Mounting Issues and the Power of the POLO !!!

In 2014 we had a few rather frightening incidents with Jerry, he started suddenly rushing off when i got on,occasionally bolting, this started after going to Pontispool Horse Trials and jumping off once back at the lorry, so full of adrenaline after a fab xc round i jumped off and forgot to unplug my air jacket !! BANG !! and i think escalated more by the fact we were stood next to the lorry, someone next door ran around to see if we were ok as she said sounded like a gun going off… Jerry didn’t appear to be too panicked then but as we have since realised he is a very clever cookie and can differentiate between me wearing my navy SJ jacket and my navy Air Jacket ….

THE PROBLEM: (Bolting whilst mounting)

After a successful Pontispool Novice coming 9th we entered the Intermediate at Salperton, however about a week before the event I was hacking Jerry up the drive (June ) and had to get off to tuck something in, i tried to remount from the floor and he spun around , spooking at a sheep jumping out) and went to bolt, flipping me over the back of the saddle and straight over on the floor and as he went he kindly trampled both of my legs  and blonked me straight in the brambles!!! I was convinced my leg was broken somehow managed to calmly get my phone out and call mum and just said ‘Go and catch Jerry ive fallen off please don’t let him fall over on the drive..’ Luckily Jerry was caught without drama and mum came racing up to rescue me !!!

For those who know me i had only just recovered from a non-horse-related dislocated ankle in January so i was gutted…..However amazingly it appeared to be superficial and bruising nothing broken but agony non the less !!

So at Salperton i was more concerned about everyone holding onto him to realise any major problem and i had a client Jackie with us and Charlie the Groom plus mum and apart from getting excited when i got on for xc i didnt notice anything major different… but then i also had them all there when i went to get off once i was back at the lorry.

So when at Purston Manor he shot off accross the lorry park when i got on to sj i was a bit shocked… he did a fab clear and we went straight xc i got off to change his boots and put my gear on and he did the same thing again when i got on for xc shot straight off, so i thought it must have been mum holding the reins too tight on his curb or something

However when we finished a fab xc round i went to jump off half way home and as soon as i leant forward he shot forward so i waited til i could face him at the lorry and got off, obviously making sure the cord of the air jacket was unplugged !! But once i was off he pulled back, i got hold of him and then very uncharacteristically he ran off before i could get his headcollar on.. disappearing off prancing around the lorry park !! Nice to see he had plenty of energy after a fast double clear !! Grrr much to my disgust he just continued to trot around in extended trot with everyone stood admiring him, finally caught by someone with a bucket !!!

So the next and FINAL drama was after a very nasty 5 hr drive in boiling heat to Brightling 1* International after which we had about 10 mins to get ready, there was I trying to peel on my breeches as my legs were so hot n sweaty from wearing jeans for the drive in such heat.. then i wasn’t sure which hat to wear.. deciding on the top hat and then jerry freaking once again when i got on despite me tucking the tails of the dressage coat into my breeches ( a good look!!).. He was just really on edge and didnt do a good test at all with no time to warm up properly…

We stayed over night so i thought he may have chilled a bit by the following lunchtime when our sj was…. however he was 10 times worse the next day and i had to have 3 people to hold him for me to get on for the SJ he was now being held in a head collar with the curb undone as we thought that was the problem.. I even had to borrow Lucinda Fredericks Groom who was parked opposite us to help hold him… i show jumped, he was very on edge even after a good warm up hack about and jump, we think he must have sprung a shoe in the sj as he jumped the last 2 fences very badly unlike him and had 3 down.. Didnt appear to have lost a shoe… Got back to the lorry and did a very quick change as we had 10 mins until xc time !! This is when disaster stuck for the last time… despite 3 people holding him and facing the lorry so he couldnt shoot off he then figured out to run backwards, with mum holding the lunge line, headcollar on and shot off around the lorry park with me vaguely on with one foot in the stirrups… He had not got his curb chain done up so i had absolutely no brakes and was making a bee line for the giant 5ft wall to the road luckily he realised that was a silly idea and turned back to the lorry at the last minute depositing me in the thorny bush and against the wall !!!

So on inspection and catching beside the lorry he had A: Lost a shoe and B: i had thorns in my bum along with being bashed up and hitting my head on the wall !!! so Decided that perhaps this was a sign today was not our day… So thank you to who ever the groom was of Lucinda’s for your help unfortunately he just was not a happy bunny….. I did however take my air jacket off and he let me cuddle him… then i held the air jacket up to him and he moved away sharply….  !!

SOLUTION: (POLO’s )

We got home and basically re- backed him with a body protector under a red jacket and a large bucked of food !! Then someone passed up the air jacket and we walked up the drive, i hopped off and showed him it was ok as i was wearing it and had not gone BANG!!!

Next stop was to get on and off with my navy sj jacket… this time we swapped Bucket of Food for the simple POLO !!! Jerry literally ran after mum to the mounting block and stood totally ignorant of what i was wearing with his mind set on one thing !! Polos

For the next few events i stayed on board after the sj and mum passed the body protector and air jacket up to me, by the end of the season i was getting on fine as long as someone was there with polos and even with the airjacket 🙂

At home: i have a pocket of polos or nuts and get him to stand at the mounting block with a few nibbles then i get on and fix my girth etc and then give him a few more nuts for standing so well and then wait a second and he now doesnt move away until i give him a bit of leg …

Training to the portable mounting block: I like to train my horses to stand next to our mounting block  we have a blue block at home and events and an old concrete on at home.

1. Make sure you make them learn to stand when told to ‘stand’

2. Maintain a contact with the offside rein so quarters don’t turn away, too much inside rein will pull the horses head towards you thus horses quarters away.

3. Use a ‘click’ to get horse to stand

So if your having a major problem mounting or remounting:

1. Check Saddle and Horses Back

2. Go back to basics and re-back the horse , get someone to hold, lie on the back and move slowly into position in the saddle

3. Use POLO’s !!! and take your time …