Today's theme, carrying on from yesterday, was to make sure the horses Know (they're) Not In Trouble. Our first visit was a revisit to Iona and Honey for another starting session.
Iona has not always been treated very well and can be very watchful. She has a tendency to walk off as soon as the reins are picked up and I wanted to reassure her that she didn't need to do that.
I spent time moving around her with the reins just dropped on the floor, giving her a lovely rub on the bottom or on the neck.
As a result when we did eventually set off she was really relaxed...
...and even came up with a new pace, a wot, something exactly between a walk and a trot, when asked for a transition. It's lovely to work with a horse that is so tuned in.
Sandra on board again, this time with stirrups, and going in large circles.
Honey is a couple of stages behind Iona, still waiting for her saddle.
She was long reined too...
...and Julie did some work on asking her to accept a leg across her and up her side too.
This afternoon's horse was quite complicated. This lemon and white Welsh Cob cross Connemara has gradually become more and more difficult for her owner to catch. Galling for her when other people, with a lesser agenda, are able to catch her.
I was able to approach and catch her fairly quickly and I began to use a clickered reward system straight away in order to make the most of the opportunity.
In just a little while she had cottoned on to how this worked and was asking me to catch her.
I then worked with her owner, talking about and demonstrating soft body language and appropriate rewards, and we seemed to be doing quite well; patting was absolutely banned! Sadly the little horse flicked a switch a little while after this and went back to her well rehearsed patterns. I can only hope that the little bit of work that we did manage will be the start of something more positive.
It has been suggested to the owner that she try Join Up with this horse but I am pretty convinced that is not appropriate in this case; this mare can take four hours to catch, clearly demonstrating that she can see no earthly use for a human being, and has the stamina to keep going and going.
It's the first time I have ever walked into a horse feed shop and asked for the skeleton in the cupboard and a bag of grass nuts, please. Fortunately Georgie knew what I was talking about since Holly has dropped off my bag of spares the day before. I have to think of a pleasant name for this pony who will be providing the missing bits for Honour's skeleton.