re training the ex racehorse part 10

 

Once the work in hand and lunging are established it is time to start the horse under
saddle. All of the systematic work previously carried out has led us to this point.
If the horse is working with the four essentials, forward contact on the outside reign,inside flexion, tempo and Rhythm you can be pretty certain that there will be a smooth transition to the ridden work.
By this time, any idiosyncrasies the horse may have should have been exposed, if at any time you are uncertain about mounting the horse seek experienced assistance.
Every workout at this point should move through work in hand into a minimum of 20
minutes lunging or however long it takes to have the horse traveling as you would like him to whilst ridden.

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“Bazaconi” part 8 , Racehorse to riding horse, the boringly technical solution.

So canter??  For a Bazaconi this could mean only one thing, we are about to gallop.
Racehorses gallop in a straight line, jockeys just barely steer at that speed, and usually ride until breaks aren’t that hard to apply, fatigue does the job. It’s a bit like getting in your car, getting it up to sp@eed and then not using the break but waiting to run out of petrol, not a massive deal on a straight line but try and drive around the streets like that see how helpless you feel until it ends badly!!!.
This is what you have if you canter a racehorse without giving it some serious re education, too much go and not enough whoa.
I have lots of strategies for moving horses into the canter, it depends on the horse but it all starts with developing quality trot work and an understanding of the aids.

Gallop is what the thoroughbred is bred for. For 400 years they have been systematically bred to gallop faster and faster. They do it well, canter is not far removed from gallop, gallop is a four beat stride with a moment of suspension canter is a three beat stride with a moment of suspension.
Bazaconi could gallop, out of control head in the air like he was being chased by a T Rex, he had great endurance, another purpose bred trait of the thoroughbred. When he went to the barriers he would have been led by a guy on a pony head twisted to the side fighting all the way. He would have gone into the barriers, he is very bold, but from the moment the gates opened he would have been out of control, madness at 65 kph, head in the air no steering, hind quarters under like he had just received an electric shock, flat stick to the finish line then a mad fight with the jockey to get some semblance of control, falling sideways, mouth open the full weight of the jockey hanging off his head which he would toss from side to side in discomfort/pain and confusion, adrenaline pumping like fire hose through his veins he did on occasion need to go another lap before they could pull him up.
So canter?? A controlled strike off and transition immediately the correct aid is applied, “inside leg on the girth, outside leg behind the girth” a clear strike off from the two beat trot calmly into the three beat canter. Maintaining rhythm and tempo correctly flexed in the direction of travel, steady and consistent head carriage and contact on the bit. Waiting for the next sensitive direction from the rider.
These two pictures are a long way apart aren’t they. For most thoroughbreds it is challenging, for Bazaconi it was near impossible, I’m pretty certain that without me it wouldn’t have happened. Very few people would have put the effort in.

The trot work was getting there. Sometimes horses can just fall into the canter one day and never look back, without proactive riding, Baz was liable to break into canter at any moment, “let’s try! let him roll into it”, flat stick in our 25×15 metre indoor arena totally OUT Of CONTROL, head in the air galloping side ways about four strides to cover the length of the arena,  At every crazy zig and zag he came perilously close to falling over it definitely felt like driving a car through the city with no breaks, very poor steering and a Jammed accelerator.  Even with all of the previous foundation work and decent canter on the lunge, OUT OF CONTROL. I should have known better but I had to give it a go and I got pretty much what I expected. At every crazy zig and zag he came perilously close to falling over definitely felt like driving a car through the city with no breaks and very poor steering.

Right!  the most important thing in being ready to introduce the canter is a good consolidated trot with obedience to, and acceptance of the aids, rhythm and tempo, contact on the outside rein with the horse flexed to the inside, most people try to hold the horse bent and on the line by holding the inside rein, holding is never the answer, they must be ridden forward to the contact. This in itself is a difficult concept for most people trying to re train a thoroughbred,  a lot of people rely on the horses natural forward in doing this the only way you can influence the forward is by holding  this is always wrong except in an emergency. You have to get to the point where you feel like you could push at any time, you may not need to push but if you don’t feel like you could if you wanted to you are a passenger not a rider.If you have all of this consolidated the canter will be there. Baz was on the way with this but the reality of it was, that all of this would need consolidation for at least another 12 months. In the meantime if he was to leave me, he would need to be able to be ridden at the canter, that is one of my un movable boundaries.
To get a reasonable, workable and safe canter he needed to learn to balance himself and his rider, the rider can help the horse find his balance by sitting still, keeping his weight in the centre but a horse needs to trust this and find the best way to be balanced. A law of physics is , the load can’t balance the support. In the case of horse and rider the load can assist the support in finding how to balance himself.
all horses are crooked, raceing makes them more so,  along with all of his mental and emotional issues Bazaconi was inclined to carry his hind quarters to the left.

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With his hind quarters carried naturally to the left Baz would be inclined to fall out through the right shoulder when traveling on a left circle

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To the right Baz would fall in through the right shoulder, same issue, hind quarter carried to the left power driving through Baz’s incorrectly aligned back and out through the right shoulder.

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This is how Baz needed to travel with his body aligned with the line on which he was traveling, hind quarters driving toward the fore through the supple correctly aligned spine. This would be the best position for him To be balanced with the rider on his back and would encourage correct muscular development.

For Bazaconi to get past this mechanical issue I would need to be able to push him, he had never been pushed, only held. I was able to push him at the trot that was a start, my plan was to get him more bent to the inside than he needed to be, have him working reasonably well at shoulder fore or better still shoulder in, on the circle, this would ensure he was stepping under himself with his inside hind leg and forward into the outside rein. If I could get this happening he would be in the correct position to canter, he would be balanced, I could control his enthusiasm with the breaking of the alignment of his spine the bend would also allow him to go forward with more speed but not be panicked  by the compression of the driving and restraining aids, he could allow some energy to dissipate out through the outside shoulder if need be and then I could shape the canter into something workable.
Boringly technical isn’t it ?
If you want a more thorough description of how to get to this point get my E book Horses from courses . All the detail is in there.

This method was always going to work it was just a matter of whether or not I had the persistence to stick to the plan, I can assure you I did.  I just had to stay in one piece.

end of part 8″

“Bazaconi “the instructor . Part 5

 

Attention gained, check, Foundation more consolidated, check, rhythm and tempo heading toward establishment,check, time to try riding again.
I mounted Bazaconi, immediately he put his head in the air twisted it and hollowed his back he moved off abruptly, I had to stay calm, he was expecting to get what he had always gotten from his rider, a meaningless pull on the mouth and a confusing fight, I gently took up the inside rein and asked him to move his hindquarter to the outside, initially he didn’t respond but I was not being drawn into the fight, I would sit and wait for him to recognise that what I was doing on his back was exactly what I had done from the ground whilst working in hand, finally he dropped his nose to the inside, he kept walking in a small circle but he had responded in a positive way to the bit, I gently took up the outside rein and started to proactively influence him, he would react to me not me by him.
He shook his head violently and put it up in his usual twisted way. Stay relaxed, keep asking gently, reward him at every opportunity. He Softend again poll relaxed, with little to no outside leg I asked him to step in exaggerated way toward the outside rein with his inside hind leg, softer, voice command, .”and halt” this is the voice command I had used all the way along, “and” being the precautionary aid_”get ready get ready”, long and with a downward inflection “aaannnd halt” . He understood and he stopped, he stood in a correct frame and breathed out in a heaving kind of way. It was as if he said “oh I get it”
I picked up the new inside rein and went through the same process again. Now I applied my outside leg and encouraged him to walk forward out of the circle, he did it but with the straightness came tension in his back, he was inclined to rush forward which at times threw me off balance, it was all I could do not to hit him in the mouth with the bit as I regained my position. Had I clumsily taken up the rein, the head would have gone up and the battle would have re started.
Baz needed lots of walking on small circles but I didn’t want to be on his back until it started to ache, it was a whole new way of going and it would take him some time to get used to it, like a swimmer starting running training. Very fit but in all the wrong places for what we wanted.
He would get his physical exercise on the lunge, at the same time developing strength, rhythm and tempo and I would snake around the arena at the walk on his back being very obvious and consistent with my aids for 10 minutes each ride.

Gradually he developed the understanding of the aids, he spent more time in a correct frame than not, I could feel he was starting to reach for the outside rein after all these years of avoiding it he finally reached for it, he was accepting and maybe even seeking the support.

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On his good side I eased him into the trot, immediate tempo and fairly good Rhythm, and still moving into that outside rein, the contact had to be obvious but elastic and sympathetic or he would panic, God he was good for my riding, who needs to pay hundreds of dollars  for lessons. This was his good side and he was happy to step under my weight with the inside hind leg. I knew the other side would be harder, for a start it was naturally his week side, it had been made weaker by years of not using it correctly, secondly, it is his racing direction ,there was bound to be conditioned reflex and bad memories, there was, up went the head and the speed and out the window went the understanding. Again I stuck to my guns “let the horse be influenced by you, don’t be influenced by the horse” I kept asking him correctly and calmly. With his hollow back and head in the air he was very unbalanced, he had struggled to carry a rider on the track in a straight line let alone a 20 metre circle but he needed to work on the circle so I could help him find the feeling we needed. Breaking the alignment of his spine by working on the circle takes away his ability to fight and encourages him to relax. I have felt some unbalanced horses in my time but Baz was so bad he was very close to falling over on many occasions, this just spooked him more, voice commands were overruled by fear and confusion I needed to get his attention I moved his hind quarters across dramatically with my leg, backed up by the dressage whip, he felt even more likely to fall, I had to help him find some comfort by discovering his balance, I asked and asked with the inside rein for him to at least look to the inside, this has to be done without holding, if you hold he will hold back and flex more to the outside, I persisted carefully but somewhat demandingly, riding on the incorrect diagonal will cause the horse to step more dramatically underneath himself as he strives to get his balance, this is a very effective technique in stopping a horse from falling in and helping him take up the outside rein contact, I could feel some improvement .
Finally he dropped his head to the inside and stepped under our combined weight with his inside hind leg, now, weather it was because of the aids or because he could see the ground coming up at him or just by accident, it didn’t matter I rewarded him immediately by taking away all pressure “aaannnd walk” and he walked.
I let him enjoy it for a few moments then went back to the same exercise, this time it only took a couple of circles before he dropped his nose to the inside, he was tentative, no, terrified to take the contact on the outside rein at this stage but he had flexed and bent to a down transition. Back to his  good side, no drama, I gave him a few easy wins in relation to attaining his reward, back to the hard side, better than before, Baz had now worked out that he could let the pressure off by relaxing that’s what I needed. He was learning to relax rather than panic when things got difficult. Back to the walk, piece of cake. Lovely changes of direction snaking around forward into the outside rein, the epiphany at the trot had Helped to consolidate the walk no end.
End of part 5

 

The story of “Bazaconi” part 1 one out of the box,

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The thoroughbred horse is an exceptional animal, a supreme athlete with considerable intelligence, agility, strength, endurance and beauty.
I would personally describe the thoroughbred as a moderately sensitive breed of horse. Sensitivity, in my opinion, equates to intelligence so far as training is concerned.  A sensitive horse will respond to minimal aids which makes it relatively simple to influence, this sensitivity also lends itself to confusion when faced with an inaccurate, clumsy or inconsistent handler—less sensitive breeds tend to put up with more clumsy lines of communication.

The thoroughbred, thrives on consistency and is easily influenced by a
confident, accurate and assertive handler. Unfortunately not many horse handlers possess all of the aforementioned qualities. The thoroughbred race horse, whilst in the racing environment, receives little consistency  in the way of handlers and is, most often, handled only in such a way as to get the days work done in the easiest and most time efficient way possible.

Horses in racing are given limited education and are often ridden by whoever is available on the day. Many track riders possess rudimentary riding education at best which in general is sufficient to carry out the task at hand, to get the horse fit enough to run the required distance at maximum speed. One could debate, that better preparation, in relation to education, balance and strength could provide a better result from the race horse.

I have become very proficient at re training horses off the track and I can assure they all have issues that need to be fixed if they are to become quality riding or competition horses. Most are pretty standard, but
occasionally one comes from the racing industry which has been so affected by the experience that is not suitable for re training as a riding horse. They are either physically or mentally damaged to the extent that they will either not hold up to work or pose a danger to someone trying to help them through their issues. Generally these horses don’t come to me—as a rule we won’t take them on. Most race trainers recognise the horses issues and don’t pass them on, unfortunately sometimes euthanasia is the safest and or most humane answer.
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Bazaconi came to me at the end of his racing career, a beautiful dark bay horse with that intelligent looking white eye that seems to say I’m watching you at every moment. He was a striking horse with incredible movement. A glamour.

His previous owner and racing trainer was a friend of mine and she was forthcoming with Bazaconi’s issues. He had been an erratic racer, very difficult to handle at the track and very inclined to take the bit at the end of a race and continue to go, sometimes for another full lap of the track before he wore himself out. Now I often get these stories only to see horses come to hand very easily with  constancy of handling.

Bazaconi’s previous owner had trained Baz off the track because of his anxiety issues, unfortunately galloping him on bush tracks had resulted in two broken clavicals. Prior to coming to this owner, Bazaconi had had a short racing career interstate, he had not been very successful and was then used as an extra in a racing movie “The Cup” unfortunately, many many takes of short sprints up the home straight didn’t agree with Bazaconi’s sensitive and intelligent temperament, why would it, it just didn’t make sense, gallop for a couple of hundred yards as hard as you could, fight with your rider for a couple of minutes and then gallop a couple of hundred yards again. I’m sure Bazaconi wasn’t the only horse that came out of this experience with issues. After the film Bazaconi found himself at the tried horse sales he was purchased for $300, the going rate for the pet food market.

Luckily for him he was purchased by my friend who could see where he was headed should she leave him at the sales. His second racing career followed, he found some minor success in country racing, luckily for him he found an owner who was determined to see that he got a fair chance at life after racing and he came to us at the Thoroughbred  Rehabilitation  Trust.

When Bazaconi arrived he was not recognised by his action or demeanour as a horse that would cause any more drama than the next. There was no doubting his outstanding movement and striking presence. I was recovering from an injury when he arrived so I had little to do with his initial ground training—we do several weeks of ground work before we start riding them. He was a little rushy on the lunge and did not accept contact well when worked in hand. Had I had more involvement with Baz I would have recognised his issues in the early stages.

At this time we had a 100% success rate in the retraining of horses off the track and I assumed Bazaconi would just be another, maybe a little tricky but just another horse. I was wrong. The first time I mounted Baz, he put his head in the air as high as he could, twisted his neck and took off across the arena crashing into the fence on the other side. I don’t know if you have ever ridden a camel but as a horse person I found it a horrible experience, the camels neck reaches off into the distance, it weaves and bends like a snake and there is no senesce of connection or oneness, such that you feel when riding even a moderately educated horse. That’s what Baz felt like though he was endowed with a little more power and grunt than the average camel.

He was a mess. Normally when we ride our horses for the first time they work well, their frame and posture has been established and they are ready to go on with. The correct frame is imperative, it gives the horse the correct posture to carry weight. No one rides a horse at our training centre unless it has an understanding of maintaining correct posture. It’s not fair to ask a horse to carry weight and be expected to work with his back hollowed and his head in the air. I would not allow a young weight lifter to lift any serious weight without developing his technique, so why would I ask it of a horse ? The classic round dressage frame, developed through the action of a horse engaging his core and back muscles, is the correct frame for the horse to carry weight on its back. We don’t work them in this frame because it looks good, it has practical foundations. It just so happens that it looks beautiful as well, an old saying is “you will know if you are riding your horse well because he will become more and more beautiful if he doesn’t you aren’t”. You might see the correct classical frame in a magnificent statue or painting of horse and rider.

Horses weren’t designed to carry weight, they were designed to eat grass. We weren’t designed to carry weight either probably less than a horse with our upright stance and bipedal walk, however some people carry weight for a living and do it until a ripe old age, if they develop the correct muscles it is possible, if they don’t they will finish up on workers compensation. We don’t want our horses on workers comp before their time so we need to help them develop the required muscles to do the job we want them to do. Horses trained correctly will work well  into their twenties, horses not conditioned for their work will break down too early. They may not necessarily break down in the back, but by compensating for poor posture they will break down somewhere.

Bazaconi’s posture was appalling, that of most race horses is poor but this guy had spent so much time resisting and twisting that he had built muscles that were working against him, his carrying muscles had atrophied, his body was twisted, his neck was twisted there was no way of creating a decent connection to allow communication. No wonder he was hard work on the track, all his pre race photos show him being led. He really couldn’t be ridden, just loaded into the barriers, pointed in the right direction and fired.

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Now, loads of horse owners would say get a chiropractor, acupuncture or massage… my experience tells me that the best thing for horses with these kind of issues is quality and correct riding. Get the muscles to work the way we want them to work and just about all muscular damage can be reversed.

He was going to need unusually extensive ground work to prepare him for riding. I took him on personally. I went way back to the beginning of his re training. He needed to understand that the bit was not an enemy but a means of communication, he needed to get to the point where he sought the bit rather that avoiding it. This was starting to look like a real challenge, not just gaining his confidence but getting past real physical issues which had developed and consolidated over a number of years.

Thoroughbreds are smart, they pick things up very quickly so communication wouldn’t be a problem. Once clear lines can be established, muscle takes time to build, there are no short cuts, it’s one thing knowing what the rider wants, it is another thing being able to physically do it consistently and with ease. There are plenty of people who can espouse the correct theory of riding but very few can physically do it.

The groundwork would start in earnest and only time would tell.

End of Part One.

Tough guys don’t fight. a salute to Jockey’s

 

I have just google searched “fighting jockeys” I needed a photo for a blog I am writing. I expected to find a plethora of photos of little men in their silks punching the tripe out of each other in the jockey’s enclosure.In this day of social media everyone has a camera, you can’t have a disagreement in a pub with out going viral, every bully at school is rightfully exposed all over the web, arguments in the traffic make the evening news, so in the jockeys enclosure with over a hundred years of cameras all over them and hundreds of race meetings around the world every day, these adrenaline filled little packets of testosterone would surely produce some fiery moments of madness after some imbecile, cuts them off on a run costing millions to the owner or clips the heels of their horse potentially causing them and their horse serious injury. Just the moment of the contest is enough to make footballers or even cyclists, politicians for that matter, strike out in anger sometimes costing themselves thousands of dollars in fines and damaging reputations.

So now to select my crazy wrestling jockeys. “One incident!! Photos of one incident!!”
What an incredibly disciplined bunch of men. Millions of potential issues, no doubt, multimillions of opportunities to catch it when it does happen. Anyone who has been in any highly charged competitive environment must surely salute to this magnificent example of respect and control, Where else in this day and age is such chivalry exhibited. A credit to these knights of the racing industry. I certainly won’t be posting any photos of jockeys fighting.

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Floating and falling in, Issues with right handed horses.

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A fact recognised by most serious horse people is that all horses are one sided. Riders often lament that their horse goes nicely to the left but is hard to bend to the right. It’s a fact, about 70% of horses bend better to the left than to the right generally these horses are carrying their hindquarters slightly to the left, the power generated from their hindquarters drives through their spines and the energy is directed out through the right shoulder, this is seen as falling out on a left circle and falling in on a right circle.
In reality the horse that bends more easily to the left is exhibiting the ability to stretch better along the line of his right side.

Stand up, bend to the left, you will feel that largely your ability to bend one way or the other is determined by you ability to stretch on the other side.
This one sidedness in horses leads to plenty of issues not recognised by many horse people. My experience with many hundreds of horses has given me the opportunity to recognise reoccurring issues and come to some simple conclusions as to how and why they occur.
First example, when breaking horses in we work primarily from the left side, at the time of mounting for the first time we bend the horse toward us and then mount. I won’t mount until I can bend the horse on immediate conditioned reflex to both directions. This stops the horse from being able to buck(I’m too old for bucking horses) I feel if the horse bucks I have not done a good enough job with my ground work. So when most riders mount a horse for his first ride, most horses are happy to be bent to their preferred left side, usually the rider will then take the horse to the left, everybody is happy. For me, the first test is when you take the horse to his less preferred right side, if things are going to go pear shaped this is often when it will happen.
Now if the rider goes through the above process on a horse inclined to bend to the right the potential for issues are immediate on mounting, sometimes before. Not only are we throwing our weight onto the horse for the first time but we are asking him to bend to his stiff side, this makes for a very uncomfortable horse who may panic, buck rear or take off. Automatically the ignorant handler labels this horse as difficult, and the horse goes through his life with a reputation of being a problem horse.

The problem is the ignorance of horse handlers. It is my experience that many potential buckers, nervous horses, rearers, bolters are right handed horses. Let stand straighter on mounting and then working to right before the left will usually improve the horses demeanour dramatically.
Now floating issues, the standard left handed horse stands on the float with his hind quarters slightly to the left, when we float them on the traditionally more comfortable drivers side the horses rump is slightly away from the wall, if he needs to spread his feet to get his balance when cornering there is some space to step to the right without immediately striking the side of the float.
The right handed horse stands on the drivers side with his rump to the right his right foot is already against the side of the float or very close to it. Should he need to adjust to keep his balance he tries to spread the right foot, there is no where for it to go Panick!!! He continues to strive to spread the leg, he scrambles against the side of the float the situation escalates and consolidates the horses fear of not being able to find space to spread his legs. Once again my experience with large numbers of horses has led to a conclusion that many scramblers are right handed horses, putting them on the passenger side will make a difference if the problem hasn’t been completely consolidated as an issue. More seriously consolidated issues that have been left to fester too long will require more effort to solve the issue.
We are as crooked as horses, in our day to day lives the crookedness doesn’t get in our way similarly horses either living in a paddock or not being asked for much technical effort when ridden can happily live out their live being one sided. If you want to do something serious with your horse or if you come upon one of the above issues you have to take responsibility for your horses well being. Two crooked’s don’t make a straight.
“Ride them forward make them straight” an old but very relevant riding saying. The answer to just about every question starts with ride forward.
We have to get control of the problem which is the crooked hind quarter if we want to remove the symptom of falling in and out. No problem, no symptom.

Horses From Courses
by Scott Brodie

Available for purchase on Apple iBooks, Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and other online ebook vendors.

Every year thousands of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, often referred to as OTTB, (off-the-track thoroughbreds) retire from the racing industry, their future uncertain. Many well-meaning horse enthusiasts seek to take these horses and retrain them for sport and recreational purposes.

This book takes the accumulated experience and knowledge of horse trainer Scott Brodie—Manager of the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust and re trainer of hundreds of ex-racehorses—and allows the novice trainer to tap into this valuable source of information previously unattainable for the average horse enthusiast.

Scott Brodie author of Horses From Courses is Manager of the RacingNSW Thoroughbred Retraining Program. A NSW Mounted Police horse trainer and classically trained rider, Scott has a has a generously empathetic philosophy to handling horses and a unique spin on the retraining of retired racehorses. Utilising a surprisingly smooth synergy of natural horsemanship and the practical application of classical dressage, Scott’s systematic approach to this often difficult and dangerous endeavour ensures the smoothest and fairest transition for the horse from racing machine to a pleasurable riding partner.

Horses with accents, fact or fiction?

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Tina Womelsdorf still enjoying her wine these days

I spent all of the 90s with Tina womelsdorf as my instructor, to me it was like some kind of religious experience when I found her, she was amazing. She is now in her 90s I recently shared a bottle of wine with her, and I must do it again. Tina once said to me, though she had been in Australia for 40 years or so, that she still thought in German, occasionally in a lesson when she was thinking fast I would cop a German expletive I’m sure. She used to call me a “blighter” when she didn’t like what I did, who uses the word blighter, I’m sure it wasn’t so polite when translated to German.
Tina’s language discussion got me thinking, Ebony who is one of my students and staff is Finish, she said the other day that she now confuses Fin with English and sometime there is no translation from one to the other so she speaks some mongrel hybrid, finglish it isn’t quite that bad but it is interesting.
Last week ebony came with me for her first lesson with Miguel Tavora. Now Miguel is Portuguese and though I wouldn’t say it to his face, (he can be a fiery little rooster), it is sometimes very difficult to work through his accent, so when hybrid finglish speaking ebony met the difficulties of “kunter, kunter ” (translation “counter canter”) with Miguel it was quite an amusing experience.
Ebony was riding down the long side. “Too straight” said Miguel ebony rode onto a curve” too straight “called Miguel, ebony rode a small circle “too straight!!!” demanded Miguel.
I have to say I was totally confused, Miguel jumped up from his seat “stop stop stop stop Ebony”. Ebony stopped “kin you no ear mi” now I’m sure ebony could hear him but I knew she wouldn’t say she couldn’t understand him, “sometime it is not so issy mate” replied Ebony, Miguel turned on his sound system, now she was in real trouble, the Sound system is a shocker, it distorts every word and the louder he yells the worse it gets, to make it worse still, some times when you are at the far end of the arena and you are following the odd sentence it cuts out, Miguel keeps talking like a character in a silent movie for the next 10 seconds and your lost again.

“Ok, ride de diagona let im stretch”, ebony responded “too straight ebony”, ebony rode a curve “relax ebony too straight” called Miguel. Well at this point it dawned on me what he wanted, Ebony was too stiff in her position, he wanted her to soften and relax, “too straight” yelled Miguel. Ebony rode onto another circle she was exasperated and gave up trying to understand, she shrugged her shoulder and slumped in the saddle her legs hanging relaxed on the horses sides,” that’s eet that’s eet vedi good eponi vedi good” Ebony turned to look at him with a confused expression, anyway the lesson progressed Miguel weaved his magic and ebony left very happy and motivated.

It got me thinking about how when ex racehorse come to us they come with a language, let’s call it “racing” now if the horse is not taught another language he will speak racing for the rest of his life. If he is ridden spasmodically he may pick up a little ” pigeon trail” but raceing is still his preferred tongue. If some one rides him regularly but they are uneducated as riders he will start to speak some broken “Equis” somewhere between human and horse. Remember as with Tina womelsdorf and German, his first language is” racing” and under pressure that’s what he may speak. Most riders who haven’t ridden track work don’t understand “racing” and they have no idea what he is saying, so they get frustrated yell and scream in broken “equis” and an argument ensues. Someone may get hurt simply from bad communication it can be a very serious issue. I wonder if that’s what happened between Turkish air command and the Russian pilot ?
Anyway if we take the ex race horse and put him through a systematic Language course, start with ” how do you do” and gradually, without over facing him, lead him along on the course of “classical equis” he will eventually get it, we both will, he may still have a “racing” accent but with careful work on his pronunciation we can have him fluent. Just like our own Pygmalion or for the younger readers “women in red” if you are too young for these use google.
So now he speaks fluent “equis” and life is good but remember we have a responsibility to speak clearly and eloquently as well, if we don’t he may well scream” you blighter!!!!.

 

finglish v spanglish

Scott Brodie author of” Horses from courses “is Manager of the Racing NSW Thoroughbred Retraining Program. A NSW Mounted Police horse trainer and classically trained rider, Scott has a has a generously empathetic philosophy to handling horses and a unique spin on the retraining of retired racehorses. Utilising a surprisingly smooth synergy of natural horsemanship and the practical application of classical dressage, Scott’s systematic approach to this often difficult and dangerous endeavour ensures the smoothest and fairest transition for the horse from racing machine to a pleasurable riding partner. 
Purchase as an e book from Amazon or I books store. Under $10

Are you a rider or a passenge?

imageMy instructor The great Miguel Tavora, this is a rider !!!

Most people who are riding horses are being taken for a ride. Why ? If you are sitting on a horse and not making the decisions you are just a passenger, not a rider.
This is fine if you are a twice a year rider/passenger. If you turn up at a trail riding establishment climb onto a very quiet horse who is basically following the horse in front, you are fine, keep doing what you do if you like it, tell people you ride if you like, it’s unlikely you will be reading this information.
If you own a horse or ride regularly and you are not making the decisions for you and your saddled partner you are not riding you are living on borrowed time. If you don’t get hurt you are lucky not skilled.
Riding is a proactive activity, luckily horses are very docile animals. You might not agree with this last statement but horses, not being proactively ridden, are either willing to plod along and accept clumsy inconsistent communication, or become agitated and confused still maintaining some semblance of sanity. 9 times out of 10 horses will take on one of these roles and do nothing particularly dangerous but 10% of the time they will melt down and become very dangerous. So 90% of the time you are safe because horses are such wonderful animals! the other 10% of the time you are in the hands of the gods.
If you have any interest in improving your riding experience and improving the life of your horse it is necessary to take on a leadership role. Riding is a partnership between you and your horse, if your roll as boss is not clearly defined you are in a dangerous position. Sitting on a a beast, one generation away from a wild animal, up 1000kgs of nature able to do whatever it likes if it happens to work out that it is in charge.
We should cherish the opportunity to be involved with such wonderful accepting creatures. They are, perfectly designed by some freak of nature to be able to carry us with the same beauty that they are able to carry their majestic selves, to dance, jump, gallop, and spin all carrying generally about one quarter of their body weight what magnificent athletes. That have the power and the means to dispose of us at any time, thank fully for us it is relatively rare that they do.

Horses From Courses
by Scott Brodie

Available for purchase on Apple iBooks, Google Books, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and other online ebook vendors.

Every year thousands of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses, often referred to as OTTB, (off-the-track thoroughbreds) retire from the racing industry, their future uncertain. Many well-meaning horse enthusiasts seek to take these horses and retrain them for sport and recreational purposes.

This book takes the accumulated experience and knowledge of horse trainer Scott Brodie—Manager of the NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust and re trainer of hundreds of ex-racehorses—and allows the novice trainer to tap into this valuable source of information previously unattainable for the average horse enthusiast.

Scott Brodie author of Horses From Courses is Manager of the RacingNSW Thoroughbred Retraining Program. A NSW Mounted Police horse trainer and classically trained rider, Scott has a has a generously empathetic philosophy to handling horses and a unique spin on the retraining of retired racehorses. Utilising a surprisingly smooth synergy of natural horsemanship and the practical application of classical dressage, Scott’s systematic approach to this often difficult and dangerous endeavour ensures the smoothest and fairest transition for the horse from racing machine to a pleasurable riding partner.