Monday, August 25, 2008

The story of Splodge, cont'd

So what's happened to Splodge - well, soooooooooooooo much.

When I first bought her I was pretty much told by everyone she was an upside down horse and I would never get her to go right. Well, I didn't care at the time - my view was that if she goes where I want to go what the hell more do I want from her. That's still my view really, but I do admit I have got a little more picky about how I want to go where I want to go. Basically what I have added in is that I want her to be concentrating on the job in hand and not have her mind wandering around checking out for lions and tigers or whatever.

So anyway, searching for a way to quieten my horse's mind has led me to all sorts of stuff that I have heard people talking about, but I have never really thought might apply to me and my horsemanship. But it does! Over the last few years I have been studying how the horse's body works, and how the horse's mind works, and as a consequence, to a degree how the horses spirit works too. And a bit like us, it's all linked together.

As hard as I am trying to keep this subject simple, you can already see that it would be easy to write a book about it.

So back to Splodge. I went riding on her yesterday and my oh my she was good. We went up on Easdon Tor with Sarah riding Winston (our new little pony), and as is my way I spent a lot of the ride studying Splodge's mental state. She wasn't perfect but she was good. She got very slightly worried by a herd of ponies about quarter of a mile away from us, and once or twice she was a 'bit rushy' on the downward slopes. But what pleased me the most was that when she rushed she leant into the bit a little and when I asked her not to she quit leaning, rebalanced herself and slowed right down to the speed I wanted to go.

Sometimes it seems like a long old road training a horse, but rides like that feel good!

I know that isn't the story I was going to tell, but somehow that story isn't going to work without a bit of background info about the work I am doing with my horse - I will get to the story in a bit, I promise.


  1. I like the photo. Have you embraced the +R thing? Are you waiting for those two to figure out what you want so you can give them a click and a treat?

    I'd like to hear the rest of the Splodge story please.

  2. Oh Tommy, what a lovely picture of you and the horses! It sounds as though you had a lovely ride. I haven't ridden a horse in years---see what living in the city does to you?

    I have to tell you, I had a dream about you the other night. It must have been because your blog was something I'd read right before I went to bed. It was nice dream, full of horses and beaches and sunshine. :)

  3. She doesn't look as terrible as you suggest. I mean, yes, her eyes are maybe a little small relative to the size of her head in that picture but she doesn't nearly as ugly as I had been lead to believe.

    Of course, she is next to you in that picture...

  4. I think you need to see her in profile to appreciate the full Glory of Splodge.

    She is lovely though.

  5. What a great photo! I read about your controversial thread and since I know nothing about Horse Psychology..other than they are a prey animal, albeit a powerful and fast one, and the fact that they can trust a two legged predator replete with the tell tale frontal eye placement, is nothing short of a miracle.

    You seem to be the gentlest chap in the blogosphere and I know that you love Equines so I can't imagine that you would do anything untoward upon your four legged friends.

  6. hey good looking! and the horses are not bad either.

    looking forward to the S story too.

  7. Looking forward to hearing more about Splodge too, having enjoyed watching her at a couple of your clinics. I like the blog being more horse-oriented (sorry everyone else who doesn't - if you exist...)

    I looked up the thread you gave the link to and can I just remind you that there were more people saying good things about you than otherwise. Don't forget to 'focus on the positive'....!

    The other thing is, one of your chief critics had a tag that said about two auras combining and stuff (I think this means the horse and human auras). For fuck's sake. I feel so much better for saying that. This Totnessy shit goes right up my nose. She also had about 'sweet surrender' there - I suppose to the horse - sounds kinky and also completely unsafe. She should try sweet surrender to my mare and she'd be mincemeat.

    On the other hand, I also did not like watching Kathleen Lindley dealing with the horse that was leaning on the bit at her clinic (though in general I thought she was wonderful). If there is another way (that works, obviously) I would like to find it.

    Before anybody else says this, I would like to acknowledge that where horses are concerned, I am an ignorant incompetent. However, there's nothing wrong with seeking answers to questions.

    At the same time, I have learned how to make Angel's new foal walk round the place a little bit! Yipppee!

    Tom, don't worry about being criticised. Invite the critics to the clinic and ask them to demonstrate dealing with the horse that leans on the bit. That'll do it. If there are better ways, let's be seeing them. Can we all agree on that?

    From your loyal fan...

  8. Janey - The plus R thing is something I am thinking about a lot right now. If I am honest I think people use Plus R as a shortcut to an end. That in itself is ok I guess, but it does maybe mean we can compromise on our horsemanship.

    Pammy - Oh my god, and we were on this beach and......

    Glenatron - See profile pic in new post - I think she is a 'peasant' and as such, not worth training.

    Donn - Thank you for your kind words Donn. In reality I am in fact a cynical old bastard, so I am amazed I come across as 'gentle'.

    Ziggi - love U 2

    Erica - you never cease to amaze me! Some of the stuff I do I know you don't like, but you still support me. You are a true friend.
    Great to see your little herd of Rocky Mountain horses the other day - and thanks for the cream tea.