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.


July 21, 2018
The wall

Buck Branaman once said that 99% of horses’ problems were caused by people. This slightly depressing and sobering though might put some people off but I see it as a personal quest to never stop learning. I’ve never sold myself as a starter of young horses, purely because it’s not something I’ve had much experience in and I like to do a job well or not at all.

Obviously getting Hugo as an unstarted youngster last year was planned as I wanted to take my horsemanship through this process and see what I learned. I have no doubt that in another few years, I hope to have developed myself further and am sure things would be different if I was starting him then. But here we are.

Things have been going really well with him. He has accepted me on his back, he has accepted the saddle at walk, trot and canter and he understands that voice and/or legs mean go. So recently we started to get stuck and I couldn’t quite put my finger on the problem. I guess maybe I have to see a pattern a few times before it really clicks in my head. And this is what the problem was… We can steer and walk to the left, no problem. However, steering and walking to the right seemed to mean a brick wall in his head. He just couldn’t get his feet moving forwards or sideways and would just buck or throw his head up. It doesn’t really scare me sitting on him when he does this and I’m sure the traditionals would just give him a smack and get him moving on, but to me, there was a piece of understanding missing for him. The worst part though was that when he’d finally moved out through the problem and could make a turn to the right, I didn’t feel very successful and I don’t think he did either. We just made the best of a vague situation.

In my latest training session, I decided to go back to the long lines and see if could isolate the problem without me being on his back. He started off fine and then after about two circuits of my weave pattern, he got stuck and really tried to buck, while still braced on the right rein. I was able to keep asking him to move forwards with my voice and suddenly he broke into trot and off he went. We did some lovely shapes all over the field at walk and trot without another ‘No’ moment. This really cemented in my mind that the issue was not to do with my sitting on his back but that he simply didn’t understand how to go forwards to the right at the same time. The end of the session felt really positive – he seemed happy too so lots to take away from that.

I love how much this little guy is teaching me. We may take a bit longer than others but we will be confident and happy doing it.