Breaking a 12yo riding horse to harness – Bertie the piebald cob.
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Breaking a 12yo riding horse to harness – Bertie the piebald cob.

October 13, 2019


Bertie is a 12 year old riding cob. His owner wanted him broken to drive as she could no longer ride him. This video shows what he achieved get
time with us. Although we do not believe that two
wheelers are better for newly-trained horses seeing as a horse can back a 2 wheeler into a ditch just as easily as it can jack-knife a four-wheeler – and if your horse is trained
properly he shouldn’t be jack knifing a carriage in the first place – as Bertie’s owners plan to drive him in a 2-wheeler we therefore drove him in both 2 and 4-wheel vehicles. We needed to ensure Bertie would be able to hold the 2-wheeler
back without a brake. Although our 2-wheeled carriage has disc brakes fitted, we show here that he will hold it back going downhill while taking the weight on his breeching. This shows he will not kick out or be
startled should he have pressure on his breeching for example if the owner’s vehicle does not have brakes. Bertie will also walk past other
horses that he encounters on his drive. Lots of ridden horses are frightened of carriages and often pull into gateways or hide behind hedges, but even when they
pass him in the road going in the other direction he carries on the way he has been
instructed to go by the driver. Bertie will walk happily through these heavy ribbons that brush against his body as he goes through them, past the colorful hanging balloons, over the plastic that scrunches up around
his feet and underneath the lighter flapping ribbons. He will also walk past the roadwork signs and over a pedestrian crossing mat. These are often used in indoor driving
trials as part of the cones course and the horse needs to have enough
confidence in the driver to walk over or past scary things which they could
encounter either out on the roads or when driving around fields. if the horse has the confidence to walk over our metal ramps for example he will have the confidence to walk over
manholes when he is out on the roads. Bertie will also enter the river happily as well as being confident going through
puddles. We take Bertie into our cones field where he meets the reindeer.
Our wooden cones bridge has gaps between the boards and as the bridge is raised and hollow underneath it makes a different noise as the horse go over it which makes it more frightening for
them to walk over. However you can see here that Bertie will walk or trot over the bridge when asked. Although we believe in training horses
to cope with traffic we also take them off-road to ensure
they’re still controllable on a grass surface. We take Bertie into this large field, along the straight grass verge. Some people believe the best way to get
a horse to behave is not to get excited in the first place
but we believe the horse should be well trained enough to behave even when it is
excited. Once he has gone up the field a way, we turn
him around and ask him to canter back towards home. We also encourage him
on with the reins on his quarters; it is not necessarily the correct way to
do this but it proves that he will not kick back or panic if they touch him on the quarters. Bertie knows he is heading home as he
has done a 180 degree turn. He is only being driven in a rubber bit; you
can see Fletcher can stop him and ask him to stand still even after
the excitement of cantering towards home. As you can see Bertie he will walk on calmly even after
working at a fast pace. We show that Bertie will stand
still when asked on a loose rein even out on the roads when he’s not at
a junction for example. He will also walk calmly out of the yard and stand still at the gate when it is open.
This is important because you don’t want your horse getting excited when you
start your drive especially if, like us, your yard entrance
takes you straight out on the road. He is still being driven just in a soft rubber bit. He is standing at the gate without a groom at his head and on a slack rein, proving that he
is listening to the driver’s instructions. As Bertie’s owner is a novice lady driver, we put Sian on the reins, who is also a novice lady driver, to show that she can drive Bertie as well. Bertie will stand on the motorway bridge and look down at the traffic below. This is important in
case you are ever forced onto the pavement while crossing the bridge. It is no good if your horse
has to stay in the center of the road because it is frightened of the noise of
traffic moving either side, so we ensure they will stand still on the pavement and look directly at the
traffic. Bertie will also turn in a 2-wheeler. You can see here that the shaft is pressing into his neck and he
has his quarters on the other shaft, yet he will happily turn both left and
right. Bertie’s owner said that he kicked out at another horse, so here we have put him in a team out in the lead to show he is happy working with other horses all around him and also that he will not
kick back at the horse behind him or at the leader bars on the carriage.

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  1. You know, of all of the 'easy listening' cds they do of whale song and the sea and so on, why doesn't someone make one of horses hooves on tarmac?

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