Sunday, April 30, 2006

April, 2006 (2)

Towards the end of April, the Welsh Cob pony goes home having not put a foot wrong and the New Forest pony goes home with a brand new saddle on order. The next two (ahem!) ponies then arrive, a 13.3 hh Welsh cross and then a 17.1h.h. Friesian cross, both for starting. Little Ollie is being led about and is waiting to have his "plums" removed next week. He is so happy to be around people now and I can even handle him when he is lying down. His owner came to see him last week and was very happy with the results so far.

Out on the Forest, the New forest mares are having their foals. The last couple of months have been so cold and wet that some of them are in a poor condition. They have not been this bad since Foot and Mouth year. I have been supplementing my own ponies' feed but they have now wandered off to Longcross and I think they have a man with them! One of the Woodgreen ponies has had a foal that we have called Whisker, he is Vigo's brother.

On the last day of April, I took Petra to a Hilary Vernon clinic to be bitted. Since giving up the Spirit bitless bridle, Petra has always worn a Myler but has not been as happy as I would have liked. Today Hilary tried her in a Myler Combination with quite dramatic results. I am looking forward to working her in this bit and seeing whether this is the answer we have been looking for. I also bought a selection of Mylers for the horses that come in for training. I really don't like working a horse in a in a single jointed or French link snaffle, these mouthpieces pinch and can cause enormous discomfort to a horse.

Monday, April 10, 2006

April, 2006 (1)

What a splendid start to the month. The sun has come out, the grass is growing and plenty of work to do. I started working with the Welsh Cob pony at the weekend and she is a star. I rode her over the obstacle course on the third day that she was here and she didn't bat an eyelid. In the meantime Patty and I went out to two loaders and got them loading one after the other very easily. The one that had been a particualr problem is much more relaxed now and will walk on with the partition in the fixed position and no longer backs out. These two were followed by a visit to 13 tiny Shetland ponies. One of them was being incredibly difficult whenever his mouth had to be handled and almost impossible to worm. I sat down on an upturned bucket to work with him and he really seemed to appreciate that! In a relatively short time I was able to stick my fingers into his mouth and rub his gums and teeth and then to stick a wormer syringe into his mouth and let him mouth it like a bit. I'm sure it's not pleasant for horses to have foreign objects stuck in their mouths but at least if he is used to his mouth being handled, worming and bitting won't be the horrible shock that they can be to some horses. His owner is going to be putting nice things on the syringe for him to lick at and then fill it up with sweet apple sauce to practice with.
The day after this we met a super New forest pony who is a dream to ride, loves endurance, sweet to handle but just won't go anywhere on her own, ever. I did manage to ask her to go out along a track with some protests but it will take a lot of consistency and persistency to persuade her that this is a normal thing to do. I am hoping that long-reining her will help to build up her confidence and help her to accept that she can go out alone.
I went to see Mary Wanless at Quob on 5th April. She was on very good form and had us all feeling our seat bones. I was relieved to be able to find mine.
I taught Horace something new this week, to stay with me when I fall off. I managed to lose a lot of skin off my fingers but at least he didn't go home alone. I then long-reined another pony in the long rain and got very very wet. What a day.... I quite enjoyed it really and am always pleased to find that I am still alive when I'm lying on the floor.
Just before Easter I have my busiest week to date - with a mobile customer every morning and then four horses plus my own to work with in the afternoons and evenings. For example, Monday I spent an hour with the Ollie, then went to do groundwork with two horses and two sisters, came back to the yard to practise load Bobbin and Petra, rode the Welsh Cob pony out on her own for the first time, took the Hackney pony and the New Forest pony out for a confidence building walk, loaded a non-loader who came in at 4 p.m. and the worked with the Ollie for another hour. I finished my horse reports at 9 p.m. and went to bed at 10 p.m. Tuesday, I backed a 17.1 Friesian cross out at the other side of Salisbury, rode the Welsh Cob pony out with Patty on Bobbin, did groundwork and the obstacle course and some mounting work with the Hackney and the New Forest pony (all in the pouring rain) and then worked with Ollie in the barn for an hour. This is to say nothing of the poo-picking and hay carrying that goes on during the intervals.
Sadly, Patty and I decided to go our seperate ways at Easter and Bobbin has moved back to Burley.
On Easter Monday I took great delight in riding past the same set of picnickers on three different horses. As I use the same green endurance bridle for each horse, I did wonder whether they thought I was riding a chameleon. Both the New Forest pony and the Welsh Cob are riding out well on their own and I took them to see the pigs up at the farm by the pub. Joy of joys, I put Ollie's headcollar on for the first time on Tuesday. That's the longest it has ever taken me to put a headcollar on a so-called untouched pony, but this poor little mite had had an awful time going through various auctions before he was bought by his present owner. When I first went into his stable with a headcollar just in my hand, he started to climb the walls, eight days later and he lets me rest it on his neck, back and bottom and then has it on. He looks even more beautiful in a green and black headcollar. Next step, leading ...