Tuesday, January 31, 2017

31st January, 2017 A Ribbon of Tarmac

This beautiful picture, taken by my friend Russell Sach, is a poignant reminder of how vulnerable the ponies are on the Forest. Drivers seem to think that the provision of a ribbon of tarmac across common land gives them the right to drive without any regard for the ponies.

Last week the Verderers were happy to report that there were no casualties for that week...well, this week we have a head start with two fatally injured by the same driver.

Three days later, and just 400 yards along from where these two were killed, there was another one...I make no apologies for these pictures, it's the shock factor that at least gets some publicity. Lots of people say it is 'the locals' that drive too fast. Statistically then they are more likely to hit a pony, but it is the commuters from the edge of the Forest that seem to think that their business is more important that that of the Commoners.

Three days after that...and it goes on. This one was hit from behind and both back legs broken...

..the driver, who could well have been badly hurt, abandoned their car, and did not inform anyone about the collision.

Monday, January 30, 2017

30th January, 2017 Buffalo Soldier

Another short journey to Claire's this morning to work with her spotted pony, Barney, here seen under the protection of his friend, Arnie. Since my first visit two weeks ago, Claire has been concentrating on increasing his confidence so that by the time we arrived this morning he is now happy about being in the bigger barn, being asked to move away on a single line, and going out and about.

Today we worked on long reining him and being particularly cautious about the reins going over his back. As a result we had very little worry and he did very well.

I hadn't met the Shire horses before. This one was wearing her breakfast...

...and it's always nice to see the Percherons.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

28th January, 2017 One of Us is A Bit of a Donut

Dottie appeared to be saying, "Is he with you?" as she glanced at me this morning. We were planning a new route as we are building up her map of the area, and assessing her general confidence levels.

As usual, we always do a little training in the yard before we go out, making sure that everyone's adrenalin is nice and low, and that Dottie is listening to Vanessa.

For now, and pending the arrival of a Micklem bridle, we are using a loosely fitted drop noseband so that if Dottie really opens her mouth in order to resist the bit, then she can be asked not to.

As we were going along the side of an A road, it seemed prudent to lead Dottie first to see how she reacted to the volume and nature of the traffic. She was absolutely fine with all of it even though none of it seems to slow down all that much.

She wasn't quite so keen on stepping through the puddles on the byway. Horses have very poor depth perception and are always more worried about stepping into water where they can't see the bottom.

With all appearing to be well, we found a useful mound for Vanessa to get on board.

Again, just to be on the safe side, Dottie remained on the lead rein albeit loose. Basically David's role was to be an anchor.

Back out on the main road again...traffic still refusing to slow down even though we were all wearing hi-vis.

Waiting to cross the road just before home, and Dottie is still foot perfect.

This is our Donut of the day. His owner had painted quite a vivid picture of the problems she has been facing with him since he moved to his new yard, with his friend, Baby. Since moving he has been separated from her and introduced to a small group of geldings which has affected his equilibrium.

Whilst groundwork cannot affect his behaviour when loose in the field, which can be a matter of herd politics coupled with the field set up of the field, it can help to settle a horse overall. Bottlenecks by gates, where one horse can intimidate another, or one can cling to another, making it difficult to negotiate the gate, can be improved immensely by the addition of an 'airlock' area.

Donut seemed to enjoy having a job to do and worked well despite Baby repeatedly calling to him over the fence. His groundwork is pretty good and just needed a bit of fine tuning.

Baby is certainly a Babe with her Maybelline hair. She's a New Forest cross Welsh Section D.

At last I get to see my baby too and although he only appears to have one ear he is looking really well. Give it another two months and I should be able to ride him again as his sick leave comes to an end.

I get to see him trot up by making poor David run across the field with the wheelbarrow.

Three calves and one cow outside the fields all crèche-ing out in the sun...

...close to my tarmac coloured pony. Blue is looking really well.

Her friend, Blue, wasn't sure he wanted to share his hay with the cows but those are very long horns.

After a day with horses David still wanted to say hello to the elderly neighbours.

Friday, January 27, 2017

27th January, 2017 Me Mollie, She Jane

I am Mollie, I have a very long posh name but no one uses that. I am a beautiful ( so they tell me ) black Shetland filly. I was born and live at The Hermitage on The Isle of Wight.

I arrived in my Mum's tummy. Nobody knew I was there, my mum and I had a secret for almost a year. When 'my human' bought my Mum nobody knew about her little escaping episode some months previous. Though when all was revealed we do know that my Dad is a super pony so my Mum chose well.

I was born on the lawn on 28th February 2013, my Mum did a grand job of looking after me and I was up on my feet in no time so that I could copy her and walk beside her. Then they took us to our stable which was lovely and cosy and warm.

I had many admirers from the hotel and loved the attention but there was one person who always came to look after us, she is my human Mum. When I was a few weeks old  she noticed that I wasn't very well. I had lots and lots of visits from our lovely vet but they did do so many tests which I wasn't very keen about. They just couldn't get ny tummy right, I baffled them because in each day I would be a lively little foal full of fun and then a very poorly foal with tummy ache. My human Mum gave me endless medicines, sometimes 8 times a day but one night she talked to the vet and it was decided that I had to go to the horsey hospital.

My human Mum's husband drove me and my two Mums very carefully to the hospital and they looked after me for two weeks, I was diagnosed to be lactose intolerant so that was the end of the lovely milk that my Mum gave me.

During my first 6 months I had had a lot of attention and thought that everyone should be my entertainment committee.  And I had so many things 'done' to me in order to make me better that I did feel the need to be ready to look after myself.  

I started to rear when being led,  rushed off in another direction, or just refused to move and I didn't like anyone picking up my feet. I positively disliked any type of injection. I was only little but I was very strong and very quick.

Luckily my human Mum had found this wonderful lady who was willing to come and visit us and help us. This lady has helped us with so many parts of my education, she is very kind and has taught my human Mum so much about the  way to understand ponies and why they do the things we do. We had lessons on ground work, leading with a smile in the rope, touch and move away to introduce any new objects. It has been made fun because I have learnt to do loads of agility things.

Then there was the day they taught me 'Clicker', well it is so easy to learn, one click means I am doing well and three clicks mean I have done very well and always means I get a treat. I never get  a treat without this clicking noise but that's OK.

Once they taught me clicker I was able to accept the feet thing. I pick my feet up nicely now and have them picked out each day, I still get a click for each foot and a treble click and treat at the end so I am happy. On the days my vet trims my feet I do still get a lot of clicks and treats but I was foot perfect last time for all four feet.

I am nearly 4 yrs old now. I have matured and grown a lot, I am very loving with a little mischievious sparkle in my eye. I have a strong character and am always willing to do new things and  I love jumping. I am best when I am busy and having to concentrate otherwise I am inclined to think up my own ideas. I know that I still have many things to learn, long reining is the lastest idea.

 My Mum is called Carmaco Mairi, she is the kindest Mum you could ever want and teaches me things all the time. My Dad is Annwood Valdor but I have only seen pictures of him, he looks handsome.

My human Mum's Husband is called David and I fully recommend him as a chauffeur of pony transport. My Human Mum is Jane who loves me so very much and I think we work together well now.

My lovely IOW vets are Kate and Tim who look after me brilliantly. The horsey hospital is Liphook Equine Hospital, they take amazing care of you.

Above all the wonderful lady that helped us so much is Sarah Weston. Without Sarah I think I would have been a bit of a nightmare. The journey that we have been on has been made possible with Sarah's help and advice,  Sarah is a great teacher and her book No Fear No Force is  a definite read for anyone working with equines.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

26th January, 2017 News and Views

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the flowers; this is Flower the cow.

1) I will be able to take a few clients from February 7th providing you are happy for my assistant Tracey to do the hands-on work. I hope to be fully functioning from March 7th.

2) Last night my blog had over 500 views - 499 of which were not me! I know a lot of you already as clients and friends but wondered if you are a regular visitor whether you would like to say hi, by email or on Facebook. I'd also welcome guest blogs from people who have horses, have perhaps used my book, or done a bit of training with me, or have something interesting to say about horses. Photos always well received too. My email address is: sarah@logicalhorsemanship.co.uk  If you've just popped in because I wrote something vaguely smutty in order to grab attention, then please don't feel you have to!


p.s. The book is coming along well with over 60,000 words written. I was inspired to write it by the people I have met and their horses, and also the people who read and appreciate my blog.

26th January, 2017 Underpinned

I seem to have got off very lightly. My thumb had its pins taken out this morning and I was fully expecting to have to wear a cast for the next six weeks. Instead, the bone has healed so well that I just have a splint, with a metal support, to wear when I am doing 'light work'. I can start to drive again in a week and a half which means I can at last take some of the burden off Tracey who has been feeding the horses during the week for the last seven weeks.

This morning I took a photograph of Henrietta with me so that the surgeon could see the culprit. It gave the nurse something to talk about when she was distracting me while the pins were being taken out which, incidentally, didn't hurt at all.

Gruesome pictures but this is what they looked like in and out.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

25th January, 2017 Resistance, Movement

A picture story of Sammy's trip out today...from resistance, we have movement. He's a good boy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

24th January, 2017 Going Through the Motions

It was foggy when we left Woodgreen this morning...

It was much clearer at Rachel's. Today we worked with her new horse Alf, a grandson of Fleetwater Opposition. He is a sturdy and affectionate horse. Today we added a little more clarity into Rachel's groundwork with him which was almost there anyway. To set him up to be able to use clicker training when she rides him, she has also been using clicker on the ground, and I think some of the cloudiness came from the distraction of treats as rewards, leading to a little frustration and busy-ness on his part which makes it difficult to ask him to concentrate. He has gone beyond needing clicker for routine work on the ground and I have suggested that she rewards him at the beginning and end of each session when she catches him and let's him go. With less to think about, this enabled us to work on feel, through thought and touch, when asking him to do things, reading his response to both; this takes things beyond simply going through the motions so that it is not just about what you and the horse are doing, but what you and the horse are being.

...and it was foggy when we got back to Woodgreen too.