Like most people who own horses and think about what they are doing, you have to wonder whether you are a) travelling and b) going in the right direction. Thankfully the horses and people I work with indicate to me that I am doing both. Are you doing the same with your horse? It's always possible to get off at the next slip road or do a U turn, put the brakes on, mirror, signal, manoeuvre.
Sandra, Julie and I have been putting our heads together about what might lie at the root of some of the behaviour we have encountered with Honey. Although she has the world's most well fitting saddle, she is still very quick to complain if she feels or anticipates feeling anything that she doesn't like. In particular she doesn't like the girth being done up and will threaten to bite no matter how gently or incrementally you do it. A note has been kept of her seasons to see if there is an correlation and at the back of our minds is the possibility of gastric ulcers. Before today's session, which is still very low key, Honey had been given two doses of Bute at intervals. This is a good way of finding out if a horse's behaviour improves under the influence of pain-killers. Although we didn't get a definitive answer (she still pulled a face when the girth was done up) she did feel generally more comfortable. The next step will be to ask the vet to undertake a gastroscopy.
Without pushing her, we still achieved a little progress today, coming off the lead rein for the first time.
Meanwhile Sandra is working on keeping her elbows bent when she rides. It's a common fault in riders to straighten their arms in an effort to be generous with the reins (I do it too!). Try this experiment. How much can your arms ebb and flow with the reins if you have a fixed straight arm? And how much if you have a bend in the elbows? You should find that there is very limited movement from the first and much more give from the second enabling the rider to flow with the movement of the horse.
This afternoon it was Kesali's turn to work. Jackie wanted to take him out long reining around the lanes, and on the open forest where he sometimes gets a bit lively.
We seem to have acquired a few hangers on.
His friend Copper wondered whether he had got a day off...
...and the chickens made the most of a yoghurt drink.
Back at Fritham Jasper, who came in a bit slim in the early spring, is now looking glorious. It does make you wonder whether it would be better for domesticated horses to ebb and flow a bit more with their weight. Perhaps we could avoid metabolic conditions such as laminitis and equine metabolic syndrome.
Across the road, riders Becca and Becky were enjoying Janesmoor Pond...
...while the Forest ponies contemplated stealing their horses' clothes.