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David Stuart

A Late Blog For June

By Horsemanship, Uncategorized No Comments
It is a late website blog for June, but non the less, I have just made it in time. Again as last time, it has been a busy month. Currently we have a yard full of horses with more to come in July. The middle of June saw us at Anstead Acres in Brisbane, Qld for 3 days. Pam Andrews, thank you for all your efforts in putting this course together after having to reschedule due to floods earlier in the year. It is always great to see the improvement that riders make over the course. While many have a tendency to believe that they are not making much progress, when riders look back and see where they have come from. When they could not lead their horse into the arena for the course or could not get their horse onto a horse trailer to get to the course, this helps to give some perspective.

In July we have a home course coming up, this is a 2 day green horse course, more information is available on the website. There are currently still a couple of rider places available. Email me at: info@davidstuart.com.au

In the U.K. starting Friday we have a virtual course starting in the county of Shropshire for 3 days. We started these courses last year as a response to Covid times and they were received very well, while a different format to usual courses, we do get some things done.

Below is a horsemanship article on trailering your horse, hope all enjoy reading.

Trailor loading is non denominational, it does not matter if you are a western rider or an english rider, or ride for pleasure or work. At some point you are going to have load your horse onto or into a horse trailer or horse float.

Horses do travel better on an angle or facing backwards and depending on how much you travel with your horses and what pulling vehicle you have, will influence what is going to work best for your situation.

My first suggestion would be not to wait until you need to load your horse to find out that they do not load. Preparation is important, have your horse lead well, know that your horse ties well and can stand tied for some time. Moving the hind and fore-quarters and being able to back up and come forward easily is good preparation for your horse to able to move their feet in the trailer. When your horse is in the trailer see if you can move their hindquarters over, see if you can back them up a few steps and then be able to have them walk forward. For horses that rush out this can also help. It may take some time to get to this point. With feed, if horses can eat in the trailer this shows some level of relaxation, although not always a guarantee. Having your horse feel relaxed and confident in the trailer is what you are looking for and that your horse will walk willingly into and back up, or walk out of your trailer willingly is something to strive for.

Whether you lead your horse into the trailer or stand outside and drive them into the trailer has a lot to do with the situation and the trailer that you have. I remember receiving some guidance a long time ago in the California with a foal. When we had loaded the foal into the trailer we turned the foal around in the trailer in both directions. This was to help him be able to learn how to move his feet in the trailer. That may not always be possible, it can help horses to travel better.

Just because your horse loads into your trailer is not a guarantee that your horse will load into your friends trailer. Knowing that you can take your horse off the trailer and get them back on if you are by yourself is also reassuring. Maintain your trailer, I have seen horses that have gone through the floor and tried to fit through the jockey door of the trailer. Some trailers are too small for the size horse you are travelling.

The above is a guide as to what you should be aware of, for when you travel your horse. Preparation is the best advice I can suggest. Some horses are going to need more preparation than others, if your horse is one that panics and goes into flight mode easily, spend more time on the preparation.

Mayhem

By Blog, Uncategorized

It has been a very busy month to date with having returned from Western Australia mid May followed by a quick trip down to Bowral in New South Wales.

It is great to see the progress of all the riders and their horses. When you start down the horsemanship road there is a few turns and twists for everyone.  It is always rewarding to see horses and riders make it through the rough spots.

Upcoming Events; In mid June we have a Foundation Horsemanship course coming up in Brisbane at Anstead Acres. For more information please contact Pam Andrews, contact details are on the course page of  the website. In July we have a virtual course in Shropshire in the U.K. and also a Green Horse home course here in Central Queensland, email me at info@daivdstuart.com.au for more info and prices.

The horse starting at home in Central Queensland is still very busy and with the improved facilities, life is easier for both horses and humans. Below is an image of our new horse wash bay. I have also added a horsemanship article below that I hope all enjoy reading.

 

Building the Foundation: It is easy to say, it takes a lot longer than many realise. Time is one of the ingredients to building that foundation. With some horses that are really sensitive and their self preservation is right on the surface  it may take longer to develop their confidence and trust in the human than horses that don’t have that depth of self preservation. The riders competence also has a lot to do with this as well.

What are you wanting in your horse or maybe what are you not wanting in your horse is a great question to ask yourself as well.

In reading some articles the other day I thought they really touched on some great points. One, was having a ground covering stride and how some horses can have a trot that is very short or “floaty” and the importance of lengthening that stride. The other point I was reading was on responsiveness, if a horse can feel a fly land on them then why are we having to do so much with our arms and legs to get the message across,  the horse is not responsive to our aids, in other words they are dull or not understanding.

One of many ways to lengthen the stride of your horse is riding out. Often a short stride is associated with a horse being anxious or nervous. As long as it is safe to do so, hacking as it is termed in the U.K. or riding them out will lengthen the stride and help the horse to relax and let down over time. In the U.K. I used to take young horses out a lot on trail rides. I also took riders out a lot as part of the courses that I ran over there.

 

When you are out there on the trail there are so many things that you can do to help your horse gain more confidence, the environment often causes your horse to be more forward and responsive than what many achieve in an arena environment.  This will also help with straightness in your horse as well, when you are out there have your horse walk out. Growing up on my families cattle property we often had large  areas to cover, so you appreciated your horse if they had a good walk.

The horse below was a polo horse that I rode for a little bit in the U.K.  While not swinging a polo mallet well, if I can ride them outside swing a rope on them, ride them with a flag, others will be able to swing a polo mallet. It is easy to focus on the end result and if we get the preparation better then the outcome is also likely to reflect this.


 

A Late Blog for April

By Blog, Uncategorized

I may just have time to get a website blog in for April. It has been a very busy time since my last website blog. At the end of March I headed up to Barkly Downs Station for 10 days. Barkly Downs Station is in Qld near the Northern Territory border. Words do not do justice to the size of these operations. One photo of the landscape looks very similar to the last, when you are on the downs country. It was a great experience and thank you to ACC and Rob and Megan Mcauliffe and all the staff at Barkly for your hospitality and having us there.

In the mean time we have also continued adding infrastructure to our facilities at home. I am sure that they will be appreciated by those attending our home course in July. This course is a Green Horse Course so if you are interested then please contact me on info@davidstuart.com.au

We also have a Foundation Course coming up in Brisbane in Queensland in June. This was originally planned for March but due to floods has been rescheduled for June. This course is held at Pam Andrews facility at Anstead Acres. More information is available on the course schedule page.

Presently I am in transit in the Qantas Lounge in Brisbane on my way to Perth for 10 days to do some courses and lessons at Horsemanship First in Serpentine, Western Australia with Jenny Jackson. Again for more info please go to the website or get in contact with Jenny.

Within the U.K. we have some virtual courses happening in the next few months. Tina will be able to provide more info and the dates are again on the course schedule page.

During the second half of the year we will also be updating the website, so please stay tuned for that. Hopefully all goes relatively smoothly.

I have also added a horsemanship article below, enjoy and we hope to be able to catch up with you many of you throughout the year.

( Some may call the new seating around our round pen a viewing stand, I am calling it a Grand Stand.)

At many of the courses over the years I have mentioned that these days everyone has a ground and ridden work repertoire of one nature or another. What differentiates the outcome for many is that one persons approach may have more quality and understanding to what they do in their ground and ridden work to what anther person is doing.  The horse then becomes a reflexion of this.

What are some of the qualities or outcomes that you are looking for within your horse when you are  both on the ground or in the saddle. Is your horse understanding and thinking and feeling down to their feet, do you have relaxation within your horse both at a standstill and in motion? Does your horse accept you on the ground and in the saddle? How well does your horse accept their environments? What are your transitions like ?

The above are just examples of and you can make a long list of questions here. To get better with your horse you have to ask different questions, if you want a different answer. If you are just running your horse around on the ground or in the saddle, you are not going to like the answers to your questions.

“While we may all ask what our horse can do for us, it is perhaps what can we do for our horse.” This may not be the first time this line has been used and I believe that it is still relevant today.

Ray Hunt used to say you have to THINK, many just react to circumstances. On a halter that I received as gift a long time ago, there is a leather nose band on the rope halter that says THINK. I had kept this halter in my house and recently thought that perhaps the giver of that gift would like to see it in use.

It is a very useful reminder and lesson and a wonderful memory.

 

A March Autumn

By Blog

While it may be the start of Australian Autumn, in Central Queensland it feels more like the beginning of Summer. I thought my temperature  gauge was broken as it has been stuck on 40 degrees celsius or above for the last few weeks.

Working from a saddle horse

In the last few weeks we have done a green horse course in Bowen in Central Queensland and we were to do a course in Brisbane, that has now been rescheduled for the middle of June due to the recent floods.

We have been busy with stock work on my families cattle property and are continuing to add additional  improvements. My welding and fabrication skills are not strong, but I have found someone with that skill set.

In the coming weeks and months I have private courses in North Queensland and in New South Wales. At the end of April, depending on covid I am back in Western Australia and we are looking to have a home course in the middle of the year. There will also be additional courses added once confirmed.

Below I have written a horsemanship article on working with the blind spot, I hope all enjoy.

The Blind Spot;

Can really get riders into a lot of trouble, horses have a blind spot, almost directly behind them and also in front of them and under their neck. Getting horses confident in these areas is really important. At times horses will spook, go to bucking, bolting etc because of not being accepting of movement or motion in these areas.

On the ground when using a flag if you are too sudden with your movement and go underneath a young or green horses neck with the flag, they may strike with their front feet or escape backwards. Have your horses solid when changing eyes and going through that blind spot, you would like them to be really smooth when changing eyes.

Using a saddle horse also helps for your green or young horse to be able to see you from above them before you get on. I have put a small video on social media and if you go to my facebook page David Stuart you should be able to view the video. This video probably gives more understanding than my words do. ( we are also amateur video editors as well ).

I hope you all enjoy.

 

 

 

Happy New Year 2022

By Uncategorized

Christmas does not seem that long ago and now we are at the end of January. In Australia I think the warm days of December and January are now behind us. From memory I think those of you in the U.K. still have some cold weather ahead of you. Australia has had a great summer in sport capped by Australian, Ash Barty winning the women’s Australian Open tennis final. Barty’s mind set coach, Ben Crowe is more about being on purpose than on winning. Preparation to the position for the transition is a quote from Ray Hunt. It is not about the topic of the conversation it is about the quality of the conversation.

 

This month rather than doing a horsemanship article I have put together some of the Q & As that have come up over the last 12 months or so.

Question; How important is trust?

Answer; Trust is extremely important as is confidence.  In fact you might say trust comes with confidence. With some horses that might be the thing that stops you getting bucked off or run off with. It takes time to develop that with some horses that are really sensitive and their self preservation is close to the service.

Question; My horse braces with his flexion

Answer;  Flexion, regardless of your discipline is going to be play a part in your outcomes.  To start this conversation look at your horses poll.  If your horse is braced in the poll  that brace is going to come out in many other ways, through your horses back and flexion etc. This is also going to influence your horses behaviour. ( This is not the only thing that is going to influence your horses behaviour.)

As a suggestion I would also add, it is our presentation, sometimes the way we are asking is building the brace. If we can feel when the horse is well balanced, the timing of our aids and questions will be reflected with a feel that is good to both your horse and you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Blog

By Blog

It has been a few months since I have put a blog out, so I had best pen to paper.  Since my last blog we have had more horses come through our facility as well as having a home course as well. In October we had a 3 day course at Anstead Acres in Brisbane, our thanks to Pam Andrews for all her efforts and those that attended the course. We even had some cows to rope and play with as well.

I have just returned home from 2 weeks in Western Australia with Jenny Jackson at Horsemanship First. Jenny and George Jackson have a wonderful facility and we had both courses, lessons and a couple of young horse starts.

Next years schedule will  be updated as courses dates are confirmed and as borders slowly reopen. So keep going to the course schedule page to check the schedule. I have added a horsemanship article below for all, happy reading.

I would like to thank all that have organised  and attended courses and sent young horses to us this year, your business is much appreciated. My family would like to wish you all a safe and a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Take The Time it Takes and it Takes Less Time.

While in Western Australia over the last two weeks I spoke about preparation. The horse above was a horse that could get quite athletic when wearing the saddle. With the time available in April all we did was introduce him to it. Between then and now the owner prepared him more on the ground and this time around we put a dozen rides on him and he was really in a good place at the end.

There is a short video on my facebook page davidstuartfoundationhorsemanship  of my riding an older saddle horse and the horse above following in a larger arena and back into the round pen.

As the horse gains more confidence in you and themselves it is amazing what they will do. If you can handle your young horses with quality before you start them you will be further ahead when you come to saddle them and ride.

September Musings

By Uncategorized

We are now halfway through September and no doubt it is starting to feel  autumnal in the Northern hemisphere and in the Southern hemisphere we are heading out of winter and waiting for summer.

We still have horses coming and going here at our home facility. There is also a home course planned for November as well as courses in Emerald and Brisbane. More information on courses and schedules can be found on the website.

I have put together another horsemanship article below – Happy ReadingFor many people around the world, their introduction to horses starts at a young age and then there is a break with many returning to horses in their 30s and 40s, some start at this age as well.

To be around horses for any length of time, there has to be a love of horses. Riding well, takes a lot of dedication and time, horsemanship is not just about riding. You can be a knowledgeable and educated rider and still not be able to trailer load your horse.  While I am probably biased, I am of the view, that the more we educate ourselves, the better we become with horses and for our horses.

Horsemanship is non denominational it is not a discipline or a competition, it is applicable to all horses. Our horses are a reflexion of ourselves and our abilities. Our confidence and ability to adjust to fit the situation is a reflection of our experience and education. As we become more educated and experienced we will be able to fit an array of horses and situations. The attitude and presentation behind what we do has a lot to do with the outcome, this is not just about learning some techniques and your horse is magically going to get into the trailer , stand still to saddle, not shy when going down the road etc.

It is more about who you to have become, to be able to fit your horse at that point in time. You can not walk into the round pen or arena pretending to be one person and then be another outside.

As I have said many times if we make our goal to  develop a dependable riding horse the rest takes care of itself. I had better go and start riding some horses.

 

 

 

 

 

A Website Blog For Spring

By Blog, Uncategorized

Spring is on the way, at least in the southern hemisphere.  Since my last blog a few months ago we have had a course in Central Queensland at Emerald and have upcoming courses in the next few months at Emerald , Brisbane and at the end of the year in Western Australia.

We have also been doing some virtual courses in the U.K. I was unsure how these would go and thus far the feedback has been great. This weekend we are in the New Forrest. We have a yard full of young horses in for starting with some due to go home over the next few days.

I have written a horsemanship article below for all

When putting theses articles together I try and come up with a topic that is beneficial to everyone. This time there is not a topic, just a conversation.

In recent horse conversations, we were speaking about horses taking over. As they are a herd animal, it can be their nature to do so. With developing your horse you may need to revisit exercises, ground and ridden for the horse to understand and learn and become solid. You would try and do this in a way that was not drilling and had both consistency and variety.

Some horses will pick up on things very quickly and others not as quickly. When the horse makes a change or a try, then give some recess for the horse. Some horses will pick up on things and start to anticipate and that is mostly a good thing. What happens for riders is that they stay there a little to0 long and then what works for them starts to work against them, the horse starts to take over.

Riding with accuracy and learning to be particular without being critical is an awareness that can be of benefit. With a young or green horse you will not be as particular as you might with a horse that was further down the line.  You would still begin with the end in mind, you might want to back up 5 steps and be straight. You may get 7 steps and not be straight.

I am also of the view that when you approach your horsemanship in this way it creates discipline within both the rider and horse. You don’t want fear, although the horse’s self preservation may come out at times, in time you will have confidence and understanding.

 

Time For Another Website Blog

By Blog, Food for thought

It does seem like it was only January and now we are looking at the end of May. To date this year we have continued with horse starts and home courses. Plus having had a few away courses as well. We have just finished a cow working course here over the weekend and also have a 2 day course in Emerald, Central Qld in June.

Unfortunately again this year we have had to cancel our overseas schedule due to Covid and travel restrictions. Our domestic schedule is slowly resuming and we trust that by the end the year we will see more certainty with domestic travel. We thank you all for your continued support and wish everyone good health.

The horsemanship article below, is relevant to us all in some way. Happy Reading

Riding Your Horse Outside.

This is a question that comes up every now and then, whether it be with a young started horse or a new horse that you have acquired. Preparation is the first place to start for both the horse and the rider, Ray Hunt spoke of being prepared for the unthinkable.

How well prepared are both horse and rider with your ground work and ridden work in the arena. Buck Brannaman speaks of having your horse stay in your rectangle and if your horse is spooking and shying you might say that your horse does not stay in your rectangle or that you have a vey big rectangle.

For many riders riding outside for the first time or so they do not keep their horses busy enough, they are not keeping track of where their horse is at mentally. If you ever rode in one of Ray’s horsemanship courses he would have you walk your horse as slow as you could and then walk your horse out as fast as you could, walk serpentines , walk a small circle with all 4 feet reaching equal, stop and back up while counting the strides. See if you could move the hindquarters a quarter of a turn on the left rein and then bring the forequarters through.

When you are going through these exercises, feel the horse, are they still bracing against your leg, are they relaxed and letting down are they soft and responsive to your leg and rein. There are many things going on. When you ride outside you take these things with you, it seems odd that you would ride your horse differently in an arena than you would outside.

As a teenager , ( yes I was also one once ), I was starting one of my own horses and I could not get my horse to move out in the round pen at the time. I asked my grandfather to open the gate into a bigger yard and again the outcome was similar. This time I asked my grandfather to open the gate outside, well at this point we did get going very quickly and covered a lot of country very quickly as well. When I did get back to the yards I asked my grandfather to close the gate. We don’t know what we don’t know. Now when I ride outside I am a lot better prepared and have more experience and better judgment.

You can go with a more experienced rider and horse to give you and your new or young horse confidence, when you are outside for the first time or so you may just want to stay at the walk. With many of the young horses that I ride, mostly it is at the walk and trot. With time, the mind settles more and the horse gets more balanced with the weight of the saddle and rider.

 

First Blog for 2021

By Uncategorized

Happy New Year to everyone and to think that it is now February and it is nearly a year since I was on a plane. While being in Australia appears to have been a great country to be locked down in, we all trust that we are closer to the end of this pandemic. Until then stay safe and healthy.

While travel has been limited, we do have some courses coming up, a 3 day course at Anstead Acres in Brisbane at the beginning of March and a then a weeks course in Western Australia in April. There is also a Horsemanship / Cow Working home course in May. More information can be found at www.davidstuart.com.au

At home we have had a lot of horses in for starting and are thankful that they keep coming. As mentioned in earlier blogs we have done a lot of upgrading of facilities over the last 18 months. They certainly make a difference for everyone.

The links below are some of the articles that I have written for Horse Deals Australia over the years

DAVID STUART cop

Serpentine-Exercise

David-Stuart

 

 

 

 

Below is also a Horsemanship Article. Happy Reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To go slow too go fast, it is hard to get your head around those words. When it comes to developing your horse they are quite profound. At the first Ray Hunt course that I attended in April 1989. In the horsemanship course, he would ask you to walk your horse as slow as you could and then to walk them out. Pick up a soft feel, back them 6 strides, to count cadence with your horses feet or to back an 1/8 of a circle. The fastest the whole class got, was a trot. I don’t think I had ever tried to ride a horse with such accuracy and discipline before. All I had done before was try to go fast, I did not know there was so much to riding a horse. I did not know there was so much to the walk , as I heard it said some time ago; The walk is the Mother of all Gaits. 

Going slow too go fast, riding with accuracy and discipline did help my horses and horsemanship. It helped my horses to understand more, it prepared my horses, it gave me time to understand and improve my feel and timing, my horses stayed sound longer, they are more mentally and emotionally stable.  I could get along with more horses. Then when I did speed things up, my horses were there for me and not running out or running off.   One of Ray’s quotes was; It is the preparation to the position for the transition. As my friend Mike says if you want to find the holes in your “programme” add speed.  Every now and then Ray would say, now see how fast you can bring the forequarters through, but don’t loose the softness.

By slowing down and developing my horses over time they developed better impulsion, balance and engagement you can feel the power coming through them and the lightness to signal from your seat and leg aids.

In a book that was gifted to me a long time ago, the author wrote that as these principles had been true for them. They were happy to see these same principles coming true for myself. I would also like to offer those words of encouragement to many others

While many may look for a technique as a means of accomplishment, our attitude towards our horse and behind what we do has such an impact.

Everyone has to adjust to fit their own situation and to the horse that they are riding.  Enjoy your horses.