Breaking a Cleveland Bay horse to ride


Suki, a five year old purebred Cleveland
Bay mare came to us straight from the breeder as her new owner wanted her to be broken to ride and drive. This film shows the work we have done
with her under saddle. This is the first time she was backed by Sarah. She is happy riding out in company and will go in front or behind. She is being ridden in the same soft rubber bit that we drive her in and she is happy in
traffic in a traditional open bridle. Although Suki has already been in the river in the carriage she will also enter happily with a rider on her back. We have to make a swift exit due to a territorial swan but the horses
do not panic and once it has withdrawn we go in again. Suki will also do the hazards in our arena. It is very wet and
windy yet she was still listen to the rider and cope
happily with flapping ribbons round her head, puddles, road signs, walking between large barrels and past the
inflatable balloons. Suki will also stand still quietly while Sarah
dismounts, even with the scary flapping objects around her. She will also go over our cones bridge, as
well as turning round whilst on the bridge. This is a good test because her
hindquarters touch the sides; she has to turn around in a confined
area on a slope without panicking. This could come in
useful if she ever had to go through a narrow
gateway for example while out hacking, and it touched her quarters as she went through. She will also rein back when asked both
uphill and downhill on the bridge. Suki is also brave enough to step over
large tarpaulin on the ground. This makes an unusual noise as well as
changing shape as its scrunches up around her feet. She will also walk over it while we’re
holding the edges and it flapping about. We ask her to stand still while the
tarpaulin is moving around her which she does happily, bearing in mind
she is being asked to do this in a soft rubber bit. Standing still while this barrel is thrown near her shows that she will stand still under difficult circumstances. She is happy to walk forward and
approach the barrel when asked. Likewise she will not kick out, or leap forwards when she is asked to rein back onto the
barrel and it touches her hocks. We also ask Suki to walk underneath the tarpaulin. This is another big
test for her because she cannot see a way out when
she’s underneath and she has the tarpaulin rustling all over her body. Many horses are afraid of plastic and the noise it makes especially when it is near their heads, so
this shows the level of confidence and trust that she has both in her rider and in herself. Sarah is now mounting Suki from the
ground to show that she will stand still when
given a leg up and also when the rider is mounting without assistance. As well as riding out in company Suki will also hack out alone. Here, Sarah takes her out by herself down the road. She also takes her on grass to show that she
does not get excited when ridden on a different surface, even in a big wide open field. Notice how Sarah is keeping her reins
loose to show that Suki will not speed up when coming towards home. Sarah does not require any pressure on
the reins to hold her back or keep her at the walk; she will remain at the stated pace even when heading back to the yard by
herself with no instruction from the rider. Another common issue we hear is that some ridden horses are frightened of carriage driving turnouts, however this does not need to be the
case. Here we’re taking Suki out in company alongside a carriage. As you can see she is confident following behind and going in front of the carriage. The
driving turnout makes a considerable amount of noise, not only because of the carriage wheels but also because we are driving a pair of horses, so there are 2 sets of hooves making a noise. Suki will walk away from the driving horses and go in
the opposite direction by herself. Separating horses that have been hacking together can be another problem area but you can see Suki will listen to
instructions and go where Sarah asks all while being ridden in a soft rubber bit. Sarah also brings her back to the carriage and then asks her to walk away again. Going away from these horses a second time after she has just been reunited is
an even bigger test, but you can see Suki is happy to walk away
from them again. When Sarah turns her to go and rejoin the
driving horses she does not speed up or plunge forwards, but remains at the walk as Sarah has asked. Suki is then happy to proceed on ahead of the other turnout.


9 Responses

  1. Q Tee

    May 28, 2014 7:52 pm

    For a horse that will be trained to ride and drive, which is better to teach first? Under saddle or driving?

  2. Edgedem

    June 6, 2014 12:41 pm

    great video but such a big big shame to see no Hi-Vis on a dark horse, with a girl in a green jacket on a dull cloudy day. Couldn't blend more into the hedge row if she tried.

  3. Barbara Quinn

    February 13, 2018 10:59 am

    I own a Cleveland Bay Mare. She was broken in and trained by my 10 year old boy. What a Mare. Best breed ever

  4. rclaws

    July 27, 2019 4:43 pm

    That is an incredibly nice horse, I"m in America and have never even seen a Cleveland Bay in person, but the more I learn about them the more I like them. I've spent my 70 years working a farm with mules and Quarter Horses and have many miles of mountain trails to ride; I'd love to have tried a horse like Suki. Whoever owns her now surely has top of the line.


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