Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
I have been asked to write a protocol for the ponies that are going to be used at a new charity in Devon where the aim is to match the needs of the ponies and those of the people who will be involved with them. It would be easy to think well, these are Dartmoor Hill ponies, as long as we've saved them from being shot or sent for meat, we've done our bit, they'll be okay. When using ponies it's important that we aren't just using ponies - they should have rights too.
Most 'pony constitutions' consist of a list of requirements which fulfill their basic physical needs although some talk about turn out and the company of other horses. It's hard to specify just how you protect a pony from being 'peopled out'! It's a bit like working for the courts where the Government concentrated on counting how many chairs were available in the waiting room rather than the quality of justice meted out. My idea of what ponies should put up with is a lot different from other people's and probably yours. For example, I don't think people should run and shout around horses but that's probably because I don't like people running and shouting around me. However, it is also based on experience - with horses, energy in equals energy out and why would you want to wind a horse up? If people are shouting or speaking very quickly, how does a horse get his 'voice' heard?
Thursday, May 19, 2011
New recruit Jan did a fine job of screaming at the Animal Rescue Team practical exercise this afternoon where fire officers from as far afield as Northern Ireland and Belgium were practising their skills. Save for the fact that 'Randy' lost his ears and had his headcollar put on upside down to begin with, the rescue went pretty well. I won't mention the fact that I managed to delete all of the photos and had to use a Rescue Program myself in order to get them back.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
It's been three weeks since Nettles was trained to wear a headcollar for the first time and he hasn't had one on since. Today he readily accepted the headcollar again and began his leading and leg handling training. By the end of the sessions with Nicki, Nick and Alison, he was happily being touched everywhere including on his left hand side where he had been a bit wary before. He is by Limekiln Endeavour and has a lovely temperament, just like his sire.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Peechay is also doing really well. He's pretty confident around people which means that I am already having to use body language to ask him not to mutually groom me, gallop up to me and turn his bottom on me - all perfectly natural behaviour but not acceptable. Of course, Blue and Nell are fantastically tolerant and he is enjoying clambering all over them. Once the stallions are off the Forest, he can go out again and play with lots of other foals.
Nelly's best friend, Brandy, who does not belong to me, has had her foal - a beautiful colt. You may recall that Brandy turned up with Nelly in the winter just over two years ago. At that time her brand was not visible and it was only last year that I spotted it and was able to contact her owners. When she came in she was very very poor having moved away from the place were she was turned out so that her owners hadn't been able to find her. She's looking so well now and her foal is a big and strong.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Another poor pony hit by a car at some time overnight / early morning on the B3078 at Telegraph Hill just yards beyond the sign that says, "Ponies on the Road Day and Night". This two year old filly had a front leg and a back leg broken. Slow down or go round the Forest.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Today we working on tying up with this beautifully marked filly. The key is to ask her to step forward into a pressure instead of going with her natural opposition reflex. This sort of training always needs to start with the lead rein threaded through the tie up ring to a human hand rather than tying her up to something she can fight. The lead rein is clipped on to the normal halter ring rather than the training rings of the Dually.