Introducing Kayleigh

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    I would upload photos if I knew how to on here.

    I came back to riding when I was about 40. Kayleigh was a livery at our yard and I liked her a lot. I’d started having lessons again and was thinking about getting a horse. She was a perfect horse for me. A cob, almost bomb proof and not too fast. She’s about 15h and she was about 10 at the time. I didn’t live there at the time so only saw her every few weeks but the more I saw the more I like her. I came over one weekend and found out she had been putout on loan. I was devastated. I decided then that if she came back I was having her. Low and behold a couple of months later she came back and I got her.

    Little did I know the problems were just about to start. I expected it to be like it was before when I had a pony. I didn’t expect a horse that would not cooperate at all and treated me with contempt. She started napping and would go any way except here I wanted to go. Backwards was a favourite and into fences was a close second. I was terrified. I ended up putting her in a livery yard near me here I could also get lessons.
    She quickly became a favourite and she was a horse that either people loved or hated. She terrified a couple of the students who had to look after her, turning her fairly substantial bottom towards them. She never kicked or bit anyone. Her presence was enough. In the meantime she continued to shred my confidence whilst behaving beautifully for the YO. At the time I didn’t know anything except traditional so I kept going having lessons and feeling a miserable failure.
    Something had to change so I started looking for answers. I know that the problem wasn’t her. I knew it was me. After some extensive research I found natural horsemanship. Love it or hate it, it worked for me and our relationship changed almost overnight. I did the work on me and she breathed a sigh of relief. I pretty much stopped riding and we started hanging out together more.
    She got a bad impaction colic and when she was recovering from that we spent more down time together. It forged a bond that is now very strong. After that I pretty much did my own thing. I moved her to a field near my house where she could be outside all the time.
    Kayleigh is now 26 and we’ve moved back to my yard. Even though she’s 26 she is still the boss of the others. I’ve nevr seen her bite or kick at any of the others. She only has to look at them and they back off. hen she’s coming through they get out of her way. We still hang out together and there is still a close connection. Despite the fact I’ve been around horses since I was 6 she’s the one who taught me all I know and the especially the true meaning of respect.

    Trisha Stewart

    Lovely story Christine. There will be a lot of people go through some kind of traditional, to NS and then onto doing your own thing, the main thing is you listenened to your horse and stopped the riding as you knew that was not the problem and then developed the relationship.

    Chuck is not different, read his story on Lady.


    The important thing for people is to accept where they are right now. Most of us have come up through the traditional route. We’ve all done things in the past that with hindsight we’d rather not have done. Horses are amazing because like dogs and humans they are capable of managing within a wide range and not suffering long lasting effects.
    I’d also argue that the old traditional was much better for horses than the current fad for stables and small paddocks.
    When I first learned to ride – many years ago – horses were hardly ever stabled. Yes they would go in stables but they didn’t live in stables. The riding school I went to had a lot of horses. It was also a farm. Horses were turned out in a herd of 20+ in 30 acre fields. The ate grass and hay. Some got some hard feed but not many – barley or oats and bran. We now know these are not good feeds for horses yet they thrived on it, had little disease and laminitis was rare. if your horse had a rug it was a jute new Zealand rug that you needed a crane to lift. The pasture was alternated with cows and sheep.
    Now stabling is common, a horse has a wardrobe and paddocks are tiny with one horse in each.

    Chuck Mintzlaff

    Sad to say, that’s very true Christine.

    It seems the more advanced scientific knowledge is available for what IS best for our horses, the horse world seems to do the exact opposite!

    And yet they continue to blame the horses for ‘bad behavior.’

    Chuck Mintzlaff

    Yes, we ‘respect’ the traffic cop because if we don’t, he;ll punish us financially.

    And we ‘respect’ a loved one.

    Two completely different types of ‘respect.

    Trisha Stewart

    I too learned at the riding stables when I was about 7 or 8 I spent all my Summer holidays there just waiting for the end of the day to get a bareback, halter only ride on the road to the field, usually with two or three in tow!

    Like you, the horses were brought into stables to be cleaned up and tacked up etc. Then I come back to horses after many many years and here I am, on this road backwards so to speak and all around me, some 25 years later are still doing the same thing and worse, harsh bits, whips, omigod, it makes me sick.

    All we can do is keep on demonstrating how things could be and at the end of the day, how much easier it is (well it will be for me and Willow one day lol

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