The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Very interesting thread to read through... :yes: Though I am not used to seeing such skinny little horses. :sad:

I would be willing to put my money on back pain, like Sue. In fact in plenty of those horses I note a bump whether small or obvious in the lumbar area just before the sacral joint. I know some of these horses seem to have a straighter back then our horses over in the US due to genetics but some of the lumps are indicative of spinal injury - exactly like what Diego sustained and would over time cause pain, hollowness and the losing of topline muscles. :ieks: Scary stuff. :sad:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:31 am 
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Karen wrote:
My apologies also Donald...I have completely hijacked your topic. I'm sorry! The bit mystery has completely grabbed me and it won't let go. :blush:

Not so, Karen. Not so. You and Sue and Volker are providing wonderful insights lighting up areas that I would expect all my students to explore, or at least hope they will.

As I read on from here in the thread I was delighted to see the art. Soon Eric will, hopefully, have time to read this thread. I've invited him in, of course.

Karen wrote:
Will your student be reporting back to you at some point?

Yes, we are discussing how he might do that. During his first three months he's more likely to have Web access, though when he goes out to his assignment that may diminish considerably. And I suspect he's going to be very busy at first, and for some time.

We, Kate and I, are to have a dinner with he and his family just before he leaves. It seems I've made some impression with Eric. I, of course, am having far more fun than he, and he is having a pretty good time. LOL
Karen wrote:

It would be fascinating to know how much you have helped him because I'm betting you are providing something more valuable than he could guess...not only will he learn to ride, but you will also show him how much empathy plays a role in understanding the people and horses he will encounter.

I openned the door to that. But HE was ready to take the first step and shows considerable empathy for the horse even now - and Dakota is a far more difficult horse to empathize with than I suspect most of those he meets in Mongolia will be. Dakota, to be blunt, is a pill - he makes me laugh he is so full of himself - yet Eric caught on to him right away, and through the wildness and annoying boundary intrusion habits still was patient and caring of Dakota.
Karen wrote:

The reports from Sue and Volker both, are amazing. Isn't the internet magical for this? That we have friends with such knowledge scattered across the globe and that we can all be here, in one glorious forum to listen and learn!! :clap: :yes:


Eric may, unless other things draw him away as life sometimes does to us, have more interesting in horses and I'm pleased to have had a hand in laying the kind of foundation you know I would be doing.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:33 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
:funny: :funny: :funny:
Seems we're both still at it!
Karen, that one is gorgeous!I love the closed fist and the open hand image. Seems to symbolized control and strength complemented by freedom and openness.
Here he is:
Image


I get the distinct impression of play. And very possibly mimicry. A call for energy the horse knows as a cue.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:36 am 
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I can easily imagine you are correct, Colinde. And also that they have rather short and painful lives too many of them.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:18 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
Good on you Karen for some educated guesswork. No hints yet though. :D

C'mon Donald, give it lash, before I close the bets! Some of the answers are sniffing round correct, but one missing ingredient. Look at the shoulder and hoof size of the grey.

The second horse is likely Anglo-Arab, the third TB or very much so. The picture of the grey, horse number one, renders too dark on my computer screen to see the shoulder but if it's upright, a standardbred - or other trotter. There is certainly enough "bone," to suggest it. I'm not quite sure why you would say to look at hoof size as a clue. I cannot determine if they are larger or smaller than one might expect.

That third horse I cannot see enough of past the jockey to feel any confidence in my guess ... but the little I do see .... TB.

windhorsesue wrote:

Just been going through all my photos, finally....
Thanks for bringing this trip back up for me Donald. :) There was a lot of stuff went on after I came back from the second trip and I haven't even looked at the photos.

One thing that strikes me, more and more strongly, is that it's not so much the bit or hand action that's causing the tense backs and necks. It's back pain from the saddles and method of seat. I've looked at photo after photo where one or other of us is riding next to a local. Some are riding with soft hands and relaxed reins, but still, in comparison, their horses are tense and high headed, whereas all the various horses we're riding are relaxed through the topline and swinging their backs. We took our own saddles for the trip. I would really urge your Eric to educate himself a little about saddle fit and function, and find himself one that he likes when he gets there. Or take along an English saddle that would fit a small tb shape. How tall is he?

You see, that offside seat isn't just a matter of comfort. It's how the horsemen distribute their weight and lower their centre of gravity. Otherwise, at any speed, you're dangerously ungainly up high there, both to yourself and your horse. Maybe that's why they make the saddle so uncomfortable - so the riders not tempted to be lazy and couch up there! ;) :funny:


This presents something of a problem for Eric I think. I doubt he has the finances for buying even a decent saddle. I think he has large education loans to pay off, as I did when I received my batchelors.

Probably motivating his Peace Corps choice. I believe it reduces the loan size, or at least puts it in abeyance for the duration.

I'm not willing to send my Pariani to Mongolia as this fits Altea so very well it is the most comfortable saddle I can put on her out of many I have tried.

We do have a big used saddle store in Portland an hour away, and they have about 2,000 saddles at last count - but they don't come cheap and we are running out of time. I wish I could make this happen for him.

I suspect that a even a western Arabian horse cut saddle would be a close fit for the Mongolians. The high withers would be accounted for by that model, but they all come with a premium price. But the A-frame barrel would not go well. These saddles tend to fit round backed horses.

I suggested to Eric that he look for a Russian cavalry saddle, and remembering the exquisite pain of my own first saddle, a McClellan, that he take some padding for his own bottom.

I threw the McClellan away it was so painful. Don't think my horse cared for it either. Rode bareback for years until I could buy a saddle of my own choice.

I suggested to a family member of Eric's he be gifted with a few pairs of silk long underwear, both for winter, to keep his pants, likely cotton denim, from chaffing on longer rides on bad saddles and protruding stirrup leathers. He's not conditioned for these things as you or I might be.

When I competed I wore women's nylon pantyhose as we in the U.S. call them. So did many men. Great to allow very tight riding boots to slide on and off, and of course great to reduce chaffing in other spots, tender spots. LOL

I might even suggest some moleskin to deal with blisters and saddle sores if he gets them.

Thank you all for the thoughtful insights and the rich store of ideas and those ideas you have provoked. I know many will pay off for him.

I have a feeling you'd all like him very much. I was most impressed that he did not try to cowboy Dakota, but was instead willing to take whatever risk and closely follow my teaching on rein handling, etc.

I will likely have only one or two more lesson events with him.

I will report back what he reports, and hopefully he will subscribe and enter the thread himselve from Mongolia or start a new one - the better choice.

What a privilege he provides us if he does join and share. There is nothing so special and unique as the fresh eye of a beginner. He will see what we miss because of our patterns based on experience and learning.

He will see new and fresh and unencumbered.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:12 am 
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Hi Donald, Yes,
I think that's the best bet! Educate him about what to look for, and tell him to buy a saddle there. They're very very cheap!!!!!

Underwear! Great idea! You can buy specially made "western" underwear for riding, at a very "special" price of course! But I reckon the cheapest longest lasting alternative now is to look for long lycra tights designed for cycling. You can get the ones with the padding built in! :D


Okay, Thank you all for pandering to my sense of fun with your very educated guesses!

You all got many things almost right!

Good spotting Donald on the first picture. He is indeed a trotting horse. Not a standardbred, because of his height and breadth and size of bone. He's an Orlov Trotter stallion, brought down from Russia, just to the north, to breed trotting horses from the local Ili breed.

The second one, when I tell you, will likely have you all hitting your heads and saying duh! :D Although, I have to admit, even in the flesh, he hoodwinked me too because of the way his body has developed in ways that we don't often see in this breed.
He is, TAHDAH!, an Australian bred racing Thoroughbred stallion, retired from the track in Macau! He didn't look like this when he arrived. :D I was rather impressed by him. I'll show you a couple more pics. He's also been imported to "improve" the local breed. There is a "proper" racetrack here in this tiny little outpost on the borders of everywhere, and thousands of miles from nowhere. The locals are CRAZY for betting at the races.

The third, no-one got. And I didn't expect you to. But I was interested to find out what you saw in him. He's smaller than he looks in the picture. Not much over 15 hh, and obviously not Tb when you see him. His barrel is longer in comparison to the length of his leg, and his whithers just different. I saw him at the racing in Hemu, before I went to Ili. At that time, I was so sure I would have bet money that he was either part arab or part Tb. He won the 80 km event by a huge margin, and looked cool and fit at the end of it. That's his owner and rider standing next to him, Mr Ma. (Ma is chinese for "horse" :) ) Mr Ma swore he was purebred Ili horse.

Next time, I went to the Ili area, for the race in JiaoSu, and later visited Mr Ma's stable. He travels the surrounding areas, hunting for great horses, hidden away in mountain valleys, and buys them for racing. I realized he had told the truth. This third horse is pure-bred Ili Horse, once known as the "Celestial Horses" and prized by the emporers and armies.
You can see the long history of influence of the horses to the north and west of here, Turkistan, Kajikstan etc And the similarity of origins with the Tbs and Akhal Tekes. Although the Ili horses are smaller and tougher.
:D

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:17 pm 
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I never would have guessed an Ili horse...never even heard of them before! LOL. Now I'll have to do some googling! Thanks for a fun contest Sue! :clap:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:25 pm 
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You probably won't find much on the Ili horse Karen.. You have to dig to find their little bit of fame in history. They are famous among horsemen in China though and very prized for endurance racing!

I'll post a link below that explains something of their history, and their connection to the Ferghana horses of the Tang Dynasty.

Briefly though, here's my understanding of the story.

During the Han dynasty, which stretched from 220 BC to 220 AD, a tribe of people from the Gansu area, which borders now on Mongolia and XinJiang, were driven out by the marauding, nomadic, Turkish speaking XiongNu. They eventually settled, along with their horses, around the Ili (Yili) River area, in the north west of XinJiang, just 60 odd km from the Kazhakstan border, and also bordering Russian and Mongolia. There are huge grasslands there, up in the mountains, behind high passes. Perfect horse country! Their city was called Wusun.

During this time, horses were treasured by the Imperial Army, but the horses from China were small and not very athletic. There were many reports of magnificent strong and fast horses from the north and west. The Han Emporer Wu-ti needed a lot of good horses to be able to withstand the invaders from the north - the army lost more than 20,000 horses between 121 and 116 BC. He once consulted an oracle, who said that the divine horses would come from the northwest, and he sent soldiers to search the Western regions.

At that time, Wusun was a country with a population of 630,000 but an army of 188,800. It was a major power in the region and courageous enough to stand up to the Hun in the north and to flight against them as an equal. Zhang Qian, Wu-ti's envoy, (and the pioneer of the silk road) advised Wu-ti to make alliance with Wusun against the Hun, and the emperor agreed. Zhang Qian led a mission of 300 with a great amount of valuables to Wusun. The ruler of Wusun accepted the gifts from Han Dynasty and reciprocated with tens of their best horses.


Later, a princess of Wusun was married to a Han prince, to cement the bond, and the ruler of Wu-sun delivered thousands of excellent horses as a betrothal gift.

The "Ili Horses" became the Emporers "Celestial horses". ... For about 12 years...

During his travels, the envoy Zhang Qian (who must have been a remarkable explorer!) spent some time in the Ferghana Valley, (Dayuan) to the north, over the Tianshan ranges, and was very impressed by the horses there. They were much taller than the indigenous Chinese horses. They were named the "Han xue ma" which means "sweat blood horse". People still talk about this phenomenon today, and when I was there I couldn't figure it out - they swear it's true. Apparently though, it's because of a parasite under the skin.)

Okay, now look up Dayuan on Wiki and you will find something interesting!

Quote:
The Dayuan were probably the descendants of the Greek colonists that were settled by Alexander the Great in Ferghana in 329 BCE, and prospered within the Hellenistic realm of the Seleucids and Greco-Bactrians, until they were isolated by the migrations of the Yuezhi around 160 BCE. Alternatively, it has also been suggested that the name "Yuan" was simply a transliteration of the words “Yona”, or “Yavana”, used throughout antiquity in Asia to designate Greeks (“Ionians”), so that Dayuan (lit. “Great Yuan”) would mean "Great Ionians".


(I thought those Tang horses and saddles and poses looked familiar!!)

Wu-ti decided his army must have these horses! He sent an envoy with a vast treasure of gold coins to buy them. They were murdered, and much of the treasure destroyed.

Wu-ti was furious, and sent 6000 horsemen and thousands of foot soldiers to take the horses by force. They were defeated. Two years later, he sent an army of 60,000 men, 30,000 horses, 100,000 head of cattle and thousands of donkeys and camels marching out towards Fergana. They reached the capital and successfully besieged it. In the resulting treaty, Dayuan gave Wu-ti ten of their best breeding stallions, and three thousand "ordinary" stallions and mares, as well as an ongoing agreement to send a further two of the best stallions every year.

The horses, (along with grapes for wine making, and Alfalfa seed!) were taken back to China, and a breeding program was commenced there - the results of which can be seen in the artwork of the next dynasty.

The Dayuan horse was tall and robust, better even than Wusun (Ili) horse. The arrival of "treasure horses" strengthened Han armed forces, and the Dynasty grew more powerful and stable.

Wu-ti renamed the Ili horses "west-end horses," and called the new Ferghana horses, the "heavenly horse" in it's place. He even wrote a poem:

The heavenly horse comes from the West-end;
The clever and mighty conquers the vicious.

The artwork from the Han Dynasty shows these magnificent "Celestial Horses" in markedly different poses to the "Tang" horses of the next dynasty. The Tang Dynasty was renowned for being very stable and strong, and for supporting culture and learning, and in this climate all the arts flourished, including horsemanship, I believe. It was also, interestingly, the only period in Chinese history when women played an equal role. This is why you can see male and female riders playing polo together. Women were even allowed to have many boyfriends! :D

Despite their horses being passed over for the new Tian Ma, the people in JiaoSu township, in the heart of the mountains of the Ili area are still very proud of their horses, and still use the title "Heavenly horses" for them. Ili ma are still much sought after for racing. They have a reputation much like Arabs for us. If there is an Ili horse, trucked in from somewhere for a race in another area, the locals won't have a chance.


This is only the first part of the story..
http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_focus ... _72757.htm
And this is the other side of the story, which also doesn't tell the whole.. but has some really fascinating facts. (Immolation of living things during funerals was banned in 384 BC, and that's when the practice of creating terracotta images was started.)

And this account puts the two halves of the Tian Ma story together
http://www.silk-road.com/artl/wuti.shtml

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Fascinating.

I do wish western history books used in our schools included Asian references such as these. We are the losers, at least in the U.S., where we are so ignorant of so much that explains, as our western history does, why many things are politically as they are today.

What is even more astounding is the age of the breeds, some of which are still represented today, such as the Ili. I look forward to more pictures of them if you have them.

One has to wonder if we in the west are actually riding the descendents of those horses, unknowingly. Wouldn't a DNA survey on this be a remarkable project to engage in?

There is no reason to think that while today some of our horses, like the Russian Orlof passes to them, that in the past their horses didn't pass to us.

Certainly marauders could well have left the genetic material behind if not even some of the entire horse, escaped stallions and mares, and local mares being informally covered by Ili stallions running about.

Most of the world then was still peopled by nomads ... and they gave as well as took if they were warlike or peaceful.

Sue, I do like the idea of the cycling underwear. I'll suggest it, and stay in touch with the family of Eric (one of them is Dakota's owner family - and a friend to my Kate, and to myself).

We might find ways to send him Care Packages from time to time as he identifies things he needs.

I think you or Karen asked about his size. He's smallish, muscular and agile. I'd say about 5'8" or 9". He's going to be at home on the small Mongolian horse I think.

I'm going to suggest that if he becomes really interested in horse handling that he cast about for the best among the horse people ... the locals will know, and ask for help. It's one thing to go there and "teach," but quite another to value what is there and learn from it.

My interactions with micronesians helping to train Peace Corp volunteers in the 1970s was proof of that. The volunteers were learning much more than they could possibly give.

Eric's adventure may well be a lifelong one. We'll see. Or he will see, rather.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:47 am 
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I still haven't heard back from Dave Elliott yet. I'll report as soon as I hear from him!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Karen wrote:
I still haven't heard back from Dave Elliott yet. I'll report as soon as I hear from him!


Thanks for touching bases.

As one that doesn't personally use bits I still am very interested as my students still do, though from time to time I get them to ride bitless.

If I don't have up to date knowledge of bits it makes any reasons I have for switching to bitless questionable.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 2:52 am 

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WOW, and Fabby photo's and brilliant conversation with amazing history lessons.



Would this ebook on hoofcare be helpful to Eric?
http://www.barefoottrim.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqwQZVxU ... r_embedded
$35. MC, Visa, AE and PAYPAL accepted via the website, or if any problems email Gwen
caballus@charter.net and she will invoice Eric personally.

I wonder if a good polypad or saddle pad and a cub saddle might help, especially with the front strap to help a rider to towards the horse without falling away by hanging on the reins?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CUB-SADDLE-small- ... 3cae4a2223
Approximately US $55.80 plus $38/$40 shipping. Don't forget we in the UK measure from stud on pommel to centre of cantel so 14" is a small saddle.
I used these for my gang of small welsh mountain ponies and found them readily accepted and quite comfortable. I still have my 14" for Ben, but let the smaller children's saddles go with the ponies. xx

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/piepony/


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 3:03 am 
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Suzie, I most surely will pass these information on to Eric when next I see him, or here on line.

What he'll find there in his own relationship with horses remains to be seen. This is the thing I do not know - how the people he is with will arrange for him to have a horse or horses to ride. It is pretty certain he will use horses for transport at least some of the time. Peace Corp folks there aren't allowed to operate motor vehicles of any kind, not even powered scooters.

Now whether or not he'll have one or two horses to work with exclusively I do not know, but will find out when it happens.

Thank you,

Donald, Altea, and Bonalario Magdalena

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Some may remember the young man that took a couple of lessons from me to go off to Mongolia on Peace Corps assignment. Well, I got an E-mail from him finally.

He's deeply embedded at the front, as they say. Having a great time, arguing about various things, including, get this, in mid Winter he insists he will by a pony (horse over there).

They are having trouble convincing him to not do so ... the locals I presume. Those who would know better.

Here's a post I wrote for another forum. See what you think. He needs help.
====================================================
From Mongolia, really. I'm sure you've seen the ancient art with chinese/mongolian horses going with their noses thrust forward. That's not artistic license and the bits then are the bits now. The bits are designed not to ride on the bars, but pull at the corner of the mouth.

I have a student, just two quick lessons with me, that is now on Peace Corp assignment in Mongolia. He wanted to know now to ride - you can imagine how little I could do in two lessons, but he worked very hard.

He has a burning desire to buy a horse there .. .they are ponies really. And it's mid winter. They could not slow him did but I think I did. Please, if you end up in Mongolia in mid winter do NOT buy a pony. They just turn them out usually, and the survivors are gathered in the Spring. I think they might throw a little hay out once and awhile.

He rode when he first got there and as I had warned him using information from a friend (Hi Sue) that the saddles were gastly things making the locals ride on one cheek at a time they would get so sore. What they do to the horses' backs he has reported to me. The riders have it easy.

He wants to make a saddle. That is rig a tree. He can't get one of the Russian saddles, that are in fact from the stockpiles of old McClellens sent over by the U.S. during WWII. They are common but not in his area.

They were something else anyway. My first saddle, and it drove me quickly to bareback on my bony old OTTB.

Any ideas? I think I could get him to post pics of the saddles there and I could make suggestions on how to improve it. This young man is game, very. In his e-mail it sounded like he was jumping up and down wanting a pony for christmas.

He'd like to be good to the pony as some very few there are. I told him to hook up with them for help, but that doesn't sound feasable. Huge expanses, hard to "visit," and tough language to deal with ... I can't believe he's going to come back fluent in Mongolian.

Thoughts, suggestions, screams of joy, screams of pain? Something?

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:43 am 

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Hello there, friends,

and greetings from New Delhi, India!

I joined this group just to be able to thank all of you for the wonderfully insightful inputs on Mongolian horse-handling, tack, and riding techniques, particularly Sue and Donald - a big 'thank you' to both of you.

A brief introduction would be in order, I guess. I'm a 65 year-old man, horse-lover and regular weekend (mainly) rider living in urban New Delhi (which is theoretically divided into two - Delhi, the old medieval and early British-colonial era part, and New Delhi, the newer, 1930's British capital of their Indian empire and the post-Independence, 1947 onwards, vast urban growth). I am a former Army officer (1968-1991), where though I rode while a Gentleman Cadet, I had nothing to do with horses professionally as an infantry officer, and commercial-sector executive (1991-2007) till retirement on super-annuation. I ride mainly at the Army Polo & Riding Club here. Let's see if I can attach a photo or two (or more<grin>) to this: (No, didn't manage - there must be some method which I'll have to figure out) Anyway, I usually try and ride with as long a stirrup as possible, dressage-style.

I'm VERY interested in doing a riding-trek in Mongolia, for the usual reasons that probably motivate lovers of riding, PLUS the fact that the 13th and 14th Century Mongols actually reached Delhi in their conquests. A few kilometres from my home are the ruins of one of Delhi's earlier capital 'cities' or seats of government (Siri Fort) which the Mongols once over-ran, and on the other side some kilometres away is a fort (Tughlakabad Fort) that was built to PREVENT the Mongol cavalry from over-running the seat of government. Leaving the history for the moment, it interests me to see the people and their country and experience riding their horses. I'm thinking of going in the coming summer of 2014, and in the Internet research I came across your wonderful detailed explanations for many of the questions that had arisen in my mind.

We actually also have Mongolian-type ponies in our northern mountains (the Himalayas), because they adjoin Tibet, but most are used as pack-ponies because the mountains are too steep for real riding, however there are some areas on the other side that are open, where the locals ride these Mongolian-type ponies, and traditionally play polo. I've tried riding such a pony once and found the stride and movement as described for the Mongolian ones -very different from our riding horses in the Indian plains. If I get a chance again I'll try and get in a little practice just to get used to the feel, and perhaps try riding standing up in the stirrups.

Thanks for all the info. I'm thinking of trying out the 'Stepperiders' ger camp in Mongolia for a start. Anyone on this forum with experience of this set-up? Any other pointers/ideas/suggestions would be highly appreciated.

With regards and best wishes,

Gautam Das


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