Adventures with Scully - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 02-06-2012, 06:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Essex , England
Posts: 70
• Horses: 1
Adventures with Scully

It all started with my grandaughter Mollie going to a birthday party at a riding school. She wanted to learn to ride so I took her along for lessons. I was soon "bullied" into riding again (I learnt some 15 or so years earlier) and I was completely hooked, even helping out at the stables looking after the horses. Then one day one of the instructors said "when are you getting your own horse?" Well - I hadn't thought about that but soon decided that I would really like my own and the search was on.

I have "horsey" friends who helped me sort through all the adverts and I decided that I really needed a well schooled gelding about 16 hands and 10 to 12 years - breed not important but I really fancied a friesian!

I had every intention of taking someone along with me to view the candidates, but every time I arranged something I was let down. So I went to see a horse at a dealers - poor boy looked tarted up for the occasion and stood there dejectedly - I said sorry but not for me, not enough bone in the leg! He had 4 matchsticks for legs! On another occasion I went to see a mare called Ella - she started off by double barrelling her fieldmates at the gate then running off, followed by being obviously difficult to control when being ridden - owners mum said they wanted rid as she had reared in hand and kicked her daughter - would I like to ride her? erm no ta I'll pass on that!

Then I saw an ad for a mare in Little Clacton (just up the Essex coast from me) she sounded interesting and the picture caught my eye - this horse had loads of presence. She was home bred and for sale as the owner had no time to ride her.

Enter Scully! 17hh of warmblood mare, rising 6 and green - total opposite of what I was looking for! I went to see her the first time, still alone, but my friends had said that she looked a distinct possibility from the advert. I watched her ridden

Scully - You Tube

and jumped

Scully jumping 2 - YouTube

and then got on her - well we stood there for 5 minutes having a discussion about whether she was going to move or not - the owner offered me spurs and told me to whip her as hard as I liked because she was lazy like her mum! I declined and after a while she walked, then trotted and then offered me the most fantastic canter I had experienced.

I was sold! The vet came out a couple of days later and pronounced scully fit and the cash changed hands. Bit of a panic then as I hadn't got a stable for her! I had a couple of possibles but neither were ideal - then I mentioned to the riding school that I was looking for a stable and they pointed me to Butler's over the road - so the next Tuesday the owners lorry appears and Scully is led into her new stable.

First day in her new field and she settled down quite well with her new filedmates.

However I soon found out that we needed to do some work with her - in the first fortnight she broke 2 leadropes, a headcollar and the stable light because she pulled back when tied up.

This was soon sorted only to be replaced by being difficult to catch,

Catching 1 - YouTube

then once that was sorted she wouldn't load,

then she wouldn't go forward in the school... and so it went on - she was certainly trying my patience with each new development.

I had lots of support from the yard staff, my RI and various NH people and slowly we worked our way through all the issues - then she went lame! A bout of cellulitis the vet thought!

I had her booked in to go up to Ashen for Becky Chapman to help school her and those plans had to be put on hold - but when she was fit again we loaded her up and took her to see Becky. We had a plan to get her working in outline and start building her topline. After the first day, Becky sat me down and said I had the most complicated mare she had ever come across and we needed to go back to basics - she was twisted to the left and unbalanced. Becky worked her magic and Mish worked on her back and after 4 weeks I took her home to continue the work of getting her going properly. At the same time I decided to take her barefoot as some of the issues were pain related in her feet.

So by Xmas 2008 I had owned her for all of 9 months and we had come quite a long way together but so much further to go...

2009 - the new year started with having he front shoes removed, the backs were always bare. Frantic reading up on the barefoot horse and a steep learning curve started - so much to know about frogs and soles, white lines and heels, horn and abcesses! She was quite sound even on gravel - this was her walking the day after shoe removal-

Scully front feet - YouTube

landing a bit toe first - but that was how she landed with shoes and part of the reason for taking them off.

She was also flat footed with loads of false sole and constricted heels -

Needless to say she soon picked up a couple of abscesses - the first the vet dug a huge hole in the sole to find the abscess and failed!

it eventually burst out round the back of the hoof! The second abcess wasn't found by the vet either.

So the early months of 2009 were spent doing lots of in hand stuff because of her hooves but some ridden work on soft surfaces was possible so we continued the work started at Becky's. Using an exercise band round her bum helped her build topline and bum muscles - here Laena is putting her through her paces with the band

Scully020309 - YouTube

Then in June I found out that there was a stable available at my local yard - just 1/2 mile from home so notice was given at Butlers and on 2nd August we moved to Blatches. You can see how good she is to load (mostly!) at the beginning of this video - she travels loose in the box and is always chilled!

Scully's big move - YouTube

So a new home and new friends - she settled in fast

Then we made our second visit to Becky's

Becky said "Wow, different horse! You have been working hard!" We spent two very productive days with ridden sessions and groundwork too and then on the third morning we went out for a nice hack - Becky on big Mac and me on Scully - Mac shied at temp road signs, Scully ignored them she was just a star! So we came back with more exercises and games to play, including standing on a mat and weaving round pole pods.

The mat game -

mat.wmv - YouTube

Then I thought it would be good for her to do some jumping and as we have a field set out with show jumps I got Hayley to try her out!

MVI_0464.AVI - YouTube

she soon got bored of doing that so we tried her over XC jumps

Scully jump & gallop - YouTube

only trouble was she really needed a good look at each jump before she would go over it - we would take all day to get round the average XC course!

Gallops over the stubble fields at Butlers - this was the first time we had tried her out in a big open space so I put my test pilot, Hayley, on her and she put on her body protector!

Scully at speed - YouTube

then - after the galloping - a very extended trot!

Trot - YouTube

The verdict - totally sane and still had brakes!

November 2009 and Scully got a really bad dose of thrush in her near hind hoof and despite treating with hydrogen peroxide and an antibacterial spray the vet gave me, she was really quite lame for a couple of months. The really wet weather and then the snow & ice didn't help at all - it was almost impossible to keep her feet dry. The frog all but disintegrated with a very soft pink centre that occasionally bled -

As the weather improved, so did her foot and by March 2010 she was fully sound again and I could resume working with her.

Here is her reaction on being put out in the field after she was sound and the field was dry enough for them to go out - she had been confined to stable for about 3 weeks!

MVI 0553 - YouTube

One of the issues I had with her was her reluctance to go forward in the school - out on a hack with other horses or even on her own, forward was no problem, but in the school she had to be ridden very firmly and this really is not my style at all - I want her to be comfortable and relaxed.

Enter another friend - Kelly - she knew us from previous attempts at solving Scully's issues and also knew Becky's approach so she came over and helped guide me in teaching Scully what I wanted.
So back to basics getting my confidence back and getting my position better to allow Scully to work in outline, it started off slowly - very slowly at times!

Scully ridden 23/3 -2 - YouTube

Just getting her to walk without napping was a major achievement and it took the best part of a month to even get her to do a complete lap of the school without stopping. Once I had a forward walk, I started asking her to lower her head and work long and low and gradually she started to step right under and work from the back.

Just to ring the changes we did some work on the gallops round our paddocks and took her out in company for a hack -

Ignore the rubbish attempt at trot on this next vid - it was our first time!! But you can see how much her walk has changed.

MVI_0589.AVI - YouTube
And here we are again another month on - trot is no longer a battle to get and we can now start asking her not to do her donkey impression when trotting!

Scully 9th June 2010 - YouTube

Here is a little clip off the end of one of my videos which rather nicely illustrates the relationship I have built with her.

scullyfollows.wmv - YouTube

Last edited by chrisnscully; 02-06-2012 at 06:18 AM.
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post #2 of 2 Old 02-06-2012, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Essex , England
Posts: 70
• Horses: 1
Today we arranged to go on a nice hack up to the woods with Jo and Lady.
So 7.30 sees us mounted and setting off up the drive. Halfway up there and we meet Mo in her car coming down - quick chat and we set off again, out of the gates and onto the bridleway - good as gold so far.
She was looking all over at people in the distance and coping with no problem when cyclists came by, had a good sniff at a couple of piles of poo and even trundled up alongside Lady - I thought "this is going well" - lol - she stopped about 1/2 mile out - roughly where we had encountered the pony & trap before - and wouldn't go on.
We went backwards, we went sideways, we turned in circles, we danced, and eventually I decided to get off and lead her past the spot on foot. Should have taken a lead rope - she was trying to hide behind me and was very spooky.

I was determined to not turn back so we did a loop, coming back along the road. She was still very spooky so I decided not to remount, she is more confident with me in front and I want to build her confidence, not test it!
I led her through some concrete blocks on the bridleway, leaving her the wider of the two gaps, but no, she insisted on coming through the same gap as me!
So, not a huge success but at least she has been somewhere new.
Even my little cam gave up on me - the batts went flat after a few minutes so not much of a video - but at least I was riding her for it!
hack23610.avi - YouTube
After over a year of not much to report and several months of not riding because of her foot problems, I decided today was the day to saddle her up and do some groundwork with her to remind her that she needs to bring the saddle to me on the mounting block and stand still patiently while I faff about!

Eventually happy that she was ready for me to climb on, we went into the school and I got on, fully expecting her to take off before I was ready and generally be a bit stoopid
Nope, good as gold, walked on when I asked, didn't spook at the digger parked outside, mostly stayed on the track, changed reins and stood nicely when asked to!

Today we made it up to the top of the lane - tried to stop at all the field gates on the way up and stopped to have a very good look at a couple of cyclists passing the other side of the hedge but no real problems at all.

Steering was a bit awry, but got better on the way back when I remembered to breathe!
She was pretty chilled out - way more than I was!

The yard hossies were wormed last night and stayed in for today, so after lunch I took Scully out for a walk.

Lady came too, so we go along the track and thru the gate she doesn't like, all OK!

Down past the scary tree and scary fields into the woods then about 100 yards ahead a fisherman with his rods in a case crosses the track.

Lady spins and trots past us, Scully grows to 19hh but we go on, good girl.

Lady rejoins us, then halfway back a bit of green netting that was OK before tries to eat scully -cue much dancing and snorting!

Almost back to the yard we pass a man and big dog - the dog goes for Lady, Lady goes sideways into scully, so a bit exciting!

But we got back all in one piece, Scully was actually quite damp when we got back!

Today (friday) I got her in as normal picked her feet out and noticed a lack of gut sounds ( she is normally quite noisy!) but they were there faintly. Put her in stable and she ate her dinner and had her usual poo and wee. Then she started kicking & pawing so I whisked her out of the stable and marched her up and down while calling vet.

Vet said give her 2 bute and keep walking, ring back in an hour. So an hour later she was standing quietly and vet said put her in stable and leave her - but she immediately started to collapse and kick again so vet told to come see her.

After 40 mins the vet arrives and examines her - heart rate OK, breathing up a bit, temp OK. He sedated her and examined internally - normal poos, coming through OK, bit of gas, no twists or obstructions.

Well, this morning apart from being grumpy that I had put her breakfast away so she didn't get it before I came down, she appears to be fine!

Not tender on the sides, normal amount of poo in the stable, but little wee??

She is out in the field nomming away next to her mate Jack .

Scully has two water buckets in her field - I wondered why one had bits of grass floating in it and didn't go down much and the other had no grass but went down a lot.
Then I caught her! She wandered over and washed her mouth out in the first bucket, then moved over and drank from the second
It's been very foggy here over the last few days , made worse by the fact we are in a valley with a river running through it, so the horses have been going out together in adjacent fields so they can see each other - little vid from yesterday -
Scully in the mist - YouTube
We are now on winter turn out hours - no more than 5 hours in the field - so yesterday I put her out at 8.30 and at 1.30 I went to get her in - it was blowing hard and she was running up and down the fence line, totally not interested in the polo mints in my hand or being caught.
She stopped and pawed the ground, went on her knees as if to roll but decided against it, ran up and down, had a drink and nibbled a bit of grass under the fence, then did it all again - after about 15 minutes of this she came over for the polos and hooked on quietly. Then planted solid! Another 15 minutes saw us through the gate (only 20 yards away) and superspooking at the tape round the badger sett.
Scary tape -

Then she started grazing like there is no tomorrow - really stuffing it in as fast as she can! I am a bit concerned that the grass in her field is contaminated in some way cos she is only eating from one tiny corner and reaching under the fence for grass. Either that or the gate end is so scary in the wind that she doesn't want to go there. So I let her graze her way back to the stable - all the way along the path from the tape to the end, another 30 mins.
So in all it took a whole hour to get her in!
A few pics of her feet from today - overall I am very pleased with them - we finally seem to have got on top of the infection problems by using a dilute Hibiscrub solution on them at picking out times (twice a day) - the frogs don't smell and the heels are firm and healthy. The rear heels are nicely developed but the fronts still have a way to go. The growth rings on the fronts are very shallow - more colour variations than anything, they look far worse in the picture - the rears have nothing much in the way of rings at all, so I guess the diet is about right.


Near front

Off front

Near rear

Off rear

Lovely sunny days so Scully has been out in the day naked, she much prefers not having a rug on -

marching down the field with me

going down for a roll

oohhhh - that's better!

look Dad - no mud!!

Well, intrigued by a link on another thread, I had a look at horse agility - le trec in hand - I think that might be a way to make the school more interesting for her so we tried some very simple pole work, just walking over a pole and between two poles.

I think we may have some way to go ....

pole - YouTube

Well, Ideal came over and visited yesterday, we took Scully in the school where I had laid out a tarpaulin , a U shape of poles and some posts in a line to weave through.

Scully spotted the tarpaulin and snorted like fury at it so I worked her through the U poles a couple of times and let her loose to explore - she started to weave the posts all on her own, I went off to get her mat and we did some stand on the mat clicker training, ignoring the tarpaulin. By the end of the session she was getting to within a few feet of the tarpaulin so I called it a day and we went back to her stable for some grooming.I think Ideal quite liked her and the set up at the yard - she was able to meet all the hossies in the barn as they were all in due to the fields being too wet.Today she went out in the field as normal so getting her in about 2 pm I decided to just put the tarpaulin down again and she how she coped - this was the result -

Horse Agility training - YouTube
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