A New Approach
When you think of an equestrian blogger, eventers, show jumpers and dressage riders usually spring to mind. That’s probably where I differ the most. Out of my 5 horses, only 2 can be ridden and out of those 2, only 1 can be ridden by an adult. I have my original boy, Captain Jack. Jack is a 17.1hh Clydesdale x Dutch warmblood so as you can imagine, his competition career in terms of eventing (my fave) is pretty limited but his place in my heart - forever more. Jack took up position as chief happy hacker due to a distinct lack of transport (damn mortgage) and with that, we’ve enjoyed the last 10 years exploring wherever we are.
Rambo is our other ridden resident and at just 10.3 (ish) is my 3 year old daughter’s pony. With her inky dinky saddle, she feels invincible and enjoys wandering around the fishing lakes near to our yard as well as the reservoir we’re lucky to be stabled near. Rambo, is the perfect gentleman too, taking her wherever she wants to go.
That leaves us with 3 youngsters, Danny, Steve and Hattie. If I’m being totally honest, the naïve side of me assumed having youngsters would be a breeze for the first few years. No ridden work needed and left to be youngsters but that’s far from the truth. While they aren’t ridden, they still require so much work and time.
I’ve found myself spending a great deal of time looking at my own horsemanship too. What works for my big lad Jack just won’t cut it with a Kinsky x Hanoverian yearling filly for example. Both Danny and Hattie are warmbloods. Their similarity in terms of breeding seems to seep through into their personalities too, making them both a little temperamental at times, her more so than him but I’ll refrain from any chestnut mare clichés – or at least I’ll try. Steve seems to be more on the chilled side of things but that makes our job of raising him no easier. Youngsters have taught me so much in such a little amount of time and shown me how little I really knew.
From worming to farrier visits, vet visits and even rugging, it’s all totally new and all something that needs to be taught. It’s definitely something I took for granted with Jack and Rambo. They came to me ready made for want of a better phrase. These 3 however, I’m having to ‘make myself’ as it were and while at times the challenge is tough, it’s definitely satisfying. I’ve begun leaning more toward a natural horsemanship style of handling and with Hattie especially, it’s shown a huge transformation in the way the horses respond to me. While in previous years I would have looked upon ‘natural horsemanship’ as ridiculous (there I said it), I’ve since eaten my words with the help of a local trainer by the name of Jemma Myers. Those who know her and many do, will know the ‘miracles’ she often creates when it comes to loading and handling of any kind. Hattie, my chestnut filly is one such horse she’s helped with. Hattie is my most challenging horse and perhaps quite possibly, my horse of a lifetime. With the right handling and the right education from an early age, I’m hoping to establish an unbreakable bond but I know they’ll be challenges along the way, just as there will be with all of them. It’s probably these 3 guys who my journey focuses on the most and perhaps one I’m looking forward to sharing with you the most. It’s also times like this that I look back and have a real sense of gratitude toward the person who sold me Jack, because I can finally see all the work that went into raising him. Youngsters are far from easy, they’re far from the breeze I thought they’d be but then again, the satisfaction I’ll have in terms of backing them and travelling on the journey they take me, I know, won’t be like anything else I’ve experienced before.