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 Sarah 1 - Artista

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Sarah85

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PostSubject: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:42 am

This Blog is about one of my horses 'Artista' who is a seven year old Lusitano gelding who stands at 15.2hh. We call him 'Artie' and I want to keep a record of my schooling progress with him which I call my Artwork!



We collected him from his previous home in July this year (2012). He had done very little and had only been ridden a dozen or so times according to his last owner. Things had not gone well for them and she was looking for a good new home for him where he could begin some serious training to prepare him for ridden work.





When I first saw him he was very overweight. unfit and very, very green, rather a 'Lumbering Lump' and I nearly walked away but then I saw he had something worth working on both in character and looks and, after a second visit, decided to take him on. I have no regrets at all and it is very interesting. He started off being very difficult to school and reluctant to go forwards at all when ridden so I decided to stick to just hacking him out to begin with and had the marvellous help of my husband Simon and his Fjord horse Jack who came with us with their cart. Artie loves going out with Jack and I find him a 'reactive' horse but feel he is going to be trustworthy and obedient. It takes some time to really get to know each other but I like him and that is a good start.



Gradually I was able to introduce some schooling sessions in my flat paddock, (turf and arena sized). It has been slow progress but gradually he is coming straighter and more in front of my leg and he feels lovely to ride and no doubt has a lot of potential and it's up to me to get the best out of him and it is a project that I take very seriously indeed and find rewarding and fulfilling and sometimes frustating as I think all work with horses can at times be. Very !!



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Azaria
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:12 am

I'm looking forward to reading "Artie'sBlog", and keeping up with your, and his progress. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:11 am

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:33 am

if you pick your spot with care & keep a good eye out for traffic you can get quite a bit of schooling done on hacks too, i used to use the edge of the road in the same way as you would the long side of a school for shoulder ins etc & for once the normandy banks could come in handy for this!
even just plodding along on tarmac you can do something the clip clop noise can help you hear if your rythme is regular or if a hoof is sliding or dragging?

i think basic schooling for on/off the road is essential as even a happy hacker plodder has to learn to tuck its butt in to the side sometimes when told to. i have had to squash gwen in to a gateway while humongus tractors rumble past, if she did not hold to the leg & swung her butt out it could have been most deffo not fun.

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:11 pm

SALEE WAIT !!!!!!!

You what? Have another read. I am only just beginning my account of my time with Artie and am about to start at the very beginning. What I have written was just a short summary before going into a step-by-step account of my training programme. Rome was not built in a day !!!!



Thanks Sarah
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:18 pm

Artie from first meeting onwards June 2012

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So this was my first viewing of Artie – what a fatty! I started by walking him around in hand to try to get to know him a little bit and decide if I wanted to try riding him. He had not been ridden much before and that had been a while ago. His previous owner had gone to Portugal to purchase him as a two year old. She then returned to England with him where he was backed before she came to live in France and the plan was for her to continue with his education over here. The plan did not work out and now, at the age of 7, he had done very little ridden work. As she could not continue with him herself, Pauline, his previous owner was very concerned that he should go to the right person and was thoroughly ‘vetting’ everyone who was taking an interest in him,, She cared about him deeply and was very unhappy to be parting with him. It was Pauline who made me see that with enough care a good new home can be found and it was her who inspired me to find a new owner for Sach, my much loved experienced riding horse. With two youngsters to train and all the work involved in running our smallholding I realised that I was taking on too much and that someone new could benefit from him. I am delighted to say that I have found him a super new home and he left earlier this week. His new owner, Catti, has joined GF and will hopefully be seeing them on here soon. Maybe she too will do a blog.



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Next tacked him up and that went well with no objections at all. He had not worked with a bit as his previous owner had used a ‘control’ headcollar and he was ‘all over the place’ and really lacking direction and understanding. The bit that he had was too wide but I needed to see how he took to it and so had it in his mouth for lungeing and, as with all my horses, I lunged him off the headcollar. Look at the excess fat build up on his neck, rump and body. Lots of gradual fittening work needed for this chap and careful control of his grass intake. He certainly was in a condition that was a risk for laminitis and joint damage and all associated problems with carrying far too much weight.



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Next thing to do was to get up on his back and he made no objection whatever to me climbing on board. Being so unfit, overweight and uneducated it was hard work to get him moving. When he did move forward it was on a very wonky line and he just didn’t have a clue. I took no real contact on his mouth because he was not used to the bit and also it was too wide in his mouth. I needed to return with a bit that fitted and to have another little session on him before deciding whether to take on what was clearly going to be a big project. We made arrangements to return a couple of days later.
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Sep 26, 2012 2:28 pm

OMG... I can't believe the size of artie in those pics comared to how he looks in your avitar picture. Did you weigh tape him by any chance?
can't wait for the next installement.
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:18 am

Couldn't find a weight tape long enough Pen !



Seriously though, it was so clear just at a glance how overweigt he was. His previous owner realised that and had even started restricting him in the weeks before I saw him. I think the issue of his size was what finally brought her to the decision to move him on as she realised it needed sorting.



The farrier came to shoe our Jack (Fjord) on 6 August - one month after getting Artie home and he was very concerned then about his weight when I asked him to look over Artie for me and check his feet. He said his feet are OK but the burden of weight he was carrying would be sure to

lead to future serious problems and I should address it urgently, I had already been giving him low intake and daily exercise for the previous month! I had to go easy on the exercise and build up gradually though

as he was so unfit and could get strain damage easily.



The avatar pic was taken quite recently and yes, he has dropped off a huge amount of weight already. It just fell off his neck and rump but still hangs around his belly (just like us humans!) and the fittening work will take care of that although it wil take longer.
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:45 am

Two short films of first trial ride



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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:24 am

Mad I don't know why......but I can't watch the films Rolling Eyes I can sort of make my own movie by dragging the curser along the time line Shocked then a get like a thumbnail version. Is that you or me??? Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:50 am

Here is the link;

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:09 am

well done you actually managed a canter! - bet you were completely knackered! - it would have been easier to get off and carry HIM round the paddock!! bless his cotton socks. he's really very sweet and has a nice , if confused, expression! but my golly WHAT a big boy he was- not to be personal of course:oops: !
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:11 am

cheers Got it!
So now the question, "who was more tired after that exercise?" teehee

I love the first video, Artie is saying, "you can canter if you like, but no, I think I'll trot" Laughing ( Glad you had the energy to succeed Smile ) Artie seems quite similar to Tzar, in his attitude to work Mad at this point Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:21 am

Yes, right, Scarlet and Azaria - I love your description of the horse saying words like, 'Well you can canter, I'm not !' Sums it up perfectly !



I did begin to seriously question in recent weeks why I have taken on this horse who needs so much training and now letting go of my experienced riding horse who is fit, glowing with health, very responsive to my slightest riding aids etc. (He would easily go into canter from a standstill at the tiniest request)

I was curious about these Lusitanos though and know they are capable of lovely fluid movement if fit and well-trained, I could not afford to buy a ready-made one so I've got to do it myself. I felt ready to take on a new project and a challenge and I'm lovin it !





Anyway, better get back to my Blog Subject or I'll never get it up to date.



So, two days after the first viewing of Artie we are back for a second look. First thing to do was to get a correct fitting bit in his mouth. One of our simple, single-jointed eggbutts fitted perfectly and it was time to get on again. Not that I was expecting any improvement but the bit must fit properly!



I started on the paddock and then his owner, Pauline, tacked up her Irish Thoroughbred and suggested we went for a hack. She had totally lost confidence in Artie having had a very nasty fall from him but would still ride Win, her older, experienced horse.



So we went for a little hack. Pauline told me not to overtake her as Win would get wound up but I had to reply to her that I would not have a hope in hell of holding Artie back if he decided to go for it considering he was so uneducated. Fortunately this did not happen and Artie hacked out nicely and followed Win and Pauline quite happily. I was just a passenger really.



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Got back to the paddock, spent a little more time with him and decided I would like to take him on. Pauline was very particular about finding him the right new owner and living conditions (he had lived out with her and she did not want him stabled) so we arranged for her to come and visit us at our home the following week. She came and met our other horses, dogs, and I took her around our smallholding showing her our other animals and what and where we grow our stuff. She was very happy and agreed for us to take him on. So we made arrangements to collect him.


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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:57 am

px

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:18 pm

what happened then........
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:55 am

OK, I want to get 'up to date' soon so that I can make entries about what is going on with Artie as they happen. This gets us towards the end of September:-

Simon and I went to collect Artie on July 11th 2012. When we arrived it was immediately obvious that Pauline was very stressed at having to part with him and my heart went out to her. She had not been sleeping well and described it as a terrible day for her and she admitted that she very nearly phoned us the previous evening to say that she could not go through with it. We went into her house and signed the paperwork over a coffee and then went to load Artie so that we could get him home to settle him in with the others with plenty of daytime hours to spare. He loaded easily into our spacious single horse trailer and we began the journey home. Once home we unloaded him and walked him to the pasture where we started by putting him in a field alongside the others so that they could get to know each other a bit without coming into direct contact. Later in the day we decided to try them together and, as expected, my horse of many years, my appaloosa, was very jealous and wouldn’t stop pushing Artie around so we divided them into two, two’s leaving my Appy with our young connemara and putting Artie with Jack, our Fjord who as predicted accepted Artie happily and just carried on as normal. Over the next couple of weeks I did some short lungeing sessions with Artie in our small paddock. At first he whizzed round and would not go calmly round at a walk and it took time and patience to get him to listen to me and just go round calmly and in walk or trot when asked. I should perhaps explain at this point that Artie had done a lot of ‘playing on the ground’ with his previous owner and this had made the task of training him to be a riding horse very confusing for him and a real challenge for me. I got up on his back after a few days and he accepted me no problem but trying to move him on was really hard work. I think he was fed up with schooling sessions and not used to the feel of a rider and so I decided it best to just hack him out for a period of time in the company of Simon (husband) and Jack (Fjordhorse) who came with the cart. I had taken him for several walks out in hand round the village and surrounding countryside during the previous days which he enjoyed so I thought it might be easier for him to become accustomed to me riding him in this way first. Jack is very experienced at gong out and is dependable in all situations and Simon has a very good rapport with him so I could trust them to take care of us. The first few hacks were really just me going along ‘for the ride’ and I was having little effect on the starting or the stopping! Sometimes Artie would happily trot out in front and then, for no reason, would stop and be impossible to press on at which point I would just let Jack retake the lead for us. There was no way I wanted to risk a confrontation at this point as it could risk undoing the small amount of progress we were making.
We were hacking out in this way three or four times a week and it was fun. Simon had to be completely aware that I was not able to move Artie away from my leg and was therefore not able to get out of his way very easily and there were a few close shaves with me and the cart! Other minor incidents were interesting and told me more about Arties personality and helped me to get to know him better. On one occasion a cyclist appeared suddenly and rapidly from behind us as we were making our way down the hill having left our driveway. Artie leapt up and down almost on the spot in surprise and then, when he saw what it was carried on following Jack calmly. Jack of course didn’t flinch but he is very experienced and quite unphased by even the most alarming things that can be encountered out hacking. Amazing little horse Jack is, but he’s another story.
Another little incident with Artie and Jack was one day when we were going along the road the other side of the river from our house. In the opposite direction came a very loud (illegailly so) quad. The rider had the good sense to stop and turn off his engine when he saw us but did not wait long enough after we had passed before starting up again! Artie was alarmed by the sudden noise starting up again behind him and again danced on the spot until he had worked out what it was. It is the sort of thing dressage riders train for !! Jack again did not flinch and so you can see why he makes such an excellent hacking companion for a young or inexperienced horse. Artie was definitely taking ‘vibes’ from him. Another little incident was when Artie suddenly started leaping about and throwing himself around in what appeared like a ‘moment of madness’. We were going along a ‘green lane’ and were close to some apple orchards that were being irrigated. The conditions were extremely dry and it could have been that a nasty biting insect attracted to the moist conditions was bothering Artie. I was not sure and hoped it would be the latter and that I didn’t have a horse that might suddenly go a bit potty. I still did not know him so I ‘filed’ this information in my head and carried on but thought it time to introduce some more schooling sessions in the paddock.
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Hacking out with Jack, Simon and Artie


The schooling sessions in the paddock were an improvement on the last time having done several hacks and Artie was clearly getting used to me being there and started to respond to my leg aids and careful signals through the bit. Progress seemed slow and at times frustrating but looking back at it now it was only a matter of weeks spent doing at least one session with Artie a day. He gradually went from being stuffy, reluctant to move forwards freely and I would say rather grumpy, to being more enthusiastic and moving on. I found it best to ’leave his head alone’ most of the time and encouage him forwards from my leg and seat without any restraint at all on his head. He followed my body signals well and ’pulled up’ when I stilled my seat and I gradually introduced some feels on the bit and he began to understand the association of these. I started trotting over ground poles and this seemed to really perk him up and he motored on nicely over them. I also set up cones for us to snake around and he really enjoyed the variety, Still we have far to go and the journey is interesting and fulfilling.

Here are some pictures and films of our progressive work throughout September.

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art attack 1

Look at the ears in this picture – rather unenthusiastic? That’s how he was feeling anyway.

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Starting to make circles.


first time over ground poles
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Introducing work with the bit
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:22 am

cheers For jack (and simon)

I'm sure you will be showing me up soon Rolling Eyes but at this stage on your films I can see that artie has the same attitude to "work" as Tzar.
"La, la, la...... ooh what's that over there la,la", they are very similar, even the little 'dish'
pen
ps the first 2 films are the same confused

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:39 pm

Yes, I think the little dish is a 'Luso thing' isn't it?



I get the feeling with Artie that he gets a bit 'p----d off' with schooling sessions that go on longer than about ten minutes! The tail swishes and he feels as if he might throw a bit of a strop. I don't let it get to that as in general I am ever so pleased with how he is coping with things.



Should have sorted the films out now. Simon has been helping me catch up over the last few days and has had to sort through a lot of stuff for me. I couldn't do this without Simon and we couldn't do a lot of things we do here without our Jack. You're right cheers for them !!



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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:10 am

Today’s ‘Artwork’ (recorded on 20/9/12)

Did an hour in the training paddock. Stll Artie is not going freely forwards but he is getting better and is responding to my demands but just still a bit ‘stuffy’. The ground conditions are hard and slippery and have been for a few weeks now and I wonder if this may be causing him to be careful which I may be interpreting as sluggish. I must say, I have been wondering what all the fuss is about these Lusitanos and today I think I begin to see. We starting doing leg-yield – simple enough for horse and rider I know = but he did it with ease and with only the slightest bodily hints from me. WOW I do find him wonderfully supple and able to turn on a sixpence in spite of him being still overweight and out of shape generally. So there I have some clues I think to the potential of the Lusitano Horse.



29/09/12 Great Hack Out



Our hacking out with Artie has mainly consisted of some quiet road work and keeping around the orchards close to our home but now we decided it was time to start going through villages and across busy roads etc. so that he could begin to experience some of the expected and unexpected things that can be encountered out hacking. My aim is to make him a good all-rounder but a safe and fun hacking horse is my real goal as that is what I love to do and particularly ‘rough’ country riding and fast.

So , we set off over the main road to cross to the other side of the village. It involves about 200 metres of main road on which large, fast vehicles can be encountered so you have to keep your ears tuned and be prepared to make a dash for it. Half way along this little stretch I could hear something big coming and shouted to Simon and Jack who were ahead of us with the cart to move on – quick. We had just left the main road to turn into the lane on the other side when a huge lorry thundered past. We were still not far from the road and I was anticipation how Artie might react and turned him to face it and have a look. He actually was not worried in the least so that was a great start. A little further on, passing the chateau, three small noisy dogs came barking out at us. The horses were not bothered as they are used to dogs, we have 3 at home. I have found with dogs that if you turn the horse towards them and start ‘running’ at them that they will stop pursuing you and turn and run. Works every time.

We then took a green lane which goes on for miles and miles and we were heading for the next village. We came to a crossroads and I could hear some very noisy heavy machinery approaching from our right. I asked Simon to pull Jack up and wait a few metres before the crossing so that we could take stock of what is was and where they were going. It was two huge tractors pulling massive empty trailers which were making a hell of a din as they went along. They crossed the path in front of us. I was quite prepared to leap off Artie if necessary but he didn’t flinch. I was so pleased as we were really not far from them at all and they were so huge and noisy. I remembered a few weeks previously when Simon was grass-cutting with the tractor at home that I took the opportunity to walk Artie alongside the tractor in hand to see his reaction. I had been pleased that he was not bothered in the least and this hacking experience confirmed that he is not a horse that is likely to be too bothered by this sort of thing. Big TICK in the box.. Essential mentality for a safe hacking horse. I was thrilled.

So, we continued along the track and pulled up to cross over a busy main road before continuing along the track which wound through a small hamlet before coming into a large village. Just as the track turned to road we saw a huge digger and a team of people chucking in tree roots from some ground clearance operation they were involved in. It is a narrow road and there was not room to pass with Jacks cart so we had to wait until they moved the digger to let us pass. Again, Artie was not at all concerned with this all going on, relief and smiles – they say the Lusitano is a brave horse and so he seems. We then passed through the village, crossing back over the busy main road and headed towards our village by picking up another green lane. We had to pass through some water which was not very deep the conditions having been so dry, but still I was pleased that Artie followed Jack through happily, enjoying the experience. The green lane continued for several kilometres and during this time I started to hold Artie back and then catch up with Jack and Simon again with little canters. He listened to me and did exactly what I asked of him and this further indicates that he is got what it takes to be a great hacking horse plus all the schooling sessions have been worth it. I realised as well that he was taking all his ‘cues’ from me and when Simon drove Jack on into trot, Artie waited for me to signal him to move on rather than copying Jack – what a gentleman!

The green lane eventually took us home and we joined up with the road again the other side of our village and went back over the initial road we had taken at the start. We arrived home happy having had a fantastic two and a half hour hack out having encountered lorries, tractors and trailers, digger, cattle, bulls, dogs and people and Artie had coped solidly with everything. I am beginning to get to know him better and see that he has some qualities which I rate highly.



Here are two films taken early August, on the start of the route taken in the above mentioned hack;

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:57 pm

1/10/12 Schooling session on paddock



Having 'warmed up' we started on some serpentines for the first time. Artie was irritated and acted as if he was being bothered by a fly or something and I even dismounted to check it out. There was nothing but still he was behaving irritably and it was the serpentnes that were the cause of his bother because when I changed to just doing a few circuits he was OK but back on serps he got stroppy again. He seemed to be saying 'Why the heck can't she make up her mind which way she wants to go!' We will return to serpentines some other time.

I have caught up to date! It is today Friday 5th October.

Went hacking with Jack and Simon. The ground conditions are much better now that we have had some decent rainfall. There is 'give' in the ground and so much better hold once the water has been absorbed. During September conditions were so dry that the ground was rock hard and quite slippery as the turf was parched. Now I wanted to test Artie to see if he would leave Jack so that we could go off for a little canter together. We came to a maize stubble field which had been cut around the outside and I left Simon and Jack and trotted off away from them. Artie made no objection at all and so I was thrilled to bits. First we did not go far out of sight of them and then I felt I could try and get him to go all the way around the edge of the field leaving Simon and Jack totally. He did so happily and we cantered all the way round. I am so pleased with him - he is a super horse - thanks Artie Good Boy x x x
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:35 am

7/10/12

Ground is drenched now and not drying out between bouts of rainfall so schooling sessions in the paddock will have to be put aside for the time being. It is slippery conditions for hacking as well so we went for a lovely 2 hour ride out this morning and kept mainly to walk, with some trotting on known 'safe' ground and even a little canter to catch up with Simon and Jack at one point. It was very relaxing and enjoyable and Artie strolled out very well and happily went in front a lot of the way. We chose a route that kept us quite close to villages thereby reducing the likelihood of coming into too close contact with hunters although coming back through the orchards we did meet a couple of men with guns and about 20 dogs. Horses sensed them before we saw them (as they always do) but passed without problem and I was pleased to let Artie experience something he is likely to see a lot more of in the future. Here is some film taken along an old railwayline route which is cut through a quarry. It is very beautiful and peaceful now but was once very busy with mine workers ferrying coal backwards and forwards along it. We came back through the old mining village and there was a big flower event being staged and it had attracted crowds of people and cars. Artie was a bit hesitant to pass through the village at this point so Jack went out ahead and this gave Artie confidence to follow calmly. It is such an advantage going out with an experienced older horse and to be in the company of my husband Simon as well. In recent years he has become as passionate as I am about horses and it is wonderful to share together the love of horses and to go out together with them.

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Azaria
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:29 am

Fantastic How I wish you lived closer so we could share your adventures rather than just read about them. Those tracks look amazing, how far are they from home? and how far can you go on them?

pen
ps. just off to tell Tzar about being brave teehee

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FollyFoot

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:33 am

Interesting blog, and nice to see some piccies too.

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Sarah85

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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 1 - Artista   Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:23 pm

Azaria wrote:
Those tracks look amazing, how far are they from home? and how far can you go on them?

pen

There are tracks not far from our home but to get to them does involve riding along a stretch of main road where heavy traffic can be encountered some at hair raising speed. The tracks go on for endless miles and you can spend a whole day and still have more ahead of you. It does involve crossing main routes and passing through villages, hamlets and farms where you can come accross all sorts like; loose dogs running after you and barking madly, noisy farm buildings with goats and other animals inside, huge modern farm machinery, etc. etc. Along the tracks you may at any time meet quads out for fun rides, dirt bikes, huge farm vehicles etc. So, it is essential to get the horses accustomed to whatever may show up.



We also have the nearby forest of Mervent in riding distance and it has special horse routes marked out and labelled according to their 'difficulty'. There is 'facile' 'difficile' and 'tres difficile' They are great fun and we are lucky to have them as they are exclusively for horse and rider although you still can come accross the unexpected like lost hikers and the more expected like wild boar and deer. They have traditionally staged an Endurance Event but have not done so since 2008 after a squabble between organisers. Shame, it was great and I did it a few years running with my Appaloosa/Quarter Horse.
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