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Do Simple Things Well

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In the southern hemisphere we are going into winter and soon it will be time for me to head for the summer of the northern hemisphere.

The title of this months blog, “Do Simple Things Well”, is very true. Ray Hunt summed it up in three words feel, timing and balance, those words may take a life time to digest and understand. Often riders are looking to progress, but until you can do the simple things well you are not going to advance.

If we pay attention to the little things and do the simple things well our progress tends to happen more organically.

  • How are your horses ground manors.
  • How well does your horse lead.
  • How well does your horse saddle or bridle.
  • How well does your horse trailer load.
  • What is the quality of your lateral flexion.
  • How well does your horse back up.
  • As a rider, do you have an independent seat.

The list above are examples and you can certainly add more to this list. While it is probably human nature to take the path of least resistance, if you do the simple things well then the results take care of themselves.

Projects: Over the last month I have had young horses in for starting, plus I have also been in the process of building a new set of stables. I have been fortunate to have had the help of a couple of friends that are more skilled in this area than myself. All going well they will be in use very soon.

New Stables, still a work in progress

Upcoming Events: My U.K. schedule starts in August for more details please look at https://www.davidstuart.com.au/courses/

In the next few weeks I will also update my Australian and New Zealand course and young horse schedules on the website.

To Develop or Train a Horse

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It has been a couple of months since I last put pen to paper. In deciding what area to cover, the title; To Develop or Train a Horse came about, it is an interesting concept.

Perhaps it starts more with the humans attitude towards the horse. In my courses there is always a little bit of well intended banter and a few stories of one nature or another told. In telling of my own experiences over the now many years or those of my teachers. It is for the purpose of trying to pass on the philosophy behind the message and not just a technique.

This is a young horse that I am starting at present. At first she was a little defensive and with time and understanding, she has become more confident.

To just employ a technique without any empathy for the horse can result in different outcomes for both horse and rider. For example if you are bending your horses head around and you are just pulling on the rein without feel. The horse may bring his or her head around but with a different attitude perhaps the horse gets defensive and scared and braces on your hand or leg, every action represents an attitude.

If your own feel and timing is still a work in progress, it is amazing how much the horse will fill in for us. For those horses that are a little more sensitive or defensive if you give them a little more time and don’t try to make it happen, often they will come through for you.

While the above is not a how to article. The message that I am trying to convey is that horsemanship is much more than a technique. You cannot preach what you do not practice, the horse will know the difference.

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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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.

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.

 

Happy New Year

By | Blog, Food for thought | 2 Comments

Its been a month or so since I have updated with a blog or E-Newsletter. In that time I have had young horse intakes and the Legacy of Legends in Tamworth. The Legacy event is always a great time to catch up with friends and colleagues from around the world and this year was no exception. The image below was of the colt that I had to start this year. The New Zealand course has been rescheduled for later in the year, a date and venue to be confirmed soon. My Australian and U.K. schedules are up on the website for viewing, schedules may change from time to time.
Events Coming Up

February: Qld – Nebo – Lesson Day Feb 4,  March: Canberra – Green Horse Course – March 23, 24, 25,  May: Qld – Nebo Young Horse Intake. For more info, please email: info@davidstuart.com.au

Horsemanship: Transitions are an important part in our horsemanship and riding.  Transitions are relevant from riding young horses to older horses from one discipline to another to hacking/trail riding your horse out. When many riders are riding a young horse they are looking to survive and perhaps have the view that they will start riding their horse well when he gets a little older with a few more rides. Why wait, ride to the best of your ability every time, your horse will appreciate it and benefit from it.

Transitions will help the horse with impulsion, balance and collection, keeping the transitions smooth both up and down is also a tip for riders. At first work more on your transitions at a walk and trot, don’t try going from canter to walk while you are on the straight. In other words don’t override your horse to the extent that the downward transition becomes difficult.

As your transitions become better you will feel your horse is more off the leg and seat than being dependent on the reins. For a very forward horse you may want to do your transitions more on a circle and for a less forward horse more on the straight.

Hope all enjoyed the above, happy riding, stay safe and I look forward to catching up with everyone throughout the year.

Best to all – David

 

 

 

 

Your Horse’s Expression

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My travels for the year are now finished and I am now back home in Central Queensland for the first time since the end of June. There is still a colt starting course here at home in November and a young horse intake to finish the year out and with the Australian Legacy of Legends event in Tamworth to start the new year in January.

In the last few sessions that I had with Ray,  a couple of the points that he really seemed to be wanting to emphasis or get across was the importance of expression and getting down to the feet. The reality was that he was always trying to get those points across. It is amazing though if your horse’s feet are freed up and your horse is going forward then the horses expression is also more likely to be more positive. If your horse is going into a jump with the ears pricked forward then the horse is also more likely to jump and while I have used jumping as an example it is also true for other situations. Crossing a stream or a creek while out riding, leaving the stables or riding back to the stables may be the better example.

It was always emphasised not to drill your horse on any exercises and to keep setting it up and to help your horse gain in confidence. You were trying to get the exercise done with a positive expression. As we all gain more experience and our judgement improves it is the small things that matter, the end result will take care of itself.

The End of the 2017 U.K. Summer

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The 2017 U.K. summer has now almost come to a close. The last intake of horses is going home this weekend, after the handover course. Then there is a couple of courses left before I leave for sunnier climates. A big thank you to Tina and Total Horsemanship in organising the courses and horse intakes and to all those that come along to courses and the weeks at Dudgeley in Shropshire. What is really pleasing to see is the progress that all have made over the many years. I wish all well and look forward to when we next catch up, below is a small horsemanship article that I hope all enjoy.

When writing these blogs I try to leave readers with something that will help them with their horsemanship. I am not the first to emphasise the importance of having your horse in balance both on the ground and in the saddle. Many look at balance as being longitudinally, you must also consider latitudinally and this is just the physical. The horse may be out of balance and or pushing on you for a number of reasons from fear to learned behaviour and or for other reasons. Some time ago I heard it said that until your horse is in balance your horse will not be emotionally stable. In cases where you horse is pushing on you or rushing and are are out of balance, while you can back them up etc,  if you do not get the horse back in balance and the weight right, then the horse may not make a mental change and as a result continues to push on you.

I may not have found all the right words here to explain the above,  but hope these words are insightful in some way and wish all well.