PART 1: 18 Exercises from Buck you can practise today!

By , June 16, 2015 10:50 pm

I’m just back from 3 days at the Buck clinic in Aintree Racecourse. This was an incredible clinic. The venue was beautiful, the organisation amazing (over 1000 people!) and Buck shared so much information in bite sized chunks and took away so much value & things to practise from the weekend.

It was lovely as well to meet great old friends and wonderful new friends. Being in a room of 1000+ horse people who all wanted to do their best for their horses and wanted to learn more about horsemanship, was so nice.

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The write up is coming in 2 parts.

Part 1 (this post) is a quick overview of 18 exercises you can practise. This won’t go into too much detail, its more for the speccys and riders who were at the clinic & know the background of the exercises.

Part 2 will be the full clinic write-up. This will be longer and will be good to read so you understand the short execises in this post. Enjoy! Any mistakes in this are 100% me.

GROUNDWORK

GW – Touch your horse with flag while he moves around. Find places on his body with the flag where he’s unconfident or nervous about and fix them.

GW – Be able to ask your horse to stop each foot by having a rope around it. Horse to learn not to panic when he feels rope or similar stopping his foot for moving. Very useful to stop a horse panicking and hurting himself if he ever gets caught in a fence or in wire. Obviously don’t put a loop in rope that will tighten on foot.

GW – Horses can be afraid of bicycles. So get a friend to ride past you on their bike and chase it. When your horse goes faster, bicycle should go faster too ahead of horse. Make your horse feel very confident and looking forward to chasing those pesky bicycles away!

RIDING EXERCISES

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THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING EXERCISE FOR HORSES THAT PUSH AND LEAN, AND TO IMPROVE LATERAL WORK AND COLLECTION! It worked great with Oz today! πŸ™‚

– Do lots of small serpentines, like you are walking around a lot of tiny bushes in the Australian outback. Think small 4 foot diameter circles that take just 3 or 4 steps to walk around. Keep your horse moving throughout, no stopping. Horses head to be at a 90 degree angle. Most people don’t do this angle but you should.

How to do it.

– Walk on
– Legs to be on a circle shape – outside leg forwards, inside leg back
– Reins are short and arms are wide out
– Look where you’re going and turn your whole body (remember its a small circle!)
– Ask horse in time with the inside fore foot
– Use inside rein out wide to guide horses inside fore to take a sideways step and make a small circle
– Other rein is not pulling on horse or blocking the turn
– Do about 3 or 4 steps in a small circle with the inside fore
– Then do one straight step with the OTHER fore and while this is happening change over your legs (one back, one forward) and change over your hands so now other hand is wide
– Look the new direction, legs the new direction, hands the new direction
– Reins are short and arms are wide out – keep reins short and don’t re-gather reins when you switch direction
– Look where you’re going and turn whole body (remember its a small circle!)
– Ask horse in time with the inside fore foot
– Use inside rein out wide to guide horses inside fore to take a sideways step and make a small circle
– Other rein is not pulling on horse or blocking the turn
– Do about 3 or 4 steps in a small circle with the inside fore
– Then do one straight step with the OTHER fore and while this is happening change over your legs (one back, one forward) and change over your hands so now other hand is wide

REPEAT – a lot.

You’re looking to feel no pause or brace when the head/neck moves from one circle direction to the next
You’re looking for the horse to start to respond to your legs forward & back, rather than just your reins
Get to where you can do this legs only
Goal is for turns to feel like a its your horse turning for home, real smooth and effortless!!

Buck had a horsemanship clinic and they spent 1.5 hours outside an arena walking around little bushes. When done, all riders said it was the most amazing changes they’d ever seen in their horses. They wanted to know when they came back for their next clinic, they wanted to know could they please leave the arena and ride out in the bush again!

I did this for an hour or two today along with rests and some other things. The DIFFERENCE this one exercise made on my horse was incredible!! OK – now here are the other 17 exercises πŸ™‚

– Soft feel in walk.

– Walk to stop: Your seat position is #3

– Stop to walk: Your seat position is #2

– If horse pulls the reins out of your hands, bump him to say no.

– Circle: leg position one forward one back, then body position (look were you’re going), and keep your shoulders level.

– Halt: Ask for lateral flexion while horse is still, no feet to move. Rein position #1. Then forequarter yield, sideways and back a little. Rein position #2.

– Do a slow and fast walk via seat cues only. Buck needs to be able to tell which is which when he looks at you!

– Soft feel at halt.

– Soft feel 100 times at walk in a straight line.

– If horse pushes head down, bump. If I allow it as horse is already on a loose rope, and doesn’t pull rope out of my hands its ok.

– Horse is to stay in your rectangle. Your rectangle should fit just around your horse. It shouldn’t be half the arena!

– Head bound exercise to do if you’ve problems. Use no reins in safe secure arena with tall fences. When your horse is near his ‘buddy’ keep him trotting and busy. Any time he offers to go somewhere else away from Buddy, get quiet and then let him rest.

– Call out ‘now’ when X foot leaves the ground (eg. right fore). Get a fiend to watch and tell you if you’re right! Or video it and check later.

– Stop with X fore leg / Y hind leg last. Get specific

– Do the 4 ways hindquarter yield

– Do 10-9-8 exercise (walk 10, backup 10, walk 9, backup 9, etc) looking for soft feel, no pause in between forwards and backwards. If your horse gets worried, rest when he is calm, regardless about what number it is. Reward his emotional state.

– Do the 6 types of tear drops! πŸ™‚

Apologies its all not 100% explained… more to come in my full write up. In the meantime get going on the semi serpentines!!

Also – just 11 days now until Steve Halfpenny is teaching in Ireland. If you’d like to come and spectate in South Tipp on June 28 and 29 email me to book a ticket in advance chocolatelabhelp AT gmail DOT com – thanks. If you like these exercises you’ll like Steve too πŸ™‚

3 Responses to “PART 1: 18 Exercises from Buck you can practise today!”

  1. Interesting but I don’t think teaching a horse to chase bicycles is a good idea. Much better to desensitise them to being over taken by cycles – we have a lot of racing cyclist round here and it would be very dangerous to have a horse chase them. They do often go very fast, so a horse who can remain calm and relaxed is what I would aim to have.

  2. Lesley Woods says:

    Thanks for this – I could only attend Saturday and kicked myself for not taking notes. Brilliant clinic, loved everything Buck did and look forward to him visiting again

  3. Samantha Riley says:

    Gill in reply to your comments, Bucks instruction was not to teach a horse to chase bikes as such, rather to give the horse the confidence to deal with his fears of bikes/cows etc in a way that is non confrontational. His method allows the horse to believe in its own bravery, which in turn gives the horse more confidence in situations which would normally scare it. I will be employing this method with my own horse, and I have never tried one of Bucks solutions which have not worked perfectly, instantly and permanently.

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