Home' On The Land : February 24th 2011 Contents 6 -- ON THE LAND THURSDAY, February 24, 2011
YOU think that you have your eyes
open, that is until someone opens
them for you.
I had my awakening after attending
a Silversands Horsemanship clinic
with David Mellor.
Last weekend a group of 10 riders
and their horses took part in the clinic
that taught the basic fundamentals
of horse behaviour and how the
horse and rider relationship could
The first day began with a series
of bangs when one of the horses
became agitated in the float and
David came to the rescue and
managed to get him out however, he
was too sore to continue the clinic.
Another thoroughbred that had not
been ridden for three years was
brought to replace him and by the
end of the clinic she was happily being
ridden around in a halter.
We started on the ground, as the
first fundamental of this method of
teaching is that if it's not working in
the saddle, get off and do it from the
The other fundamental is to gain
control of the horse's hoof placement
Our first task was to ask the horse
to move backwards. Sounds easy.
However, with the distractions of a
lot of other horses in the arena it was
not so simple.
The aim was to have them moving
backwards without what is termed
as a brace. This is anything from
resistance to a flat refusal to move.
Once we had the horses moving fluidly
backwards, the next task was to back
them in a circle. Our next task seemed
a simple one --- to get the horse to
move around us without encroaching
on our space.
When a horse is startled or agitated
it is likely to run you over using its
shoulder as a battering ram.
There were multiple parts to this
task: getting the horse to move forward
on a lunge circle using only energy
to increase impulsion (building up in
yourself) and down to decrease.
It can sound a little mystic, but
when you see it performed and under-
stand that the horse is reading your
body language that you yourself are
unaware of, you realise how refined
you can make your horse. The ultimate
example is liberty work, where there
are no restraints on the horse at all
and it does exactly what the trainer
Once this was achieved in its basic
form at the clinic we had to ask the
horse to disengage its hindquarters,
stepping them off the circle to the
outside. This is the basis also for a one
rein stop or "emergency brake".
Then you send the horse back in
the other direction, again only using
energy to do so.
The ultimate test of this training
is to walk forwards in a straight line
and have the horse move in a half
circle around in front of you, changing
direction often to come with you, but
essentially staying out of your space.
After lunch we saddled the horses
and mounted, but with only a rope
headstall and rope reins instead of
the conventional bridle.
We went on to practise the hind end
disengagement, useful in a situation
where the horse bolts or becomes
fractious and the back end can be
disengaged to take the power out of
We were given markers which were
traffic cones spread out around the
arena. Starting out at walk we had
to move to a marker and do a hind
Once this was going well you could
move up to trot and again hitting the
markers perform the manoeuvre.
We took the rest of the afternoon
to practice this manoeuvre, and then
those that wanted to have a play
bareback did so.
The range of horses was diverse,
from the newly broken in to the
fizzy pony and those that had done
Next week we will cover day two
and the challenges we faced and
Silversands an eye-opener
Clinic's focus on horse control
By ANNETTE CHISHOLM
BARASTOC is a name synonymous
with quality horse feed and the
biggest horse show in the southern
hemisphere, which is held at
Werribee Park each year showcas-
ing the best of the best.
This year the battle was not only
in the rings against other riders
and their horses, but against the
elements as competitors dealt with
rain, mud and high winds.
Penny Smith (pictured) had a
successful show with her seven-
year-old gelding Swell taking out
the junior show horse and owner/
Swell began life as a racehorse
and under Penny's care has blos-
somed into a polished show horse.
Entered in last year's newcomer
classes, he spent the next 12 months
battling an illness.
While he did not have a lot of
starts in the lead-up to Barastoc,
those he was entered in were
enough to qualify for this year's
show. Tom and Julie Luxton's
River Sea Park Red followed in
his mother Dainhill Squiggle's
hoofprints with a runner-up in
the newcomer galloway on the
weekend. River Sea Park Red
also won the debutante galloway
at the Show Horse Council Victoria
2010, SHCV Masters Horse of the
"He is typical of our riding pony
stud stock, who are now in their
second generation of breeding,"
"Red has always been my
husband (Tom's) biggest time
waster. Tom gets them so quiet and
used to the show ring doing led
classes as babies that newcomer
classes aren't such a scary time,
even despite the horrific windy
conditions on the weekend."
Other locals who had success in
the show ring were Erica Grant,
who won the junior hunter class
and Laura Shaw, who won the
owner/rider large pony class.
In the stockhorse section, Kelly
Henson won the three-year-old
working colt and Karen Owen came
second in her led class and third
in the ASHLA, where riders and
their horses are judged on turnout,
workout and their gear.
All south-west entries performed
WARRNAMBOOL horse trials held at
Albert Park last weekend were run
and won under the most challenging
Yet despite the wind that threatened
to blow the dressage arenas away
and the rain that was driven sideways
at times, nothing could ruin a great
weekend of competition.
There were 115 entries competing
across the levels in the first series of
horse trials for the season.
Dressage judges were former
Olympian Barry Roycroft; Anna Officer;
Australian representative in the Asia Cup,
Pam Shepherd and Wendy Kelly.
Pony club grades 2/3 and open
training 3 also contested the challeng-
ing showjumping course on Saturday,
designed by Tim Haworth under jumps
judge Pat Ryan.
Sunday saw the remainder of
the showjumping judged by Robbie
Leishman, as well as the cross-country,
with the course holding up well in trying
With many people trying out new
horses, there were some that took time
The pre-novice competition drew 34
entries, with many of those entering
set to compete in Camperdown Horse
Trials on April 16, which is an aggregate
competition with more than $1000 in
prizes and trophies up for grabs.
Winners of the classes are as
Pre-novice: Katja Weimann on BP
Preliminary: Katja Weimann on BP
Introductory: Chris Diplock on
Open training 3: Rachel Keeton on
Grade 1: Shay Smith on My Buddy
Boy.Grade 2: Natalie Umbers on BP All
Grade 3: Grace Mitchell on
Penny Smith on Swell.
Picture: JULIE WILSON
Local riders fare
well at Barastoc
Caramut Road, Warrnambool -- Phone 5561 4777
Darren Wright -- 0417 318 779
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