Jetlag is a wonderful thing — it gives me so much time to do things like writing my Horse & Hound blog!

We had a wonderful time out in Australia and it was great to see our kids getting to know their cousins. They also had a bit of an education from ‘Pop’ who got them helping in the sheep yards and drenching the cattle!

The trip was topped off with much excitement at the Tumut Boxing Day races when one of Dad’s horses, Weilmorringal, bolted up the home straight for a win (pictured top). The smile on Dad’s face only disappeared on New Year’s Day when she was beaten a short head after a new jockey rode her on the outside track the whole way. I am not sure that he will be booked to ride her again after that!

Accept what you are feeling

In my last blog, I said that I was riding a few young horses for Dad. Watching him work with the foals and yearlings, I was struck again by how naturally he handled them and what great timing and feel he has.

However, in his sixties, he is getting less inclined to break in the youngsters himself as he has less confidence in giving them their first rides should they have a jump about.

Confidence and belief in your ability and the methods you use with youngsters, and indeed older horses, is essential for success. As soon as you doubt yourself or you fear your horse, you start to make irrational decisions on ‘what might happen’ and your horse will pick up on this.

A lot of people have been through this, particularly if they have had an accident or a bad experience with a horse. I think that the answer is to accept what you are feeling and make a positive decision to help the situation.

In Dad’s case, he now sends his horses away for their first few rides (or waits for me to get out there!) so when he gets them home he can ride them out with confidence.

A few years ago I felt there was something missing in my training. I was getting frustrated and tried to ignore it but in the end, I did a lot of research, spent time with a number of different trainers, analysed every stage of my training and found the answers I was looking for. It was not easy but I am now very happy and confident with my program.

Many of my clients, particularly those who send their horses to me for behavioural or ridden problems, have been dealing with a range of emotions such as fear, guilt and frustration as their partnership with their horse has disintegrated.

When they walk through the gate, I can see the relief in their faces as they realise there is a potential solution to their problem. Once their horse has been retrained, I spend as much time as it takes with the owners in order for them to regain their confidence and learn the techniques to deal with the behavior and nip it in the bud if it recurs.

Continued below…


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New Year’s resolutions

As it is my first blog of 2015, it wouldn’t be right not to mention New Year’s resolutions!

Perhaps a good one is to do an MOT on your partnership with your horse and take steps to improve it; does he behave how you want him to on the ground? Are there areas with his ridden work you can improve on?

For me, 2015 is certainly going to be full of challenges and exciting developments with the business and being UK player-coach at the Polocrosse World Cup.

Here are my resolutions:

  1.  Put the finishing touches to my interactive online training programme, Your Horsemanship, and get them ‘out there’!
  2. Learn more about dressage.
  3. Improve my core strength and flexibility through regular CrossFit sessions.
  4. Leave no stone unturned in my preparation for the Polocrosse World Cup.
  5. Save enough money for an indoor arena!

Jason