The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:54 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:19 pm
Posts: 10
Hi, I'm Issy - I live in Northamptonshire in the UK.

I have two horses, Jet and Walle - and I write a blog about them which has loads of pictures and videos... you'll see I'm learning a great deal, but have a MASSIVE MOUNTAIN more to absorb before I've got a clue about competence!

http://anaturallifeforjetandwalle.wordpress.com/

Recently I decided to move away from traditional management and have the horses living out, without shoes or concentrate feeds. They are so much happier and healthier and more mobile.

I am interested in dressage but have given up nosebands, side-reins etc and am using a rubber snaffle. I'd like to feel safe enough to ride with just a headcollar, like when I was a child. I came back to riding in my mid thirties and have fallen off a lot since then - but not since I started moving away from the 'traditional' methods.

However, I was recently kicked in the head by Walle - who was panicking because I SCREWED UP. The full story is in my blog in the post "Seeing the light?" - the password is 'Walle'.

That's led to some tough things to deal with, physically and mentally - so I think it would give me a great sense of purpose to make a start on the exercises with Jet while I rehabilitate.

Do look at the blog - just because I love my boys so much and I want you all to see how handsome they are!!

I know I'll learn a great deal and I look forward to it.

Issy


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
Welcome, Issy! :)

So nice that you have found our forum, and I hope you will discover some information here that you find useful. Your horses are very handsome indeed. :f:

Sorry to read that you got kicked. I have tried to access your blog post, but the password doesn't work for me (there also is no error message - the screen just flashes and then goes back to its original state).

Looking forward to your contributions to the forum! :)

Best wishes,
Romy


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
Welcome Issy! :f:

You have indeed some handsome horses :yes:.
I'm very sorry for your accident. I remember vividly the moment some months ago, when my horse kicked me. He hit my arm and there was not even a broken bone, so one could discard it as nothing of consequence, but the feelings of fear, anger and disappointment did hurt a long time - longer maybe than the injury itself.

I hope you'll find what you're looking for here and I hope for a good and quick recovery of body and mind and your relationship with Walle :f:

_________________
Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Welcome Issy from me too :D
I think you will love it here and of course as you explore and learn we all get to learn too.
Fantastic that you have "moved over to the other side" :funny: and your horses are free, barefoot and enjoying life as they should :applause:
Have fun looking around and remember no question is too silly to ask :f:

_________________
Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:19 pm
Posts: 10
Thanks for the welcome!

I've already been working on Run to me and Run with me plus Chasing the Tiger - and I'm recording it all in my blog!

Here's the story of my accident, Romy.

Bob came over and took some pictures of the horses jumping. He was inspired by Jet’s loose jumping the previous week and by one of Matthew Seed’s photographs. I couldn’t stay late enough to get the real effect of the light, but it was still a worthwhile exercise for him and produced some lovely shots for me!

Louise and Chris were once again there to help out. So, with Bob and his light, me with the whip, the youngsters doing the jump and two horses, it was pretty busy in there.

Now, the plan was to have just Jetty jumping. But in my wisdom, I thought it would be good to get Walle out as well. I think in part I wanted to get back to the life I had before my accident. In part I felt sorry for him being left out.

I know that’s silly. He’s fine in the field.. Ok, he gets a little stressed being left alone, but after the prolonged period without work, he’s also a little stressed by the pressure involved in being herded with a lunge whip. In addition, I still have my jaw wired, the bones haven’t knitted together, so any impact would be a bad thing. At that point I was still tired and rather weak too.

Walle at that point was a little on the unpredictable side. He was not as wired as he used to be, but he’s no longer the Chilledebeast of Bowhayes days.

In retrospect, I don’t think I should have had him in the school with three other people as well as me. Partly because it increased his anxiety and tension, but also because my control over the two horses is compromised when I can’t move around the school freely with other people in the central area.

Anyway, nothing bad happened.

Well, not until afterwards. Becky came over to me when I turned the boys out and said she doesn’t feel happy about me free schooling the horses together.

That is completely fair enough.

I wasn’t really aware of what was going on on the night of our accident.

Becky was.

She was thrown from Walle, whom Lucinda had expressly told us not to ride, but we thought we knew better, and he started to bronc as soon as she mounted. My face was in the firing line. An inch higher and I wouldn’t be typing this now. So I guess I’m lucky.

But not very.

Becky had to sit and wait for the ambulance as I bled copiously. My teeth were in pieces in my mouth and on the road. I couldn’t move, though I could speak well enough to swear. My lower jaw was fractured, my upper jaw shattered.

Bex is still having nightmares. She visited me every day as I lay sedated in the Intensive Treatment Unit.

I hate to bring all this into my feelgood blog about Natural Management, but there we go, I write what happened…

Had Walle been shod, my injuries would have been far more severe. Had I listened to Lucinda (or indeed Walle’s previous owner), I wouldn’t be injured at all.

My choices of management and how I personally work the horses didn’t cause this. It did not happen loose schooling; it did not happen just leading Walle along as a companion to Jet; it did not happen with Walle loose in the school while I rode Jet.

It happened on a hack as I held Walle for Becky to mount. She’d ridden out on Oliver, and I was to ride Oli back while she rode Walle (exactly as we did the previous week). And this was something Lucinda expressly told us not to do. She wanted to keep Walle’s work as very occasional physiotherapy by her, nothing more.

The thing was, Becky liked Walle and considered buying him before I did and was thinking he could make a show horse. And I thought that if she bought Walle, I could buy a Bowhayes horse, Alfie, to grow up naturally with Jet. We were both carried away with ambitions that didn’t allow us to focus on Walle’s here and now.

It was an accident arising from our misjudgement.

I had been warned. Twice.

I didn’t listen and am paying a hefty price. As is Becky, who is suffering not just the pain of two badly injured feet but also the trauma of the memories, which I, of course, do not have. Sedation has the benefit of conferring amnesia.

She would prefer that Walle does not come out of the paddock at all; that no one has to handle him and, ideally, that I get rid of him.

This is very hard for me.

I can’t say I feel quite the same about Walle as before, but in no way do I feel that he’s a bad horse. He’s a sensitive horse who’s been traumatised and is very reactive in certain situations. I actually believe he’s a kind and affectionate horse and that, without saddle, girth or rider, he’s as safe as any other horse.

However, Becky’s needs are more important and so I have to make some tough decisions.

While I’m in Devon I’ve been thinking and talking to Lucinda. There are some possibilities – perhaps swapping him for a Bowhayes horse, one that’s not used for riding at the moment, perhaps even Alfie – but for now I will allow time to do some healing for us all.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
Thanks for posting the story, Issy! :) I also read your blog entry about your groundwork experiments. Great that it worked well for you and Jet, but of course I'm sorry to read that you got a bump on the nose. However, to me it does not sound as if you did anything totally wrong. I guess it's just natural that when two individuals find a new way of interacting, it's necessary for them to learn what movements and distance work best for them at what time. :f:

Looking forward to reading more. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:06 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:19 pm
Posts: 10
Hey, thanks Romy!!

I did some Chase the Tiger with Jet too and he seemed to enjoy it! It was so funny when I moved it as he'd look at me, eyes wide, like "Is this REALLY safe??"

I love your videos. I've had a good look on Youtube. I'm in awe of what you have achieved.

Issy


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Ontario, Canada
Welcome here, Issy!

Wow, that was quite the injury. I hope you have a speedy recovery. I've made some poor judgement calls in regards to my horse, too, but they've certainly taught me a thing or two.

I wish you well on your 'natural' journey with your lovely horses!

Cyndi in Canada


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