Thursday, 23 October 2014

Everyday Stuff


Just a quick post to let you all know how everyday stuff with the horses is going, if you couldn't care less about this please do feel free to skip it. Well as you can see we've got all the Thoroughbred Horses rugged up and they are getting their fluffy winter coats now, the ponies winter coats are so thick they don't need rugs and most likely won't all winter. 



Above is a photo of our field or one side of it anyway, with all the rain we've been having it had left the fields quite muddy, then we had all the wind that dried the fields out and here you have it one big dirt field, it does have some grass down one end but they won't eat that so I guess they can't be hungry, just as well with all the haylage they munch through.



Of course haylage isn't the only thing our beloved equines are eating, we've still got our portable fencing and although it is a little run down, it's plastic after all, it still does the job. This is a shot to show some of the grazing they get, it's not great and does have rather a lot of weeds but at least they can still get some grass.



Here's what else they can reach, yummy apples, some of our herd are a little too fond of the apples, but we do keep an eye on them to make sure they don't over do it and make themselves feel ill.None of our equines have to worry about getting a shock from the portable electric fence because we don't turn it on, with them in, this does sound a bit silly but they are remarkably well behaved so they're is no real need to turn it on.

  

Coming to the end of the post now with a photo of the wonderful Niko, he is looking over to see when we are done putting up the portable fence. All the equines are well and happy, the farrier is coming tomorrow to trim their hooves, so let's hope that all goes well. 

That's it from me I hope you are all having a great time with your equines or whatever it is you happen to be up to. 



Monday, 20 October 2014

Neue Schule Verbindend Horse bit Review


 Here's my review of Neue Schule's Verbindend horse bit.

I bought Niko, my Thoroughbred gelding, this bit and have been riding him in it for quite some time now so I figured I'd do a post reviewing the bit.Just before we get started I would like to say that no matter how good or bad I make the Verbindend sound you need to pick the right bit for your horse, so just please remember some bits are better for some breeds of horse/equine, it's important to do lots of research before running off and buying a bit just because it's shiny and looks like gold.



If you take a look at the photo above you should see three things, one my bit is a little dirty (shame on me) two the rather curved shape of the bit and three it has that handy little lozenge thingy, which will stop too much nutcracker action going on. Back to the shape of the Verbindend now due to it's shape when in the horse's mouth it makes a channel for the horse's tongue, the idea being to prevent tongue evasion which I can say it's pretty good at, but, if your  horse is the type to stick his tongue out this bit isn't always going to stop it, on the other hand if he is sticking his tongue out because he hasn't got enough room in his mouth with a big bit in there this might do the trick.



Because of the Verbindend's kind of odd shape it actually doesn't take up nearly as much room in your horse's mouth as you might think it would. With all this talk of shape maybe it's got you wondering how harsh will this bit be on my horse, well to be honest the bit really isn't bad and your horse can understand what you're asking with just the slightest rein signals, no it's not a wonder bit that can make your horse's mouth suddenly sensitive if he's dead in the mouth but it's likely to be a step in the right direction.



Now to the sizes, Niko's Verbindend is a 12mm bit with 70mm rings it's a good size for Niko but you might want to consider other sizes depending on your horse/equine's mouth size and breed. Okay now down to the standard stuff you all want to know, the bit is good for sending clear signals, I believe it's comfy for the horse when fitted properly, it's not a overly harsh bit but don't kid yourself it's still metal, it's great for transition, the Verbindend bit in general is a good bit and in the size I have it it's completely dressage legal.


The one downside to the Neue Schule's Verbindend bit is it's made of a very soft metal that makes the horse salivate sounds good right? Well not really because the metal is too soft so this can happen, see photo above. I would like to say that this only happened when Niko my TB was first getting used to the bit and he had previously only been ridden in a straight rubber bit, so please keep that in mind.

All things considered I like the Verbindend bit and would recommend it for many horses. Just remember to check out what types of bit are going to suit your equine best.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Riding on Stubble


 Only a short time ago Niko and I were given the great opportunity to go riding on a stubble field. It was my very first time riding on a stubble field, I am sure the same can't be said for Niko as he is a ex- point-to-pointer so no doubt it was nothing new to him.



 Niko was an absolute star for me and I can honestly now understand why some people go on about stubble fields the way they do, although none of the photos show it clearly the field was a great size for Niko to really go for it and let me see how fast he could go.



Here we are again not going at any real speed here but I'm sitting comfortably and Niko is going nicely for me. Speaking of going nicely I've bought Niko a new bit, it's called the Verbindend and is made by Neue Schule, it's a very good bit but more on that in another post.



And finally here we are all finished after a great time out on the stubble field, I think we both had a lot of fun, I know I did, and considering Niko's love of running I'm pretty sure he did too


More details on Niko's new bit and how he is finding it in my next post, till then I hope you're all enjoying life with your equines.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Back In the Orchard


So here we are back in an orchard just like we'd never left, still on the plus side lots has changed like Pippin our dear Gypsy Vanner has finally been gelded. It was hard getting his owner to agree and pay to have him gelded but this summer he started to become very aggressive towards the other male equines, so his owner caved in the end, although Pippin is still chasing the other horses he isn't nearly as aggressive and I hope that given time he will calm down.



On another note my riding has been going very nicely this summer and Niko is working beautifully for me, above is a photo of him standing rather well for me in his new padded bridle. We've also found a great place to hack so I can try to keep things more interesting for Niko by going on hacks with him every now and then. He really is in good form this summer, I think it might be time to have a few more lessons, to help us both with some lateral movements that I am sure Niko would benefit greatly from performing.

Although these photos aren't of my most recent ride which was actually today they do let you see how his head carriage is coming along nicely and is becoming more consistent, after just a little bit of warm up he is getting very comfortable and going forward onto the bit for me.



And here is Niko above going forward onto the bit for me, you might just be able to see from the way my hand is actually slightly open on the rein how he is on a very soft contact at this point, normally I like to think I have good hands and it's important to remember to be soft with your hands when he is soft. It's nice to see him salivating a bit to.



Here we are again, I think this shot shows Niko off quite well, he is a little skinnier than I'd like but it seems to be a never ending battle to keep the weight on him, still he is 16 now which I believe makes him a veteran. We've got Tipper and Niko some Dodson & Horrell build up cubes which have been helping with the weight a bit. Just as well they aren't competing isn't it after Dodson & Horrell's muck up that I'm sure most of you horsey folks have heard of.

 

One last photo of Niko and I, well a bit of me anyway, as you can see reasonably clearly from this shot Niko is a little below/behind the vertical normally a bad thing, but to be honest it shouldn't really be of concern during schooling like this so long as you have sympathetic hands and aren't putting too much pressure on the horse in anyway, remember going below the vertical is still a form of stretch for a horse and although you shouldn't ask your horse to do this sometimes horses prefer to stretch more below the vertical than they do outwards, this said Niko isn't really stretching here he just sometimes slips below the vertical

 

These next two photos I wasn't sure about posting but in the end decided it would be nice to have a record of this on my blog. So here is Murphy and I, we've just started to do work under saddle and I'm really rather happy with him, he can be very cheeky but overall he is a good lad. Due to Murphy's small size I don't feel that I can ride him for long and of course never at a show, but I am still capable of  beginning his work under saddle and hopefully getting him off to a good start.

You can see here that I'm slightly uneven this is because I'm trying to give Murphy all the aids in as clear a way as I can so I am perhaps over doing it a little with my seat aids here by leaning to one side slightly. Also see how light I'm being with his reins, this is to let him get used to and comfortable with the bit, at this point in his training I won't ask him for a true contact.



And the very last photo of us, I'm riding without stirrups, due to the size of the saddle and length of my legs the stirrup leathers restricted my legs and made it hard to give good clear aids to such a small pony like Murphy, at this point I feel that very few but very precise aids with the legs will help Murphy to understand.

I just have to try and remember it's not about how good I look on him it's just important that he understands. Well that's it from me today, as always I hope your all having a great time with your equines.



Thursday, 24 July 2014

It Flooded



After a very long break from blogger I have returned to bring you all adorable photos of ponies and horses, and also to fill you in on what has happened during my absences on blogger. So let's start with the riverbank as it was the last place you all saw the equines. I didn't like the land owner and it wasn't really suitable for horses but to be honest I was pretty much forced into it, so what happened? I think you can guess it's a riverbank, it flooded, of course it had to flood at night while all the horses and ponies were boxed.

    

All the paddocks on the riverbank are in a straight line leading down to the stables, because of the very bad set up we had to walk through or drive through these paddocks just to get down to the horses everyday. So anyways we got a phone call telling us that the riverbank was flooding and we might want to check on the horses, when we turned up the first paddock was flooding rather fast, so I started walking down to get Niko and my mother went to see if she could get the key to open the big gate that was closer to the stables than the gate I had come in from. By the time I finally got to the stables the water was a little lower than my chest, so understandably the horses were getting quite upset in their boxes, but seeing how high the water was getting I couldn't let them out or they might have ended up in the river at night, which would have ended in tragedy I'm sure.



So I head collared Niko and got him out of his box, when he was out of his box he was as good as gold walking through the flood waters, we made it to the big gate with little trouble, unfortunately the chap that had the key for the big gate had left, I might add that he left knowing full well that the riverbank was flooding and that we would need to get our horses off, so there I was stuck behind a really big gate holding Niko while the riverbank flooded. Yay! ain't horse ownership grand.

So off my mother went to find the guy or something like that, after what seemed like an age of standing in flood water during the middle of the night talking to Niko she finally got back, about time too, one of my brothers and the guy with the key were with her so they got the gate open and my mother took Niko for me.
     


Then my brother and I went down the road that runs next to the riverbank till we got on the part of the road just above the stables, I told him to stay up on the road as he is not horsey and wouldn't be able to help me with them, when I came to the boxes I checked to see how everyone was doing luckily the stable doors were keeping lots of the water out, so it wasn't as high in the boxes, however Tipper was getting very upset at this point so I decided to take him next. Looking back maybe not my best idea. He came charging out of his box and nearly knocked me over, then as we left the paddock with the stables in it he went kinda crazy bucking and did knock me over, being knocked into dirty flood water by a crazy TB is perhaps the least fun thing I have done and I will definitely avoid it happening again. Luckily I did keep hold of him and got up, then Tipper decided he wasn't going to leave the paddock from either of the two gateways and in the end we had to climb up onto the road through barbed-wire, fortunately my brother helped hold the wire out of the way.

So we made it out with Tipper but by this time I was freezing cold and looking like a drowned rat I'm sure, honestly I didn't think I'd be able to get the others out by myself, so much to my shame we had to get the fire brigade in and after many more hours of being wet and cold all the horses were out and safe.  

 

We had the help of friends and other horsey people to move our five equines onto a new bit of land that they overwintered on, sadly with no boxes but they all came through winter in good condition. Then the time came to move them off of our friends land, luckily we were able to rent an orchard just across the road from the orchard they had been living in before we had to move them to the riverbank, now all is going well and everyone is happily enjoying summer.

All the photos that have been used in this post are of the equines in their new home. I still have a bit more to tell you all about what's been happening while I've been away from blogger but as I've rambled on for so long about the flood I think I'll save it for another post.  

I hope you're all well and that you and your equines are all enjoying summer.