Uncle Bacardi is now a part of the education programs at Ashwood Farm. Click here to read about their horsemanship program in the sidebar.
Uncle Bacardi and his trainer Whitney Evans.
February 11, 2007
Bacardi and I are doing much better with the longeing – I am working him in a cavesson with side reins so he’ll start building some much-needed topline muscle. He was so funny the first time I put them on – so confused about moving forward into the pressure on his nose. He figured it out pretty quickly though and settled down nicely. The somewhat sheepish look on his face was completely priceless. We’ve been doing a little canter work too and he collects beautifully to just my seat. He’s like riding a cloud!
February 5, 2007
Today (Monday) I tried longing Bacardi again. I had attempted to do so before, but was having real problems getting him to actually go in a circle. He wasn’t acting up; he was just pretty confused about what I wanted him to do. So I just chucked the line and worked him in the roundpen. He did alright; by the time we finished he was pretty aware of what I wanted him to do, although he never quite did go around more than once on the rail. I think he was pretty upset that the other horses were being brought in to eat and he was having to work.
Our ride was ok, but he really dug in his heels when he started to see other horses being fed. It’s pretty apparent that his stubborn streak is a mile wide and he’s going to be one of those horses who needs to know the “why” before he really accepts a command. He wasn’t being ugly at all though – he just became sluggish and resistant.
We did have some nice canter moments on the left lead. He’s still pretty one-sided, although that’s to be expected. I’m working on some massage and stretching with him, and as soon as we get good enough to longe with a line, we’re going to work hills to really build his muscles. This weekend I’m going to start with a cavesson and some side reins to start building on his topline as well.
I’ll make sure to keep you posted. I just can’t say enough how happy we are with him!
February 4, 2007
Sunday, I took Bacardi for a trailride.
It was only the second time I had ever been on him. He hadn’t been turned out that morning because it was so cold, so when I finally got out to ride in the afternoon he was quite fresh.
I went with two others, and Bacardi was the most well-behaved of all three horses (including one of our steady-eddie lesson horses!). He didn’t spook once, even though we were riding down a tree-lined dirt road on a gusty day. At one point in the ride, a large yellow lab came running at us full-tilt with a huge bark. The other two horses wheeled, but Bacardi just stood and shook a little. He was obviously listening for me to tell him how to react. I was so impressed with how quiet he was. He even allowed me to maneuver him so that I could open and close the gate to the barn without dismounting!
February 3, 2007
I hope this finds you and Barry doing well. Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you about my first ride on Uncle Bacardi. It’s taken awhile, but I finally mounted up yesterday.
We gelded him and then just as he was healed, he got a big splinter in his leg. The pasture he was in abuts the farm nextdoor and he loved to get up in the trees and socialize with the goats – we think that’s where it happened. He’s been cleared by the vet as ready to work now though! He’s been turned out with the herd and is still finding his place, but is a much happier horse. You’ll see from the pics that he’s getting a nice shaggy coat. He’s dropped weight, but I think that’s a product of stress. We didn’t want to turn him out with the herd until he was healed, and he walked miles along the fenceline wanting to go out with the guys.
Anyhow, yesterday I tacked him up and took him out to longe a bit. He’s still getting the hang of that – he would much rather follow me around than go in a circle around me! (Any tips on getting him to circle a little better?) He was superquiet on the line despite the gusty winds we had yesterday, so I went ahead and got on. You’d never know he was off the track.
We rode in the pasture above our ring first because I wanted to start working him on the incline in there to build his muscles. He backed like a dream and even was doing little leg yields within about 10 minutes. We picked up our trot and after a few minutes he settled into a wonderful rhythm. We even tried an extended trot, which he did without hesitation – we were both having so much fun! You’ll see from the face picture that he was even starting to salivate and get on the bit.
Uncle Bacardi's first jump!
I decided to take him in the ring to walk over some poles, which he did like a champ. The picture of his first jump is from when I trotted him to a group of poles and he jumped them instead of just trotting – obviously I was surprised! We are just so happy with him. He’s one of the sweetest horses at the barn, with such a funny personality. I’m so excited to keep working with him – tomorrow a bunch of us are going out on the trails. Our first goal is a hunter pace in April. I’ll make sure to keep you both posted!
Take good care,
January 9, 2007
At Ashwood Farm, we have a unique opportunity for our more advanced students. We believe that horsemanship is more than being able to jump a made horse around a 3' course, so we endeavor to teach our students about horse care and management from day one in our lesson program. After a student has attained a sufficient level of maturity and riding experience, that student becomes an "intern" at our farm; they then begin to learn about horse training as well. Currently we have four interns in the program. These students are assigned a green horse to train. This horse is essentially their responsibility just as if they owned it - they clean its stall, groom it, and monitor its health under the supervision of the instructors. They receive weekly lessons that focus on the training methods to create sporthorses - mostly hunters - from our green horses. We rotate intern horse assignments about every 8 weeks so that the students maximize their experiences training different types of horses. It's not just about the horses at our barn though - we take trips and hang out together too so that we can encourage the barn fellowship. We take an annual trip to the Chincoteage Pony Swim (one of our intern horses right now is a pony we purchased there 3 years ago, and we have a colt purchased at this summer's sale as well), attend clinics in the area (such as the Clinton Anderson clinic recently at Clemson University), and take daytrips for trail rides and hunter paces. We are so excited about having Uncle Bacardi and Lady Gresham to train and to add to our intern program - our girls can't wait to get their hands on these exquisite animals to start their training!