8 horsey tasks that are so much harder than you expect

  • Which basic stable management routines do you struggle to get right? Or what simplistic training exercises can you never nail despite having practised over and over again?

    Here are 8 horsey tasks which are always way harder to do that you’d first imagine…

    1. Bandaging legs

    Despite the range of travel boots and Velcro leg wraps on the market, there might be a time when you need to dress your horse’s legs the traditional way with a piece of gamgee and a simple stable bandage. The seemingly easy method (start in the middle of the leg and work down before coming up again) is often harder than the Pony Club manual makes it look. Time to get practising…

    2. Long reining

    The principles of long reining might seem similar to riding, but trying to steer while stood behind your horse can present many challenges. Each time you attempt this skill it gives you a newfound appreciation for carriage drivers.

    3. Clipping

    Don’t be fooled by the before and after pictures used on social media; you can have the best clippers in the world, but if you don’t know how to use them your horse’s coat will pay the price.  The professionals make it look so simple with easy, clean strokes gently removing just the right amount of unwanted hair. But we recommend you proceed with caution unless you want your horse to represent a patchwork quilt, or check out our clipping masterclass.

    4. Tail bandaging

    As with bandaging legs, this should be so easy but awkward angles and swishing tails often mean when you arrive at your destination, the bandage is somewhere on the floor of the horsebox, often trodden into the muck. And as for people who roll up tail bandages the wrong way…

    5. Opening gates mounted

    You’ll often find that you can unlatch the gate, but getting through and then closing it securely is a completely different matter altogether. Having come close to amputating your leg on the gate post on numerous occasions you wonder if it’s worth the effort.

    6. Strapping

    Heralded as a tool to stimulate your horse’s muscles on his neck and quarters, strapping is a useful skill that is rarely seen these days. When you try it, your arm feels like it’s about to drop off 30 seconds into your session so you quickly abandon ship.

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    7. Seeing a stride

    Sometimes you’ve either got the eye to see a stride, or you haven’t (one of the many differences between Olympic showjumpers and ourselves). And if the latter applies to you, expect many a frustrating session with your trainer whose patience will be tested to the absolute limits.

    8. Opening a haylage bale

    How many times have you misplaced the designated pair of scissors or knife and have resorted to clawing the plastic wrap with your nails and trying to release the baler twine with your teeth? We’ve all been there, but we really don’t recommend it…

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