A New Home

 

Some of you who may follow my Facebook page may be aware that recently I moved house and yard to a setup that will fit my own needs and wishes as an equestrian business owner. I’m settling down in a new place. In the midlands of Ireland. Just outside Mullingar.

At the new place, there is an arena, scenic roads for hacking, paddocks for turnout and plenty of room to build stables for my own personal use and for business use.

For now, Barnes Equestrian as a business yard is closed. Meanwhile freelancing services are still available.

 

The Future

 

In the coming weeks and potentially running into the next month or two, I will be setting up the facilities in such a way I wish to represent myself and my business. The biggest part of my plan is to build stables, a tack room and a hay shed. These will be fundamental to the future of Barnes Equestrian as a business and for myself and my livelihood. With that comes setting foundations and investing in extra pieces. Therefore I  not only wish to make the yard more functional but also more homely to anybody who may be keeping a horse there or visiting.

Even more than that, a lot of the work will be presentation. Maintaining and painting fences, setting fields into paddocks and adding other pieces that I feel will benefit the yard in the long term.

I’m really looking forward to setting out my vision for the premises and being able to reach out to you. I can’t wait to get it all done and dusted!

For now, I want to thank anyone who has read this and supported Barnes Equestrian along the way.

Happy riding folks! I’ll be around as I keep settling down in the new place and making the place my own!

 Settling Down was written by Scott Barnes

 Barnes Equestrian

The fuss of the Charlotte DuJardin elimination is unreal!

The Fuss of the Charlotte Dujardin Elimination
Charlotte Dujardin, 2012. Source: Horse & Hound

One of the big issues here, is that people put her on a pedestal. She can do no wrong in many eyes. That’s not me saying she is harsh as a rider. She isn’t. Likewise nor do I even think she did anything wrong. I do believe that her and Carl work for the interest of the horses. Above all people simply forget that mistakes happen all the time. They happen at all levels, even at the top. It can take a split second of a wrong movement and that’s it. A split second is all it takes for something to go wrong!

 

What is a simple mistake will now be judged by the court of public opinion

 

Charlotte Dujardin is a good role model and I sympathise with her greatly. What is probably a simple mistake will now be judged by the court of public opinion… This small thing will be amplified. Certainly not because of WHAT happened. In contrast because of WHO it is. The fuss of the Charlotte DuJardin elimination is overblown!

Since this is Charlotte Dujardin, I’ve seen people excusing it. For reasons as simple as she’s won the country gold. On the flip side I’ve seen others blame her for carelessness and being cruel to her horse. Just because she’s competed at the Olympics, she isn’t infallible. At grass roots or Olympics, mistakes happen.

Charlotte isn’t the villain of this story

 

She was eliminated for this. As a result, she doesn’t mean that she has to be vilified. Rules were broken but rules were upheld. That’s great! Charlotte isn’t the villain of this story. We have two huge camps in industry who are debating this out; Those who idolise her and Carl, and those who hate their hype. Where is the middle ground?

Neither are correct. The truth isn’t an extreme. Horses and riders have a lot of grey areas. It isn’t always black or white and good or bad. It doesn’t mean she’s terrible and it doesn’t mean she can do no wrong either. She’s human!

It simply comes down to human error. She is a human being and not a godly being.

Like the horses we ride, riders aren’t robots. Even the top riders make mistakes.

The Fuss of the Charlotte Dujardin Elimination was written by Scott Barnes

Barnes Equestrian

Riding with Emotion

Should we be riding with emotion? Let’s read on and allow me to share my thoughts on this.

‘People ride with too much emotion, you need to let that go!’

I’m paraphrasing that quote but i initially heard it from George Morris as I watched a master class of his. He was giving young riders a lesson in the Simmons Court arena at the RDS Horse Show back in 2011 at the time. All these years later I think back on that as one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard!

 

If you keep adding tension to tension, something will eventually snap

 

The fundamental basics of working with horses is to establish rhythm and relaxation throughout everything we do. Those are the first two steps of the training scale and we often only attribute those to the horse. However the very same goes for the rider. If we ride without relaxation, we are adding tension. That may be physical, mental or both. When we are tense in either aspect it will often ‘feed’ to the horse we are working with. If you keep adding tension (human) to tension (horse), something will eventually snap.

 

We are emotional beings

 

As much as we humans are smart and as much as we can act off logic and intelligence, we are also very emotional beings. Riding with emotion is very normal for us. You can see this emotion come out all the time around horses from both amateur and even professional riders. Whether you get frustrated during a session or even in some cases I’ve seen, getting angry, it really has no place in our work with horses.

It’s no easy task and it won’t happen over night. We’ve all been there when it feels like nothing is going right whatsoever – Even though we know it can go right! That makes it even more than frustrating! It’s how we act in these moments, whether good or bad, that can leave a long lasting mark on a horse.

As riders and trainers, it’s vital to be level headed and not let things escalate. It is easier said than done but it’s not impossible. It isn’t even that we have to be emotionless, but we have to learn how to control that emotion while on horseback.

 

The next time things don’t go right for you, instead of being flustered or angry about it, try the following

 

Breathe! Let’s try not to be riding with emotion for a second. That thing that just went wrong 5 seconds ago is now in the past. It went wrong and you can’t change that. Take a deep breath and have a think about what happened. Think about what you did or didn’t do. Think about what the horse did and move on to the next step.

Try again. Think about what went wrong initially and keep it simple in the correction. Don’t overreact or over ride, focus on giving clear and firm aids. Sometimes we get complacent with our signals when we need to be clear. Horses aren’t robots and we should never assume they’ll just do the exact thing we want them to. We are riders, not passengers.

If it still goes wrong, take another breath and think about what else you can try. Don’t revisit the same method over and over because that will only frustrate both you and your horse. Look at what happened, assess what you did and look at your options. Even if it means thinking outside the box, it’s important to find relaxation and calmness again before continuing. Avoid adding tension to tension.

 

Don’t be afraid to take a break from the troublesome task

 

Work on something else in the meantime. Find that happy place again. You can always go back and work on the issue once you find that relaxation again. We all try not to leave an issue unaddressed but sometimes you have to step away and establish the basics before trying to ask for more.

Working with horses is extremely trying at times. It is frustrating and when you’re passionate about it, it can be emotional. The foundation of everything we do is rhythm and relaxation. Just remember it’s not only for the horse, but it’s vital for us as riders too – Rhythm and relaxation.

 Riding With Emotion was written by Scott Barnes

 Barnes Equestrian

The Sensitive Cob

Throwback to a lovely cob called Benson that I got to take for a spin once. The sensitive cob isn’t a special kind of cob, they are most cobs.

Cobs are really unfairly stereotyped. People see a big chunky cob and don’t attribute any sort of suppleness or softness. There’s no real expectation of them and when they do go well, surprise is often the reaction on people’s faces. The sensitive cob is actually misunderstood.

They’re reliable, adaptable and surprisingly impressive when you get on their side.

I’ve worked with a few cobs through the years and the one thing that I’ve always taken away is that cobs are some of the most mentally sensitive horses out there. They’re big softies! They worry and they stress. Furthermore most of all they’re misunderstood. They may not always look pretty going around but they have a lot to give – Especially if you take the time to work with them rather than make them fit the mould of every other horse. Like every horse, cobs too are individual.

The sensitive cob is smart. They feel you up there but even when they don’t know something, they’ll try to look after you.

Cobs aren’t big clunky plods. They don’t need to be whipped or spurred to move. They don’t always need muscle and strength, it’s quite the opposite. They’re not the old banger from the scrap yard of the equestrian world. Cobs are the Volkswagen Golf. Hence theyre reliable, adaptable and surprisingly impressive when you get on their side.

Never underestimate a cob…Even if they don’t sound “just like a Golf.”

 The Sensitive Cob was written by Scott Barnes

 Barnes Equestrian