Hugo arrived in February 2017 and he's been growing ever since! He was born in May 2014, bred locally. He has a great aptitude for learning and is quite the clown.


June 13, 2017

The great thing about having a blank canvass is that you don’t have to undo other people’s mistakes. The flip side of that is it’s perfectly possible to teach something you didn’t intend to and you only have yourself to blame.

We have a (loose) goal of taking Hugo to Totnes Show, which is an agricultural show local to us. To show in one of these classes, he should really be wearing a bridle, although it is possible to do it without if necessary. So it came time when I felt he needed to at least understand what a bit is. I don’t really like leaving this to later in a horse’s life as they seem to take much longer to accept it. But in my mind, it was no issue either way.

I started off with a rubber bit and he just hated it. Every time I came near him, he would reverse away from me and take ages to stop chomping. After a couple of days and consultation with a friend, I tried a very narrow sweet iron bit. He took hardly any time to go quiet in the mouth but I still had the reversing. Feeling like I had pushed him too far, I went back a number of steps and just made it into a game. By the end of the next session, I could jingle the bit and he would walk over, pop his head through the headpiece for some carrot. By the end of the next session, he was allowing me to pop it in his mouth for a second or two and then he got carrot. Today, he allowed me to slip the headpiece over his head and hold the bit for a few seconds. He got a treat once I took it off. He seems happy with this arrangement. It’s not how I bridle Shaun, who gets a treat as he takes the bit so Hugo has shown me that one technique does not fit all. Plus, he really struggles to fit anything else in his mouth when there is a bit in it!! Here’s a video of today: