be on its way to her soon. We asked entrants
to edit a photo with a suitable horse quote and the six prize winners are well worth seeing. Click here to view
. If you would like to order
a personalised mug for yourself or for a friend or member of your
family, click here
. They make original birthday presents or even a 'thank you' for that special person who has been minding your children, your
horse, your dog or whatever to make your life a bit easier. New 'Video of the Month'
been giggling all afternoon about this new 'Video of the Month'. If this horse was a human, he would definitely be on the
stage. Watch him perform here on our Home page
Sunday, April 1, 2012
School Your Horse - with help from Lorraine Jennings
5:10 pm gmt
The first of April! Hopefully you haven't been caught out by too many 'April Fools'. I'm still considering whether I've been
duped by a large headline about snow and sub-zero temperatures on the front of an Irish newspaper yesterday. Apparently we
can expect blizzards and -9 degrees over Easter.
This is not what I want to hear as we removed the rugs from
our horses during the 24 degrees last week. It is the first time I have ever been sunburnt in March and now they're threatening
a spell of winter that never arrived in 2011/12. It had better be an April Fool and, guess what, this time I don't mind
being caught out.New School Your Horse Help Desk
Horse and Pony Info is delighted to welcome
Lorraine Jennings to our online magazine. Lorraine is a rider, groom and writer with great experience and she will be running
our 'School Your Horse' Help Desk
. Lorraine already answers questions on http://hay-net.co.uk
and has written for a number of equestrian publications. She
has also been writing her own popular blog since 2010. Articles helping you to school your horse are also available for download
from her website www.schoolyourhorse.com
. We wish Lorraine the best of luck with her Help Desk and new website.