Sunday, 14 January 2018

Lungeing



I have always found lungeing a useful way of exercising Basil and I used to lunge Chesney often too, before he was retired!  My first pony I lunged when I did not have time to ride and that is still sometimes the reason I lunge Basil.  However, since then I have discovered the other benefits. 
 


After a few days off work Basil, like many horses, is often a bit 'fresh' or loopy so I usually lunge him on his first exercise day after a break.  This is generally a disastrous session because Basil bucks, gallops off up the arena and is mostly naughty.  However, he gets rid of his silliness because when I ride the next day he is a lot calmer :)
 
Another reason I like lungeing is to bring some variety to our work, so I mix it in with hacking, schooling and jumping.  It gives me a chance to watch Basil move and make sure he is working through from behind too.  He always stretches his neck down and I can see his back stretching and lengthening, I love watching him canter around as it looks so effortless.


This photo is from http://nobackpain.dk/en/fordele-ved-longering/  I wanted to use it because the horse looks relaxed and is stretching down, as Basil does.

I lunge with just a headcollar because Basil doesn't tolerate the cavesson well (I think it is the ring on the top of his nose) and unless it is a 'fresh' day it works well.  I am not a big fan of attaching the lunge line to the bit because I don't want to be constantly pulling on his mouth!   Horses need to work thorough from behind with impulsion before they should be gently 'asked' to come on to the bit.  I find that Basil works with a good bend, a lovely rhythm and great balance on the lunge and it is a real pleasure to watch him when he is being good.  He also drops his head to a lovely 'prelim' position so I don't feel the need to use side reins.

A lungeing session of 20 minutes is apparently worth an hour schooling or an hour and a half hacking - so he works harder in a shorter amount of time too.  I suppose this isn't true though, if you don't get your horse working well through from behind with good impulsion, but not too fast.

Some of the other benefits:
·         improve balance
·         improve rhythm
·         improve canter transitions
·         helps the horse work on the correct bend


This horse is not working on the correct bend!

Lunging is an essential part of training young horses, it is great for helping them learn more voice commands which can then be used when riding initially. It also helps them strengthen their backs in preparation for a rider, by stretching down and engaging their hindquarters they will build muscle.  It can be a great way to build trust too.

However, it is important that lunging is done properly - it is something horses need to learn.  They must learn:
·         not to pull
·         to respond to voice commands
·         to work on the correct bend, though the whole body
·         to stay out on the circle

It is also important that someone experienced teaches a horse to be lunged, so they start off in the right way!

Have you seen January's video 'It's 2018!'  on my You Tube channel?   
Horse Life and Love.  Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   
Jo

Sunday, 7 January 2018

What's going on with the boys?



Basil's back is improving, the physiotherapist came out again last weekend and could definitely see improvement.  I have been lunging him as much as the weather has allowed to try and keep him sane.  We now have some walking exercises over poles to do in the arena 2 or 3 times a week so let's hope it doesn't freeze too often!


He is getting very hairy but I have decided not to clip him again now as I won't be riding until February and that will probably be only walk.

Chesney is now getting some oil in his food, along with the sugarbeet, Dodson & Horrell Sixteen Plus cubes and Hi Fi Senior.  I hope that with his Cushing's medication he won't look as bad as he did last February and will hold his weight a bit better - only time will tell.


Tommy is enjoying the mud and had his tail washed again last weekend (just the bottom half as I thought it was too cold to put the hose on his dock), no trouble at all, I tied him up and he just stood there - ANGEL.


Have you seen last week's vidoe '2017 In Pictures'  on my You Tube channel?   
Horse Life and Love.  Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   
Jo

Monday, 1 January 2018

Welcome to 2018



HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

As I mentioned last year I usually take the opportunity over the holidays to have a look back at the last year and think about what I want to achieve next.

I really enjoy writing my blog but have decided to post slightly less for a while as I have other parts of my life which need a bit more attention this year.  There are not enough hours in the day or days in the week so something has to change.  I am planning to blog at least once a week though, or more if I have a chance.  I will upload a video at least once a month.


Looking back at  last year's aims I realised I have achieved some despite Chesney's problems and my challenges with Basil.

2017 Aims:
  • Find a new bit for Basil
  •  Achieve more rhythm and calmness in canter (and trot after we have cantered)
  • Use the 'loop exercise' to work on our changes of bend
  • More lateral work and turn on the forehand
  • Start jumping with Basil again

I tried several bits and have (I think) settled on one now which he seems to be happy with.  Our canter is still variable but we have used the 'loop exercise' quite a bit and Basil's suppleness has improved.  We have also done much more leg yield and turn on the forehand and started introducing a bit of shoulder in towards the end of the year.  We did also manage a bit of jumping :)


  • Tie Tommy up more
  • Be able to catch Tommy in the field when he is not wearing a headcollar
  • Introduce some ground schooling with Tommy

Tommy can now be tied up but I cannot catch him in the field unless he has a headcollar on (which he can get off).  I no longer think this is because he is nervous - he is just a typical naughty pony!  He has also continued to grow in confidence in every area of his routine which is fantastic.  I have not had time to do any ground schooling with him so I will carry this forward to 2018.  I now own the little monster :)


  • Continue to Blog 3 times a week
  • Vlog or post a video each Wednesday
  • Start a training the young horse series on my blog

I have managed the first 2 of these, I might try the last this year to go with Tommy's ground schooling but I am not going to make any promises.


2018 Aims:
  • Get Basil better
  • Calmness in canter!!!!
  • Shoulder in
  • Jumping
  • Tommy ground schooling
  • Continue with my blogs and videos.

Have you seen last week's video 'Christmas vlog'  on my You Tube channel?   
Horse Life and Love.  Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   
Jo

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Happy Holidays



Happy Christmas 
and 
Happy New Year.



I am taking a week off and hope you are doing the same!



Have a look at this week's video 'Christmas vlog' on my You Tube channel?   
Horse Life and Love.  Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.

You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.

Until next time!   
Jo