ask alycia-03

Ask Alycia Edition #3

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Any bareback pads you recommend for high withered horses? I love jumping bareback to help with Bullriding – Zack

A great photo of Zack bull riding

A great photo of Zack bull riding

I really like Zack's second picture, here is a serious rider who is determined to get balanced without the use of a saddle, bridle, sight or his hands! Great job Zack.

I really like this, here is a serious rider who is determined to get balanced without the use of a saddle, bridle, sight or his hands! Great job Zack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Zack, that’s actually a really good question. A lot of riders don’t want to ride bareback because they have high withered horses and the pain is not worth it…especially when you’re a guy! The good news is there is an easy fix

P.S- I would totally love to get on a bull one day it’s an absolute dream of mine!

I have combined a few different products which ensure that it is comfortable for the horse and rider and also so that nothing slips backwards.

I snapped 2 ligaments in my ankle 14 days ago so I cannot ride in a saddle. Here you can see how I am getting around that by riding bareback- AND it is the same system that I use on high withered horses.

Schooling over a 3 star cross country jump with my foot in a moonboot. Notice how I am holding myself balanced on the decent. Becoming truely balanced on your horse makes their job easier!

Schooling over a 3 star cross country jump with my foot in a moonboot. Notice how I am holding myself balanced on the decent. Becoming truely balanced on your horse makes their job easier!

There are very few places that sell good surcingles so perhaps try your local leathersmith and ask him to make one for you- they are very simple and should cost no more than $30.

My last sheepskin lined saddle blanket I brought from the Saddlery Warehouse in NZ for around $130- surprisingly these are lasting a very long time and it was cheaper than any other brand.  The other brand that lasts a very long time is Equine NZ- but they are around the $200 price range. You could also just use a straight skin from a sheep and put your own tabs on it to help it stay in place.

Sheepskin saddle blanket (Note this is thick sheepskin on the underside and cotton on the top)

Sheepskin saddle blanket (Note this is thick sheepskin on the underside and cotton on the top

Here are some other great ways to use this bareback set up.

*For high withered horses, guys who are riding bareback or for slim riders who don’t have much protection on their own backside.

*A GREAT and inexpensive way for children to learn how to ride because it teaches them to ride balanced from the start. The breastplate also doubles as a strap to hold on to. This is how I learned to ride growing up which is why I have a balanced and secure seat. (It is never too late to start trying this)

*If you want to try and ride bareback but find it too slippery- this is also a great way to start! The sheepskin pad will give you a lot more grip then riding bareback and the breastplate also gives an added security- just hold onto it for balance.

*If you love riding bareback but your horse is malting/shedding this is a great way to keep clean.

If you are like me right now and have an injury or are recovering from an injury- riding with a bareback pad provides more stability than riding straight bareback and it means there is no pressure from your foot being in the stirrup.

You can find out more information on bareback riding, exercises, how to start, instruction on how to stay on and what gear to use on my Free Riding DVD available from my shop

Why do you recommend riders learn to ride bareback?

The only reason I am good at what I do is because I am a very fast reactor. It sounds simple- but its true. I wasn’t born being fast- it was earned through lots of practice!

Being a fast reactor means that whenever I feel myself slightly going one way, or the horse becoming unbalanced underneath me I can quickly and immediately apply the aids to rectify what is going on before it becomes a problem.

If my horse starts slowing down and backing off, or speeding up, or going left or right… ANY change that they try and make I am quicker than they are and I can adjust them. This allows me to be extremely balanced and in control.

Riding bareback taught me this. You must learn to make constant small adjustments VERY fast and seamlessly. You must learn to be strong in your core and aware of your whole body and the affect it has on your balance and on your horse.

When you ride bareback you physically must sit up correctly. You cannot hunch, lean forward or to the side otherwise you will simply start to slip- You will naturally want to correct yourself to avoid falling off. You must learn to feel every small move your horse makes and you must learn to move with it in complete harmony. How do we get good at this….PRACTICE! 🙂

When you are riding in a saddle it gives a false sense of balance- you are wedged and held in. I often think of it as LAZY riding because that’s exactly what it is- allowing the rider to be lazy with no consequences. The rider in a saddle who is jumping 1.30 can pull on the horses mouth, hit down on their back hard with their body, get left behind over jumps and be completely out of sync with their horse with little to no consequence. Many riders do not learn to ride with an independent seat from their hands- meaning they use their hands for balance instead of their core.

xplaining how to start riding bareback- DVD available from www.freeridingnz.com

Explaining how to start riding bareback- DVD available from www.freeridingnz.com

If you are lazy bareback jumping this height- you come off and get taught a lesson real quick. Coming off is a pretty good motivator to start getting more in tune with your own body and it works. You will naturally start improving because you have to. When you take the saddle off you immediately become aware of your own balance.

Riding with a saddle often allows us to get into very bad habits such as looking down, hunching, leaning forward, holding on to the reins for balance, riding with tension, collapsing one side of your body etc.

I also see many riders in saddles that do not fit them correctly or are sitting on incorrect angles on the horses back. This will physically force the rider to lean forward or to the side, have their legs in an incorrect position or have an unsafe jump position. No matter how much the rider tries or how many lessons they get they will never sit correctly because they are not sitting on a level and balanced surface to begin with.
When you sit on a horse bareback there is nothing pushing you in a certain direction or holding you in- so naturally you sit up straight to keep your balance.

 THE RIDER SHOULD BE BALANCED BOTH BAREBACK AND WITH A SADDLE.  THERE SHOULD BE LITTLE DIFFERENCE.

The rider should be balanced both bareback and with a saddle. There should be little difference.

People don’t want to ride bareback because they think it is dangerous.

To me it ALL comes down to safety. I ride bareback to keep myself sharp and safe.

I know I am safer than most because I have worked so hard on my balance- there have been more times than I can remember where I have been competing/training and my horse should have flipped or I should have come off and been very hurt but I was able to control my balance and keep us both safe.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t have an issue with saddles- in fact I ride in saddles 90% of the time and I even have my own saddle brand which allows riders to truly sit correctly. But I have laid a correct foundation of correct balance through bareback riding so that I don’t rely on them.

 

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ask alycia-02

Ask Alycia Edition #2

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Hello Alycia – I was hoping you can help me as I don’t want to make the wrong choice again! I have already purchased 2 horses that have not worked out for me. I am a nervous rider and I am wanting a horse to go trekking with. I have a busy work schedule so I sometimes cannot ride for a week. The two horses I recently purchased ended up being very spooky and would always try and run off on me. Thanks – Sandra

Hello Sandra.
This is a very common question from people who have often like yourself already had purchases that did not work out.

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In my eyes- this is the perfect partnership. I contribute much of my success with Goldrush to the fact that we both enjoy the same things. I learned a long time ago that I cannot make this horse do anything – so I only stick to what he enjoys…….Which is VERY basic dressage to loosen him up – lots of honing around acting like kids, jumping very technical and tough combinations and grids, hacking out everywhere and cross country.

 

There are some issues/rules with horses that you MUST enforce. Goldrush is extremely obedient to when I ask him to slow down, speed up etc. BUT I never make him do solid dressage he gets very upset and to me its just not worth it. Its about finding boundaries

Be VERY specific on what you actually need. …
Write down your actual needs. They must be ticked off in a potential horse before your “wants” are. We need to be as careful as we are in relationships. If you are a high achiever, non-smoker and don’t party then chances are if you got into a relationship with someone who was unemployed, smoked and partied that it would not work out. Don’t set yourself up for failure!

Be VERY realistic on what your own abilities are…..
Don’t go looking for a purpose bred sport horse if you require a quiet safe trekker!  Purpose bred sport horses designed to be performance athletes and often need riders to match them! They will often start ‘misbehaving’ in the wrong hands. Don’t look at what other people have any try and copy them- match the horse to your own ability. Don’t set yourself up for failure!

You need to separate your emotions from your situation…
LADIES LISTEN! DON’T fall in love with the horse based on what you see in front of you. This is the most common mistake people make and they often regret it. Riders see a “pretty horse” and buy it only to realise it is totally unsuitable for their needs.

I bought this 4 yr old TB off the track with high hopes of becoming a high level eventer. I made the decision to sell him after I realised that he didn’t enjoy jumping as much as I did and much preferred dressage.

I bought this 4 yr old TB off the track with high hopes of becoming a high level eventer. I made the decision to sell him after I realised that he didn’t enjoy jumping as much as I did and much preferred dressage.

I could have MADE him jump the bigger heights- but his heart wasn’t really in it. “You cannot make a horse enjoy something- he will only be doing it out of fear.” Now he is taking out Champion sport horse awards almost every time he goes out showing with his new owner!

Unfortunately what we would “like” and what we actually “need” are often two VERY different things.

Don’t get a young horse unless you are prepared to train them. If you want something safe then don’t get something green broke or with issues. Don’t set yourself up for failure!

You’re also not going to get a good horse for nothing- so have realistic expectations. That horse is Free or cheap for a reason- don’t go complaining about your cheap horse afterwards when you find it has issues that you cant fix. More often than not it was your own fault- no one else’s.

 

Andrea Richdale’s lovely horse Cloud, giving Sarah some much needed confidence after a bad experience.

ASK the questions…

Buying is complicated by sellers “sugar coating” horses temperaments, habits, and behaviours to make them sound more appealing.

Learn to read between the lines. If you are unsure- ask the owner very bluntly.

Here are a few funny translations from horse sale ads… 

“Quite Forward moving”= Let me get out of a walk and I will never stop again!
“Can be quite sensitive”= If you put your leg in the wrong place I will let you know about it!
“Thrives on Challenges”= I get bored easily. If you’re not always thinking ahead of me I will be trouble. I need to be in work
“Suitable for small adult or 2nd/3rd childs pony” = Put your beginner child on me and I will run off, probably spook, buck and put them on the ground. Then once I’ve had my fun Im going to be super cute and cuddly acting like nothing happened.
“Is great to lunge before being ridden”= If you don’t make me too exhausted to move I will buck you off then take off laughing about it.
“Is improving in traffic”= Here’s the rules of the game lady…. when that truck comes past I’m guna spin and run ………with or without you!
‘Loads very well into a truck”= You might as well get rid of your float now and buy me a big truck ‘coz I aint getting in that small box!
“Is suitable to be on the lead”= Unclip that lead rein and your child is mine!!! Muah hahahaha
“Can be strong at times” I’m totally going to rip your arms off lady!

Alycia working on a horse with problems. Do not just buy a horse because they are the right colour or because they are pretty. If you are not skilled enough or prepared to deal with the horses issues then DON’T buy it. Its not fair on the horse OR you. Owning a horse and being afraid of it is simply not smart and someone will end up getting hurt.

Needs for Sandra

A safe horse that can be left on it’s own in the paddock, ridden out alone or in company.
It must be safe to rider and stay unaffected by time off or on grass.
A proven trekking horse.

ASK the questions…

Is this horse safe for a nervous rider?
Can this horse be paddocked and ridden alone?
Is this horse safe and stay unaffected with time off?
Do they start jigging or get nervous when ridden out anywhere including in bad weather?
Are they good to travel, shoe, worm, get their teeth done etc?
Does this horse buck, rear, bolt, bite or have ANY vices or habits that I should know about?
Does this horse have or has it had any health issues what so ever?
WHY are you selling this horse?
Does this horse get grass affected?
Is there anything that I have not asked about this horse that you have not told me…good or bad?

If any of these questions bring up concern or go against what you need then stop and move on.
Unless you are prepared to deal with the issue then don’t compromise.
If the horse ticks the boxes then make a time to view the horse and try them. Take a friend or pay a professional to come with you.

Unless you are prepared to deal with any undisclosed issues then don’t buy before you try. Don’t set yourself up for failure; prevention is better than a cure later on!

If you are unsure after trying the horse- then arrange for another time to come back. Don’t buy anything unless you are 100% sure and don’t get pressured into it….. You are the one who is stuck with the horse once you buy him.

Classic Crusader- This was a TB off the track who obviously was not cut out for racing well. He was however one of the most enjoyable jumping horses I have ever owned because he had so much enthusiasm and power over the jumps. He was regularly schooling 1.70 at home.

Classic Crusader- This was a TB off the track who obviously was not cut out for racing well. He was however one of the most enjoyable jumping horses I have ever owned because he had so much enthusiasm and power over the jumps. He was regularly schooling 1.70 at home.

Remember- it will take on average for most new combinations 6 months to get to know each other.
Professional riders can do this in a matter of rides but remember that is their profession.
Try and set up regular lessons with your new horse to help gain confidence and good communication.

Remember- the reason we have horses is to be happy and to enjoy them. If you are scared of your horse or not enjoying them then what is the point?

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Ask Alycia – You can find out much more on my DVD which is available in my shop

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ask alycia-01

Ask Alycia Edition #1

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Hi Alycia,
I have a class presentation coming up on my personal inspiration. I really want to do this on you! I love horses and I think you are so amazing.
I am finding it hard to get information on you as a person so can you please answer the following questions?
Your biggest fan – Sarah

What is your date of birth and where were you born?
Where do you live? I have been told a number of different places….
Do you ever get scared jumping Goldrush? Are you afraid of anything?

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“So many people never reach their goals because they let fear control them. One of my biggest roles as an instructor is to help people gain lasting confidence.”

Hello Sarah, First of all- thank you for choosing me as your ‘personal inspiration’! I am 26 years old and I was born on the 1st of August 1988.
Everybody laughs because here in New Zealand I also share the same birthday as all of the horses! I was born in Melbourne Australia but moved to NZ at a very young age as my whole family are from NZ. I consider myself a Kiwi as I have been here my whole life. I have moved many times… So I understand it can be hard to keep up with where I am living! I have experienced many different parts of New Zealand and have moved around for different work commitments. I am now based in Christchurch which is in the South Island of NZ and I will be permanently based here over the next 5 years.

“The mind is the hardest thing we can ever learn to control – and it all starts with controlling your thoughts.”

I have been blessed with the ability to be able to control my fear on a horse- which allows me to instil confidence into the horse I am riding and to get the best out of them. The mind is the hardest thing we can ever learn to control – and it all starts with controlling your thoughts. Every time you think “that looks scary, or I cant do it, or my horse isn’t good enough” you need to immediately stop and tell yourself “I can do it! It’s not hard! I am good enough! My horse can do it!”

I know it sounds a bit hocus pocus- but seriously it works.

There is a saying that goes “those who say they can and those who say they cannot are both right”
Often we need to “fake it until we make it, even if we are scared – we need to act as though we are not. Act confident and speak confidence and you will soon start seeing the results. Act afraid and you will stay that way forever.
So many people never reach their goals because they let fear control them. One of my biggest roles as an instructor is to help people gain lasting confidence.

Haha YES! Although I have learned to master my fear on a horse I am sickly afraid of heights! It makes me feel sick and I struggle to move. I have a friend who gets scared of jumping yet she can sky dive – and I am the opposite… I don’t care how high the jump is BUT I would never jump out of a plane!
I have always avoided heights…even going inside tall buildings but I have been working on this over the past year by rock climbing. I still find it hard every time I go – but I have improved so much in controlling my fear of this.

I speak about this on my DVD which is available from www.freeridingnz.com 

 

92d29ad8-7dbf-4d71-9cd5-13df86b14619A NOTE FOR PARENTS –

Teach your children to control their fear while they are young.
Teach them how to overcome their mind and you will set them up for a successful life!

DAMON-7

Know the Law when Transporting Horses

Just over a year ago I had a truck load of horses transported from Auckland to Dunedin which is approximately a 22 hour trip

Things went horribly wrong and my horses suffered soreness, dehydration and had tails that were rubbed raw along with skin off on their faces. One horse was permanently damaged and incurred $4000 of vet bills. Over a year after the accident, he is still not able to be ridden. He was a 6yr old 1.20 show jumper.

The truck driver was extremely apologetic and told me my vet bills would be covered and that he had insurance for everything. This turns out not to be the case and in the end – we all ended up in court because I wanted to get my vet bill covered by the trucking company before I paid the haulage cost.

The outcome of the court case was as follows

  • I was ordered to pay the truck drivers bill for $3335 for delivering my horses. The truck driver only had to pay a total of $1253.45 in damages.
  • I was not granted any rehabilitation costs for my damaged horses
  • I was not granted any compensation for the loss of use of my horse

 This is what I have learned

  • Legally horses are considered goods- like household furniture.
  • It does not matter if there was negligence on the driver’s part and damage was caused- you still HAVE to pay their bill. Even if the driver got drunk, or was speeding, or hit another car and your horses were damages or died; as long as he delivers them you have to pay.
  • If there is damage done you are ONLY allowed to counter claim a maximum of $1500 per animal…..regardless of how much damage was caused.
  • The truck driver himself was unaware of this- he did not know that he was only liable for $1500 per horse OR that his insurance company would only pay out a maximum of $1500. I was also unaware of this.
  •  Make sure that you have insurance on your horse before you let them be transported as all bills over $1500 will be on you.
  • Make sure you investigate the trucking company and driver before you allow your horses on. Accidents and bad judgements can happen with ANYONE.

This has been a deep loss for me- not only financially for the horse, the cost in rehabilitation for a year and the vet bills but also emotionally and my reputation has taken a beating with the inevitable gossip around the traps.

 Footnote:

There is one company in particular that I can honestly recommend and I have used him many times. Mark from A2B horse transport is excellent with horses and will always stop and take a horse off if there is ever an issue.