Riding a shire – confidence building under saddle with a heavy horse.
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Riding a shire – confidence building under saddle with a heavy horse.

August 11, 2019


Roxy is a 5 1/2yo shire mare that came to us for reschooling after
she bolted with a chain harrow with her owners. We were asked by her owners to break her to ride while she was with us for retraining and this is her first time under saddle.
You can see here she is being ridden in soft rubber bit, answering the rider’s commands even though
it is her first time with someone on her back. Sarah is now taking her out on the road to
show she is controllable even when leaving the confines of the
yard. We also show that she will rein back when
entering the yard. This is a good test to see if the horse is
actually listening to the rider or driver. As you can see she steps back when asked. All this is being done just in a soft rubber bit.
Roxy was difficult to bridle when she came to us; here Sarah is putting her bridle on,
which is a bit of a struggle seeing as she is tall and Sarah is short but she does not mind even when
Sarah climbs up on the manger in order to put her ears through. Here we’re taking Roxy around our
arena showing she will remain calm and controllable even when encountering the scary hazards. She will walk over tarpaulin that makes a
noise under her feet walk happily under ribbons that flap about around her head, past road signs, into puddles and between big barrels without panicking. The recent storms have somewhat
battered our arena however you can see Roxy will walk
happily amongst all the hazards even while it is windy and raining. Now Nancy is riding to show that
she still goes well for a different rider and will also behave on a grass surface. She is riding Roxy over the cones bridge which makes a different noise as it is hollow underneath. Unlike most bridges, ours has small gaps between the boards
which makes it even more alarming to the horse. Trot up. You can see Roxy will walk calmly over the bridge as well as reining back over it. The slope contributes to the difficulty too as we are asking her to rein back both uphill and downhill which she does
happily. Although she had already gone over a tarpaulin in our arena, this one is larger and a different colour
but Roxy still walks over happily even when it is moved about by Sarah and
Baz. This shows the level of trust that the mare
has in her handlers and the rider as she will let us put the tarpaulin over her head. Notice how her hind leg is at rest showing she is relaxed while we’re
doing this. As Sarah pulls it over her quarters, we then asked her to walk out from
underneath it. Here Sarah is mounting her from the ground, showing that Roxy does not mind
having a person hold on to the stirrups and pull themselves up on her back, i.e.
if the rider is tall enough not to require a leg up. As we show in this section, Roxy can be ridden out on the roads and is still well behaved in a soft rubber bit
even when going past lorries, cars and bicycles. We also take her into the river showing that she will walk calmly into water when asked. okay I

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  1. Putting the trap over her entire body was impressive if only I lived in England I'd love to learn breaking in proses from you guys 🙂

  2. what good girls! All of them. I love that nice blaze on roxy's face .. shows off that arched nose 🙂 love your videos . I'm learning so much. Keep em coming .

  3. omg. that little girl mounted from the ground ! Good for her- and Roxy stayed nicely calm. Makes me feel silly mounting my little Fjord from a stool LOL 

  4. You've done well with her, but I would've liked to see more slack in the reins like when you guys do driving. I saw that quite a few times she chewed on the bit due to the rider keeping the reins tight and putting pressure on the bit while doing the hazard course and the road riding, if she's used to slack reins and no pressure unless she's being asked something this could end up confusing her. She's a beautiful horse and you guys have done wonders for her confidence!

  5. What a lovely Clumper. Love the videos and I really admire that you work in cold and miserable conditions. The sounds of those hoofs hitting the road really makes my heart sing. 🙂

  6. Wonderful job on this mare.
    I look forward to working with my Draft Mare and Donkeys as weather gets better and hopefully my health.
    Until then I really enjoy your videos. Greetings from NW North Dakota, USA.

  7. Loved this (: It's great to see people showing that big horses don't need harsh bits or handling and, when trained properly, are just as soft and respectful as any other horse half their size.

  8. Really nice. Lovely mare. I like the shaking and lifting of the tarp. Controlled "scaries" so that if she ever gets near one and the wind flaps it, it's "Oh, I've seen this before." And you never know what you're going to need the horse to accept or do.  I taught my little VSE to turn the cart by side-passing,  keeping the inside wheel in place and simply rotating it and a friend said, "Why are you doing that? You'll never need that." A month later, on a cross country drive, I had to back Jewel quickly to get out of the way of a much larger horse–the driver had not even registered that Jewel and I were there!–and we went right under a tree. Jewel wasn't under the branches, but I was and the only gap was straight to my left. So I told her "Over", gave her the appropriate rein cue and she rotated that cart  a quarter turn without moving it forward a foot and I drove right out through the gap. A few branch scratches from going in, none from going out. (Yes, I did chew out the owner of the larger horse, but this is something you just have to deal with when you drive a VSE.)

  9. I've always wanted a big, gentle horse to ride 🙂 but alas I have neither the money nor the land for such a magnificent horse!

  10. You folks know what you are doing! I would love to visit you folks and get some training on how to deal with "naughty" horses. Needless to say there are different levels of "naughty". Love the videos you put up. Thank you. 

  11. I enjoyed watching this video and I am glad that you were using a rubber bit with this horse. it seems like you have done wonders with her and she now has so much more confidence than she had. Especially after her frightening experience when she bolted.   My only pet peeve with horse training is using the word "breaking".  It is much better to use the words "training" or "schooling".  Breaking infers harsh methods to break the horses spirit and I can see that you don't do that.   I am a dog trainer and I don't use the term "breaking" when I am training a dog

  12. I watched this 9 months ago and now I have watched it again. Roxy was such a good girl. I hope she's having a lovely life being a ridden horse now. I have a friend who bought two draught horses for her carriage business and then taught them to ride under saddle. She said they are absolutely the best. They are really bomb proof 🙂

  13. May I ask: What make of saddles you are riding this mare in? I have a Haflinger mare of 9 years that is a terribly difficult fit. I am riding her in a circle Y trail saddle with full quarter horse bars and its not working with her shoulders.

  14. I noticed when Roxy went over the second tarp, her ears were back to her rider as she went over it. She was trusting her rider for her direction and protection. What a wonderful horse. I truly hope she's bringing someone some happiness today. What a lovely mare.

  15. Thank you for this video. You have given me more ideas on how to work with my Percheron. I especially love the whole tarp over Sarah & Roxy. Thanks!

  16. i loved the tarpolion part. She was so relaxed when they put it over her.
    usually a horse will stand straighter when you do things such as that.

  17. You should train the horse to lower her head so the bridle can be put on without all the hassle. I really enjoyed watching this video.

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