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Mayhem

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

October Blog News

By Blog, Food for thought, Uncategorized

It has been a while since I last put pen to paper and since then we have been busy. With horses continuing to arrive for starting,  we have had courses as well. One last weekend in Brisbane at Anstead Acres, thank you to Pam Andrews and all involved,  it was a great 3 days and a great venue. In September we had a home course that involved some local cattle stations and was a follow up to a course a couple of months earlier. It was great seeing the improvement in everyone.

We also had an interview with the online Equestrian Life Magazine, a link to the article is below.

http://www.equestrianlife.com.au/articles/From-Nebo-to-the-world

There is is also a new Horse Deals article coming out in the next month or so.

The cover over the the round pen works well and will be much appreciated during summer for not only when starting horses but also courses as well. While the year is not over yet, we feel that there has been a lot accomplished during some quite challenging times. To all our friends and family wherever you are, stay safe and healthy.

Below is a horsemanship article that we trust you all enjoy.

Having not been able to travel for the last 6 months or so has given me an opportunity to start more horses here at home. There has been a wide selection of horses coming through and all are different. Some horses are more friendly and others not so, so have bucked and others not etc.

Reading the horse that you have in front of you and where they are at today and working at their level is important. Many times we are all guilty of saying that our horse was not like that at home or yesterday our horse was perfect.  Developing that dependable riding horse takes time and consistency on our part. Over time that then transfers into a dependable saddle horse that you can take anywhere.

When you on the ground with your horse or in the saddle, look at your horse’s expression, when you change the flag from one side to the other, does the expression change. Paying attention to the expression in different situations can really help in reading your horse.

I have spoken quite a bit about flexion and balance at times this year. Recently I was watching a horse who was prone to bucking. I had a rope around the girth and you could really see the horse would brace against the rope, in a couple of different ways. The flexion and balance was not there and in the initial few rides this was the same. When I rode this horse the first few times I would only sit there quietly, standing still and bending and doing a lot of rubbing. As the horse started to let down more and become more accepting you could feel the flexion starting to change from the withers back. It is not just the outside that you need to be able to see it is what do you feel on the inside of the horse.

 

 

 

A Blog Update for August

By Blog, Food for thought, Uncategorized
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.

Building A Foundation

By Blog

To say this year has been different to past years would be an understatement. As a result it has caused many of us to change our plans and the way we go about everyday life.

Later in the year I am going to be participating in an online event that will be to my knowledge one of the first. As this event gets closer I will let you know more.

Also I am sorry to say that Tina and I have had to cancel this years U.K. schedule due to Covid -19. In organising the U.K. schedule there is quite a lot of work to be done before hand and with the uncertainty of the months ahead and travel restrictions, quarantine and everyones health we felt that we were unable to go ahead. We are very grateful and thankful for everyones support and understanding and we look forward to next year.

In the next few weeks I hope to have completed a cover over my round pen. Over the years I have spent a lot of time in the sun, rain & snow. To have a cover to work under is going to be an amazing environment. I have also included a horsemanship article below, happy reading.

The horse above was a stud horse called “Boy Boy”, that I rode for a few months for Andrew Seville from the U.K. polo world. While I cannot swing a polo mallet like a polo player, if you can swing a rope and ride with a flag then you can swing a polo mallet.

Building a foundation for your horse go on from, sets the future. From when you have that green unstarted horse to that green started horse. Having that horse to where he is solid physically, mentally and emotionally is gold. It takes time and we have to do our homework to get the results.

The foundation is not about cantering and galloping circles all over the place. More times than not it is about going slow and walking and trotting circles. Hence the saying slow and right beats fast and wrong. By going slow and keeping your horse in balance it gives your horse more time to understand and helps settle your horse mentally and emotionally.

If you have a horse that is sensitive taking time to make sure your horse trailer loads well, ties up, that you can pick their feet up, ride them with a flag or even bareback builds that foundation for the future. It puts money in the bank that you can draw on at a later date if needed.

By going slower you will also be putting less stress on your horse physically so that you will still have a horse to ride when they are at later stage of life. What I have said above is not a do this in this order, but perhaps helps all when we are confronted with adversity to see the opportunity to build on the foundation.

Have Your Horse Pick You Up From The Fence.

By Blog, Food for thought

Winter has arrived here in the southern hemisphere and recently we have been fortunate to have a little more rain as well here on my families cattle property in central Queensland.

While travel restrictions have prevented travels domestically, I have been able to put in more infrastructure here at home , with a more up to date ablutions block for home courses. All going well, more improvements will be in place by the end of July.

Currently I have been fortunate to have strong young horse bookings, with horses ranging from all breeds and ages. Over the years many ask why start young horses and while there may be a number of reasons. The main one is to continually improve your horsemanship. When you see a horse started well, it is like art. It is smooth with the human able to fit the situation and the horse. There maybe moments where things do not go as smoothly as you would like. You learn through your own experiences and the experiences of others and keep setting it up and over time you will have more to offer the horse.

An image from a young horse course many years ago in Central Queensland.

With current restrictions, many have not been able to ride, or been “grounded.” I have been asked if I could write an article that might be helpful to those that have been grounded.

An exercise that would help many, is to get your horse to learn to pick you up off the fence. In my travels, where riders use mounting blocks to mount their horses, it is often a struggle for riders and horses. I have seen where horses are lead to the mounting block and then riders are about to put their foot into the stirrup and the horse moves away. The rider then leads the horse back to the mounting block only to again be faced with the same situation.

If your horse can see the block as a place of security or comfort and the rider has their ground work to a place where they can position the horse and direct the feet from the fence, they would have so much more working for them when they did get in the saddle. For a young unstarted horse , this gives them the benefit of seeing you above them without you having to be in the saddle. You may still have to use your flag and your horse may not be comfortable with you on the fence to start with, hang in their. It might take awhile to get your horse to where you can rub them with your foot, flag etc. It is worth waiting for and can really help your horse to be more comfortable with you in the saddle.

The image above was from Australia’s Legacy of Legends a few years ago, and is of Buck Brannaman helping me with a young horse to pick me up off the fence.