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The Canter

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Welcome to this months blog, presently I am home in Central Qld – Aust starting horses on my families cattle property. I have already begun the years course schedule with a one day home course in January and then a visit to New Zealand’s South Island. Thank you to Scott and Michaela for all your efforts in organising the 3 days. Below is a schedule of courses coming up in March, more info is available on my website www.davidstuart.com.au I have also added an article on the canter below, that may be helpful to those struggling with it.

UpComing Events:

  • March 2nd & 3rd Green Horse Course , Nebo – Qld – Aust.
  • March 15 – 19, Horsemanship & Masterclass, W.A. – Aust
  • March 29, 30 & 31st Green Horse Course, ACT – Aust


The canter is a topic that can cause a lot of anxiety in both horse and rider. What many riders may not be aware of is that they can do a lot at the walk and trot to help prepare the horse and themselves for the canter. Don’t think that it is a case of take a deep breath, pull your hat down, hold on and kick like crazy and canter. Many riders experience horses kicking out or bucking going into the canter.

For a long time I have said that forwards is your friend, if in doubt ride forwards. That is not to mean that your horse runs off with you, getting your horse to carry you in the gaits is really important. If you have to peddle / continually kick your horse in the walk & trot then you are probably going to struggle with the canter. Equally keeping your transitions smooth both upward and downward. If you “ambush” your horse into the canter through the sudden use of a crop etc, you are likely to find your horse starting to run into the canter.

I also encourage riders to use trotting poles or a cross rail to transition into the canter. The horse then often finds the canter without the rider having to override their horse. If you can feel your horse is really on the forehand at the walk or trot, you may wish to get your horse more in balance before asking for the canter. Asking for the canter transition going up a hill will have your horse more in balance. At the walk and trot try and feel for your leads, then when asking for the canter see if you come out on the lead that you thought you were on at the trot.

Knowing the foot falls of the canter will also assist in your leads. In the image above you can see the horse taking the first stride on the left lead. (The right hind being the first stride for a left lead.) The middle image showing the moment of suspension before the left hind starts the sequence for the right lead. I trust that the above is helpful to those struggling with the canter.

Happy New Year

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My course schedule has already begun with a one day horsemanship and cow working course at home in Qld. This weekend there is a 3 day course in the South Island of New Zealand, plus lessons are available on the Monday, more details at https://www.davidstuart.com.au/course/aust-intermediate-2-2016-09-10/

Courses are also coming up in March, at Canberra and Western Australia. Again more details on courses and young hors schedules at: https://www.davidstuart.com.au/courses/

Trailer Loading:  Will get you advice from everywhere and will be a subject that has many stories and will create many more. It is also applicable to everyone with a horse. From a recreational rider to a competition rider. A couple of suggestions:

Do not wait until you are late for the “show”

Be prepared before you go near the trailer

Preparation in this case, means having your ground work in order: How confident is your horse, does your horse follow a feel well, does your horse lead well, can you move your horses hind and forequarters, back your horse up. How is your horse with a flag.

Look at things from the horse”s perspective understand that being confined in a small area is not always going to be in the horses nature.

There are many approaches to loading: Look at whats going to be safe for both you and your horse. Loading a horse up a truck ramp or into the back of a trailer already loaded with horses may require you to load from outside the trailer. Other situations may require you to lead your horse in. Look at what is best for both you and your horse.

I look forward to catching with up with everyone through out the year. Enjoy your horsemanship and horses.

A Blog Update

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Whats Happening or Coming Up: With the end of November and another year upon us all. Temperatures are beginning to climb as we officially enter the Australian summer. Since my last blog there has been a home course here on the family station in Queensland. This was a green horse course, there is also a horsemanship/cow working course planned in mid January as well.  Another green horse course will be held in early March at the end of the young horse intake.

U.K.: Next years U.K schedule is available for viewing on the course schedule page. Please contact Tina for more info at infouk@davidstuart.com.au

Young Horses Modules: The young horse modules are quickly filling up so if you are wanting to send your horse please contact to ensure availability.

New Zealand: In January on the dates of 25, 26 & 27 I have a 3 day horsemanship course in the South Island, again more info is available on the course schedule page. On the 28 I am having a lesson day, please email Scott and Michaela at info@scottomalley.co.nz for more info.

More info @: https://www.davidstuart.com.au/courses/

Below are some of the images taken this year of young horses and of my travels from Australia to the U.K. Below is also a horsemanship article on backing, so please scroll down. I hope all enjoy these blog updates and horsemanship articles. I can be contacted via email at info@davidstuart.com.au

Horsemanship: Backing Your Horse:

  • A backup has 2 beats and is the diagonal back and front
  • The weight distribution is to the hind quarters
  • The poll should be the highest point
  • You should feel your horse lifting through the withers  and starting to round out through his back underneath you.

Some tips to improve your back up:

  • If your horse is dragging his or her feet try backing up a hill to encourage your horse to start to pull with the hind end instead of pushing.
  • You can also back on a circle if you live in flat country.
  • As your horse’s balance and impulsion improves so will your horse’s back up.
  • Don’t get to pulling your horse back wait for the feet to come, the weight should change first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Endless Summer

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I have now been back home in Australia for a week. It is quite a contrast to have the dust flying again and be feeding cattle after my travels through the U.K and Europe. To date, we have had 170 ml of rain for the year and that would be more than others. While stopping over with friends in Dubai I had the opportunity to go on a Dessert Safari. The image below is of a little bit of Dune Bashing, thankfully we did not get stuck in the sand and then there was the night entertainment as well. While crowd participation was encouraged thankfully it was not always necessary. Thank you Juan for your hospitality.

Thank you for all the support on both the U.K. and Europe courses and to those that sent horses to the young horse intakes in the U.K. I  trust that everyone is getting along a little better with their horses. Below is also a: whats coming up: and a horsemanship article on: Trailer Loading ( Please click on the read more at the bottom ) 

Whats coming up:

         More info at: http://www.davidstuart.com.au/courses/

Aust – A.C.T. – Green Horses

OCTOBER 12, 13, 14

It is a common occurrence where riders get their horses started and then are faced with; what do I do next.  How do you progress to developing a dependable saddle horse.

To apply for the course, please email the course host:  Cheryl Le Mesuriers at cndlemesurier@bigpond.com

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The UK Summer is Coming to an End

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There are now only a few weeks left to my U.K. schedule. To date we have had 17 horses come through the 2 young horse modules and the courses have all gone well and been well attended. The horse below was one of the horses that came through the last intake of horses, the image was taken on the 9th ride.

During the courses of late I have had a few discussions about being more effective on the end of a lead rope and not having to resort to the flag all the time and timing up with the feet.  (There is nothing wrong with the flag, just don’t get dependant on it. ) I have also spoken about riding more with your seat and legs and trying to do less with our reins.

Riding with your seat and legs, and having more feel both on the ground and in the saddle does take time to develop. For some riders things  fall into place vey quickly and for others not so. The sensitivity the horse has is amazing if we get that to working for us, it has to be great thing. While at times it may seem like we are in the slow lane, equally we should look at it from the perspective of where we would be if we had not started. I think that we would all agree that we are better off having started on the horsemanship road than we would otherwise be.

We also try and have a little bit of fun on the courses. Having me behind the bar at a steak house is always going to be fun.

For a brief moment I thought that I was in the movie Cocktail , I probably have more the Bryan Brown look than Tom Cruise. There was no hippy hippy shake going on either.

 

Back In The U.K.

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Well what a start to a U.K. summer and its rumoured that the U.K. is about to run out of sunscreen and cold beer. Even in Scotland the sun is shining, legs are coming out that have not seen the sun in years. At the end of the day they do appear red with embarrassment.

The courses have been well attended and are going well, the first horse start is nearly over, with this being the last week. The horse above is Tina’s horse, this was I think her third ride, with the horse below also one of the young horse starts. This is a short blog with not many words. Perhaps pictures say more than words. I have a few more weeks in the U.K. and look forward to catching up with old and new friends in the coming weeks.

A What Has Happened Blog

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It has been a crazy few months and there has been a bit of water go under the bridge since my last website blog. In March I was in Canberra for a green horse course and then a private course outside of Sydney. The green horse course in Canberra was well received and there is another in October. During April & May I have had quite a large young horse intake. There is a home course this weekend, again the focus will be on green horses. The image to the left is from the green horse course in Canberra.

Then for the first week in June I will be in Western Australia at Jenny & George Jackson’s Horsemanship First facility, at Serpentine. The courses at Serpentine are always good with lots of variety and I look forward to catching up with everyone in Western Australia.

Over the next few months I have an article coming out in Horse Deals Magazine, I am not sure which month as yet. At the end of June I will be back in the U.K. I look forward to catching up with everyone over there.

I have also added an article below that my local vet Bruce Howlett of  Stabler & Howlett in Australia put together on wound care. Please note that this is of a general nature and may not fit all circumstances.

While I hope that no one needs the below, horses do find ways to injure themselves and perhaps the below is helpful in some way.

First Aid for Equine Leg Wounds

3 Priorities

  1. Prevent excess blood loss. Surprisingly few wounds have dangerous blood loss, however if a wound is bleeding profusely apply a firm compression bandage of cotton wool and vetrap above the wound and leave in place for 20minutes. Seek urgent Veterinary advice if bleeding persists.
  2. Decontaminate the wound. Wounds can be cleaned with clean running water and dabbing with moist gauze swabs. Take photos once the wound is clean.
  3. Protect the wound from deterioration/allow healing to commence. Fill the wound with Intrasite Gel, dress with a nonadherent dressing like MediSteriPad or Melolin, bandage with a thick layer of cotton wool overlayed with Elastoplast and Vetrap. Seek Veterinary advice and send the photos to your Vet.

Common Mistakes

1.Failing to cover the wound – leads to drying of the damaged skin making repair and healing more difficult.

  1. Bandaging too tightly- this is the most common error, cuts off blood supply so retards healing by killing tissue, in extreme cases can lead to laminitis/founder due to lack of circulation to and from the hoof. Bandages on horses’ legs need to include a THICK layer of cotton wool to provide even pressure over the wound surface.
  2. Delaying seeking Veterinary advice – it is amazing what we can do to help repair fresh wounds as opposed to old wounds. The difference can be months in healing time.

Wound Kit

10cm x 10mtr Vetrap x 2

7.5mtr Elastoplast x 2

Cotton Wool Roll

Gauze swabs

Intrasite Gel x 2

MediSteriPad 10x 20cm

Have A Horse That You Can Be Proud Of

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The new year is already under way and many new years resolutions have been made and cast aside. What is it, that you want to do with your horses? When you ask riders or auditors on courses, many have not really answered that question. Whatever your answer,  be it for recreational reasons, competition or work, the horse is the common denominator and horsemanship is nondenominational. To have horses in your life shows you have a love  of horses, improve your horsemanship and develop a riding horse that you are proud of. ( Horsemanship should not be thought of as a fad or style )

Over a few decades of teaching I have observed riders that make the most amount of progress in their horsemanship are the ones that educate themselves and then go away and do their homework. In this case they are the ones that over time develop a good riding horse through increasing their knowledge and refining and honing their skills What you define as a good riding horse today will be different tomorrow.

The horse above was a horse that came through a young horse intake a few years ago, he could kick and strike and buck a little. What has been exciting is to see how this little horse has developed into the riding horse that he is now. He is not perfect and will probably never win any ribbons etc. His self confidence has grown and he can work a cow both inside and outside an arena, rope horses or cattle, gather or muster cattle and amongst many other thing he puts a smile on my face when I ride him. Also what makes me smile is that I know if I had this horse 10 years ago he would not have ended up being the horse that he is evolving into.

Having a horse that is good to lead, tie up, bridle and has good ground manors is just as important as riding. Your ground work, is preparation for your riding under saddling. If your horse is not sure of you on the ground they will also reflect that when you are riding.

As a teacher/instructor I gain enjoyment out of seeing students progress, ( most instructors do I believe ). I also gain enjoyment out of seeing horses progress, from when they are started under saddle to their development into a nice riding horse. The horse below in the U.K. could really get to bucking and to be able to see the owner ride him was a highlight. It took time and dedication on both the rider and my part for this to happen.

If we can help develop ourselves our horses will reflect and benefit. Enjoy your horses and horsemanship.