“Don’t reward when he’s trying to take over” – Ozzie notes from Steve Halfpenny June 2015

By , July 2, 2015 12:01 pm

Day 1 – Ozzie lessons with Steve Halfpenny – “Don’t reward when he’s trying to take over”

STATE OF MIND OF HORSE: Opinionated, worried, fed up at times!

We had a great day 1 in Tipperary with Steve. I didn’t get a chance to write up everyones sessions, but here’s what I learned to help Ozzie and me get better. Oz has two starting places. We have “calm and half asleep Ozzie”. He is normally like this at home. And we also have “full of energy, worried and wants to take over”. He’s like this sometimes at home (maybe 1/25 times), more so in the winter months when he’s fed up with the weather and annoyed in general. Today we started with energy, worried and distraction. This was actually great as I need help and practise to get him back to a more managable mindset & emotional state.

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GROUNDWORK

1. POSITION IN GROUNDWORK – BOTH SIDES TO BE THE SAME: On the ground, my position on the ground on the off side is fine, I’m pushing Oz forwards, walking towards this shoulders. On the near side, I did something different and instead I am positioned a little too far forwards! Which isn’t optimal. So I need to fix this all times I’m on the ground with Oz. I need to think about being closest to Ozzies hind end rather than his front end.

2. YOU’LL FEEL MORE ABOUT YOUR HORSE IF YOU REMOVE THE SLACK FROM YOUR ROPE FOR A WHILE: On the ground, if you have a long rope your horse may be braced but you will never feel it. So use your rope as a connection to your horse (not slack) and feel of your horse to see if you can feel a brace or rushing in your horse during the groundwork. To ask your horse to stop, do not swing the end of the lead rope, instead just slow down and allow him to stop straight beside you (not disengaging the Hqs).

3. DON’T FORGET YOUR ALWAYS TRAINING YOUR HORSE: Sometimes I’m particular with Oz. But I need to be more particular. And when I’ve finished, I just walk about & forget Oz is still on the end of the lead rope. And I don’t realise I’m teaching him things I don’t want to at the end of a session.

4. SHOULDER IN: Walk and do shoulders in at the fence line. Both Ozs head and my body are at the fence. Ozzie’s head is further along the fence line and we do 4 tracks shoulder in down the fence. IF Oz is moving fine, stop swinging the rope!

5. SHOULDER IN AND BE CAREFUL OF CUES AND TIMING: Trot and do shoulders in at the fence line. Both Ozs head and my body are at the fence. Ozzie’s head is further along the fence line and we do 4 tracks shoulder in down the fence. If Oz is already trotting, stop swinging my rope!

6. DO NOT REWARD WORRY OR TAKING OVER! If Oz tries to take over or get worried, ignore any messing and keep at it (shoulders in in trot) until his body changes and he relaxed and then rest. My old bad habit is when Oz gets worried I back off. So Oz learns that I’ll back off and he is training me and its enforcing his ‘worried / taking over’ behaviour. And that’s not what I want!

7. IN HAND WORK: Face backwards and put nearest hand upside down on knot below halter. Ask horse to walk with soft feel. Ask horse to backup with soft feel. Always keep that hand on the halter knot very gentle. If you need more ‘go’ or ‘backup’, then use a rope or stick in your other hand to help out. Get it really smooth in walk.

8. IN HAND WORK IN TROT: Do the same as previous exercise.

9. GET THROUGH TROUBLE: If Oz is escaping by going in direction X, ask him to go in the opposite direction instead. When Oz tries to take over, do not stop what I’m doing and reward the mess. Instead keep at it, ignore the mess and reward when he changes and relaxes.

10. “If you lead a horse (walk in front of a horse) they make think they are driving you.”

RIDING

11. SEMI SERPINTINES – VERSION 2.0: So I came back from Bucks clinic and did a ton of semi serpentines. The only (major) problem was that Oz was now falling in the inside shoulder EVERYWHERE! Agh. SO yes you can do too many semi serpentines if you’re falling into them! So Steve changed it… instead push the horses shoulders out of the circle (think leg yield out) and then after this do your turn back on the circle. Much better.

12. DISMOUNTING: Due to history of dodgy saddles Oz gets worried now when I prepare to dismount. So instead for now I’m swinging a leg over the front of the saddle and sliding off. Works fine.

DAY 2 – Steve with Ozzie

STATE OF MIND OF HORSE: Good in the early morning. Then he got opinionated, worried, fed up at times and was a bit reactive rather than responsive. Great to have Steve here again for all this to get help.

QUESTION TIME:

When Oz tries to escape through a manouvre, ask him to go in the opposite direction.
If he starts to get worried in trot, keep him in trot and ask him to trot in circles, change direction, shoulder in, etc. But keep him in trot. When he chills out and ONLY when he chills out, back to walk and relax.

SESSION 1:

GROUNDWORK

Did a little groundwork (from yesterdays session) before the clinic started and all was good. Oz calm, relaxed and listening :)

MORNING RIDING:

Rode in the bareback pad and the halter.

SHOULDER IN: Worked on walk to shoulder in down the fence line. Wasn’t great but we got it better. Oz tended to bulge out his leading shoulder. To stop this use same rein to slow it down. Catchup with the inside hind if the HQ is being left behind. RELEASE when I get it. I was forgetting to release.

CIRCLE: Doing a circle, your horses front legs are on one circle. Your horses hind legs are on a larger outside circle. So walk on circle, then move into HQ yield by pushing hind legs outwards, and then move this into backup.

DO SHOULDER IN IN TROT: Got a lovely one!

SCARY TRACTOR DOING HAY:
If something scares horse, back him away still facing it,and when horse offers to stop allow him to.

HIGH JINKS: If Oz starts his high jinks / taking over… keep asking at same pace until there is a change and the messing stops.

AFTERNOON GROUNDWORK:

Started a little GW with a bit of determination. I had been tip toeing a bit earlier. Cos Oz gets a btit messy when we go faster he’s taught him not to push too many of his buttons. Grh! No more. So I said to Steve in this session I’d like to stop tip-toeing, but as I said it the spectators said I had fied this already 😀

Secondly I said I’d like to work more on dealing with Oz when he was messing and bouncing about. Happily Oz soon began bouncing around and I got to practise!

DO NOT RELEASE WHEN HORSE MESSING OR BRONCING ABOUT: Oz felt like he had a lot of energy so decided to work through it on the ground for this session and see how we went. Started to do shoulder in in trot along the fence line. Some bits ok-ish. Lots of messing and jumping about, bouncing about, messing and legs in the air by my lovely horse. It was like an aerobics display 😀 So I kept at it, in trot doing shoulder in (or Ozzie’s variations thereof) and kept asking while he messed about, and then we had a rest when he stopped messing and did it properly. After a while Steve asked me was it getting better. I said I got good bits but then back to messy bits so it was a bit up and down. So Steve kindly asked if he might try and I said DEFINITELY!

MESSING IN TROT MEANS OZ CONTINUES TO TROT: So Steve kept Oz trotting. He moved away from the fence and got lots of changes of direction in trot on the ground, every time Oz would try and take off Steve would block him and then change direction. Oz was hilarious because he’d go to take off one direction and then stop him about 2 cms from the point where he was going to run into the end of the lead rope. It was quite funny to see. Oz’s bring was 100% engaged! Steve said he’s really smart! Kept at this for a few minutes and things started to change. Messing stopped and calm horse returned, really focused on Steve. Steve remarked that in the past he used back off a horse he had, when things got a bit worried / messy. Until someone told him he was rewarding his horse for getting worried!

DO MORE INHAND WORK: Steve worked a bit with in hand circles with Oz. Steve said I need to do a lot more inhand work with Oz as its a great way to feel the brace and then help address it. On a lead rope its harder to feel the brace. I did more with Oz then. More trots, circles, with bend. And we got two shoulder ins, in trot with NO messing!! Yay!

IN HAND FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS: Then worked on groundwork hand on halter knot – forwards and backwards. I asked for 4-5 steps forwards / back at the start and Oz leaned badly. So then I asked for 1 step forwards and backwards. MUCH better results with massively reduced leaning.

IN HAND TROT CIRCLES: As front inside foot about to leave, pick up inside rein a little as this will encourage outside hind (diagonal pair) to move out a little. Get proper bend on circle. The golden nugget: If I end up doing a very small circle – PUSH Ozs shoulders out as he’s pushing in on me. Circle needs to be not tiny!! This changes a LOT.

IN HAND TROT CIRCLES LOWER HEAD:

Same circles with hand on halter knot under chin, asking head to lower down. Make sure circle isn’t small.

STEVE DEMO:

In hand work on halter knot: Circle Oz. Then move the HQs out. Then backup. Then push FQ away from me, then walk on.

DAY 3: CHANGE OF VENUE.

STATE OF MIND OF HORSE: As cool as cucumber all day long. Happy, listening, calm and wonderful.

Caught Oz so he was back to normal today. Put on the bareback pad and halter immediately and jumped on! Great to be back riding again! Now time for some fun!

I’ve inadvertently taught Oz to tense up his neck and raise up his head a little as we halt. So while riding we worked on “walk to halt” and as he starts to think halt I loosen the reins and allow him to stretch his neck and head down a little into halt. This was great as while I knew he did this a little, now I know its one of the big CRITICAL things I have to always watch out for and fix with him in the next few weeks.

Next up, we started on counter bends. Woohoo!! We are officially on manouvres!

So:

– Walk forwards
– Leg yield out a little (moving to the left) and make sure I get this softness through the bend & body
– Keep the footfall rhythm
– Keep the forwards
– Now while keeping the bend and the sideways, move the front feet a little more to the left so they are on a bigger circle now than the Hqs
– Get a step of two and then circle to the right with the normal / existing bend
– Ride a straight line
– Change bend
– Do it all again in the opposite direction

Overuse of hands:
In general I am over using my hands. This is what happens:

– Oz leans and pulls on the reins
– I then pull on the reins to ask him to stop leaning
– He leans more and after a while gets fed up and head roots

This is what I need to do instead which works really well:

– Oz leans and pulls on the reins
– I put on one leg and ask him to go sideways. This dramatically reduces both forwards mvt and the leaning
– If Oz does this great we’ve solved the leaning problem
– If Oz ignores my leg and keeps moving forwards and leaning, I do NOT change any rein stuff, instead I use end of rope of similar to on his side once to move him out. Reins stay light. Oz moves sideways and leaning stops. Genius!

HUGE BIG LESSONS THIS MORNING:

– Do not reward stifness in neck any time. Watch for this all the time.
– Do not get heavy with hands if Oz leans. Instead go sideways and have the end of a rope handy to help my legs if I need it.

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DAY 3 AFTERNOON:

Do NOT ask Oz to collect at halt, as he just tenses up his neck. Instead mount up, and then go for a walk and the softness and mvt in his body will naturally soften his body up and relax him.

This stiffness in Ozs neck is the biggest issue that Steve said he would fix if Oz was his horse.

During counter bend and all mvts, just forget about the reins as far as possible. Ask with my legs and body and backup with a string if Oz ignores me. Do NOT start to pull on reins no matter what.

If Oz stick his head out to the right, give him a dig in the ribs on the left with my leg, instead of bumping on the reins.


DAY 1 TO 4 LESSONS RECAP – SHORT VERSION:

GROUNDWORK

MY POSITION: I am fine when I walk on Ozs off side. When I walk on his near side, I need to be closer to his Hqs, I am too close to the front of his body. I need to push Oz, rather than ever lead or pull him during groundwork.

IN HAND SOFTNESS IN A STRAIGHT LINE: Put my hand on the halter knot as I face backwards. Ask Oz to step forwards and backwards keeping my hand soooooo light & gentle. If Oz gets stuck, use end of lead rope to help him. If Oz leans, do fewer steps as he finds this easier.

NO SNEAKING ABOUT: Don’t tie toe around Oz. Do my groundwork like I mean it!

ESCAPING: If Oz escapes out during an exercise, as him to do the opposite manouvre.

WORRIED HORSE OR TRYING TO TAKE OVER: Keep him in the same gait we started in (often trot) and keep him moving in trot (regardless of what leaping about he is doing on 2 legs!) maybe changing directions shoulder in, hoosh him on if he slows down, slow him down if he wants to speed up and I have to keep pushing him and running until he stops messing. I CANNOT release him while is jumping about having a ‘moment’ as if I do it just rewards this unwanted behaviour.

TROT WITH RELAXED NECK: face forwards, hand about a foot down lead rope, stand near HQ. Ask Oz to bend around me and move into a trot circle. Looking for bend in body, Oz moving out from me, and encouraging head and neck to lower a little and relax.

TROT IN HAND WITH RELAXED NECK: Put my hand on the halter knot as I face backwards. Will be moving into trot on a circle. Halter rope about a foot long. Push Oz out into circle. If circle gets too small I’ve lost sideways so hoosh him out with rope or by moving out Hqs. Better on left rein. Same on right rein. Likely we have no sideways. Fix this by pushing out Hqs a lot, and I can fix up the relaxed neck after I’ve got the circle bend ok.

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RIDING

SHOULDER IN: 4 track shoulder in. If the leading shoulder bulges, block it with the same rein, or maybe catchup the Hqs. If one part of horse is stuck, to fix it make the other part of the horse go faster.

LESS REINS: Release more / less use of reins in ridden work. More leg, seat and use end of rope if needed.

SHOULDER IN: Do trot to shoulder in. Got a lovely one of these on day 1 or 2 before Oz threw a wobbley 😀

SOFT NECK: Walk to halt – focus on setting it up for a soft and relaxed neck during this. Head not to be stuck in the air.

COUNTERBENDS:

– Walk forwards
– Leg yield out a little (moving to the left) and make sure I get this softness through the bend & body
– Keep the footfall rhythm
– Keep the forwards
– Now while keeping the bend and the sideways, move the front feet a little more to the left so they are on a bigger circle now than the Hqs
– Get a step of two and then circle to the right with the normal / existing bend
– Ride a straight line
– Change bend
– Do it all again in the opposite direction

DAY 4:

STATE OF MIND OF HORSE: As cool as cucumber all day long. Happy, listening, calm and wonderful.

GROUNDWORK:

IN HAND SOFTNESS IN A STRAIGHT LINE: Put my hand on the halter knot as I face backwards. Ask Oz to step forwards and backwards keeping my hand soooooo light & gentle. If Oz gets stuck, use end of lead rope to help him. If Oz leans, do fewer steps as he finds this easier. Get forwards as good as backwards. Get this up to a trot.

TROT IN HAND WITH RELAXED NECK:
Put my hand on the halter knot as I face backwards. Will be moving into trot on a circle. Halter rope about a foot long. Push Oz out into circle. If circle gets too small I’ve lost sideways so hoosh him out with rope or by moving out Hqs. Better on left rein. Same on right rein. Likely we have no sideways. Fix this by pushing out Hqs a lot, and I can fix up the relaxed neck after I’ve got the circle bend ok.

RIDING: HACKAMORE AND BAREBACK PAD

SOFT NECK: Walk to halt – focus on setting it up for a soft and relaxed neck during this. Head not to be stuck in the air. Do not ask for collection at the halt. As Oz moves he’ll soften up his body.

CIRCLES WITH BEND AND HARDLY ANY REIN: Use my legs to get circles. Use end of get down rope of legs arenot doing the job. Do NOT pull on reins. As I get lateral flexion, vertical fleion will follow.

TROT EVERY DAY: Work on circles with bend and hardly any rein in hackamore.

WALK TO HALT: Think ‘soft neck’ and do what I can to prepare Oz for this.

LESS HANDS ALWAYS.

HALT TO HQ IN:

Halt. Move HQ a step right with head in straight line.
Halt. Move HQ a step right with head 1 degree to the right.
Halt. Move HQ a step right with head 3 degrees to the right.
Halt. Move HQ a step right with head 5 degrees to the right.
Halt. Move HQ a step right with head 10 degrees to the right.

WHATS FOR THE FUTURE? Steve said he’d never seen Oz move so well as he does currently in the Grandeur bareback pad. Steve also said I do not need to use the halter any more. Use the hackamore all the time. You can’t pull on the reins on a hackmore. He reckons Buck doesn’t like people using hackamore because they still pull on the reins.

RESHAPE HACKAMORE: Hackamore needs to fit like a glove on horse nose. I need to reshape mine a little and it’ll ift more snugly.

DAY 4 AFTERNOON:

GROUNDWORK: TROT IN HAND WITH RELAXED NECK: Put my hand on the halter knot as I face backwards. Will be moving into trot on a circle. Halter rope about a foot long. Push Oz out into circle. If circle gets too small I’ve lost sideways so hoosh him out with rope or by moving out Hqs. Better on left rein. Same on right rein. Likely we have no sideways. Fix this by pushing out Hqs a lot, and I can fix up the relaxed neck after I’ve got the circle bend ok.

I was practising this and while it was good on the left rein, it was awful on the right rein. Oz kept pushing in on me and I was having trouble moving him out so asked Steve to have a look. Oz was indeed like a plank, so poot Steve had to run around with him moving out his HQ a lot to get him to bend and move out on the circle. Then he got a nice big circle, bend in horse, horse yielding out and starting to relax. HUGE change. If Oz rushes, move himout. If Oz is sluggish, use rope behind him to move him on.

RIDING: HACKAMORE AND BAREBACK PAD

Holy moly our riding went up a few levels in this session!!! I had both mecate reins in one hand and wasn’t doing very much with them. Instead we were doing circles with my legs and backing up anything that was stuck with my free hand holding the get down rope and dangling it on either side of Oz as needed to move him sideways a little.

This was AMAZING!! No pulling. Soft neck. Easy relaxed walk. No falling in on circles. Horse cool as custard!! And I even had a photographer there to take photos what were the odds!!

Steve said Oz was looking like his horse!!! OMG!

If during this, Oz was bent one way by his mind was slightly going the other way, use it and do a counter bend and then walk off again. OWN IT! Genius.

Definitely the best ridden work I’ve done to date. And my horse is amazing, never thought we’d get this far lol!

Thank you Steve and Irena and 100% without your help Oz & I would not be doing even 1/10 of what we achieved this weekend. With a great horse and a great teacher, everything is possible!

PART 5: 3 Day UK Buck clinic report 2015 & quotes

By , June 25, 2015 12:41 pm

Buck Day 3 AM – H1 GROUP

– Don’t let horse stop unexpectedly, catch it before it happens. Keep the horse in my rectangle.
– Don’t grip your legs like a bird on a fence rail.
– Halt – walk, this is position 3 to Position 2, with slight leg energy.

“The further up the leg your aid occurs, the more sophisticated the rider.
The further down the leg your aid occurs, the more crude the rider.”

Buck describes normal riders….. “When you ask you do too much. When you demand you do too little. Other than that you’re fine.” Then he smiled.

“Every time you move your horse out look at it as an opportunity to make it a little bit better.”

Halt – walk: You don’t have to be fast but you do have to be functional.

Rope on horse’s foot. Get it so you can stop each foot with very few fingers. Don’t tie rope to horses foot etc of course.

Teach horse to tie.

– Use an overhead wire thats long so horse can walk around while still tied if they need to. When they get to the end of the wire, they automatically disengage their own hindquarters and then walk in the opposite direction.
– Horse can move left, right, forward and backward.
– When they get to the end, they hindquarter yield and walk off again. Leave horse there until they settle.

Not getting a result when you ask your horse to do something is the same as getting run over by your horse in their mind.

Buck told a funny story about bicycles. Bicycle – chase it and let horse have fun. If horse can ‘move’ bike then its not scary.

– When you drop your horses front foot to side, does the horse keep his head / neck bent in that shape by himself. Ideally he will.

– If horse roots his head, bump to say no and then ask for soft feel to show him what you’d like him to do instead.

10-9-8s Exercise

– If horse gets worried, do circles and serpentines then do 10-9-8s again. When you get a mental change in the 10-9-8s, regardless of the number you are at, then give your horse a rest.

EXERCISE

– Walk – soft feel – stop – release – ask to back up
– Walk – soft feel – stop – ask to back up
– You don’t want a pause between step and back up – so get rid of the hard spot/brace before the back up. Do 6 times until you get a good one.

EXERCISE

– Lateral flexion, no feet move.
– 1 step forequarter yield (hand position 2)
– Even hands on both sides

Teardrops STAGES 1 TO 6:

Teardrop Guide with legs, loose rein.

– 1. Walk with life in a straight line. Do a small circle / tear drop at the end of the line, and reach with inside front leg, half circle size to be about 3 to 4 steps of inside fore. Walk on again in a straight line. Then do it again. So your pattern looks like a tear drop at both ends. WALK and TROT.

– 2. Do the same with a soft feel, carry the soft feel, use your legs on circle shape to guide your horse, release, do same in other teardrop. WALK and TROT.

– 3. Soft feel, turn, change flexion just after the teardrop, leg yield over then release. WALK and TROT.

– 4. After teardrop do a canter depart, after leg yield, back to trot

– 5. Canter before and during the teardrop. At end of tear drop trot, leg yield and then canter depart again.

– 6. No trots, just all canter, with flying changes.

EXERCISE

– Leg yield to left, and time up with right (inside) hind leg.

“You prepare horse for lead changes. Your horse then does the lead change himself.”

Buck Day 3 PM

The basics you need to do: walk, trot and lope on loose rein. A LOOSE rein!! (A horse riding, a lot of people can’t do this.)

Forequarter yield exercise

– Turn forequarter until 1 hind leg is stepping back behind.

Learn the 4 ways to move hindquarters = very important.

HOW TO KNOW WHAT LEAD YOUR HORSE IS ON IN TROT

– Trot straight very very fast (straight line).
– Canter depart in a straight line
– Remember what it feels like in trot, and what lead he’s on then in canter.
– In trot, do hindquarters tip an inch off centerline right or left? This is your clue!!
– To prepare for canter, tip hindquarters a little bit to one side while you trot to influence what canter lead you will get.
– All on loose rein on a straight line for a long way.

“Make it so it’s just like a feather.”


BUCK QUOTES:

“I try to treat everyone I meet like they might be the next Tom or Ray who could go on to be of good to horses and humans long after I have gone. Who knows? There may be someone here who might become the next great artist in Horsemanship in the next 20 or 30 years.”

Buck said that Tom Dorrance told him, “Don’t treat them like they are. Treat them how you’d like them to be.”

If you’re having a bad day, Buck says “Don’t be too hard on yourself. There is a natural ebb & flow to our progress with horses. At a clinic only a month ago I put a horse up and went back to my trailer knowing that I’d put the WORST ride that I’d put on a horse in the last 10 yrs! No one saw it, I’m sure but I knew that I’d missed a lot of the small timings that I would normally get pretty much spot on.

Then, just 3 days later, I rode one of my finished Bridle Horses and I got the BEST feel from that horse that I’ve EVER got! And I want you to remember just how much I ride and how many horses I have ridden in my life. It’s just the ebb & flow and it happens to all of us.”

“Every time you move a horse on out, use it as an opportunity to get your horse’s Life up. But you need him alive and ‘punctual’ but without being troubled. On a dull horse you might need him lively but this might make him troubled and you’ll need to be able to see him through that trouble and out to the other side.
Good timing is essential to all this work but timing is only relevant on a horse that is full of life. There’s no such thing as good timing on a dull horse!”

‘A horse will never be emotionally stable until he is even and balanced on both sides.’

“Before you get on your horse, use ground work to get him really dialled-in to you, properly hooked onto you – before you step up onto him. Don’t just get him to the point where he’s good to the point that he might not buck you off!”

“When you get in time with his feet you will be amazed at how much he might offer you and how responsive he can get.”

‘Age and wisdom don’t always travel together. Sometimes age gets there well in advance!’

“This short serpentine is about as much like an exorcism as you are ever likely to experience. But it’s worth it because so much good can come out of it.”

“I don’t want to see you sitting around letting the air go through your ears. You can do that when you leave.”
He spoke of people using “crutches and gimmicks” to make up for sorry horsemanship. This referred to the garbage used in a show jumping warm up arena.

“No pressure without purpose.”

This is worth thinking about – when you’ve got your horse halted – calculate how long the horse can stand still and be content. Then before he fails, move him and do something on his terms.

Soft feel – be still and see where your horse gives to you. Be subtle and release at the slightest change. When he asks for soft feel he just waits, he doesn’t change anything, he doesn’t do more. If the horse pushes just keep him straight and wait. Let him thing. Lateral flexion will make it harder for him. “You can’t do too much of this but you have to be subtle. If you do too much you take the think away from your horse.”

‘The spur will not answer the problem of inaccurate legs. You need to find out what made him dull in the first place.’

‘Don’t treat them how they are, treat them how you’d like them to be’. You ride a green horse in the same way you’d give dignity to a real fine horse. He might not know what you’re talking about but he’s not trying to do the wrong thing. You try to train yourself to ride with quality even on a green one and doesn’t know much. He might not have a lot to offer but you ride him like he does and one day he will.

PART 4: 3 Day UK Buck clinic report 2015

By , June 24, 2015 10:14 am

BUCK DAY 2 UK – Day 2 AM Buck – H1 GROUP

– Soft feel in walk. Both directions.
– Soft feel in trot. Change of direction with soft feel.
– Back up in circles, front leg goes behind.
– Forequarter yield, front leg goes in front.

How To Help Herd Bound Horses

– In a safe enclosed area with high fence, don’t use your reins at all.
– Have the other horse down at one end of the arena.
– When your horse decides they want to be neat the other horse, let them go over but trot and lope near the other horse.
– Your horse dictates the direction. You dictate the speed.
– If you horse offers to step away / move away from the horse a little, slow down and relax as a reward. Pet him.
– Do it with every horse you own.

LEANING OR DRIFTING

– If horse is leaning/drifting in one direction, then overcompensate – leg yield in circle the way he doesn’t want to go.
– So for example you’re on the right rein and you’re approaching a corner.
– Horse starts to lean in to the right and cut the corner.
– Make a small LEFT circle back into that corner, then ride out the the corner and back on the right rein.

– Walk – soft feel – slow your body and slow the walk – the walk on.

Riding

Short Serpentines

– 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!!


“All you have to do in the horse business is surround yourself with people that know less than you then you’re an authority.”

Large Serpentine

– With your inside Head – lift it, swing it out and then drop that hand – like a puppeteer controlling the outside front leg, then your hand goes back to the mane and resets for the next foot.
– Legs in circle position.
– To be emotionally stable, the horse needs to be even on both sides.

EXERCISE

Ride around and call out when X foot is about to leave the ground.

HEAD ROOTING

If your horse roots use good timing & bump it as horse starts to put head down and push.

– Good serpentine should feel like it’s the horse’s idea, especially on the left side.
– Use your right hand to help shorten left rein.

Soft feel is first done on a straight line

Soft feel

– Walk
– Ask for soft feel on straight line
– Release
– Do same with fast walk (soft feel)
– Then transition to slow walk (try soft feel)

– Step with hindquarter right under.
– Step with hindquarter left under.
– Step with right fore last.
– Step with left fore last.

Buck Avo Day 2 – H2 GROUP

– Hindquarter yield on ground – with loose lead rope.

Small serpentine:

– 3 steps with right fore in small circle
– 1 step straight with left fore
– 3 steps with left fore in small circle
– 1 step straight with right fore
– Keep good posture while you ride

Walk – soft feel – seat position 3 – stop – back up – rest = all one movement.

– Lateral flexion with no feet moving at halt – then move 1 fore foot 1 step sideways

If horse is taking over:

– Trot on loose rein
– Bend to a halt (when horse is going too fast)
– Hold until feet are still
– Release

– Walk – soft feel – smooth transition into trot – soft feel – walk – soft feel
– Walk on loose rein – walk slowly – normal walk

FOOTFALL TIMING

– Leg yield right when left hind leaves ground
– Forequarter turn to back up – without brace in middle between both movements
– Don’t ask where horse’s front feet are! Look down and check if you need to. Its fine :)
– Halt to walk transition with a hind foot moving first.

4 WAYS TO ASK FOR A HINDQUARTER YIELD (as light as possible)

– Hq yield as light as possible with reins and leg
– At halt get a soft feel and move HQ over with your leg
– Move HQ over with legs and no reins
– Move HQ over with hands but without your legs (turn horse’s head 90 degrees and wait). Let horse think and figure it out

Homework

– Do 40 or 50 turns – 1 flexion, 1 step forequarter yield
– When the withers rise, the hindquarters have somewhere to move under.

PART 5 COMING SOON!

REMINDER: If you have enjoyed this report, come & watch Steve Halfpenny teach on Sun & Mon June 28-29 in Tipperary. Tickets €60 per day, email CHOCOLATELABHELP @ GMAIL.COM for more info.

PART 3: 3 Day UK Buck clinic report 2015

By , June 23, 2015 1:27 pm

Buck Day 1 AFTERNOON (second bunch of horses)

– Circle on ground
– Imaginary box is drawn all around your horse. The box shouldn’t be the size of the arena! It should just fit around your horses body.
– Center of this rectangle / imaginary box is the safest place for horse
– People think everything is going perfect because you aren’t noticing and observing enough. Then your horse spooks sideways.

Riding

– Serpentines, use your inside hand in time with inside foot.
– First do exercises with 1 rein only.

Serpentines

– 1 straight step with new leading foot before you ask the horse to bend in the other direction.
– You should know in walk and trot, what lead your horse is on so you don’t ask for an incorrect canter lead.
– Do something mellow.
– Then do something athletic (trot – halt).
– Then back to mellow stuff.
– Get your horse really walking out.
– Walk very slow, then very fast.

Short Serpentines (one rein for 30 minutes) (gets horse moving from hind and collecting) NOTE: THESE REALLY WORK!!

– Bend horses neck 90 degrees laterally. Ride small circle around cowboy hat.
– Feet to be even on the small circle, not more hindquarters or more forequarters.
– 3 steps each way. Then 1 straight step going forwards.
– Goal: to swing neck real clean with no brace when its straight.
– The inside front foot lands very softly, hindquarters are engaged.
– Whichever end is doing less, get it to do more. Don’t get the fast end to do less or you’re end up with a very slow horse!
– This does so much good.
– With hackamore, start wide arm outwards to begin flexion.
– Do the semi serps before the soft feel exercise.
– Only change rein when something positive comes through.
– Do for 2 weeks = an AMAZING horse!

HALT, LATERAL FLEXION, MOVE 1 FRONT FOOT SIDEWAYS AND A LITTLE BACKWARDS

– Halt
– Lateral flexion
– Arms out and a little backwards, and move 1 front foot sideways
– Release only when front foot moves

– If not as good as this going right circle, you’ve got a right canter lead issue.

Halt – soft feel – relax

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Buck got down on foot and roped a guys foot and then played around with timing. At one point with bad timing he nearly half tripped Tim! But when Buck used good timing Tim was able to walk fine :)

– Walk + soft feel on straight line.
– Lift your hands a little up to get head elevation.
– You’d like the horse to rise up at the withers, and
– Then release.

– Walk straight – soft feel – slow down using your body, then walk out again.
– Do transitions within the walk (slow walk, fast walk). This will really help your canter.

– Back left circle, right fore behind.
– Back left circle, right fore in front.

– Buck’s horse has a busy mouth. The more Buck rode, the quieter the horse’s mouth gets as the horse felt more confident and relaxed.

NOTE: TO ALL THE GADGET PEOPLE OUT THERE -DON’T STRAP YOUR HORSES MOUTHS SHUT! FIX THE PROBLEM AND THE BUSY MOUTHS GOES AWAY AND YOU GET A HAPPY HORSE.

– Pulling on 2 reins, when a horse is pushy will not work. You need to do one rein stuff instead.

PART 4 COMING SOON!

REMINDER: If you have enjoyed this report, come & watch Steve Halfpenny teach on Sun & Mon June 28-29 in Tipperary. Tickets €60 per day, email CHOCOLATELABHELP @ GMAIL.COM for more info.

PART 2: 3 Day UK Buck clinic report 2015

By , June 22, 2015 12:34 pm

This is a short report of some of the exercises that were done by Buck in the 3 days. If anything doesn’t sound quite right its 100% my fault :) I’ve kept this as brief as possible as Buck went through a lot. This is DAY 1 MORNING with the H1 CLASS.

Buck Day 1: 24 horses in the morning

Groundwork

Get horse used to being touched by flag and then flag him with energy while at a halt.
Do the same when the horse is walking – look for areas whcih you touch that cause him worry and fix them up on the ground before you get into the saddle.
Then do the same with the cloverleaf pattern a few times.
All okay so saddle up.
Still on the ground, Bucks horse is cinchy with the saddle and looks like he wants to buck, especially in trot changing directions on a lead rope.
Tap the saddle with the stick while the horse circles to get horse used to noise & movt around saddle while horse is moving (prep for the riders). Currently the horses hindquarters are moving more than the fourquarters.
The horse should have a job and a purpose.

Riding

Walk and then hindquarter yield to a stop in time with the feet.
To move the hindquarters to the right you need to time up with the left hind to move it under the horse.
Then bring the fourquarters across.
Seperate the hind and the front quarters.
One rein used only so far.

– Roll the hind (do a hindquarter yield) by having your arm near your ribs.
– Move forequarter over (forequarter yield)with your arm out to the side, sideways a little from your hip.
– Serpentines – 4 steps per inside leg then change the direction.
– Ask for soft feel in walk. Just ask little to release.

SEAT POSITIONS:

position 1 – leaning a little forwards
position 2 – sitting up tall and straight
position 3 – sitting on the back pockets of your jeans

– Walk, with soft feel and in seat position 2.
– If you horse tosses his head around , and tries to snatch the reins out of your hands this is not allowed at all – bump him.
– Do the same at trot (soft feel).
– Buck does a lot of sitting trot.
– The horse should be able to follow a feel on a lead rope. So when you pick up a lead rope and move it somewhere, the horse should follow that direction with its body. You shouldn’t have to drive a horse – you need to move away from that as soon as you can.
– A circle should be something you’re proud of.
– If horse wants to trot, move his hindquarters while still trotting, then offer a nice walk again. Do this on both reins.
– Should be able to ride all gaits on a loose rein, without horse trying to go faster.
– On a circle the nose should be tipped in. If shoulders are leaning inwards, put pressure on shoulders to move them out.
– Move your feet, don’t stand still when you’re doing groundwork.

Buck talks about crouching over to ask your horse to disengage his hindquarters on a circle in groundwork: People go all “Crouching Tiger Flying Dragon”. Don’t do that. Horsemen laugh at people like you. Get away from that nonsense.

– “People ride with so much hands and so little legs.”

– Backup: Don’t shake your rope like you’re having a fit.
– Back up and then direct one front foot to the side in time with the feet.

Morning Riding – most people are riding in snaffle bits, and there are a few hackamores.

– Serpentines with the riders legs in circle shape. Inside leg back a little, outside leg forwards a little. Use inside rein if you need it. Get your legs good. Do minimum with hands. Should be able to do circles with your legs and body only like this, without using any reins.
– Walk to hindquarter yield.
– Buck’s horse is doing serpentines and is turning loose and relaxing more and more while he is walking.
– The goal is to ride in one hand.

– Circle, and then roll the hindquarters to the outside.
– Serpentine: 3 reaches to change directions
– More responsive to legs = means your horse will be lighter to your hands.
– Serpentine – bring your inside hand up, then over to the side and then and drop hand down (image you are a puppeteer with your horses inside leg) and then bring your hand back to the withers again as normal.
– Your horse needs to feel the release. Ask until you get the inside leg to move out sideways for these small circles.

Serpentines – ask with legs first, and follow through with hand. Up, out, down with your hand then back to the withers / mane area. Ask in time with feet until you get it.

If your horse is pushy = Do 4 foot circles around sage bushes (real or imaginary)! This is much better than pulling on two reins. Use 1 rein at a time, and your horse will start to relax better in a while.

– Lateral flexion at halt.
– Hand out to side to ask for this, and then once you have flexion bring hand back to withers area.
– Then rub horses head.
– Horses ears to be level, poll not lower than withers, and vertical flexion.
– Horses feet to stay still.
– You don’t want a brace at end of rope.

Buck told a story of some pretty terible horsemanship by Olympic rider at Grand Prix at DUBLIN RDS show last year.

Its true. Compared to standard & knowledge of the general horse community about horsemanship education (understanding a horse, rather than just riding one around like a motorbike & jumping fences with a ton of gadgets on a worried or pushy horse) in USA, Australia, NZ & UK, in general, Ireland is in the stone age in terms of horsemanship education & knowledge. We have awful gadgets and gismos everywhere.

– Speed of walk – go faster and then slower, without using the reins.
– Horse fusses with head = fast bump upwards to say ‘no’ thanks.
– Soft feel at halt. Goal: Calm and soft feel.
– Pick up reins and be so soft and just wait… wait… wait…
– At walk, get a soft feel 100 times without stopping.
– If horses head pushes lot, put hands still on front of saddle until horse figures it out and stops pushing.
– Head down: if loose reins – okay as horse hasn’t taken more rein than you gave him; if horse pulls and pulls rein out of your hands a little – lift up head and release.

PART 3 COMING SOON!

REMINDER: If you have enjoyed this report, come & watch Steve Halfpenny teach on Sun & Mon June 28-29 in Tipperary. Tickets €60 per day, email CHOCOLATELABHELP @ GMAIL.COM for more info.

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.

 photo 11412224_10153156382589934_2853944736134535752_n.jpg Continue reading 'PART 1: 18 Exercises from Buck you can practise today!'»

What are your criteria for measuring the quality of your relationship with a horse?

By , June 6, 2015 11:04 am

I saw this post on facebook by Ross Jacobs had I had to write it here so I wouldn’t lose it. Its so powerful.

What are your criteria for measuring the quality of your relationship with a horse? How do you know?
I hear and read so many people describe themselves as having a good relationship with their horse. But I never know for sure what they mean.

Generally, claims of a good relationship with a horse come from looking at it from the human perspective. But a relationship has two or more interested parties. A relationship cannot be judged from just how one party sees it. A marriage cannot be judged as good or bad just from asking one partner if they are happy or not. It can only be judged when the views of all the parties are considered. Continue reading 'What are your criteria for measuring the quality of your relationship with a horse?'»

15 things I learned yesterday from Leslie Desmond

By , May 28, 2015 4:15 pm

Yesterday I went up to Meath to watch Leslie Desmond teach. She co-wrote the Bill Dorrance book. Here is what I wrote down in my notepad.

– Most horses are turned to the left with the right hip hanging back. This is because we mainly handle them on the near side. Leslie uses halters that knot on the off side.

– The back of the rope halter should be behind the jawbone.

– Don’t stand in front of your horse or beside your horses head. Your whole body being so close to his eye and face is uncomfortable for the horse. Stand back by the stirrup and give your horse some room. You can also do something useful then by scratching his rump while you’re there. Continue reading '15 things I learned yesterday from Leslie Desmond'»

Practical insights and principals from some incredible horse books

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By , May 20, 2015 4:07 am

There are some amazing horse books published. Over the last week I’ve been spending a few hours each day reading & re-reading my horse books. Here is a short collection of my favourite thoughts from each book. My strategy was to read 20-30 pages of a book, and then go out to the paddock and work with my horse using one of these insights. It worked out really well.

My #1 favourite that I 100% recommend as being wonderful and easy to read, is TRUE HORSEMANSHIP THROUGH FEEL.

I also loved ENLIGHTENED EQUITATION (focused on riding) and the feel and timing insights in BELIEVE are superb as many riders share their stories of horsemanship.

I also have a second batch of books to read, and will do a review on them in a week or two.

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Continue reading 'Practical insights and principals from some incredible horse books'»

23 Common horse problems that could be caused from pain from a bad saddle fit

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By , May 19, 2015 10:25 am

I’ve recently had a bad run of saddle fitters in Ireland. I’ve heard bad stories and seen sore horses from munster, leinster, connaught and the north! It’s terrible. Finding someone who can accurately assess your horses saddle in Ireland is VERY difficult.


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Two saddle fitters told me my saddles fitted fine. But my horse’s pain and unwanted behaviour based on the pain, told me they didn’t.

The result was time off work, visits from an equine physio and a lot of unresponsive saddle fitters who don’t want to hear about their problem! You can read about my saddle fit disasters here.

Continue reading '23 Common horse problems that could be caused from pain from a bad saddle fit'»

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