Monday, January 30, 2006
Bah humbug! 2006 has started off quite gloomily. One of the New Forest ponies went home, I got a bill for denting someone's car and all my birthday cards were delayed in the post. Still, the New Forest pony had made tremendous progress and proved to be a wonderful riding pony so I had had a lot of fun over Christmas riding a straight forward pony for once. Connie the dog also came to stay so she came out riding with us. Having worked all over Christmas the first week of January has been quiet to make up for it. There's a new pony coming in at the weekend so it's full full steam ahead from then on. This one (a New Forest pony as usual) has been started already and will eventually be driven. However there has been a slight mishap on the way and my job is to overcome that and to get her fitter. All sorts of things to look forward to......... the Open Day for the Moorland-Mousie Trust where me and John Jones RA are hoping to hold a demonstration on how to handle the wild pony. In June I shall be doing my first talk for the Wessex Classical Riding Club on the Moorland Mousie Ponies. What with that and my party (for no particular reason) at the end of March, I have quite a bit to get on with. In the meantime I am making preparations for my two New Forest mares to go out on the Forest in April. Unfortunately they will have to be rebranded as this essential for them to be identified by the Agisters. I shall have it done while they are under sedation for having their teeth done. Hopefully that will make it much easier for them and the vet is going to give me some Bute to reduce the pain. My local Agister thinks I am mad to care so much and my vet thinks I am mad for having it done. If only we knew which microchip is likely to be adopted under the compulsory scheme I would have that done at the same time. In the future I hope they will invent a microchip reader which the Agisters can use to identify a pony from a distance. Until then, I have no choice if I want to turn my ponies out. The girls are also going to have a 5 day course of Panacur Equine Guard in advance of their liberation as Ivermectin is banned once they are on the Forest (harmful to invertebrates).
11th January, 2006 - an appalling day. I went out to work with a pony the other side of Southampton to find her owner waiting for the vet to come out to her seven month old foal. This lovely New Forest filly had been attacked by someone in her field and injured so badly that she had to be put down. Why would anyone do that to her? (Postscript: the vets eventually concluded that this injury was caused by the rope electric fence wire).
Next day: I never thought I'd get so much pleasure from waving a flag at a pony. The second starter that came in before Christmas is so afraid of seeing things out of his right eye that he whooshes forward and sticks his head in the air. Although I have ridden him, it has been impossible to even scratch my nose with my right hand without him being terribly offended. Today I was able to hold a flag above his back while he was loose and wave it from left to right without him disappearing. (Later in the month I started to ride him again and apart from the odd little whoosh of about two strides he was much much better. I used clicker training to help de-sensitize this pony and it had a great effect on him. He became a little more nibbly but I could move my arms about like windmills when I was riding and he was fine. It should also be noted that this pony had a couple of treatments from a physiotherapist and one with the osteopath while he was with me.)
An equine osteopath came out to see a selection of the horses at the fields. This guy also practices acupuncture and kinesiology. Each horse needed something entirely different and it was interesting to see what a wide range of techniques are available for dealing with different physical issues. Petra had her poll adjusted and some massage whereas one of the starting ponies had muscle testing which revealed a fungal infection. The same evening I went to listen to him talk on natural medicine for horses and this was followed by a massage clinic the next day. Petra really enjoyed the massage clinic because she got massaged by about 12 different people. Horses are great levellers though as she refused to load at the end of the demo and it took a little while to get her to go in. It's great to be at an event where everyone doesn't dive for their big brooms and lunging whips. Guess who will be having a bit of practice before we go anywhere again!
I've got a mention in Your Horse magazine this month - Page 90, Letters, Problem Solver.
I attended a meeting of the Wessex Classical Riding Group where Richard James recounted the journey of the Trafalgar Dispatch which was re-enacted last summer as part of the Trafalgar Celebrations. It took two years of planning and training to prepare four young Gelderlanders to pull a post-chaise along the route of the original dispatches - some 266 miles. The story was facinating and Richard's warmth and obvious love for his horses and for carriage driving had us all enthralled.
Had a lovely day off when I went to see Rowan in his new home near Lymington. He has fallen on his feet and is very well loved. I went up to catch part of The Handling the Untouched Horse Course (Intelligent Horsemanship). It was good to see Patty working with such confidence with untouched youngsters much bigger than the ones we tend to have here.