Pulling weight (retraining a horse that balks) – Magic Part 4
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Pulling weight (retraining a horse that balks) – Magic Part 4

August 20, 2019


So this is Magic, she’s an Andalusian mare we’ve been training. We’re just bringing her down through the village now, we’ve got some ladies riding in front of her which is always a good thing to be able to show; the fact that she’s not rushing to catch up with the other horses she’ll still do as she’s told, not calling out to them either, you never know if you’re going to meet any riders or any horses while you’re out on a drive so its a lovely thing to be able to do with them, take them out in company. If you watch here we’re coming down into the water, no hesitation when she goes in. You’ve got the different pull of the carriage so by that I mean it gets heavier as it goes into the water (the drag of the water) gravel on the bottom makes the wheels sink which makes it harder work for her. But she’ll pull it on now, no plunging just doing her job, and its slightly uphill going up there. We’ve got Magic in a different carriage today, this one’s got solid wheels. So she’s been in both pneumatic tyred and solid wheeled vehicles – this one’s a little bit more rattly, because of the solid tyres. But she’s got no problem pulling this, working well, still being driven in a soft piece of rubber. So we’ve asked Fletcher to canter her into the water today; see she’s going in with no hesitation at all, going forwards, which is exactly what we want to see. And on the exit this time, I’ve asked him just to bring her back a little bit when she comes out just to show that she’ll pull it up this slight slope after being asked to come back to a stand still. You can see there, standing then pulls it straight on again. Now we’ve got Magic’s owner on the reins. So it just shows that the mare will do what she’s asking; obviously she doesn’t know the mare – she knows her from owning her but she doesn’t know her in terms of how she goes in harness. The last time she saw her was when she sent her away to be broken to drive previously and things didn’t go so well consequently she’s got to learn how to drive the horse. Even though she made a mistake there the mare’s still willing to pull it on uneven ground. So that’s a lovely thing to see. Sat up behind, just following this lady driving her horse. This is the Andalusian the problem we’ve got we need to keep her on the reins as much as we can and she must listen to what we’re saying, when we give instructions on how to drive this mare because this mare wouldn’t move forwards when you asked her, she wouldn’t do anything, she froze and its a very difficult thing. We take it for granted maybe which is our fault, how to drive the horse but its now having to teach the owner how to drive the horse. If you put just a little tiny bit too much weight
on the reins she’ll stop dead and not go on. Or that’s what the horse was like 2 weeks ago. Since then we’ve been developing its head carriage, we’re able to put a bit more weight on the bit and that type of thing. I’ll just wave these cars on. It’s a very very delicate thing to do;
we don’t take any notice of it because we do it all the time you know having to get the horse’s head carriage right, the balance but apply too much pressure and you’ll unnerve the mare and she’ll start to doubt she can pull the load. That’s the way we read the horse. On the other hand not enough firmness with her and the mare would be capable of taking a liberty. i.e. she would not do as she’s told. She needs to do as she’s told so trot on when she’s told, obviously when you’re out in the traffic the horse has got to obey every command you give it. We’ve got it to that stage now where it does
everything we want it to do its safe, to take on the road everything’s there, now we’ve got to try and train and do our best to train the owner in the time we’ve got. Or retrain the owner to drive this horse how she needs to be driven for her to continue to be safe on the public highway. And that’s what we’re doing at the moment. At the moment everything’s going just fine, and we’ve had stop/starts, she’s had hill starts, as you can see on the film you know she had to stop at a junction, pull out, and she’s managed it just right. If you had too much weight on your hands at a junction she wouldn’t pull
on and its a very very awkward situation to be in; when we know, and we’re trying to pass that experience which is what it really is, onto somebody that doesn’t have it. All we can do is do the best we can so that’s the purpose of taking 3 hours out the day to do this. That’s why we don’t teach the very reason we don’t teach is because we’re going to take 3 hours out the day, possibly 3 and a half to show this lady how to drive her own horse. Obviously she needs a backstepper or somebody with her when you’re driving a horse that’s obviously a need especially so with this one. The things I don’t like that the lady is doing, she will keep tickling the horse with the whip. But the horse doesn’t need that. You don’t see us doing that, its on the voice; just tell her to trot on and she’ll trot on. She’ll trot, she’ll walk she’ll do everything you need – in training you never see us put a whip on her. So that’s one thing we’ve got to alter. But if we turn round and say to her now put the whip away you don’t need to use it that’s going to unnerve the lady, so its a catch-22. Getting everything all right. The interest I have is not in the lady, I don’t mean that with ny disrespect, its in the horse. The horse has had a bad start we’ve got her right, let’s just hope that that’s kept going. I will tell her when we get down, to ease off on the whip carry it if you must I know the British Driving Society say carry the whip, but if the horse will go on voice commands why do we need a whip? If the horse will answer immediately you see when I’m driving it or Fletcher’s driving it we never use a whip, just tell her to trot on and she’ll do her job. Tell her steady and she’ll come back. It doesn’t need that but this is the problem; you’ve got a different style of driving and the horse has got to adapt to it; we don’t own the horse, all we’ve done is get it to pull and do its job, so its really awkward. Very very awkward. Now we’ve instructed her not to use the whip, she’s put it back in the stock a lot of people disagree with that and say the correct way to drive is with a whip my answer to that is all our horses know what a whip is, they’ve been touched in front of the pad and behind the collar with a whip, and they’ve also been touched everywhere else with the whip so its not that they’re afraid of a whip in any way, but if the horse will go on the voice, why ever would you want to hit it with a whip? On this road here there’s a bit of a rise so you can see Magic’s coming along here still only being driven in a soft piece of rubber, going willingly up the hill, not being hit with a whip or struggling to pull the carriage – she’s getting into the collar at the trot because she’s been asked to which shows that she’s happy to do it. For this mare, that’s a lovely thing to see. What I’m saying with this mare is what we’ve done, you’re happy with? O: I’m ecstatic with her. B: The point is, its down to you now. That’s an awful thing to pass over to somebody because we’ve got a lot of experience because of the time we’ve been doing it. So we’re asking you now to take a horse on that you no longer really know in the point of the training she’s received her response is different, everything’s different its like having a new horse. And you’re in a new discipline. And you’re with a horse that if you put 1/2 lb too much weight on the reins the mare’s going to stop or wonder what you require of her. On the other hand you’ve still got to drive the horse, be in charge of the horse to be on the public highway that’s your duty, to be able to take the horse we know what we’ve done is right, she’s safe she does the job and everything and its a lot on your back and that is the… it’s not like you live round the corner where you could come every day. O: I bought my mare Magic, I bought her as a 6month old weanling with the express purpose of riding and driving her. Started riding her, was very pleased with her, and I sent her away to be trained for driving. I brought back a very traumatised horse that wouldn’t drive – she was very panicky, very worried about everything so then I had a decision; do I only ride her or do I continue with what I’d set out with. So having seen Horse Drawn Promotions on the internet I spoke to Mel and Barry and brought her down here. She came initially for a week to see where they could go with her and if it was something they could manage and here we are at the end of the time, you can see on the videos I’ve got a very happy confident horse, No obvious signs of that trauma, although I’m aware that its still in her memory. A happy confident horse to ride and drive which is what I always wanted. So I’m a very happy lady and I’ve got a very lucky horse.

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  1. Great video as always. Love watching them but wonder if you can recommend someone to watch that could help the driver in some way to how you help all these horses. You have stated you don't teach people, can you point us in the direction of someone on You Tube who does as I am sure there are others out there that could benefit from a little help … all for the good of the horses of course 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comment- we don't teach people to drive as we don’t have time due to demand for our breaking services; we don’t recommend anyone because we don't know anyone who teaches the way we do. We have many different clients, some are novice drivers who have a natural gift for driving, others have had many lessons from well-known instructors but still haven’t picked up the necessary skills to drive safely. Teaching people would take up so much time we wouldn't be able to train any horses!

  3. We believe there's a big difference between being a good driver and being a good trainer (i.e. just because you can drive a horse does not mean you can train one, or vice versa). Everyone has different ideas so although there are many other people out there training horses, this doesn’t mean that their training would actually help other horses, or help people to overcome their own problems. We try and help by phone or email if people want to discuss their issues in more detail.

  4. There are also people copying what we do with horses, however just because they are driving the horse through a ribbon arch in a rubber bit does not mean that they have done the groundwork as we would, or whether the methods they used were the same. Because we couldn't guarantee whether they looked after and trained the horses with the same care and attention as we do, we couldn't recommend them, even if they explained what they were doing.

  5. Barry & Mel I love your videos ❤️ and just adore your passion towards these lovely horses. All the best to you two 🤗👍🐴

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