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We chose MSC for our first horse

maddie head

The first months with a new horse are often the most difficult as owners strive to increase their confidence while building the relationship.

Nikki Williams kindly offered to document her experience as a first time novice owner with the help of her full time instructor.

First meeting.

Today we went to Mysafecobs (MSC) to meet Avril and Maddie, a chestnut mare, with our instructor. We were looking for a horse to buy as our first horse. I had already spoken to Avril a few times on the phone and I got a really good feel from her.

As anyone who has already bought a horse from MSC knows, Avril doesn’t sell horses to people with a lack of experience, but as we have an instructor who is going to help us who Avril knows already, she agreed to us going and seeing Maddie.

When we first got there, we had a chat about Maddie and us, and Avril showed us into the stable where Maddie was. Avril and our instructor then left us in the stable with Maddie to see if we were comfortable with her, and also maybe to see how she reacted to us. It was really good spending this time in the stable stroking and patting her. We were left like this for about 10 minutes before they came back.

Our instructor rode Maddie first to see what she was like and how she would react to different things. After she rode Maddie, I then rode her. Maddie was very nice to ride and I felt very comfortable riding her. Then Paul rode Maddie, and as Paul is very nervous around horses it was very important he felt at ease with Maddie and comfortable riding her. Watching Paul ride Maddie they seemed very well suited. After Paul rode Maddie he walked her into her stable and our instructor took her saddle and bridle off, and she got a brush for Maddie and we gave her a brush off.

All through the whole time we were there Maddie was exactly as described, she was the perfect horse for us. We then had another chat with Avril and asked other questions we had. As you can imagine, we had a few usual questions as this is all a very new experience for us, but Avril was very good and patient with us.

Avril is a very honest person and wouldn’t even let you look or ride a horse that wasn’t suitable for your needs and ability. This quality is something that is very hard to find when it comes to people selling horses.

Before meeting avril, I found people would advertise their horse as something it was not, and they would try and sell you horses even when you could see just from looking at them they were never going to be suitable.

So after finding out more about Maddie we decided Maddie was the horse for us. WE told Avril that we wanted Maddie and arranged for her to be vetted. Avril gave us information on her bit size and type, size for head collar, bridle and rugs. We also arranged for the sale contracts to be emailed to us.

All through the whole process today, Avril spent time with us when we needed it, and left us with Maddie on our own when we needed that. We spent about two and a half there today and not once did Avril try and sell us a horse, she left all the decisions to us.

Our next visit

Today we went to MSC to see Maddie and try some rugs, bridle, and head collars on Maddie that we have bought. Everything except the bridle fitted perfectly.

It was really good seeing Maddie again today and she had perfect manners while everything was tried on her.

After we spent a bit of time with Maddie, we had a chat with Avril. Avril told us the farrier was coming out to Maddie this afternoon and we arranged for her to be vetted tomorrow.

Now we have to wait for the vet to call us tomorrow afternoon before we can make anymore plans.

Maddie arrives!

Maddie was due to arrive about 12 today, so we arranged to meet our instructor at 11 am so we could make her bad up and get water and haynet all set up before she arrived.

This was the first time we have ever done anything like this, so it took us longer, and our instructor was explaining why we needed to do everything. Even setting up the stable for the first time wasn’t as easy as other people make it look, and Maddie’s arrival time was perfect as she arrived just after we had finished.

When the transporter arrived, the lady who transported her and our instructor unloaded her. As Maddie was quite stressed when she arrived, we didn’t do anything with her straightaway. Our instructor just put her in her stable so that she could calm down and relax. We stayed by her stable door and let her get to know us for a while. As she got used to the stable, she started to relax. At this point we went across the other side of the yard to have tea and coffee. We left Maddie like this until our instructor was happy she was clam enough for us to bring her out of the stable.

As soon as she was ready, our instructor brought her out and showed us how to tie her up outside her stable. Even learning to tie Maddie up properly with a quick release is something neither of us has ever done before. Once she was tied up outside, our instructor picked her feet out to show us how to do it. Then she told us what brush to use and we both brushed her down.

Maddie did try walking forward a few times while we took it in turns to groom her, and each time we stopped and asked her to move back before we continued, which Maddie did without us asking much. Paul then brushed her tail, which even this we had to ask the correct way to do it. Our instructor was very good in showing and telling us what we needed to do.

By the time we done this, it had reached about 3pm and the other horses were going to be brought in shortly, so i put Maddie back in her stable. The first horse to come in was Bailey, a pony that we are going to turn Maddie out with. Maddie was introduced to Bailey over the stable door which was successful We then stepped back and let Maddie watch the other horses being brought in. Maddie got a bit stressed again as the other horses came in.

After all the horses were in and Maddie settled down again, we brought Maddie out of her stable again. This was the first time Paul was shown how to put the head collar on, then Paul lead Maddie out of the stable and our instructor showed him how to tie her up. I then put a rug on her with the help of my instructor. Even this is harder than it looks when you haven’t done it before. When we had finished, Paul put Maddie back in her stable.

We then made up a small feed for Maddie, still with instruction, but I now know how to do this. Before I took the feed to Maddie, my instructor had said don’t let her push me to get to the food. When I went in, Maddie try to push her way to her food, but I didn’t put it down for her until she stepped back and stayed where I asked her to. It took a couple of minutes to get what I was asking for, but I did get it.

Our instructor left while we cleared everything away, and then I went back into Maddie’s stable to get her feed bowl out to clean it out. It was really good being able to do this without our instructor there.

When we got home as we now had Maddie’s passport number, we set up her insurance policy and phoned Avril to let her know Maddie arrived safely, and that she was settling in fine.

The next day

Maddie's second day had a really good start. She was given her breakfast and then turned out with Bailey, a pony about 14 hands, and they got on fine straight away. Maddie and Baileystayed out together until about 2. 30pm when the both came in.

Our instructor got Maddie out of the field as this ws her first time out there, and then I led Maddie to outside her stable, tied her up, and groomed her. It was really good doing this on my own today.

After grooming her for about one hour, I put her in the stable to give her a break as she was getting a bit restless. At the moment it takes me a lot longer to groom as this is only second time I have done it., and Maddie had a rest while I had a cup of tea.

Afterwards we went and got Maddie's new bridle, we then brought Maddie out of her stable and tried it on. I then put Maddie's rug on all on my own and got it on right which I was really pleased about. I then gave Naddie her evening feed. She still tried to come and take it before I put it down, so I made Maddie step back before I put it down.

After Maddie ahd eaten I got her bowl out of her stable and cleaned it out and cleared everything else and put it away.

The day after

Today was Maddie's second full day with us. This morning Paul gave her breakfast and turned her out. This is the first time Paul has turned a horse out, and with another horse going out at the same time. Maddie was very well behaved.

This afternoon was a different story. I went to get Maddie in with my instructor, and the lady who owns the pony came to get him at the same time. Maddie decided she didn't want the head collar on or to come in, so the pony was taken in and me and our instructor did some work with Maddie for 15 to 20 minutes in the field before she would submit and come willingly.

Then Maddie was lunged by our instructor which I observed. Maddie didn't to walk to start off with, she just wanted to trot. But our instructor worked with Maddie until she got what she was asking for. It was really good to see how to work with Maddie to get what you are asking from her.

Once Maddie finished she was praised by my instructor and I was given the lunge lead to walk her back to her stable. Once Maddie was tied up outside her stable with her head collar on, I sponged her down with guidance from my instructor as I haven't done this before. I then groomed Maddie, and this time I picked her feet out. Thsi was the first time I have done this as our instructor has done it the last two days.

When I was doing the first foot, my instructor said I was too gentle, so she finished that foot to show me again. I then done the other three feet much easier. I will be practising this for a while before I am as quick as my instructor. After I finished Maddie was praised and then put in her stable to have dinner. Maddie is settling in well and her personality is starting to show.

Our fourth day with Maddie

Today Maddie was good this morning when I put her breakfast in. I onlyhad to ask her to go back twice before putting her bowl down. When Maddie had finished, I brought her out of her stable and tied her up outside and changed her rug for her turnout rug. I then turned Maddie out but left her head collar on today.

This afternoon when I got there and went to get Maddie in, I got her straightaway and lead her in and tied her up outside her stable. Then me and Paul groomed her ready for our saddler who came today to fit Maddie for a saddle.

We got everything done except the last bit of her tail and picking out her feet before the saddler arrived. So we stopped and agreed to finish after the saddler finished. While the saddler tried lots of different saddles on Maddie, our instructor held her lead rope.

It took a lot of saddles to find the perfect fit for Maddie, then came us trying the saddle. Our instructor got on Maddie first to make sure she was ok, as this is the first time she has been ridden since she arrived. She said she felt too forward on it, but she asked me to get on Maddie to see how I thought the saddle felt. I found it was tipping me forward, so I got off and the saddler changed the saddle for the same one in a bigger size.

Our instructor got on Maddie first and she found it a lot better. So she got off and I rode Maddie. This saddle was definitely a much better size for my bum! Then Paul rode Maddie and he said the saddle was right for him as well. Once we were all happy with the fit, I led Maddie to her stable and took her bridle off and put her head collar on and tied her up.

Once she was tied up, we finished her grooming and Paul put her bed down. I then put her stable rug on and put her in her stable. Paul then gave Maddie her dinner, and when she had finished, Paul went and got her bowl out of her stable.

Maddie was very good this afternoon, and stood for a long time while the saddler was fitting her with other horses being brought in and two dogs running around.

Riding Maddie todayt felt very good as this is only the second time we have rode Maddie and she is very responsive to aids, I now can't wait to be riding Maddie more.

Our fifth day with Maddie

maddie yawning

Today I done Maddie this morning completely on my own. First I fed her breadkfast, and then I brought her out of her stable and tied her up. While Maddie was tied up, I changed her rug for a turnout rug, and turned her out. I then mucked out her stable for the first time, filled her haynets and put fresh water in the stable. This took me about an hour and a quarter to do just Maddie's stable. Once I had finished I got her evening feed ready. It was really good doing it completely on my own with no help.

This afternoon I brought Maddie in from the field on my own, and then me and my instructor grooomed her ready to be lunged. Once she was groomed I put her lunge cavesson on. This was the first time I have put it on. I then watched my instructor lunge Maddie. When she finished lunging Maddie, I sponged her down and picked her feet out again.

Once she had cooled down a bit after being groomed, i put her cooler rug on her and then put her in her stable. My instructor told me not to feed her for bit as it's not good to eat just after she has worked.

It is going to be a while before I can lunge Maddie like our instructor, but we are doing really well with the day to day mucking out and grooming, and we are building a relationship with Maddie.

Our sixth day with Maddie

This morning our instructor gave Maddie her breakfast, turned her out and mucked Maddie's stable out as we were both on early turn.

We both went to the yard this afternooon. Paul put Maddie's bed down as we leave the stable floor to breath, and then Paul made up Maddie's feed with me jsut giving him guidance on quantities. We then got her groooming kit out ready for when we brought her in.

I then brought Maddie in from the field and took her rug off. Paul then done some in hand work with Maddie which went really well. After Paul finished, we both groomed Maddie, and I picked out her feet. We are definitely quicker at grooming and doing it better than we were a few days ago.

Once Maddie was groomed, I put her stable rug on and Paul put her in her stable. Paul then gave Maddie her dinner, and once she had eaten it, Paul went and got her feed bowl out of her stable.

The following days

This morning I gave Maddie her breakfast. When she finished, I changed her fug and turned her out. Then I mucked out her stable which still takes me about an hour, changed her water, and done her hay nets ready for this afternoon.

I got to the yard about an hour before it was time to bring the horses in, to put Maddie's bed down and get everything ready for bringing her in.

Once one of the horses were there, I brought Maddie in as the horse she goes out with doesn't like being left on his own.

I did the same in hand work with Maddie around the yard, and then I groomed Maddie and put her stable rug on, and gave her dinner. Once Maddie finished her dinner, I took her feed bowl out and cleaned it. I then cleared up my mess in the yard. I then spent about an hour poo picking her field.


I have been on a course for 5 days, and got back at lunchtime today, so my instructor has been looking after all Maddie's care since Monday. She has also been lunging her in the school and took her round the track which has jumps she has to walk past.

Maddie spooked quite a few times as she was being led past these objects. Paul went up to see Maddie twice this week.

I got back from my course at lunchtime today, so went straight to the yard to see Maddie. I brought her in and took her round the track to do some in hand work with her. Maddie wasmuch better than last time, but still unsure about some things.

After I finished, I picked her feet out outside her stable, then took her in her stable to groom her as it was raining. Maddie was very god while being groomed in her stable.

As the farrier had been booked for some of the other horses for today, i got him to look at Maddie's shoes and he said she didn't need doing yet and suggested I leave it for longer.

I then fed Maddie and groomed her in her stable again as she sweated up a bit seeing the farrier with the other horses, and when she was settled down again I put her stable rug on.


maddie riding

Maddie had a very quiet day today as all the liveries had to help move twenty tonnes of sand into the sand school using just spades and wheelbarrows. We spent lots of time grooming, and Maddie came into season today.


Paul fed Maddie this morning and then I changed her rug and put her head collar on, then Paul turned her out. We then spent about an hour and a half mucking her out and sorting out haynets, feed, putting away rugs etc.

After we finished, we both had an in hand lesson around the cross country course. Maddie was even better this time than she was a couple of days ago.

After we finished, we sorted Maddie out and turned her out again.

I went back to the yard this afternoon to bring Maddie in, then groomed her, put her stable rug on, and gave her dinner.


This morning I gave Maddie her breakfast and then changed her rug, and turned her out. I done her haynets and her next two feeds up. My instructor was meeting me at 9.30 this morning, and I finished at 8.45, so I had time to have a cup of tea before she arrived.

When my instructor arrived, she gave me a hand to carry Maddie's water as it is easier with two people. Then I went and got Maddie in. Today I was going to lunge Maddie for the first time. My instructor lunged Maddie for a couple of circles first to make sure she was ki as she is still in season. Then she asked Maddie to stand and I took over.

It took me a while to get the tone of my voice right for the different commands, but I think I have it now. I found it hard work lunging as I haven't done it before, and I now know why you change direction regularly.

Maddie was very good when I lunged her, and every time I ask for walk or trot I got it quite quickly. I even got canter which Maddie hasn't done on the lunge before.

After I finished working Maddie on both reins, my instructor opened the school gate for me, and I took Maddie back to her stable to sort her out and put her rug on. I then gave Maddie a treat for working so well. I then walked Maddie round the cross courntry course while another horse was ridden around it. I then turned Maddie back out.

This afternooon I took my auntie to meet Maddie as my auntie has had horses in the past, and gave us a lot of stuff to help us get started. As I was bringing in the pony that is turned out with Maddie for his owner this afternoon, I put Maddie's headcollar on her and my auntie lead her in for me and tied her up outside her stable while I put the pony in his stable.

Me and my auntie then grooomed Maddie. I then picked her feet out and my auntie sprayed her purple spray on her heels for me while I was holding them up.
I then rugged Maddie and put her in her stable, and then gave her dinner, and then tidied up.


This morning me, Paul, and our instructor went to do Maddie as I was on a time deadline as I have exams for work today. Paul fed Maddie, then I changed her rug and put her headcollar on, and Paul turned her out. Then my instructor mucked out while I cleaned the feed bowl and two water bowls, and made up her next feeds. Paul then done her haynets once he had turned her out. By doing it this way it meant I still got to go this morning rather than my instructor just doing Maddie. It was good for Paul to get there as well as he has been ill since sunday evening.

This afternoon me and Paul went to do Maddie. I put her bed back down in her stable first, then as the lady bringing in Bailey was in a hurry, I put Maddie's headcollar on and Paul brought her in. We then groomed Maddie, I picked her feet and brushed her mane and tail, and Paul brushed her body and legs. I then put her stable rug on and Paul put her in her stable. I then fed Maddie and we cleared up.


Today me and Paul went to the stable this morning. Paul gave Maddie her breakfast, and then I changed her rug and turned her out. We then mucked out her stable, done Maddie's haynets and water, and made up her next two feeds.

Where we are getting quicker we even had time for tea and coffee before my lesson.

Today's lesson was me riding Maddie, who was much agitated due to problems getting a girth to fit. My instructor helped me tack Maddie up, and Maddie stood very patiently while I was shown. I then walked Maddie to the mounting block and got on. I done about 45 minutes riding in the indoor school doing walk and rising trot. It took me between 5 and 10 minutes to get used to Maddie's strides, and get my positions and timing right.

The new saddle felt very different to what I have used before as well. As I found Maddie's strides, my position improved. I worked Maddie on large circles round the edge of the school, 20m circles, and figure of eight using the whole school. I worked Maddie on both reins like this.

After I finished my lesson in the school, I rode Maddie in walk and trot around the cross country course without doing the jumps. At one point when I asked Maddie to trot, she stepped up a gear into canter, and I slowed her back down as I didn't want canter.

Once I finished riding Maddie, me and Paul groomed her, and when she was ready, put her turnout rug on and turned her back out. This afternoon our instructor brought Maddie in and fed her for us as I was working.


This morning I went to the yard. The first think I did was give Maddie her breakfast, then when she had finished, I changed her rug and turned her out. Then I mucked out her stable, done her water, and made up her next two feeds.

This morning I was going to lunge Maddie for the second time, but as we were going to introduce trotting poles for the first time, we set two in the school on opposite sides before talking Maddie there, and my instructor lunged her for a couple of minutes first to get her used to them.

I then lunged Maddie in walk and trot over the poles. My instructor then made one of the poles into a small jump and she lunged her again. It took a couple of attempts to get Maddie to go over it, and then I lunged Maddie again using the small jump on one side of the school and one trotting pole on the other.

After we had finished working,Maddie, I lunged her in walk with no poles to cool her down, and then walked her back to her stable, where I gave Maddie a carrot as a reward for working we well. Maddie was then groomed and rugged and turned back out. My instructor done Maddie this afternoon as I was working.


Today me and Paul went to the yard this morning. Paul gave Maddie her breakfast, and then I changed her rug and put ther headcollar on, and Paul turned her out. I then mucked out her stable and Paul done the haynets, and then I made Maddie's feeds up.

Today Maddie isn't working as she has worked five days straight. This afternoon our instructor brought Maddie in and groomed her as we were working.


This morning I went to the yard to turn Maddie out and muck her out. Maddie is also having a day off again today. Once Maddie had breakfast and was turned out, I mucked out and made up the haynets and feeds. Our instructor brought Maddie in and groomed her today. I do miss doing this when I am working.


This morning I fed Maddie, changed her rug and turned her out. I then mucked out her stable. My instructor arrived before I finished, so she filled the haynets and we carried the water buckets together. Then I made up her next feed.

I then got Madie in and tacked her up with help from my instructor. My iinstructor was riding Maddie today, and I watched to learn. She took Maddie int he school and warmed her up, but Maddie kept getting distracted by something outside, so my instructor decided to ride her around the yard. She put Maddie through her paces to see what she could do. We found that Maddie works very well off the leg, and she can turn on a sixpence, my instructor said. I was grinning from ear to ear while watching what Maddie can do. My instructor is going to get me riding with longer stirrups over the winter, as it looks like Maddie would do well in a dressage class, so I now have two things to work towards; dressage and in hand, for hopefully end of next year or beginning of 2012.

When my instructor had finished riding, I took her bridle off, and tied her up outside her stable, and then took her saddle off. I then groomed Maddie,and when she was ready, I put her rug on and turned her back out. My instructor brought Maddie in this afternoon as we were working.

maddy funnyface