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 Sarah 2 - Swallow

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Sarah85

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PostSubject: Sarah 2 - Swallow   Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:40 am

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Meelickisland Swallow

This is a blog about Swallow my connemara who we purchased early in 2011 as an untouched just turned 3 year old. I had become very keen to train a horse from scratch, ‘a blank canvas’ having brought on my then 10 year old appaloosa from being a just-backed youngster to an experienced riding horse. Now I wanted to do the backing as well and hope to produce a well-rounded riding horse but without any pressure of a hurried timetable. I feel that horses are generally brought on too quickly in the interests of making a profit. In my case it was to produce a horse for myself and I wanted to take it slowly.

Why a connemara? Well my son, Richard, had become very competitive as a young rider and for his second pony we took on a super connemara gelding for Richard to showjump and event. The pony, ‘Imam’, was coming to the end of his career but was an excellent choice for Richard to take on at this stage as he had a great jump, lovely movement and was sensible. I was rather devastated some months later when Richard suddenly lost interest as youngsters do. Having got over the initial disappointment I began to find time for myself and my riding again. I realised that I had become quite exhausted from having to transport my son and his pony to up to 3 training sessions a week with a nearby French eventing family and that most weekends had involved very early starts (4 am ‘ish) and very late finishes on competition days. I had more horsey time for me again and so I started riding his connemara as I loved the look of his way of going, so light and sure-footed. I really enjoyed riding him. He could turn on a sixpence and coped easily out hacking in the most difficult of going. He seemed to glide over big, muddy wet areas etc and was naturally light on his forehand. He lacked a bit of ‘go’ for me though and was so, so sensible that I thought he would make an excellent first pony for somebody and set out to find him a new owner, This I did. So, having been so impressed with the connemara breed I set to finding a youngster for myself. They were intitally bred for going accross rough country (my style) and have become hugely popular for children and small adults as showjumpers and eventers and more are bred in France now than in their native Ireland. I wanted a real Irish one so searched the internet to see what I could find. One day I came accross a photograph of a little grey who had what was for me ‘the look'. She looked just perfect and the ad. said she was an unbacked 3 year old just over from Ireland. She had come over having been brought by a dealer who regularly goes to the sales and looks for the best he can find. The financial crisis in Ireland meant that horses were being sold off cheap and they were being brought up by mainly English and French dealers. Our elder son, Ben, drove me up to the Mayenne to have a look at her. She was equally lovely ‘in the flesh’ and I decided to go for it. She had full authentic Irish papers and had been awarded the distinction of C.P.B.S. Grade 1 and so conformed perfectly to the strict Irish standards for a true bred connemara. Wow. Was I excited. A few days later on Tuesday April 5th 2011 Simon (my husband) and I set off to collect her



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She loaded easily into our trailer and immediately started hungrily pulling at the haynet. She straight away showed an easy to please sort of ‘happy go lucky’ temperament and didn’t seem overphased by anything. She was fine being tied up, left in a stable on her own, put out to graze with the other horses. Whatever. She seemed to have an independant sort of nature and I liked that as I’m always looking for qualities that make a horse suitable for hacking out alone which is what I do mostly. Every day I handled her right from the start and before long I was putting a saddle over her back, grooming her, picking out her feet etc. She took everything in her stride really and was not at all concerned about the saddle. Gradually I let her feel the bit in her mouth and started to walk her out around the village. She led over narrow bridges and past scary objects without hesitation and did not seem troubled by traffic when we walked along the main road. I soon began to lunge her teaching her the spoken commands which she learned quickly. I lunge off the headcollar and later added the bridle and bit with a training elastic to teach her the feel of a bit of contact but still had the lunge rope attached to the headcollar. I then began to do some long-reining in the paddock around cones and after a few days started to go out and about along roads and tracks. Gradually I started to lean accross her back, just briefly each day to get her used to the feel of me being there. Then on Monday 2nd May 2011 I very carefully climbed onto her back from a chair. Although a bit puzzled she made no objection to me being there. It was an amazing moment for me – a first time experience.

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walking in hand


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trotting in hand

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first time on!
To be continued........
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Azaria
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PostSubject: Re: Sarah 2 - Swallow   Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:21 am

What a little "cutie pie" I love you I love you I love you
pen

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and I whispered to the horse, "trust no man in whose eyes you don't see yourself reflected as an equal"- Don Vincenzo Giobbe (circa 1700)
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