Tips to Slow down a Fresh Youngster

Being a hot blooded mare, Coco can be a bit fired up at the beginning of a session. It used to make it quite difficult to get any work done as I ended spending most of my time in the saddle fighting for her attention. So I needed to come up with some new ideas to control my speedster…

Give them a lunge

An oldie but a goodie. Lunging is probably the most obvious answer. If your horse is feeling a bit fresh, give them a 10 minute lunge to get some of that energy out before you hop in the saddle


Take a few laps
If your horse isn’t settling sometimes the easiest solution is to let them run. Coco has a habit of bunny hopping, napping towards other horses and running into canter when she’s feeling a bit fresh so when she’s like this I just let her canter. Keeping her on the outside track, I go into a light seat and keep her in a controlled canter until she feels ready to stop. Works a treat every time…

Gallop Gif

Keep them moving
Horses like Coco need to be kept thinking. You have to stay one step ahead of them so for the first 10 minutes of your session do plenty of circles, loops, changes of rein and of course plenty of transitions. Keep them guessing.


Poles, Poles, Poles
Poles are my best friend. They are the perfect tool to get your horse focused and listening to you. When Coco was going through her very difficult phase, poles were the only thing that gave me a sense of control. I would set out three trot poles and focus on these and these alone. I would walk over them and between them and then trot them straight and eventually work up to figure of eights around and between them. You both need to concentrate to do the exercise clean so its perfect for getting your horse focused on what you’re asking them to do.


Hopefully you might find some of these ideas useful. If you have any of your own tips, please share in the comments. I’m always open to new ideas!



Horses & Young Kids

Why hello lovely horse friends, as many of you may be aware, I have a 4 year old son Scott! Until recently, he was not too fond of the idea of coming up to see the horse when I would, he would come up to the yard with me and want to stay in the car or would sit across the yard away from the stable just to keep himself out of harms way. I am not sure if it was his age but over the last two months he has really grown into himself, he has gained this confidence boost and to my delight he finally wants to get involved with “Mommy & her horse”!!

As many of you reading this may have had the same issues as myself, I have put together a few pointers below for ways to get your children active & involved with yard duties!

Give them a ‘Special’ Job

When I muck-out Dante’s stable, its very time consuming, there is nothing worse than having Scott standing outside the stable door (do keep in mind that I never have Dante in the stable while I muck him out while Scott is around) asking how much longer is it going to take so I being extremely clever invented the best idea EVER, I gave him the most important job any little boy could have, he had his own special thing that only he could do. He sweeps Dante’s stable floor!! This is his thing, the thing he can do the best! Making kids feel like they are great at something boosts there self esteem, and well sneakily saves you from doing the job so give it a go! Assign your kids with there own ‘Special’ job next time you bring them to the yard, make them feel important!

Make Everything Fun

Wheel-barrow rides. YES I said it, and Scott loves it!! To my benefit it helps me squash the straw into the wheelbarrow when he sits on it so that I can fit more in instead of making two trips!! Who doesn’t love a good bit of fun, make games out of the simple things! It will only make the jobs more fun for everyone!

Involve them

Involve your kids. Let them help make up your horses feed, let them pour in the oil or help with the scoops, even if it is something as simple as mixing it up in the bucket any help is good help! It will also show your kids that it is important to look after animals, that they need to be fed & cared for. (Saves you from buying a pet fish!!) Scott picks up on the smallest things,  its crazy! If he sees Dante’s water bucket empty he will without thinking say Dante needs a drink. Its amazing what young kids can pick up on!

Don’t Force them to do anything they Don’t want to do

Don’t push your child to do anything the don’t want to do let them figure it out themselves. Just because you love horses and being around them doesn’t mean your child will also! This also goes for horse riding lessons!! Everyone learns at their own pace! Let your child decide what they want to do, Scott has decided he will start horse riding when he is 5, that’s what he will tell you anyways, no doubt each year it will continue to drag out. in my opinion, there is no point in forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to do!

So to conclude… As much as I love bringing Scott up to the yard, it also petrifies me having him up there, like OMG if anything ever happened. Dante is great with Scott, he stands still while Scott pets his nose/screams in his face, he has a great temperament but I would never trust him 100%. Always keep those eyes on the back of your head open! Kids are curious and you never no what they could get up to especially with other horses around!

One last thing, set some rules for your child/children for when they go up to the yard, I have 4 simple rules that Scott goes by;

  1. Never Walk behind a horse
  2. Don’t Shout or jump around when your near a horse
  3. Be Gentle
  4. Do what Mommy/Daddy says!

Thanks for reading & do remember, just because you have horses and you love being around them, don’t automatically assume your kids will too!

If you have any more pointers on keeping your kids amused up in the yard, please do share!

P.S. As the Boyfriend isn’t fond of the horse, all of the above applies to him also!!



Youngsters, a constant learning curve

We’ve pulled together a fresh batch of tips & tricks we’ve picked from some recent experiences…

It’s ok to go off plan

We’ve all been there; you’ve set out a session plan and put out your poles. You mount up only to find that the ready-to-learn youngster you had the other day is nowhere to be found. Instead you have an unwilling and stubborn baby who is not in a cooperative mood. And that’s ok because that’s young horses. They’re not always going to want to do what you had planned so sometimes you need to go off script and do something else. And sometimes that something else is hopping off and trying again another day.

Don’t measure yourself against the 4yo next door

If you’re in a big yard there’s bound to be at least one other youngster among the herd of liveries (in our case there was at least 4 at one time). When this happens there’s always the temptation to judge your horses progress against these other horses why isn’t my horse jumping a course of fences yet?” or I’d love to be able to bring my youngster to their first show too” but this is never a good idea. Every horse is different and needs to progress at their own pace. For example, Darielle & Dante did their first show a few months ago whereas Orla & Coco are yet to attempt a course at all. This is just how it goes sometimes, if you start rushing your horse to do things they’re not ready for, you risk scaring them off completely and giving yourself a world of difficulty to get them back to where they were. Just remember to go at your own pace and you and your horse will get there when you’re ready. 

Max. 2 days hard riding per week

This is so important to remember when you’re bringing on a youngster. It’s so easy to forget that your horse is really only a baby and too much hard work can result in them turning sour and becoming unwilling to learn. To help avoid this we recommend: maximum 2 days hard work, 2 days off, and 3 fun or easy days mixing lunge work and hacking. You really need to be strict with yourself when it comes to this but it will pay off in the long-run. 

Hack in the Arena

Given the nature of young horses it can sometimes be difficult to get out for a hack. Maybe your horse won’t hack alone just yet and you can’t find a willing partner to join you or maybe you just don’t have safe roads or a track to venture out to. If any of this applies to you, there is always the option of hacking in the arena. This is something that never occurred to me until my last lesson but I’m so very grateful for it now. All you do is walk around the arena for 10 or 15 minutes..and that’s it. Don’t be tempted to pop into a small trot or anything difficult just walk. If you have a horse like Coco (easily exciteable by other horses/spooky/quick on her toes) this has so many benefits. Not only does it teach them that the arena doesn’t always mean work but if you’re doing it in a busy arena it helps your horse to realise that they don’t have to be doing what all the other horses are doing, that they can be chilled and do their own thing. It also gives you the opportunity to work on getting them long, low and relaxed in the walk so they can really stretch their back muscles which is always a good thing.

Sometimes you’ve just got to let them canter

This is such a simple and seemingly obvious idea, yet you’d be surprised how many people don’t realise how much simpler their life on their horse could be. Coco is a pretty buzzed horse a lot of the time and no matter how much lunging I do before I ride, she will still arrive at the arena with an abundance of energy. Ill bring her into trot and after a few strides she will attempt to pop into canter. I learned very quickly that fighting her when she’s like this is pointless and tends to result in a full blown tantrum. So I’ve discovered that the best thing to do is to let her canter. Do a few laps around the arena in a controlled but free canter and your horse will let you know when they’re ready to stop. Just be sure to warn your fellow riders of what you’re doing before you get going.

We hope you found our few pointers helpful and as always if you have any tips of your own please share by commenting below!

Orla & Darielle


Working On A Stride – Try A Bounce!

Trying to figure out your horses stride? Doing bounce work with flat poles on the ground as demonstrated in the picture above is key!
We recently tested this out on Coco, and to say she loved it was an understatement!! 
Set Up:
  1. Starting off on a semi circle, using the full width of your school set out 6 ground poles. 
  2. Measured out 3 footsteps between each pole. (Bearing in mind this may need to be adjusted for each horse depending on size.)
  3. Try keeping the poles in the semi-circle shape, this will mean you will need to have slight bend in your canter when using this exercise. 
Go over the 6 poles both on each rein, keep doing the exercise until you are satisfied it is done correctly. 
Go have a look on our Instagram @nobuckingwayblog to look at Coco nail the exercise perfectly!
To make this exercise a little harder, start taking out poles and see if your horse still maintains the steady pace as if the 6 poles are still in the ground! This is a great exercise for control.
Tag us in your videos on Instagram, let us see how you tackled the exercise with your horse!

TREC – An Introductory

What is TREC u ask? Well let me start by saying it is so much frickinnn fun!!! A local Trec show was being held at my yard last weekend, so I grew a set of balls and decided, this is it, I am going to enter and see how we get on! To say I was surprised with our outcome was an understatement, we ended up coming 3rd in our Novice class, I am so proud of Dante, he really put 110% into it!

But enough with that, let me give you a brief explanation of what TREC actually is, bearing in mind I am no expert, personally I think this is a great sport to get into if not for competing professionally, it really helps with behaviour, as the sport relies a lot on trust between you and your horse, read below to find out some more!

What is TREC?

TREC originated in France, it is basically a means of testing your ability as a trail rider to the max (in my opinion). It consists of 3 stages that tests the horse & riders ability in each stage, from pace of gaits, to obstacles, and orienteering.

Stage 1- Orienteering (POR)

Stage one consists of orienteering, now I haven’t done this part as of yet, but you basically get given a map and on horseback you follow the route given by the speed predetermined by the organizers, to set checkpoints that are unknown by the riders. They tend to Start from 10km treks up to 20km the higher the levels you go.

Stage 2 – Control Of Paces (MA)

So in stage 2, you are basically showing off how well you can control your horse within certain paces. You have to canter down & walk up through a 2-4m wide corridor that is 150m in length, judges score you by timing you, marks are awarded by having a slow canter and a fast walk. The most points you can get for each is 30, 60 in total.

Stage 3 – Obstacle Course (PTV)

In my opinion this is like a stripped back version of a cross country course, it tests your control as a team & how well you work together.  A single PTV course will consist of a max of 16 obstacles varying from ridden corridors, to jumping logs to walking over foot bridges, obstacles may also be done in hand as well as on horseback.

View the TREC Ireland website for more info!

I will attach below a couple of images of the obstacles that were included in the competition from Sunday, you really don’t realise how much trust you need in your horse or how much they need to rely on you for guidance throughout the obstacles.  Keeping in mind that most of these competitions take place in an open field, with young horses it will teach them to relax, and not be expected to race off, but to wait for instructions from you the rider. If any of you are interested in giving TREC a go I would definitely say DO IT,

Below are a few pointers of things you will need with you on the day, and certain things you should be made aware of!

  • If your horse has a martingale, a head collar & lead rope must be worn, this is to aid you with any in hand obstacles.
  • Medical Arm bands must also be worn, on either your arm or leg.
  • At an obstacle if the two entry cones are places together you may enter the obstacles from anywhere, if they are placed apart you must enter through the cones.
  • You can walk, trot or canter an obstacle, the faster the pace the higher the marks you get, canter is only permitted for certain obstacles in the novice stage.
  • If their are drawn white lines at an obstacle, you must stay inside them, if you don’t points will be deducted.
  • When you are doing in-hand obstacles, the horses nose must remain behind you, if you lead your horse standing at his shoulder you will be marked down.
  • If you are not a TREC Ireland member, the entry fee will require you to pay an additional €7 for insurance on the day.
  • As fun as TREC sounds, it is a serious sport so respect the professionals and listen to there advice, do have fun but don’t insult their sport!

So take a leaf out of my book & enter yourself in a local TREC competition you may do better than you think! I will definitely be doing another one!








Youngsters, Patience is Key!

Over the past few months we have put a lot of effort into trying to get Dante & Coco settled and relaxed into their work. They’re not perfect, (that may takes years) and both have improved tremendously but there’s still a long way to go. To help us get there, we have both decided to start fortnightly private lessons with the same instructor, kicking off with our first lessons this weekend. (We’ll be sure to do lesson posts after each lesson to detail some of our key learnings.)

But before we get going with lessons, we thought we’d share what we’ve learned so far by ourselves…

Steer Clear of an Argument

Try to keep everything positive! This is much easier said than done but the main thing to remember is that you always want to end every session on a good note if you can. Don’t fight them, you will not win against a 700lb horse! If they are spooking in corners and jumping away from noises in trees around your arena steer clear of these areas, the last thing you want is an unhappy horse. With time you can slowly introduce them to the scary spooky corners giving them praise when they do it in a calm manner.

Keep your Sessions Short

Youngsters can lose their concentration very easily so try to keep your sessions short, sweet and to the point. Focus on one goal at a time, if he gets it right give him a break. This will keep him thinking without overloading him with information. Throwing too much information at a youngster can confuse them and cause a lot of tantrums!! So remember, you will achieve more in 20 minutes than you would in an hour. 

Focus on Basic Flatwork/Schooling

Always keep in mind, everything your young horse learns now will stick with them throughout their riding career. So it’s important to get things right the first time, no matter how much time it takes! There is no point rushing into competing your young horse, and having him jump sky high fences just because you think he can. Focus on getting your horse to respond to your leg aids and working in a relaxed rhythm. Transition work up & down is perfect for this with the aim being to transition without anything being sloppy. Taking shortcuts at the beginning will only end up in heartbreak and a lot of work re-schooling with a stubborn teenager!!

Reward Good Work & Let them Stretch

When your horse does what you ask of him, reward him! Tell him Good Boy/Girl” and give them a scratch on the neck. Everyone likes to be rewarded for good work and horses aim to please so it will only make them enjoy their jobs more! The best reward is to let them stretch. Stretching helps your horse to relax and in the long run it will help with building up topline muscles, making them stronger. Let them stretch long and low at the beginning and at the end of a session while using stretching as a reward for good work throughout your session. 


Every horse has a tantrum now and then and we all have those days where those tantrums force us to re-think owning a young horse. Regardless of what your horse is doing underneath you, always remember that you are the Boss! Don’t be afraid to be vocal and give out, they must learn what’s right and what’s wrong. Our one key piece of advice, DO NOT lose your temper, it will only make the situation worse!! Try to remain calm as best you can if they misbehave, take a breath, ignore it and keep them moving forward. Change the exercise, get them relaxed and listening and try the exercise again. If they complete it correctly without misbehaving reward them and move on. Just keep reminding yourself that this is the hardest your horse is going to test you. Stay strong, put the hard work in now and the results will speak for themselves.

We hope you found our few pointers helpful and if you have any tips of your own please share by commenting below!

Darielle & Orla


Home Remedies: Sage Leaves


Sage Leaves can be used to help calm down and clear eye infections.


  • Sage Leaves
  • Hot Water


Boil kettle, place 5-6 full sage leaves in a bowl, pour hot water into the bowl. Let the hot water cool down fully before distributing into water bottle/storage container. (Plastic bottle is ideal)

With Cotton buds or a make up remover pad, dab the infected area twice a day for 4-5 days.

If the infection has not calmed down or If you have not noticed any noticeable difference after the 4-5 days contact your vet.


If clear fluid is coming from the eye, this is an indication of an infection free eye.

If the eye is excreting a coloured fluid, it is recommended that the horse gets an anti-biotic as this could be a bad eye infection or an allergic reaction.

Welcome to No Bucking Way

Hopefully you’ve had a gander around the website by now but if not here’s a quick run-down of who we are and what we’re about:

  • Two Enthusiastic Equestrians thrown into the deep end with two rowdy youngsters
  • One 4yo(rising 5) Appaloosa Mare and one 5yo Irish Sport Horse Gelding. One is 15.2hh, the other 17.2hh..take your guess as to who’s who (hint: the answer is in the pic)
  • Discussing topics such as behavioural problems, useful schooling exercises, healthcare tips & tricks, training events & days out and anything else that we think is worth writing about

That’s probably the shortest amount of detail I could give you without boring you to death. Our journey with the brats is sure to be filled with endless entertainment and we’d be delighted to have you come along for the ride so make sure to check back in and keep up to date with our posts.

Have Instagram? Make sure to follow our account: NoBuckingWayBlog

Darielle & Orla