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What A Month

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Well what a difference a month has made for all of us. I trust that all are well and healthy and no doubt we are trying to make the necessary adjustments to working from home.

Australian courses for April have been postponed to later dates that are yet to be determined, young horse intakes are still continuing. Anyone wanting horses started in Australia please contact me at info@davidstuart.com.au

Tina and I are hopeful that we can continue with a revised U.K. schedule starting in September. There is a proposed schedule up on the website, this may change overtime. We thank you for your understanding and continued support in these ever-changing times.

March was a busy month with young horses and we were able to get the Brisbane Foundation course completed before travel restrictions etc came in. On a personal note my fiancee, Rachael, and I were married in Brisbane. It was a wonderful day and we both had our families in attendance.

I have added a horsemanship article as well below. I hope all enjoy, stay safe and healthy.

The image above was of a young horse in the U.K. that could get to bucking and he was not going to give it up after a couple of saddlings.

My understanding is that riders in the U.K. are now spending more time on the ground due to current restrictions. So perhaps and article of this nature is helpful to many.

Most people have a ground school repertoire of one one nature or another. For many though this is still just lounging their horses around in circles with the odd jump etc thrown in.

Zac, the horse above was not a horse that you could just lounge around and get on, you had to build his confidence and trust. Getting to where he was able to go across a stream was not easy for him. He would get to where he would not move his feet and then explode. Some horses when they get scared instead of running, they stand still and then can explode and be quite violent.

When ever I get a horse that does not lead well or follow a feel, or dull I am understanding of the above. Being able to keep the feet freed up and the horse thinking down to their feet is vey important. It is sometimes not about running your horse around more, but getting them to where they are following a feel, not leaning on the lead rope. See if they will cross a stream without running through it , walk over a tarp without rushing. See if you can get your horse to sidle up to a fence. How well does your horse load, how well does he or she catch to halter. How well does your horse pick his or her feet up for trimming , shoeing etc. Notice the rhythm and cadence of your horses movement.

Prepare your horse for riding, through what you do on the ground. Ground work and ridden are the same and should not be thought of as different topics.

Because of the ground work, consisting of many of the above suggestions I was really pleased to see Zac’s owner be able to ride Zac. Many of you know Zac and his story, he was a horse that had a lot to teach us all.

Finally, please stay safe out there with your horses. Equally, keep healthy and I look forward to catching up with you all on the other side.

The Eye is the Window to the Mind

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Here we are at the end of February, with March already upon us. Many of us in Australia have now had rain, to see the country change from dust to mud and green grass will have many smiling. At home it has been a busy year as usual from feeding stock and general stock work to starting horses and a home course. My Australian course schedule starts in March with courses in Brisbane, Qld and Perth, W.A. to a course outside of Sydney, N.S.W. in April. More info can be obtained from the website or email me at: info@davidstuart.com.au I have added a horsemanship article below, I trust all enjoy the read.

The eye is the window to the mind is a sentence that many have heard before. When you put your shingle out at the front gate saying that you start horses or give horsemanship courses to the general public, an array of different horses come through the front gate. Some of those horses are very talented, athletic horses and others not. I heard Buck quoting Ray Hunt one day, about an example where a rider did not have one of those talented athletic horses and Ray said that while you may not be able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear you can still make a purse.

I thought that this was very true and another reminder, the better our horsemanship is the more that is reflected through the horse.

Many horses will go on to be nice saddle horses regardless, of what we do, as some don’t. Over the years I really noticed some of those talented and athletic horses were not always easy to get along with. What I also learnt was that I wanted those horses to be my friend, as I did not need then working against me. As my presentation improved and I did not bring that self preservation out of the horse, there was less bucking etc and more progress. I am not saying that the horse would not get scared, but by slowing down the horse got more sure of things. As my feel and timing improved the horses would change and you could see their eye soften and their body demeanour soften.

This is very much a road of constant and never ending improvement.

A Blog Update

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It has been a couple of months since my last website blog. I am now back in Australia after another successful Northern Hemisphere schedule. I have been traveling to the U.K. for over 20 years now and we are in the process of putting the final touches to next years schedule.

Since my return to Australia I have had a course in Western Australia and also a home course. Currently I have horses in for starting here at my families cattle property in Central Queensland. I am also in the process of finalising my Australian schedule for next year, so please refer to the website to stay updated with schedules.
I have also completed some infrastructure improvements here a home with stables and an updated shower for the home courses. Below is a horsemanship segment, I hope all will enjoy. If you are interested in hosting courses etc, then please email me at info@davidstuart.com.au

The image above and below are from recent courses in Western Australia with Jenny Jackson at Horsemanship First. With the W.A. courses we also include a young horse element. I think that this helps to give an understanding of the ground and ridden work and also how quickly a horse can progress when our presentation is fitting for the horse.

These days I often use a saddle horse to prepare horses for riding. My saddle horse helps give confidence to the young horse. This also gives the young horse an opportunity to see things from above. You can also help the young horse with following a feel. Many times when encountering horses that drag on the end of the lead rope or do not move freely with their feet, my experience has been that they will be inclined to buck.

Having your horse follow a feel is really important, many times you can get your horse to move away from the flag or to go forward when you drive them, but they may still not be following a feel. This also flows through to the riding, you may find that your horse does not yield well to your leg or is not very forward thinking.

Like many parts of Australia right now it is also very dry here at home. I hope rain will arrive soon and Christmas will be a green one for all in Australia.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

A Blog for May

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MapMarkerMy Australian schedule is coming to an end for a couple of months having just completed a 2 day home course this past weekend plus the ongoing young horse intake. It will then be time to start to get ready to head out for the U.K. at the end of next month. During the month of April I have travelled to Bowral – N.S.W., Canberra – ACT and Serpentine in Western Australia with courses and lessons etc.  It is always great to see the progress of all in my travels. Particularly for those that have been attending courses for some time, I always remember where you started from.18221911_1851803965143631_427641186028701635_n

The image above and below was a young horse start with the owner riding the young horse for the first time. This was in Serpentine, W.A. at a course organised by Horsemanship First organiser Jenny Jackson. These sort of situations are great learning for all, regardless if  you are participating or watching. Every horse has the ability to learn and to teach.

I have just started to put together next seasons schedule so please keep an eye on the course schedule over the next few months. In November it is likely that there will be a cost starting course here at home in Qld. This will be invitational, so please email me if you are interested. I have also added a horsemanship article below as well for all to read.

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Feel is such an intangible thing and what it means to you today will change over time. To get your horse to operate from a feel both on the ground and ridden is something to aspire to. Many can drive a horse but still not have the horse following a feel on the halter or feeling down to the feet. Many riders can get to where they are just pulling on the reins or lead rope rather than feeling of the horse. As a result of just pulling you may be building in resistance or a brace. In a recent conversation with a friend an observation was  that when a horse steps over a pole on the ground with feel, the horse will not knock the pole. I remember Ray pointing out to a group of us one time, a horse that was not feeling down to the feet and then when the horse was really feeling with feet. It was too completely different pictures,  observe your own horse in the way that they move at different gaits and in different situations. Equally before the horse moves they have to get ready to move, in this case the weight must shift.

While appreciating that many have heard and read the above several times before, we do have start living this more to gain the benefits.

When I started putting this blog together it was the beginning of May and now we are at the end of May. The year is flying by, I look forward to meeting up with all those in the U.K. in the next few weeks.

An Autumnal Aust

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MapMarkerI am now back from the spring of the Northern Hemisphere and into the autumn of the Southern Hemisphere. The past week has been spent putting up flood fences etc from the floods of Cyclone Debbie, we were lucky with no stock loses or building damage and grateful for the rain.

Next week I will be back on the road again in Australia starting with a 3 day private course in Bowral, N.S.W. and then riding horses in Canberra before flying back over to the west coast for a week long course with Horsemanship First Organiser Jenny Jackson. On arriving back home I have horses coming in for starting and then I have a home course that will be a Horsemanship and Cow Working Course. For any that are needing more information or enquiries please go to the website course schedule, www.davidstuart.com.au courses   or alternatively email me at info@davidstuart.com.au

I have again added a horsemanship article or rambling that I trust will prove helpful.

Image 22-03-2017 at 11.20 amIMG_0195

The above images are from the Legacy of Legends in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

When I was in the U.S recently I had an opportunity to spend a few days with some good people not only are they good with the horse, they have an empathy for the horse and are also good people to be around. While there is always a lot to be learned when you are riding a horse, I also believe there is a lot to be learned when you are having a conversation in the evening. The more experience that a rider has around horses, good or otherwise, often the better the conversation.

This conversation probally leads on from February’s blog and so with one of my friends we were discussing a soft feel. The conversation stared with me asking a question. Do you think that the soft feel is misunderstood, from what Ray Hunt intended. We both thought that this was the case, of course we might both want to review our current understanding over time. It appears today that many believe that a soft feel is more related to vertical flexion, while this has a part to play.  If we can understanding the preparation to the position more, then perhaps we might have a better understanding of what we are trying to attain. ( That has to help the horse to start with )

As riders we may not appreciate how sensitive the horse is and we can often get to where we are just pulling on the horse to try and get the horse to come to the vertical. I am sure that this is not what Ray meant, when he spoke of  a soft feel. When you would see Ray ride a horse, irrelevant of the horse being a young horse or an older horse. The horse was always in balance and the flexion was appropriate. Equally Ray always looked like he was a part of the horse and in balance with the horse. The question was put to Ray one time if he had ever had any equitation lessons, his answer was no. As he elaborated he said that it was easy to ride a horse that is in balance. Equally the soft feel has more quality and weighs nothing, even if the horse is not at the vertical, they feel like you have them on a thread of cotton. The horse is operating more on a feel than a physical containment, of course for may of us this may only be for a moment or to, but that is a start anyway.

These days I get a little reluctant to speak of Ray to much, for fear of  misquoting him. Many have a part or an understanding of what this is about, so the above is more about causing us all to broaden our  horizons and perspectives.  A quote that Ray would sometimes use was that the last thing that you learn is the first thing that you need to know.