Autumn 2018 Update

Autumn is nearly over, and after a week of cold and wet weather it certainly feels like winter is coming soon.

We’ve been busy with client horses, who are all doing well and will be returning home soon. All but two of the late foals are now weaned, so there have been handling sessions. Working with foals has rewards all of its own as it is so important to lay good foundations for all later work.

We have had visits from a few people, including Mary Torok and some of her family from NZ. Mary owns a gelding by Rev, out of Sidi, and another Rev daughter.

Late summer and autumn saw me starting on a new journey: jousting. Cliff Marisma, accomplished jouster and recently accepted into the Order of the Star, has taken me under his wing as squire and is teaching me to joust. My mounts have been Rev and Cliff’s superstar Paco. Part of learning to joust is wearing armour. With a borrowed harness, I’v been riding as often as possible, not only at home but also out on the trail. This has possibly caused some confusion by passing motorist, but I don’t think I have caused an major disruptions so far… While it is unlikely, that I will be jousting on any of the Icelandic Horses, I see no reason that they shouldn’t be accustomed to armour and weapons, so I am having a load of fun riding some of them in full armour as well. Additionally, I have brough Ramirez back into work. More to come on about jousting soon.

I have also done a little more horse archery, attending a club day with Keldan and participating in a postal match.

There are several skill at arms and archery clinics and competitions coming up in spring, and I working out which ones to attend. I think we’ll have a lot of fun. As I am about to bring several of the mares back into work, I will try to bring a couple more up to being archery mounts and hopefully also be handy for skill at arms. That means winter will be busy!

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Toys: pool noodles

Part 1 of a series about toys I use in horse education - pool noodles

Why use pool noodles

  • they are relatively cheap
  • they are very safe to use as they are soft and really can’t cause injury to horse or rider
  • they are nice and colourful
  • they are light (good for kids and grandmas)
  • they move easily, so whether horses step on them or over them they may move which makes horses look at them and think

Groundwork

  • walk your horse over a single or multiple pool noodle
  • walk your horse over a random pile of them Note: regardless of whether your horse clears them or steps on them, they are great. Stepping carefully over obstacles is great. If your horse steps on one, the ends life up and the things move, that is scary for some, but a safe way to learn to step over moving stuff.
  • lay them on the ground parallel and ask your horse to walk through the narrow path between them. Make it longer with more noodles. Or narrower. Or change the width. Or make corners. Alternatively, ask your horse to back through.
  • lay one or more down and as your horse to sidepass over them
  • use to touch your horse all over - think of it as “sacking out”, this is great for desensitisation and it can be helpful for horses that are touchy around the legs (very safe for horse and handler!)
  • can lean one or more against your horse and then ask your horse to walk on, good for getting your horse used to things falling over and touching body and legs
  • can lay across the horse and balance, then walk the horse and wait for the pool noodle/s to fall off. Great for desensitisation
  • can lay them out to form narrow alleys to ask the horse to walk carefully within lines, or across lines
  • can hang them up with stings from above so the horse learns to negotiate seemingly narrow place and learns to be brave while following you
  • can mount vertically or horizontally that they touch your horse around the legs and body when walking past
  • combine with other obstacles (more on those in another post)

Riding alone

  • rope in a helper to touch the horse all over while in the saddle
  • repeat the groundwork exercises from the saddle
  • use as pretent weapon to desensitise your horse to long things above and all around
  • ride one handed and ride past things and bang it with the noodle
  • ride hands free and try acrobatic tricks with your noodle/s

Riding with others

  • many of the riding alone exercises are more fun with more riders
  • use for mock jousting
  • use to play ball with others (can use a broom handle to extend pool noodes that have a hollow core)
  • have mock noodle-sword battles to hone your hand handed riding skills
  • play tug of war to hone your no-handed riding skills
  • play pass the noodle or dodge the noodle

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Open letter

It has come to my attention that there may be some confusion in relation to my stud activities. To save everyone time and the dreary inconvenience of having to rely on hearsay (both the innocent and the other variety), here is the concise version – straight from the horse’s mouth. Instead of addressing some of the Chinese whispers, here is what I currently do, what the history is behind it, where I’m aiming at, and some of the stuff I believe in as a breeder.

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Skill at arms clinic - February 2018

The MEA (Military Equitation Association) held a skill at arms training day at Unicorn Park. It was the second such clinic I’ve been to that was taught by Phillip Leitch, and it was very good. Yvonne was injured and couldn’t attend, but Amber came along. I rode Sparky at his second ever public outing, and Amber rode Keldan.

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Foaling season wrap up - 2017

Foaling season for 2017/2018 finally came to an end, when Pinta finally had her colt in mid January. Six happy and healthy foals as hoped and expected. A few more colts than I had ordered, but I am very pleased overall. Some of these adorable guys are for sale. Head over to my sales listing for more info.

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Timeline Festival 2017

The 2017 Timeline Festival was held at Kryal Castle on the last October weekend. It was a fantastic weekend full of watching lots of fantastic reenactment, riding, meeting people and enjoying the atmosphere. If you didn’t go - don’t miss next year!

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May Updates

Yvonne and I went to some fun events, a Downunder Extreme Cowboys training day at Rokewood, and a Skill at Arms training day in Ballarat (organised by the Victorian Goldfields Medieval Fair folks).

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May Training

I’ve had a busy time with visitors and horse training. The lovely and colourful Nick graduated from horse primary school and went home with his owner Alison.

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