EQUINE MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING - Fred and Rowena Cook
Email: Enquiries@equinetraining.co.uk or call 01780 740773.
AS WE with a number of troubled horses it made logical sense for us to trial the Ardall Rider & Equine Safety System; After extensive trialling we were so impressed with it that we became UK Agents for the product!
THE idea behind the system is that a person can reduce the risk of possible injury when training horses that are extremely unpredictable.
The Ardall Rider & Equine Safety System is a wonderful innovation from Paul Murphy.
Coming from a family of horsemen involved in producing young horses, Paul began looking at ways to help make the backing process safer not ony for himself but others in the industy for the occasions when horses clearly did not want someone on their backs.An idea was born and there ensued five years of research and development; the original prototype was adjusted and refined on numerous occaions and finally the Ardall as we know it today found its way on to the equestrian market.
Officially launched at the Dublin Horse Show in 2011, the Ardall has become a "must-have" for those involved in backing young or difficult horses.
UNFORTUNATELY not every young horse has the most ideal start in life; the backing and early training may not be a pleasant experience causing the horse to be frightened and have violent reactions; such reactions, whilst fully understandable, have to be corrected but in a way that is safe for both horse and trainer. Sadly too, older horses that have been spoilt, confused or mistreated can become increasingly resentful and they too can exhibit adverse behaviours.
THERE are also the situations where a horse has suffered mental trauama from, for example, a bad fall or riding accident on the roads, or a horse that is coming back into work after physical trauma. As a result some horses are subsequently not too sure about a rider being back on board.
SOME behaviours are much more easily correctable, such as bucking, but a horse that rears (and is prepared to flip right over) or one that actually bolts blindly, can not only be harder to correct but the process of doing so is potentially a dangerous one for both parties.
THERE is a torso, one model (SR1) has a rigid body, and the other model (SR2) has a folding torso. The SR2 can thus be fitted in a half-height position which is particularly useful for horses that have issues with something above them. Once happy with the folded torso, it can be made up to full height whilst still on the horse via a simple pulley system - a long line is simply attached to a ring which pulls the torso up to full height whilst the trainer remains a safe distance from the horse. At the core of the torso is a coiled spring, which facilitates movement when mounted on a horse.
A STRAINING system - harness - allows the torso to be fixed very rigidy so it does not move, but once a horse is used to the Ardall, the tension can be released allowing it to move a litte which accustoms a horse to a rider moving about. This is especially useful for working with childrens' ponies and also training RDA horses and ponies.
THE legs, in the shape of boots, are not just for simulating the rider's legs, but are there to provide weight as the boots can be filled with fine sand or similar to provide in the region of 12-13kg of weight in each leg.
THE torso itself is secured on a flat based which is slightly moulded for added stability when secured to any saddle provided it is not too deep in the seat and so has a high cantle. Straps from each side of the base are used for securing a girth which holds the it firmly in place. The base also has a ring on each side which can be used for lunge and long reining work.
THE Ardall also comes with 2 additional rings which can be attached to the stirrups for early long-reining work when you may not want the reins positioned too high.
The Ardall torso The detachable leg boots
SR1 Model SR2 Model
WE TRIALLED the Ardall on numerous horses to establish whether it can indeed achieve what its designers say it could, namely:
- to ensure that a horse is safe to ride:- saving horse and rider from potentially fatal consequences
- to train performance horses:- as horses can be safely lunged and long-reined with the Ardall in place, new movements can be taught from the ground but the horse becomes more prepared due to the weight of a "rider".
- .to help resolve training issues with horses exhibiting temperament, nappiness or more extreme behaviour as corrective training can be carried out with the simulation of a rider on board.
THERE is nothing a horse can be asked to do under a rider that he cannot do with an Ardall. Indeed what can be done is only limited by the trainer's long reining ability!
Apart from lunge work a horse can safely be long-reined with an Ardall dummy in place, long reining something that
cannot be done with a rider:
All schooling work can be safely carried out with an Ardall. Horses can be taught more advanced dressage movements
if required as the rings on the torso aloow for higher positioning of the long lines.
It is safe to jump a horse over an height and type of jump.
You can safely take a young or nervous horse into the great outdoors without fear of the Ardall parting company.
And you can safely introduce cross country fences too.
FITTING is simple and straighforward:
Please view this YouTube video:
ABSOLUTELY NOT. A horse still has to be accustomed to the Ardall - you can't just suddenly attach it to the saddle and off you go. The introductory process is very similar to when introducing a rider.
THE ARDALL has been designed to reduce the potential risk of injury to both horse and trainer/rider when working with a horse that is clearly difficult, for whatever reason.
IN RESPONSE, it could be said that is it not better to try usage of same rather than condemn a horse because he does not want to be ridden through no fault of his own. We agree that for horses that have had the correct start in life, no, the Ardall is not required; not would we use it for any horse deemed to be "tricky" but for horses that are determined not to have a rider on, it is better to change their point of view with an Ardall rather than them have to be euthanased is it not?
FOR THOSE that say the Ardall is more likley to frighten a horse than instil confidence, we would say the torso is far more stable on the back than a rider that is not balanced, has not control over their hands and legs, sits incorrectly or cannot apply the aids correctly. And certainly no worse than the use of home-made dummies comprising straw-filled boiler-suits and similar which are very unstable on the horse usually slipping sideways. Young horses are often unnerved by a rider coming off; the Ardall will not make any unscheduled dismounts!
IN AN ideal world there would be no need for such a piece of equipment but sadly we too often have to work with horses that have had a tough time and they are really adamamt that they do not want someone on their backs. For the critics that say "if you do your groundwork properly ...... you should not need to resort to gadgets", we say once you've had a few days of a horse constantly flipping over with you, you soon decide to let the Ardall take the strain - and the pain!
WE HAVE no hesitation in recommending the Ardall to anyone who has a less than straightforward horse to back. It takes away the risk of injury - and let's be realistic - a horse can quite unintentionally inflict a bit of damage to a human body. Granted the reason behind a horse not wanting a rider on its back in the first place is mainly down to human misdemenour in its past, but if that can be overcome by using an Ardall, and the horse be given a chance of a life, then what harm is there in that?
For further information about the Ardall please contact us: Telephone 01780-740773