Training driving horses to cope with scary things (show ring preparation).


(Loudspeaker): We are at the county show in Wiltshire first time in harness… Walk on (Loudspeaker): Here we have 2 Palominos (Siren) (Loudspeaker): Well here we are at the Wiltshire County show with our two beautiful palominos taking them over the bridge. (Siren). Kathy’s going to go round them now with the siren you can see both of his feet up on the dash, and there’s noone at their heads, we’ve got horses down in the far field, the reindeer in this field which they’ve never seen before Baz is going to hold the reins up slack
so you can see they’re just standing there I’m going to start the inflatable up and Kathy’s going to start up the siren. So Kathy and I are now going to take these 2 Morgans out of harness and put them to again on grass in an open space. The driver of them had asked us to do this because she was
concerned that although we could put them to in the yard, where they were tied on the wall she wanted to be able to put them to when she
was at a show ground. So they’ve just had all the noise and
excitement of the loudspeaker, the sirens, going
over the bridge, going round the arena so they haven’t been far today they
haven’t actually done a lot of distance, they’re still what we would call quite fresh. as well as having all the noise which
would naturally put the horse on edge a bit. So you can see Kathy’s holding on to
them and i’m just going around undoing all the traces. We’ve got a single female holding on to
them because there’s going to be lots of women around handling them getting them
put to so there wouldn’t be much point in
having Barry there holding their heads because that wouldn’t prove anything; what we want to show is that 2 females are capable of putting them to. The other thing to bear in mind is that the
road runs just the other side of the hedge so you get the noise of cars coming past brushing the hedge and making a noise
which isn’t something we can predict either. So its not like they’re in a quiet
place – there’s unpredictable noises going on as well. You can see we’re just taking them off, taking the reins off of the driver it may not be the conventional way of
doing it but what we’re showing here is that we’ve got the confidence in the horses we know that they’ll stand still when they’re asked to, we know that they’re going to be happy being taken out of harness and then being put
back to the vehicle just with us at their heads walking them round. You can see there’s just the two of us
who are going to be doing this – we haven’t got a person holding on to each horse and another person to do either side of the traces. We’re going to have one person holding on to the horses and
the other person putting them to, so we have to do lots of swapping around from side to side. And what we’re going to do now is
take the horses away from the pole and we’re going to walk them round behind the
vehicle and bring them back up to the vehicle We are each taking a horse away They’re seeing each other round behind the
vehicle again and then they’re being brought straight back to which is also an unusual thing for them to do. Normally
when they’re taken out of harness that’s them finished for the day they don’t normally get put back to the
vehicle as soon as they’ve been taken out. Again it’s a different routine
something that could potentially unsettle them and this is why we’re trying to
do it like this to try and prove that the horses are happy being taken off and put to again in an open space just with two female
grooms doing everything on the ground. I’m asking this horse to move over, shoving him over; he’s not retaliating
at all perfectly fine standing there This is also the more nervous of the two
horses that I’m putting to first, so you can see he can’t rely on his mate, i.e. the nearside horse, to stand still and hold the carriage. He’s being put to first so if he was going to dance about and act silly he hasn’t got anything anchoring the
carriage. So this just shows that he will stand
still if you look at the horses they’ve got their legs at rest, they’re not bothered. And I’ll say again; it may not be the
conventional way of doing things but what we’re doing here is showing the
horses are happy being put to. Now normally we don’t believe in having
a groom standing in front of their heads for the simple reason that if anything
did happen and the horses jumped forwards they’re going to flatten the groom in front of them and they’ve got nothing to stop them. Its not something we believe is a
sensible thing to do – we normally like putting them to on the wall as you can see where they’re chained up so they can’t get loose. They’re held securely without needing a groom to distract them or to feed them titbits. But because these people show and therefore they’ve got to follow the British Driving Society’s show rules and regulations then we need to put them to in the traditional manner. See Kathy’s holding on to
them, I’m just putting this horse to, giving the reins back to Barry and obviously it takes longer as well
having just one person do everything so that means the horses have got to stand still
for a longer period of time. You can see they haven’t fidgeted, they haven’t moved they’re just standing nice and quietly, nice and
relaxed Barry’s holding them on a nice loose rein. I’m just doing the coupling reins up. So they don’t need somebody hanging on to
them they’ll come over when they’re asked, you can put the traces on, make noise behind them, ask them to move over, come backwards when they’re told and they’ll stand still quite happily to be put to which considering that was one of the
major problems the owners had before they sent them to us this is what we’ve managed to achieve – that
they can be put to happily in an open space by 2 female grooms. Now what Barry’s going to do is something to unsettle them. They’ve moved forwards a little bit they think they’re going off somewhere, this
is the type of thing that could happen at a show ground, something unexpected startles them, you can see being thrown right down onto the pole head between the two horses they have a startle as it comes past their heads then they’re back standing there Bearing in mind there’s nothing
in front of them, if they wanted to run away they could have done so there’d be no stopping them They’re in Liverpools wrapped in latex but if you look at the reins, Barry isn’t
hanging on to them and they’re quite happy to stand still
calmly. We can’t do any more than what we’ve done with these horses in the time we’ve had them. Bearing in mind what they’ve been through, I don’t think they’re doing bad. We’ve come over there, you can see the pole being smashed between them as we come over the rough ground. And the fact the pole has come up and hit one of them near the mouth, on the bit and they’re standing here as quiet as lambs. So, I can’t do any more in the time I’ve had them. Its down to whether you can drive them So they don’t want any nonsense they’ve got to gain your respect. They’ve got my respect, and I respect them. The secret to these horses, or to any horses come to that is they’ve got to have respect for you. Now if you start letting them step out of line they will lose their confidence. Its as simple as that, and all the money’s been wasted. But I can’t do a better job than I’ve done in the 8 weeks they’ve been here considering what we had to work with. What I’m saying is, you can see we can do it, but whether Barry Hook can do it or whether you can that’s what we’ve got to see. I’ve made them as best as I can, you see my Kathy who’s been helping us today, she drives them, but its not whether we can drive them, you can see anybody drive them, that’s neither here nor there, what it is is whether you can drive them. That’s where we’ve got to go. If you look at their bits they’ve got a Liverpool in but but, pull the bit out there, they’re wrapped in latex. And the worst thing is to make horses after doing all this to walk past where they’re going home. Its the hardest thing to do, control them. So right in mid-flight I shall swap places And Melanie’s now on the reins tiny little hands, and she’s driving them no trouble at all. Mel’s only got them on smooth cheek, and Mel’s no weight, and she’s driving them. Ok here now, turn them Right round here now right on hard, tell them to come round keep them on the road. Now the other thing we’ve done now we’ve got Mel on the reins as I say, to show you who can do what. But we can’t keep swapping them about, when you get on the reins, you know, whenever it is you’re coming, when you get on the reins it wants to be you and noone else till they get settled to you hands, know what I mean? Everytime we change them its good for their training but also they’ve got to get settled to that person. Now they know they’re going home because this is one of the routes we go when we come back, and that’s in sight, but they’re not getting excited, they’re not pulling on his pad has slipped round a bit and as you can see they’re just going sweet. Mel just driving them one-handed Now if you just put one rein in each hand and let the reins go slack just telling them to walk, and the horses are walking, not speeding up to go home. Now that, to my way of thinking, is good training.


5 Responses

  1. Amy Rasmussen

    October 24, 2016 2:40 pm

    Love your videos! Thank you! However, your frequent references to…. "even female grooms, or a woman" being able to accomplish something…. putting a horse to, etc……. Mel! I think you're quite capable. Women are just as capable as men, assuming they have the knowledge and experience….. which you do. If that pair had an issue…. even the mighty Barry could not manage or hold them. Instead, maybe say, "an inexperienced groom etc…" Again, love the videos. You guys rock!


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