Stefanie Reinhold offered a wonderful article recently on her a Horse Wellness site that included nine short video tutorials (actually ten videos, with the last one more of a promotional message, but fun to watch). These videos were culled from YouTube material posted by Jochen Schleese  of Schleese Saddlery Service, who is also a former Olympic Rider, Certified Master Saddler and faculty member of the German National Riding School. Here’s a sample (the first lesson) of the spotlight.

It occurred to me, as I watched each one, how many young horse training issues could be resolved with knowledge gleaned from these lessons provided to ensure your horse is comfortable with the saddle you choose (and how much the wrong one can hurt).

We’re lucky at Halcyon Acres® to be dealing with primarily young horse training assignments from clients (most equines that come in here haven’t started on their career path yet) so usually aren’t to a point where pain and memory issues – or soundness concerns – are irreversible.  Usually these projects involve horses who have never been started under saddle or had an initial bad experience; sometimes it’s a mere failure to communicate; and on occasion, it’s a case where a horse has escalated the volume of his comment because he’s in pain and not being heard.

Tack fit issues and associated pain are rarely something clients consider. Admittedly, I learned I am guilty of this too, with eyes opened from the third video (gullet channel width). Here’s a surprising instructional lesson on that one from Jochen.

I’ll be taking a look at this as an issue with a super pleaser farm owned mare that’s been resistant to requests the next time she’s tacked up.

This series that Stefanie’s compiled from Jochen’s material is definitely worth the time to watch. In fact, I’m feeling a twinge of guilt from ignorance and the resulting unintentional pain I may have inflicted. More importantly, I’m grateful for some new knowledge I’ll carry forward with every future mount. No matter your level of riding or knowledge, I imagine you’ll pick up something you didn’t know from these great lessons.

Consider subscribed to Stefanie’s blog. It’s a good one. Seems she’s posting with some frequency now (it was quiet for quite a while). I always enjoy learning from her posts. She’s toned down the technical nature and language of late, which now makes her content a great read for any level horseman. Check it out.

If you find yourself with a horse behaviorial issue you can’t resolve after eliminating pain as a possible cause, we’re starting to produce very affordable e-booklets (about 5000 words each). These currently include Reaching Alpha Horses, Bringing home and off-the-track Thoroughbred and Preparing you and your horse for the first off the property ride. There available on this website (PDFs) and at Amazon as Kindle editions. For $2.99, they’re worth a look if you find yourself stuck or enjoy reading stories and insight from lessons learned the hard way.

Do you have stories to share of pain discoveries that have transformed your challenging horse into a willing partner? Please share in the comments below.

2 Responses

  1. Great and very timely post. We acquired a young POA mare this winter whose prior owner had given up because “she won’t canter slow”. Dentist found razor edges on virtually every tooth, and the chiropractor said she was ‘out’ from her poll to her s-i joint. Her attitude and behavior under saddle changed dramatically once those problems were fixed, and though she’s still very green, by my sixth ride she’d settled into a nice canter rhythm.

    I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Jochan’s presentation in person, and highly recommend it to anyone who has the chance. While he’s obviously interested in selling his stuff, I appreciated his honesty in telling me that none of his girths were better for a horse with tight elbows than the one I already had.

  2. Thanks so much for your feedback and insight here, Helen. I have not had the benefit of seeing one of Jochen’s presentations live, but certainly enjoyed what he shared in the videos. This isn’t something people generally consider when they’re working with young horses that are acting out. Pain should be the first consideration (memory or actual).

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