Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I will be running a two day halter training course on 15th July and 5th August, 2011 (both are Fridays) at a yard near the Woolpack Inn just outside Arlesford. We have three Forest Bred youngsters to work with. All are friendly but the two youngest have never had headcollars on and need to be taught to lead and have their feet handled too. The oldest one needs to continue with his education which stopped two years ago. £100 per place for the two days. Contact me for details.
Unfortunately Jenny got bucked off a pony yesterday. She would have sat the first couple and stayed on board if her safety strap (specifically marketed as a safety strap) hadn't broken immediately putting her off balance and upsetting the pony even more. I have ordered an RSTor this evening to see whether they are any better but safety straps should be safe.
Onca is a smashing polo pony originally imported from Brazil. It appears that she was very badly treated there and her new owner suspects that she may have been hobbled. In any event, she is extremely wary of people and kicks out violently when her back legs are touched. Not only that, but she has a double reaction in that once she has kicked out, she expects to be hit so she reacts all over again by tucking her bottom right underneath herself and moving forwards or backwards. It is compulsory in polo competition for all four legs to be bandaged so not only is this behaviour dangerous, it is proving to be inconvenient. After her last match, she wouldn't allow anyone to take the bandages off and it was only yesterday that they managed to remove them.
Today we started work on what could be a long process of desensitising her legs. For safety I used the feather duster so that I didn't have to have my body close to her if she wanted to kick and so that the feather duster could stay in place if she did. I further enhanced the training with clicker and for the first time she started to really engage in the process rather than just waiting to see what happened. It was amusing to see her saying, come on, let's have another go but also very sad to imagine how she had come to be this worried in the first place. She has lovely owners and a nice groom who took over from me and proved to be very good. I really hope we can make a difference to the way she feels.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Early start yesterday catching up on e-mails and then starting work on the Listening Post. Then it was off to meet Nick en route to my appointment with Anna. I first met Anna last year when she needed her feet trimming really badly. 11 years old and untouched, she responded very well to the No Fear, No Force technique. Unfortunately the plans I made for her continuing care didn't work out and her feet had been neglected again. It was pleasing then that she had forgotten nothing of her training and within an hour she was happily wearing a pink headcollar and had her feet trimmed. She was anxious to show me where all the flies were so that I could help to swat them! Her owners have committed to a fixed plan of six weekly visits from me and the farrier so that this situation should not arise again.
I checked up on my horses before going back home then for more Listening Post before heading off to see Beau and Champ. Champ was ridden off the lead rein in the field for the first time and Beau had the opportunity to try on potential saddles. Back home once more to write up my appointments and to fix some more and then start on the Listening Post again. Silent Witness at 9 p.m. and then bed!!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
After a hot chocolate like the one I had at Cocoa Mountain in Durness I am going to need a weight carrying horse! I quite fancied the one we found at Bettyhill who surely must have one of the best views in the world. The puffins at the Stack of Duncansby just beyond John O'Groats were just cute.
Home then by the direct route and looking forward to seeing my own horses and finding Peechay out on the Forest.
Next it was off to meet Annie near Ben Nevis to meet her lovely Highland Pony Archie - no photos of him as I am saving them for the Listening Post. However she took us to see her friend's Highland ponies and her friend's friend's Highland ponies too! First stop was Ruaridh at Newtonmore Riding Centre/ Ormiston Stud to meet his new foal Paolo. A sturdy soul and handsome too.
The Isle of Skye was truly beautiful and was followed by a trip to see the seals at Plockton. (Calum Seal Trips - Facebook page!)
I think David may have got bored looking at horses. He started to play 101 things you can do with Sarah's neck rest. Other highlights of the tour were the little donkey being kissed and cow-licked over the wall. Then the most amazing coloured horse I have ever seen!
We had a few hairy encounters - first of all with a couple of Cairn terriers at the B and B in Dunoon and then meeting a herd of Highland cattle on a mission next to Loch Awe. I have today found out that they are the Cladich Fold of Highland Cattle. In the middle of the photo is Sheila Beg, a three year old heifer and with her is Aonghas (the bull!). On the left of the picture is a four year old cow, Gheilder Ruadh 17th. They knew just exactly how long their horns are and didn't poke me in the ribs as they went by. (Isn't the internet amazing for being able to contact people and apparently cows? I got sent a moo this morning!)
Back from Scotland, 2,800 miles on the clock and some fabulous memories. We started off by calling in on Sue Whitmore, in Northamptonshire and meeting her lovely Lusitanos. Her stallion Uranio is a sweety. Next off to Silverstone to see the practice day for the MotoGP - great to see all my heroes, Vali, Simoncelli, Lorenzo and Stoner. Thre's something about the way they ride their bikes as if they are part of their own body just like good horse riders (but a slightly different style and somewhat quicker!)
In the Lake District we found a herd of horses (I doubt they were lost) at the top of a hill. Then some very friendly Shires on the way to Selkirk.
This gorgeous dog was on guard at a garage in Beattock where we had to have the alternator belt tightened (a complicated procedure). By the time we left she was great friends.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Auntie Joan and the Rottweilers, that well known 70's pop group, will be in residence for the next two weeks while David and I go on holiday. We're off to Scotland in an MG convertible - so it is bound to rain. We're going to see Sue and her Lusitanos en route and Annie and Archie, her Highland pony. We are also taking in the MotoGP practice day at Silverstone. Hopefully when I get back I won't sound quite so eccentric.
p.s. If anyone knows what that light means.......I'd love to know!
It's always a joy to go out for a walk with Jack and with the prospect of two weeks off, I took him out on the Forest this afternoon. We met a lady with three dogs and she didn't bat an eyelid at seeing a loose horse wandering along with his walker - I wonder if she realised that this isn't normal.
I have sold my horse trailer and ordered a stock trailer from Ifor Williams. As well as the standard stock trailer fittings it has horse partitions and a rubber floor so will be perfect for all sort of set ups - travelling loose and travelling tied. It will mean that I can get Jack out to a proper cross country course and show jumps for fun. It also means I'll be able to work with remedial loaders and poor travellers with lots of options. I'll need CCTV and to take my commercial transportation test.
While son Memphis sleeps, Quarter Horse stallion, Herbie and I went out for a walk to extend his comfort zone and to meet some traffic. You wouldn't know that Herbie is entire as he is really laid back most of the time. Today he seemed to enjoy being out and about and asked to go further down the lane.
Lucy has made so much progress - it was down to work within ten minutes today and introducing her to new and novel things. Most horses seem to be either frightened of things that approach them or things that they are asked to approach - rarely both. Whilst Lucy was worried about being touched with the feather duster she was keen to follow the umbrella and walked over the tarpaulin with a very short while of going up to it. I wonder how much of this is a concern about what people intend to do when they walk up to her - just as with the semi-feral foals, we used the feather duster to 'seduce' her and she was soon asking for more.
Theoden appears to be fully recovered following his dental surgery on Tuesday. He finishes his course of Bute tomorrow morning. He really isn's as wide as he appears in the top photo. Nelly and Blue are pretty wide but they are going back out on the Forest with Peeechay on Sunday night after High Jack goes home. Hopefully they will spend the rest of the summer and Autumn out before being supported through the winter. Nelly and Peechay appeared in the Hampshire Society magazine this month.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
High-Jack is enjoying his last week out with some young fans. Throughout his time out he hasn't spent much time with mares with foals and instead has enjoyed the company of young fillies. I've watched him turn down their advances and I do wonder if there is some natural safeguard against fillies getting pregnant too young or whether he simply prefers to do things in the dark!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Up early this morning to take Theoden to the vets so that he could have a fragmented piece of tooth root removed. This goes back to when he had his wolf teeth removed a few years ago before I bought him. Fortunately he has not been ridden with a bit very much and I have been riding him in a Dually ever since I found out about it. He seems to be going really well so I may continue bit-less, perhaps with a bosal for the time being.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Yesterday it was the 10 mile sponsored ride run by the New Forest Hounds with 1/3rd of the proceeds going to the Hampshire FRS Animal Rescue Team. Friends Kathryn Waller and Jenny Crouch took part with Jenny raising the most sponsorship money (in excess of £300). I took loads of photos which are all now on the Friends of the Hampshire Animal Rescue Team Facebook page.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Rosie said that I could touch her with the feather duster and she would chase the plastic bags on a stick but there was no way on this Earth that she was going any nearer to the chickens. A couple of years ago she was spooked by chickens in a run and in her fear got impaled on a stick and required veterinary treatment. This created a link that we might not understand but made perfect sense to her. When the owners of her yard decided to get some free range chickens, she was absolutely terrified. Today we used a couple of them to help us with the start of incremental desensitisation. They seemed to be very happy to be trundled about in the wheelbarrow and murmured away to themselves. We ended the session with Rosie confidently 'chasing' them.
E-mail received 29th June: "Cchicken training going well. Now able to put them on the floor in their cage and she will graze next to the cage. We have seen a definate improvement." LF