Wednesday, November 23, 2011

behind the scenes

Just a couple more images from equidays, Matai and Eliza, as well as other wild horses and their handlers...

Behind every organisation is a couple of hardworking people who keeps everything ticking over. Every soccer club, dance recital, horse show, school reunion, charity organsition has a handful of core people, that makes these things work. These people who put the hard work in year after year, so that these events and clubs happen, they usally do the bulk of the work, for none of the glory, fitting it in without complaint around their day to day live.

The Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, seems to also have this core group of hardworking volunteers that not only look out for the horses but run, shows, demonstrations, a breed registry, a adoption and fostering scheme, publish a magazine, and continue to promote these amazing horses. It is these people who i have all my dealings with, and have made the overall experiance of having a wild horse so enjoyable. They have taken good care of me, and always made me feel part of the Kaimanawa family, everytime ive gotten to meet them at shows and events. Even going as far as putting me and matai up for the night when we came to the Kai show in february. They are all great people with big hearts and deserve mention for all the good work they do.

So Marilyn, Elder, who are just great people, and obviously so passionate about the horses. Tania for helping Matai, me and Eliza all participate in Equidays. Christine and her family for letting me stay back in february, and all the other great people who keep this organisation going. Thanks for all that you do, your work is appreciated!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Good hoses are made not born...

What we started with......

and today......

Big screen in the back ground, the wild stallion and his new owner, a little scared but held it together!

In the demonstration arena settling down

Matai and his new owner warming up. Looking pretty flash

I just want people to know that good horses are not born, they are made. Some horses are born more trainable, more athletic, with better movement, better conformation, more intelligent, what effects how they turn out in life, how far they go, is the training and time put into them.

Behind every good horse is someone who at some stage put hours, months even years of training into them. At some stage in every successful horses life someone took the time to put in, the everyday foundation in training that would shape their future.

People spend their whole life tyring to find that perfect horse, maybe just a calm horse to ride on a trail, or something they think will carry them to a gold medal, while other people just create the perfect horse for them selves.

Without going on an on, that little unremarkable scrawny bay pony in the top photos didn't just become the flashy little bay horse that could perform in front of crowds, tv screens, in a windy outdoor arena like he did today.

People put a lot of work into him, training what he already had,and turning it into something special. First me with months of training to bring him from wild horse to domestic horse, and now with is new owner, taking him from green little pony into a horse that will one day have a future in a dressage ring.

Matai had his four minutes of fame today. Going into a big outdoor arena surrounded by grandstands, loudspeakers, flapping flags, we had to push through crowds of people, and past a tantrum throwing miniature stallion, horse and carts, just to make it to the arena, but we did. Matai bless his sole, was scared, and so was his rider, he saw him self on the giant screen and almost jumped out of his skin, yet he listened came back to his rider and settled down to his work, showing moments of brilliance. In another year it will not be moments of brilliance but a consolidated performance. It wont be magic it will be because someone put the work into him..

Congrats to all the wild horses who did a fantastic job of promoting the breed. Well done to Eliza and Matai for being brave enough to put themselves in the limelight!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Matais back.

I have my wild stallion back! well sought of.....

Matai came to stay the night at my place last night in preparation as i was to take him and my big jumping horse down the line to stay with my old boss and trainer, first thign in the morning. Matais new owner was to meet me down here. It was like my little wild boy had never left, he remembered his old freinds, and the wild weanling was delighted to see him again, screaming his greetings from the paddock. Matai just trotted into his old stable like hed never left, and it was great to see his familiar face greeting me from over the stall door, when i arived at the barn this morning.

So this morning i set off giant jumping horse and little wild horse squeezed into my trailer and off we went. Six hours later and we finally arrived in the waikato region, both boys traveled beautifully , the only casualty being a bay of hay i placed within reach of two hungry mouths that got completely eaten, i didn't know so much hay could be consumed in such a short space of time. Little Matai's stomach was bulging at the seams when i finally off loaded him. The wild horses view to eating defiantly being, waste not,want not, as they have known true hunger in the wild.

Anyway my old trainer loved Matai straight away, and as usual no one could believe he was once a stallion form the wild. I look forward to watching him and his new owner getting a lesson tomorrow, as hes starting to look quite the little dressage star. Then its off to be parting of the big equestrian extravaganza, that is equidays, and Matai's going to be part of it, his turn to really shine in the limelight!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just for laughs

I found this while scrolling through a horse selling website, and it made me laugh......

Miniature Horse

I am selling on behalf of my wife who has just come into the house and said she was up all night, in the rain, trying to catch this "real s#!t of a horse". I asked her if I could put him on Trade me and she said "yes, he's a s#!t and I can sell him!!!" (so angry and frustrated) I said, "OK, yeah I will!"...So hear we go.

The horse is 8 hands and she brought him off the intranet at work. Don't know too much more as I'm not a horsey person, but can tell you that it is bronze, white and quite small, like a small version of a horse. From what I've seen it's pretty good with my 4 and 2 year old but doesn't seem to like males very much, as it runs away from me and tends to throw my son around a get bit..... So, a good horse for the females of the family! Selling cheep, as want to take full advantage of my wife's utter frustration towards it and my utter desire to get rid of it.

The only completly honest horse add i have ever seen, and shows that horses are horses no matter what size they come in, and are not for people who want something more like a family pet. Unfortunatly minture horses sometimes end up in the worst suitable homes because they are so small anynody buys them without realising you still need to know what your doing....probably like the people with the horse horse in this add....still its a good laugh, love the fact that he described it as bronze and quite small. comedy gold.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

surpassing expectations

I have been slowly falling behind on the story of the grey mare from the wild. Mainly i have written about Matai and his adventures, every so often dropping in details about the mare, and pictures here and there. But I have left out a lot of details, of what been going on behind the scenes. Its not just sneaky escapades to the local rugby fields, or day trips to the beach that have been taking up my time, horse riding is not that glamorous unfortunately.

Behind these outing have been the day to day slog of training horses, the mundane boring stuff. Teaching a horse to turn, stop, and go when asked, all these basics that when done right create the final product of an overall happy horse. But first is the hours of the baby steps where the horse learns the ABC's of being a ridden horse, much like a child learns the alphabet before they can read their first word. Because for those who maybe didn't realise, no horse and certainly not a horse from the wild is born knowing, what on earth a human wants when we sit on its back, its not instinctive to them unfortunately.

the first time you sit on a horse, it has no idea that squeezing with your legs mean go forward, pulling its head mean turn, and pulling back is the command to stop. Why would it, its not exactly logical, is it? Put yourself in a horse position, suddenly you have all this weight on your back and some creature squeezing you around the middle, would you really have a clue what was wanted, i doubt that the first thing that popped into your mind would be "oh of course i get it, i meant to walk forward when i feel annoying pressure squeezing my rib cage"...nope they don't have a clue, for all they know you might want them to walk forwards when you pull their mouth and stop when you squeeze their sides. In fact you could use any aid you wanted for any desired response and a horse would learn it if your consistent enough. consistency and timing...

These are the only two real ingredients to training horses, especially in those first early break in days, when i horse acts like a sponge soaking up everything you teach it unintentionally or otherwise. So the last few weeks for the wild mare have just been boring consistency and rewards and asking things of her at the right time. you just keep asking the same thing the same way until you get the right response and then reward, and you do this hundreds of times, until the horse just knows and reacts straight away. then bada bing, bada booom, and magically one day you realise you have a horse, that at the lightest touch trots off from the leg, slows down when you change your seat slightly, and turns to the lightest touch on the reins.

So the wild mare has been going through this process, and to be honest she has surpassed all my expectations, just like people some horses have different aptitudes for different things, some are more intelligent and some are more sensitive. Of all the horse i have broken in Fern the little wild mare, has surprised me the most.

Fern has never been difficult, but until she started being ridden she radiated a slight air of suspicion, always doing what was asked but not completely happy with the situation. She always came across as a bit withdrawn, she took her time to asses things before reacting, and would often take a fair bit of encouragement to get good work out of her. She also never really seemed to grasp the concept that other people were trustworthy, she was fine with me, and got to know the boyfriend and a few other regular farm visitors, but would eyeball any people she didn't recognise and back as far away as her lead rope would allow. The opposite of the wild stallion, who within a short while loved all people, was not suspicious in the least and loved to work. Ferns love was her baby and food and the rest she tolerated.

Not anymore. For whatever reason it is, that little wild horse dropped all barriers once she had a rider on her back, maybe it just finally allowed her to drop all that suspicion she was carrying around, but whatever the reason she relaxed completely both physically and mentally. her neck dropped her back relaxed and she got this lovely soft but alert look in her eye. It took one lesson for her to learn what go forward meant and she naturally just picked up the cue to slow, and from then we have never looked back. Where i thought she was going to be a bit dull and resistant she has become one of the most sensitive and willing horses ever. She surpassed even the little stallion in willingness and progress. instead of being lazy she loved to work happily trotting and cantering right on cue within days. where Matai was chilled out and happy to go with the flow, she was alert and ready for action, just the kind of horse i love to ride, sharp and sensible.

Funnily enough all others issues she had just fell away after that. When i took her to the beach, everyone came up and patted her all over, some thing that would have sent hers eyes rolling and as far away as she could get a few weeks ago, but instead she happily stood there quietly excepting everything no matter how many people surrounded her. I guess all those defense barriers she had are now well in truly gone. The trip to the rugby fields, you would never know she hadn't been there a hundred times, she just quietly grazed under the goal posts, nowadays she just accepts everything as if it just another day at the office.

All of a sudden now that all the tedious basics are done the future for the wild mare is looking very exciting indeed. i think she may even have to start her competition career in the not to distant future ( opening a whole different can of worms entirely). Funny how life is, i was sure she would be the one i sold and the stallion i would keep for myself, but it ended up the other way and far better for it because Fern has turned out to be just the kind of horse i love.