It's hard working with ponies on your own, day after day, especially after a winter like we have had when the ground may be covered in mud.
1. DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE WHOLE PICTURE. If you think that you might have bitten off more than you can chew, if your pony problems look like a pile of spaghetti, then just grab an end and gently pull.
2. WORK WITH FORESIGHT NOT HINDSIGHT. Assess the risks of what you are about to do - without panicking - and then...
3. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. Work out the best way to use and set up your facilities so that you can be efficient between ponies but never efficient with them (they don't like it).If that means building a corral, negotiate with your field or yard owner.
4. PUT A FEW SYSTEMS IN PLACE. Get your ponies into habits and predictable but flexible routines which make life easier - if you need to use a bucket with a few pony nuts in it to get them in the right place, then do that.
5. CREATE A TRAINING PLAN. If you have more than one horse to work with and they all have equal priority then create a rolling rota so that each pony takes it's turn at the top of the list before dropping down the running order again. Then, if you only have time to work with one pony, you can work with the one that is the most important that day but if you have more time you can do a bit more with the next one on the list.
6. BE A BIT MATTER OF FACT. Leave your emotions at the gate and just quietly work with your pony.
7. THINK FROM THE INSIDE OF YOUR PONY. How does he see the world? What does he need from you?
8. DO EVERYTHING WITH LOVE. This will help you to be gentle and subtle.
9. DON'T WORRY ABOUT MAKING MISTAKES. Keep your thinking head on but if you make a mistake just put it right and carry on as if nothing has happened. In time your pony will learn to tolerate mistakes.