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Second Season! After a really abreviated first season

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  • Second Season! After a really abreviated first season

    Dear All,

    I took my little OTTB on hound exercise last year and on two hunts. I got lots of really good advice and encouragement from the group! Unfortunately our hunt had very few 3rd flights offered during the year-and those few seemed to regularly either be rained out or on a day when I couldn't go because of work.

    Basically we went on 10 hound exercises and 2 hunts. He was good on the hunts-but never calmed down-head up, I could feel he was tense, had to trot in a circle at checks by the end of the hunt, etc. I am so pleased he never did anything bad, but really disappointed I didn't get to take him out more. I felt that the extra speed of 2nd flight would wind him up further.

    He had an eye issue in the Spring. It's cleared up but somehow the season just snuck up on me! I was going to go on so many trails, lessons, etc. and not one thing!!!! I have ridden around in my pasture and ring and that's about it.

    Now it's hound exercise again-I guess I'm gonna take him this Saturday. But last year I had 2 lessons and 2 trail rides before hound exercise started and this year-nothing! He was good on hound exercise and much more relaxed than he was hunting. I think all the hoorah and noise of course affected him. But I also did wonder if he thought hound exercise was what we did with those dogs and it made hunting worse not better?

    So words of encouragement appreciated!!!!

    And re: hunting, if there aren't many 3rd flights again? Take him 2nd? Just wait? I do think at least the first 3 or 4 have to be 3rd.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Regards,
    Huntin' Fool

  • #2
    His lack of fitness may work in your favor. I'd take him second. By the end he may be so tired that standing still sounds like a fabulous idea and he learns to conserve some energy.
    Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
    www.laurenfanning.com
    Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
    Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Good point, Gypsymare! So what do you think about bit? He has a really soft mouth, I ride in a French link. I've taken him out in the French link and so far so good-but I do like to have a reserve. I own a French link gag, I could ride with 2 reins?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by gypsymare View Post
        His lack of fitness may work in your favor. I'd take him second. By the end he may be so tired that standing still sounds like a fabulous idea and he learns to conserve some energy.
        Getting really tired during a hunt was an eye opener for my OTTB. It took about 4 hours but he was so relieved to have the chance to rest that he was quiet at that check, and going forward he learned to stand and relax.
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think at this point you can only work with what you have --give it a go --take him and do the best you can. Of course, should you feel unsafe, have a way to get back to the hunt club that doesn't interfere with the hunt. Although not a member of staff, I have been asked to take a rider back who had equipment or horse or health issues on the field. I don't mind --gives my horse a chance to practice being away from the group. Second suggestion --ear plugs. My guy is a former rodeo horse (picked up bull/bronc riders) and was used to having ear plugs in to dampen the sounds (screams?). I use them when I hunt. Seems to keep him focused. He's good with out them, but better with them. When people notice he wears them (two foam plugs tied together with a black cord and banded into his forelock), I tell them they are his blue-tooth speakers and I keep his Ipad with his playlist in my saddle pad pocket (that's where his treats are.) Usually I'm then asked what's on his play list . . . But anyway --FYI it took my former rodeo horse three sseaons to move from third flight to first, although he was invited up after one, I didn't think he was ready. And he's a rock solid QH. They learn at their own pace. I still have occasional (fewer and fewer) issues with his responses to hounds (thinks they are calves and he should cut/sort them). He's learning to ignore them. He's a dandy at pony-ing other horses though. Knows his job.

          Comment


          • #6
            Before bitting spout hunting, I'd ride at home with the step up in bitting that you think might work. You may find that he REALLY resents the extra, and out in the hunt field with all that is going on is not the place to find out he doesn't like the action of the bit.

            If you have someone who can babysit you in 2nd flight I'd go. If it's just too much pace for his brain, the by all means go back in (with permission) and try again another day.

            I'm not sure how your hound exercise works. For my club, the first few times is a bit slower and not as long of a distance. As the week (s) go by, the pace increases as well as the distance, but they also work on teaching the young hounds to hang out at a particular place. We never get to a cantering pace on hound exercise, but there are moments of walk, trot and standing at a check. These are all great opportunities to practice the skills he will need in the hunt field. I'd go to as many hound exercises as you can. The other thing you may be able to do is find a horse for him to bond with. There are certain horses that send out a calming vibe to all around them. That's who you'd like to follow.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Jawa thanks for the advice!!!! I will indeed try him with that bit at home first!!!

              BUT y’all I took him on hound exercise and he was great! I could tell pretty quickly that he remembered last year. No spooks, stayed behind the other two folk in the ‘field’ with no fuss. Sometimes we cantered to catch up but never tried to run off. And when one of our Masters who was out said she was leaving early I said I’d go with her (like 20 min early) and he turned from the hounds and 4 other horses and walked on back with no fuss at all. I was really pleased!

              But last year he was much calmer about hound exercise than hunting. And I anticipate he will be this year as well; however, if he will continue to be good and not throw his Mama, I will be just thrilled.

              I just hope we have 3rd flight more often. At least initially.

              Again thank ani you all for the advice and encouragement! It helps a lot!!!!

              Best regards,

              o and I love the ‘playlist’ I’m definitely using that!!! And trying the earplugs.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                O and our hound exercise is pretty much 1 to one and a half hours of fast trot with a stand still at the end, then walk a small bit home.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the posts guys.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I might try something else with leverage before I went to a gag, personally. I ride my mare in a french link at home and hunt her in a snaffle kimberwick. Got cocky this season and thought maybe I could just use the french link, but she figured that out pretty quickly.

                    I like the kimberwick because the leverage is there if I need it, but I can ride on the buckle when I don't. Mine has slots but not hooks, which softens it a little.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Ecileh, I totally agree about the snaffle rein. I would use the gag with 2 reins-I like the 2 rein thing and have used it before. A trainer I had said 2 reins are hard, and you'll be fine in a French link-buuuutttt as we all know-you're fine til you aren't. My retired boy I rode in a Pelham with 2 reins and realized after about 1/2 a season (this was 2nd flight after his full season in 3rd) that I hadn't used the Pelham rein. I had to have a running martingale though. The couple of times, much later, I tried without it-as you say, he figured it out immediately.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I definitely second the earplug recommendation! My new horse just started his first season and they are a lifesaver. I also agree with the others about the season sort of building up endurance and fitness. Not sure where you are located, but it's still awful warm here for cubbing, so the crowds are smaller and we don't stay out too long which helps get him some miles and fitness without overwhelming him like it might after the official start of formal hunting. Our hunt always has 3 flights (plus a hilltopper group for those who just want to walk), so we are fortunate that way.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Well, I'm going tomorrow-so here's hoping he is good again . I, of course, don't have any earplugs yet-he doesn't need them on hound exercise. I guess I'll be googling! He usually goes in a French link as I think I said-which is why I got a French link gag. Any other ideas about bits that would have brakes if needed and light if not? This guy has *the* most sensitive mouth!

                          I really wish I thought we'd have a 3rd flight more often. We used to have one every hunt. We have one master who doesn't like them, thinks everyone should ride faster, etc. And the masters are the masters. I am just happy that they let me come, but I sure wish she'd be outvoted by the other Masters on that one! :

                          Regards,
                          Huntin'Fool

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Peewee bits are really popular at my hunt and my horses love them. It's basically a thin, curved mullen mouth snaffle. Very comfortable for them to carry for hours, no leverage, but a thin enough mouthpiece to set the brakes when you need it. It has some side extensions and a strap that keep it from getting pulled through the mouth.

                            My crotch rocket could care less about gag action. A mullen mouth Pelham gave me excellent brakes but backed him off a bit too much and worried him.
                            Equestrian and Sporting Oil Paintings
                            www.laurenfanning.com
                            Roxy 2001 APHA, Al Amir 2005 OTTB,
                            Ten Purposes 2009 OTTB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gypsymare View Post
                              Peewee bits are really popular at my hunt and my horses love them. It's basically a thin, curved mullen mouth snaffle. Very comfortable for them to carry for hours, no leverage, but a thin enough mouthpiece to set the brakes when you need it. It has some side extensions and a strap that keep it from getting pulled through the mouth.

                              My crotch rocket could care less about gag action. A mullen mouth Pelham gave me excellent brakes but backed him off a bit too much and worried him.
                              I use one on my big draft X mare. It's "enough" bit without going overboard.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Huntin'Fool View Post
                                Well, I'm going tomorrow-so here's hoping he is good again . I, of course, don't have any earplugs yet-he doesn't need them on hound exercise. I guess I'll be googling! He usually goes in a French link as I think I said-which is why I got a French link gag. Any other ideas about bits that would have brakes if needed and light if not? This guy has *the* most sensitive mouth!

                                I really wish I thought we'd have a 3rd flight more often. We used to have one every hunt. We have one master who doesn't like them, thinks everyone should ride faster, etc. And the masters are the masters. I am just happy that they let me come, but I sure wish she'd be outvoted by the other Masters on that one! :

                                Regards,
                                Huntin'Fool
                                I use these: https://amzn.to/2mQKGL8 You can paint them black with a sharpie if you want.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Just wondering how it went?

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    MegBackInSaddle-you are so kind to ask! Well the second outing was fine! But I would love to hear the group's thoughts. Starting let me say I do use ace. He got a cc first time, slightly less this time (like 2 little line things). He was good! We went a long way and there were a couple more people than last time-like 4 in the "field" plus me, rather than 2. Two of the folk veered off and jumped a 2'3" log while little horse and I went straight by-he just kept his same pace-I was very pleased.

                                    At the end we always stop for about 10 minutes, then walk in the last say 1/4 mile. So he's not always been a great stander. This time he was a hair fidgety but quit and stood really well. As we walked back tho he jigged most of the way. The first time we went, when I went in a bit early, he turned from the rest of the group and the hounds and walked in. This time, behind everyone and the hounds, he jigged. Last year he did that a bit but usually settled down and walked. Let me say I really don't care if a horse jigs. The retired horse used to jig at the start of every hunt and occasionally on the way back-but after I figured out that he wasn't going to do anything else-meh. I'm not at that place with this one yet!!! I did ask him to walk and he would for a few steps and aside from jigging he didn't do anything bad.

                                    What do y'all think?

                                    AND I'm still wondering about bits. And and I haven't ordered my earplugs and I need to!!!!

                                    Regards,
                                    Huntin'Fool

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      It sounds like you had a grand day.

                                      I have a different approach to jigging. If a horse jigs, I don't "ask" for a walk, I ask them to put their haunches over or move their shoulder. Something that requires more thought and energy than a jig. Once they do the request, or if they stop jigging as soon as I begin to ask them to do the harder work, I leave them alone.

                                      Do be sure that your horse isn't sore from the day. A hard ride in the ring, or a long ride alone is not the same as a day of hunting. In the ring the surface is the same and we can maintain our proper position much longer and steadier. A long ride along, we tend not to push as hard (ourselves and our horses). But out hunting the terrain is ever changing and we have to keep up an duck branches and tend to twist and turn to see whats going on. It can make a slightly not perfect saddle arrangement something that causes pain that would not in other situations.

                                      On the other hand your horse could just have very good GPS. In that case, a day when hounds are being loaded home and hit a line and take you past the trailers at a gallop, may solve the jigging issue. ;P

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        So guys, 2 updates! Two weeks ago, as I drove I kept thinking I'd forgotten something, about 15 miles in "oh yeah my helmet". I should have just gone on-someone would probably have had an extra but went back. So when I got to hound exercise and unloaded I could see everyone headed over a little hill. Threw on the tack, got on and went after them. The little horse passed sheep, loose horses in a field, over a big culvert just perfectly. He's gone that way before but in company. So we came to a 3 way split and I obviously picked the wrong one. We went for a couple of miles then gave up and walked home. He tried to jig once, I asked him to walk and he did. I really was more pleased with that than a hound exercise!

                                        He didn't freak out when he saw everyone leaving him. He went on alone-passed scary stuff-Oh also cotton modules which he'd not seen before. And walked home. So yay!

                                        Last Saturday, I had all my tack!!!! ha. And he was good. Passed really close to cotton modules. Went behind 2 other folk-he likes to be last. The other folk stopped and we went on, now the only "field". Stopped to let a hound poop and everyone else trotted on-he stood alone and didn't act stupid when we went on to catch up. Stood well at the check with only a couple of mild fidgets when one of the masters went off to get a straying hound. The two folk who had stopped then came back and went in behind us. BUT he did jig the whole way in. I made him stay behind the masters-tho one of them said I could bring him up to ride aloneside her calm horse, but I didn't want him to get the idea that he could do anything but be in the back.

                                        Still that was all he did. I don't *think* he liked the 2 behind them-though they were very polite and stayed back. And y'all know he has to just get over it. Overall I am quite pleased-I just hope he gets over the jigging, or that it doesn't mean he's gonna do anything else!

                                        What do y'all think?

                                        Regards,
                                        Huntin'Fool

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