Home' On The Land : January 13th 2011 Contents 6 -- ON THE LAND THURSDAY, January 13, 2011
From ground up
THIS third profile from The Way of
The Horse competition showcases
eventual winner Adam Sutton.
To recap the competition
format, three horse trainers are
allotted a number of unbroken
three to four-year-old horses that
have had minimal contact with
humans. They are unbroken in
The trainer then chooses which
horse they think will be the most
trainable in the time frame of 135
minutes over two days. Following
the training phase, a 15-minute
ridden skills test is performed.
Adam chose a four-year-old
gelding with the unlikely name
The first day of competition was
spent in laying the foundations
for a trusting relationship with
The first step on this journey of
education was Adam "becoming
predictable" in every action so
there was clear communication
between the trainer and the
Adam also laid coloured poles
on the ground in the round yard
to let Strike get used to going over
these unusual objects. Using the
pressure principal, he pushed
Strike away and using advance
and retreat he was able to gain
the trust of the horse.
The main objective for Adam
was to create an atmosphere
where there was no stress and
Using what Adam terms as
"energy up and energy down",
he was able to influence Strike
into moving forward or slowing
down. Working on gaining control
of Strike's feet, Adam used his
body position to send the horse
forward or slow him down, also
turning him back.
When he thought the time was
right, he brought out his rope and
Having the rope around
Strike's neck enabled him to
gain more control over speed
He was able to begin to turn
the horse left and right and to get
him leading forward by applying
pressure to the rope then back-
ing off the pressure once Strike
Adam's goal for the first day of
competition was to have the halter
on. However with five minutes to
go and the halter still not in place,
he had to choose whether to push
on or listen to what the horse was
He chose to listen and that paid
dividends the next day.
On the second day Adam was
able to pick up where he left off
and got the halter on within 10
He then chose to spend valuable
time in getting the bridle on.
Using a flag on a stick, he desen-
sitised Strike and got him used to
going forward from pressure cues
on his sides.
Getting control of Strike's hip, he
was able to control speed, energy
and part of the direction.
He then began to prepare for
getting the saddle on, which he
achieved without fuss.
Once the saddle was in place
he chose to take his compulsory
break to give the horse time to
get used to it.
Re-entering the yard Adam pre-
pared to mount. Strike remained
calm due to the trust that Adam
had worked so hard to instil.
He then mounted from both
The cues Adam had taught on
the ground were then transferred
to the saddle.
Creating "energy up" to get
forward movement and "energy
down" to slow down.
Once this was established he
could then work on the turns.
Already used to trot poles from
earlier work, Adam introduced the
tarp and got Strike used to moving
around and over this obstacle.
His training culminated in
dragging a rope with the halter
attached in preparation for the
hay bale drag.
In the skills test, Adam led
Strike into the enlarged arena
which was a bit frightening for
the horse, which reared and tried
Adam reassured the horse that
it was all right, saddled him and
mounted in a calm manner.
He then bent the horse in both
directions before starting to ride
Walk trot and canter in both
directions was achieved, but when
Adam asked Strike to back up he
He then dismounted, keeping to
his belief that, "if it's not working in
the saddle, do it from the ground".
Strike then understood what was
required. Adam remounted and
he and Strike faced the tarp.
The horse was questioning
Adam but took no backward step
and walked calmly over.
The witch's hats proved no
problem and, because of Adam's
persistence with the bridle,
neither were the zig-zag poles.
Strike popped over the jump
comfortably and, given he was now
well used to trot poles, they posed
no problem either.
When it came to the hay bale
drag, Adam moved the horse
forward into a very strong canter
to the delight of the crowd.
Throughout the skills test you
could see that both Adam and the
horse were having fun.
There was no tension in either
of them and, as Adam said later,
he felt like "he was smiling at the
horse, and the horse was smiling
right back at him".
Adam Sutton works with unbroken four-year-old Strike in The Way of the Horse competition.
Picture: ANNETTE CHISHOLM
By ANNETTE CHISHOLM Horses reflect riders' nerves
ADAM Sutton (right) has worked with
horses from a young age, campdraft-
ing and riding the rodeo circuit then
turning his hand to trick riding.
In 2001 he was employed as a
wrangler on the set of Ned Kelly
where he taught the stars --- includ-
ing Heath Ledger --- to ride. Adam
also helped Ledger in the movie
He has turned his life experiences
into his profession, starting young
horses and working with people and
horses who have problems in their
communication. He says that a horse
is a reflection of the rider. If the
rider is uptight and nervous this is
shown in the horse's behaviour. Calm
people produce calm horses, so the
most important thing is to get your
own emotions under control.
In all of Adam's training he works
firstly from the ground. If it's not
working in the saddle, dismount
and do it from the ground.
He says that you must start the
horse with the end result in mind
and gain its trust.
IF you are interested in doing a
clinic with Adam in Warrnambool,
please contact Annette Chisholm
on 0437 986 761.
ANOTHER weed species has developed resist-
ance to glyphosate, the most important herbicide
in Australian agriculture.
Windmill grass from no-till fallow paddocks in
central New South Wales has been confirmed to
have developed resistance to the chemical, widely
known by the proprietary name, Round-Up.
Windmill grass joined two other weed species
to be confirmed as glyphosate resistant in the
Grains Research and Development Corporation
northern grain region since 2007: awnless barn-
yard grass and liverseed grass.
Windmill grass is a native annual or perennial
grass that has become an increasingly invasive
weed in summer fallows and along roadsides
It is becoming more common in fallows due
to the widespread adoption of no-till farming
--- which relies heavily on the use of glyphosate
--- to conserve soil moisture and reduce erosion
Dr Chris Preston, from the University of
Adelaide and chairman of the Australian
Glyphosate Sustainability Working Group, said
windmill grass had been an increasing problem
in summer fallows across Australia.
"The development of glyphosate resistance
will make management of this weed even more
challenging," Dr Preston said.
In many regions storing soil moisture during
summer is critical to reliable crop production
and windmill grass readily removes the soil
water farmers are trying to preserve for the
Research in Western Australia has shown that
an uncontrolled infestation of windmill grass in a
summer fallow can reduce yields in the following
wheat crop by as much as 25 per cent.
By STEVE HYNES
YOU can buy practically anything online these
days --- even a bull.
An online bull auction has been initiated by Dean
and Dianna Malcolm, who run Bluechip Genetics
just outside Shepparton.
The site is offering a group of 25 bulls online in
an auction that will finish on February 1.
The bulls are from their best cow families, sired by
Atwood, Atlantic, Shottle, Goldwyn and Bolton and
range in age from calves through to 15 months.
Their dams are from high-profile domestic and
imported families and classified to EX93 with
productions in excess of 15,000 litres.
Bluechip Genetics has a JD score of seven with
clearance to send animals to Queensland.
Buyers have to register to bid. For more informa-
tion, contact Dean Malcolm on 0417 302 037.
The Bluechip Genetics website hosting the bull auction.
Buyers set to bid
online for bulls
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