It has been such a difficult spring and summer for us all as horse folk this year so I thought I would keep things optimistic and positive with an update on some of my current projects which are ongoing and going ever so well.
I have been doing a lot of remote lessons during lockdown which kept me busy and works very well when being at a session in person is not possible for whatever reason. It really helped some people stay in the groove with their horses. It is important we all stay focused for our horses, and ourselves and start to look forward to the future with optimism. So here are just some of the horses I am working with just now.
Jodi Podmore and Mojo.
As a rider Jodi has evented to a high level and is what I would call an advanced rider, whilst Mojo is a strapping gelding who was creating quite a fuss with Jodi and throwing tantrums both out hacking and when ridden indoors. The first thing we needed to do was to check if Mojo was moving ok which we did. I was not happy with how he was engaging, or rather not engaging his left hind leg. One of the major challenges for Jodi was dealing with the immense power of Mojo who is a big unit standing at sixteen two hands high. We made our plan and got started.
I did a bit of long reining and progressive lungeing with Mojo as he was becoming dangerous at times and we needed to get some control over his behaviour. Jodi was very brave riding him at this stage, particularly outside as indoor facilities were not available due to Covid 19. The aim was to at first get some control and organisation with Mojo with a view to getting him to the point where Jodi could get jumping. Steadily we stepped things up and worked on keeping Mojo right in his weight, fitness and soundness as we improved his rideability. Jodi followed the plan to perfection and is a grand rider. We used video in sessions and discussed the footage afterwards. This was critical to the improvement we, at first established and are now maintaining. We started around April and just this mid July, Jodi had a superb ridden session on Mojo up at the wonderful outdoor jumping facility at Tushingham in Shropshire. Jodi and Mojo are now bang on track for some great days together as we continue to progress further.
Jodi and Brian at Tushingham after a great training session of jumping flatwork.
Robyn Sarah Roberts and Caspar, the unbacked four year old.
Robyn freely admits she took a bit of a chance with Caspar and secured him from a friendly and knowledgeable dealer in the Lancashire area, two and a half years age when he was just 18 months old. Robyn has now called on me to help get Caspar started under saddle. We have only had a couple of sessions, however Caspar is already making giant strides in the right direction, responding tremendously well to all he has been asked to do so far, which is not all that much but Caspar has shown a maturity in his attitude way beyond his years, he looks to have a great future as an active family pony with a grand, friendly manner. Robyn had made some progress in a sensible way with Caspar prior to my arrival but much to her credit she has got in touch for my guidance to make sure we get things just right. One of the biggest hazards with very young and inexperienced horses who have a brilliant aptitude to learn is that they get pushed too soon, both physically and mentally and as a caring owner Robyn, to her great credit is totally dialled in to giving Caspar the time he needs. The future looks bright for this wonderful young horse.
Brian and Caspar the four year old grey.
Karen and her lovely mare, fifteen one hands high, key worker starting from scratch, together, but correctly.
Karen, who is a key worker, working as a community matron really enjoys horse horse downtime from a very demanding and specialist job. Karen was at a recent presentation I gave on hacking out safely and we decided to work together to restart Karen’s riding from scratch and she does insist she wants to learn how to sit fundamentally correctly and apply the ridden aids properly. I wish there were more people with this outlook as horses would suffer from poor riding far less often. Riding your horse correctly is one of the most important aspects of equine welfare there is, if only more people would realise this. Time and time again people fail to understand that good riding with even rider weight distribution and a level balanced rein contact will prevent the risk of injuries to horses significantly. Karen has a great outlook and I will make sure she gets the rewards her patient proportionate approach deserves. As a medical professional Karen fully appreciates that problems are much less of a threat if they are prevented as opposed to treated. Things are going from strength to strength as we have now established the link also between how Karen approaches her riding and how important improving your skillset as a rider improves confidence and control.
Karen, the nursing matron on her mare Maizy.