Following a slightly wetter Spring than anticipated I have finally started to do something with Olly.

Starting off with getting his tack sorted. I didn’t keep any of his original tack from when I first owned him so I thought I could use one of the bridles I have made during my training courses. I bought him a French link loose ring snaffle to try as I don’t like the eggbutt snaffles and how they crank together plus I know he was ridden in a loose ring during his racing years so I thought a French link loose ring would be kinder to his mouth.

I’ve managed to cobble a bridle together as those I’ve made are not his perfect size, so I will have to make him one.

Once we sorted the tack out I chose to take him for a walk in the private woodland that we are privileged to have at our disposal. I know Olly has been schooled to some degree in the past and I knew he’d be fine long lining but inexperienced horses and owners should seek advise first before trying this and make sure you know the techniques before putting your horse onto two lines.

Apart from the odd wild deer or a squirrel our woodland is relatively quiet and the only thing Olly ended up snorting at was the man-made pond and a pile of logs at the side of the sandy track.

Why Long Lining?

I chose to long line Olly partly because I hadn’t yet sat on him; the paddock we can use for schooling was still wet from the rain; and in all honesty I myself need to lose some weight so the groundwork for both of us was a great idea.

Long lining is also great for:

  • Introducing a young horse to new aids such as learning to go forward, stop, turn left and turn right to voice commands;
  • Helps to build confidence and trust in both horse and rider;
  • Improves acceptance and submission (feel of the bit);
  • Ideal for introducing lateral work; and
  • A perfect exercise for re-schooling horses or working horses that cannot be ridden for one reason or another.

Last week I started to lunge Olly to further prepare him to get back on. We worked up and down the walk and trot transitions to voice command and even did a ‘stand and walk on’ exercise too.

Why lunging?

I chose to lunge Olly to work on his transitions to voice command but also its an ideal exercise to do before getting on a horse. In the past Olly was known to be fresh before a ride so an active lunge on both reins is perfect for us to get rid of any pent up energy he may have.

Other great reasons to lunge are:

  • It helps a horse to balance himself;
  • Improve on trot and canter transitions;
  • Ideal exercise to do before riding a fresh horse; and
  • If you are short on time and not able to ride then a few minutes lunge on both reins is physically demanding enough on a horse to act as a good work out session.

After lunging, with the help of hubby, I leant over Olly’s saddle and then got on him. He accepted my weight (which is something that bothers me at the moment as I’ve put two stone of weight on since I last owned him). Once on board we did a few turns of the paddock just in walk; Olly seems happy, his ears were forward all the time and he walked like an angel. If anyone was nervous it was me lol.

My nerves are something I have to work on also because now that I’m a mother and self employed I really do worry about anything happening to me during riding because if I was unable to drive or work then our lifestyle would be dramatically affected. Any advise on how to improve on this fear would be gratefully accepted.

Until next time, take care. Clair x