Wednesday, November 16, 2016

16th November, 2016 Living on Sandwiches

Sammy went out for a shorter walk sandwiched between two sessions of groundwork aimed primarily at getting him a bit more responsive. Whether because of a strong into pressure instinct or because it has been a useful strategy, Sammy can be an immovable object forward or backwards. Having made some more progress, I practiced it on the walk, and then checked it again at home. Let's hope it overrides his default position.
"What a huge difference in Sammy today.  When I turned up at the field him and Ollie were racing around acting real fools and perhaps today wasn't a day for the tack.  Instead I put his dually on and set off to meet Caroline  for a two hours walk around the forest.  
Apart from two small blips - one when a very vocal cow decided to follow us and when another horse over took us (both understandable)  he was so much more aware of me - I came back without aching arms and without pushing me around." YS

A glimpse of Zebdi passport shows that he is the grandson of Oberon, a Skewbald Sports Horse from Dutch lines, that was owned by the Queen. No wonder he was expected to be such a high flyer. His groundwork session today, which proved that he can be as quiet as a New Forest pony when led, was sandwiched around a visit from the vet. Alan (Hough) from Celtic Vets had actually come to visit another horse but agreed to make friends with Zebdi while he was waiting. It's good to see that Zebdi is not frightened of vets per se. 

Once again the groundwork concentrated on asking him to walk immediately next to his owner's shoulder and to walk when she walked and to stop when we stopped. I find it very hard to fathom out the benefits of leading a horse from its shoulder when all that does is put the horse ahead of you and already a metre into it's getaway plan if it has one. If the horse needs to be slowed down then the inevitable consequence is that it will curl around you and become crooked - look how many crooked horses you see in an in-hand class where the only benefit of having the handler at the horse's shoulder seems to be to hide the handler from the view of the judge. Once a horse starts to circle around you when pulled, they learn not only to take a constant pull, but to move you with their left shoulder. It's madness.