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A Blog Update for August

By July 31, 20207 Comments
I missed July’s blog, so thought that I had better get in early for August. Since my last blog we have continued to update the horse facilities here on my families cattle property. The toilet and shower are now completed and we have added an arena cover over the 60 foot round pen. ( ABC Sheds of Young in New South Wales did an excellent job. ) This should make a big difference for when summer arrives and for the home courses.
In July we also had our first home course since February and hope to have another in October. As always it is great to see the progress that everyone makes with their horses.
I have added a horsemanship article below, that many may find interesting, happy reading.
Arena Cover in the background with large round pen in front and stables to the side

Over the last few months I have been home starting horses and having horsemanship conversations over the internet. A question that recently came up, was what do you do when your horse goes rigid or hollows through the back and feels like they are about to buck etc. When a horse goes into flight mode it is a common tendency for this to happen. Equally it is also a common tendency for riders to pull on the reins. Pulling on both reins is unlikely to help and more than likely work against you. So using one rein is often the better option. If the horse is already rigid through the back you may find that you are still unable to get to the hindquarters. In this case putting the horse on a small circle and using your leg to try to establish flexion through the ribcage and then you may find that your horse starts too soften in your hand. This is of course is knowing what happens before what happens, happens. ( Getting ahead of the bucking or running off. )

Continuing on from this, when you first start with the young horse, riders are wanting their horses soft and relaxed. Lightness is another topic and a good friend, Mike Bridges speaks of this in his book ” The Art of Making A Californian Style Vaquero Bridle Horse. ” In his book Mike speaks of many things and you are going to have to read his book to find that out.

When riders start with young horses and are wanting to progress and add speed, ” it can be easy to come undone” and loose that softness. This may have more to do with balance. As the horse becomes more balanced not only do they become more emotionally stable, you also going to have lightness to signal. As was said to me a long time ago are you working on the start or the finish. Perhaps if we begin with the end in mind that gives more understanding to our horses and our horsemanship progress.


  • Victoria says:

    Timely as ever! Went to polox training with Begin last week, and every time a horse came up on her tail at canter she would shoot forward into a bucking fit. Which was a bit more than I was comfortable with although we got through it.

    I’ve been noticing she’s recently been tapping into her flight instinct a bit more in less emotional ways.

    Do you think long reining would help this?

    Hope you and your family are well?


    Vicky Udall

    • David Stuart says:

      Hi Vicky, thank you for your message. When you get horses shooting forward this way it maybe because they are worried about things in that blind spot behind them. So getting your horse confident with things back there can be helpful and equally changing eyes to where they are not bothered as well. Even simple things like holding the horses tail from the side and driving your horse forward while holding onto the halter lead. ( Be careful not to get kicked here or into trouble.)

      Thanks Vicky, hope the above helps
      Kind Regards

  • Lavina Mitchell says:

    Your set up is looking good there Dave. We’ve missed seeing you this year but its nice to read these little reminders in your blog..
    Stay well

  • Victoria says:

    Thanks, I will give this a go.

  • Hi Dave,
    I have a new horse ,to me that is ,8 years old but rides like the handbrake is on , if I up my energy to ask him forwards he has gone backwards at a very fast pace !!! Advice please ????
    Looking forward to seeing you back in the UK next year and maybe sharing a good glass of red 😁😁 Caroline

    • David Stuart says:

      Hi Caroline, good to hear from you and I trust that you and family are all well and healthy over there. In regards to your new horse, try and get the feet freed up more with your hind and forequarter yields and then progressing to the short serpentine. Play with the walk more as well getting your horse to walk out more and if you feel safe to do so then riding out of the arena. Stay in touch and let us know how you get along. Thanks Caroline – Best David