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A New Way to Start Horses Under Saddle - Use a Dummy!

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  • A New Way to Start Horses Under Saddle - Use a Dummy!




    A product that allows you to start a young horse without venturing on to its back has been launched in Ireland.

    The Ardall is designed to resemble a human torso and is placed on the back of an untrained horse — or one that hasn't been ridden in a while — to accustom the animal to the sensation of being ridden.

    Showjumper and trainer Paul Murphy of Co Kerry, launched the Ardall at the Dublin Horse Show (3-7 August).

    Paul, who starts around 30-40 horses a year, told H&H: "Breaking is a main part of our business. I originally created it to make our lives here easier, but decided to market it.

    "I've had a few near misses with young horses — it's dangerous — and as a showjumper I couldn't afford to be injured.

    "This [the Ardall] gets horses accustomed to a rider, without the risk of someone falling off."

    The dummy, which weighs 35-40kg, fits all standard saddles and can be used during long-reining and lungeing.

    Paul said it speeds up the backing process, but the aim was safety.

    "It stays on — the first rule of breaking a horse is not to come off it, as if you come off today, he'll try again tomorrow. And if you come off again tomorrow — then you're in trouble," he added. "It doesn't matter how good a rider you are — horses can still be unpredictable."

    The Ardall costs €669. For more information, visit: http://www.ardall.com
    Last edited by Mike Matson; Aug. 30, 2011, 10:38 AM.
    "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier

  • #2
    We had a guy who made a really ghetto version of one of those to break horses with... Somehow it ended up by the fence of my gelding's paddock who grabbed the thing, pulled it into his paddock and proceeded to throw it in the air as if he was killing it...

    Kinda makes you wonder what he really thinks!


    • Original Poster

      "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier


      • #4
        Monty Roberts uses "Heidi" in his breaking process, before he has Dan Wilson get on the horse. And Monty Roberts "Heidi" has legs and arms, too.

        As for me, I start my young horses slowly, I ground drive them, as well as pony them alot. By ponying them, they get used to things above them. and I don't rush the process.
        It is when things are hurried or rushed that gets the young horse mentally scared and quite possibly mentally scarred for a very long time.


        • #5
          I can see the bumper stickers now...

          "My Ardall is smarter than your Parelli Savvy Club Member!"
          Alis volat propriis.


          • #6
            Wow.....wonder how much it costs.....

            I just backed my 3 yr old competently assisted by ol' faithful, Mr. Effigy. We started the process by stuffing hay and sandbags into an old pair of coveralls, tied shut the legs and arms, tied Mr. Effigy to the saddle and voila, off we went. Mr. Effigy rode horsey for a while and we did not have any rodeo events. Total cost was some baling twine (used) probably less than $1 of old straw and a couple of pool noodles to give Mr. Effigy some backbone.

            Mr. Effigy did not wear a hoodie......he was the headless horseman.
            Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
            Alfred A. Montapert


            • #7
              We had a Mr. Effigy too until a slightly famous reining stallion figured out it was made of straw and ate him. It was going well until a rather interesting series of bucks and squeals that released some hay. Hay proceeded to sprinkle down like treats from heaven and it quickly went downhill from there. Unfortunately both dad and I were laughing so hard we were useless to stop the 'carnage'.

              Just cause I know how COTH works said stallion had a wicked sense of humor and was having far too much fun raining hay down on himself to really do much training that day. He still earns a paycheck, packs the grandbabies where ever they(he) wants.
              Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
              Originally Posted by alicen:
              What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


              • #8
                We make something we call "Bilbo BAggins" out of old feed sacks stuffed with hay and tied together with baling twine. It has legs, a torso and "arms" and we use it on colts that seem particularly worried about something above their head, it works great!

                Here is "bilbo" in action (minus his arms here!)


                This colt is VERY sensible but worried when something was above his head.

                Here he is riding about a week or so later:


                He is now walk/trot/canter and riding out on trails, thru ditches, water, etc and is VERY quiet and sensible!!


                • #9
                  I think I can continue to find 18ish rodeo cowboys that are willing to hop on anything for less than what that dummy would cost me.


                  • #10
                    Did I read that right? 669 EUROS??

                    Truly: just spend a few weeks tying all kinds of noisy floppy scary cr*p on your saddle or surcingle. (Not all at once, silly! Introduce them one at a time.) I think Quattro was *dying* to have a nice quiet civilized HUMAN on his back by the time I got done w/ him.
                    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                    • #11
                      I don't know...I would have to think that dummy flopping and flailing around is probably making the horse act worse! That is hilarious!


                      • #12
                        Well when we did it with the three year old in the post above, here is why we did. He was progressing very nicely and was fine with someone laying acorss his back, but the first time some one sat up on him and we led him he got very worried. So we decided to use the "dummy". By the time we got back on him (about a week) he was FINE with someone sitting up on him. So better than having someone potentially get in trouble and further scaring him when he was already worried. Not something w do with every horse, but honestly I think it was super as he is not at all worried now about strange noises and movements. Of course once we started riding him we would flap our arms etc and insure that sort of thing didn't bother him. Desensitization is a great thing for these young horses!


                        • #13
                          I had a gelding who was a freak about having anything on his back. I filled a pair of jeans with sand and tied them shut with baling twine, and we worked for about a month with Mr. Sandy on his back.

                          Much cheaper than the OP version! But I kind of like some of the other ideas on here!
                          Flying F Sport Horses
                          Horses in the NW


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bluemooncowgirl View Post
                            I can see the bumper stickers now...

                            "My Ardall is smarter than your Parelli Savvy Club Member!"

                            I'll buy one!