Friday, January 13, 2017

13th January, 2017 Use it? Or Lose it?

Cold metal!
It was so bitterly cold this morning that the pins in my hand were conducting the frost into the inside of my thumb! Thank goodness we had somewhere covered to work. The lady we were working with, Claire, is much more used to working with horses that she has to reach up to rather than down, but has taken on a set of Dartmoor Hill Ponies.

Barney and Arnie
These ponies were not bred on the moor but their mother was fairly wild and so they have picked up some of their instinct and temperament from her. Barney, the one we were working with today, had a finely tuned energy and intent radar.

Catching, groundwork and single line work.
With any horse that is responsive to human body language, and some of them aren't either through training, habituation, systematic desensitisation, or just continual white noise that they learn to ignore, you have the option to use that responsiveness or lose it, i.e. try to keep the bits that are useful to you, and reduce those that are not. You can't take the whole horse out of the horse, nor would anybody want to, but you can harness those traits that enhance your joint experience whilst overriding, retraining, redirecting, those that don't. Whilst we might not want a pony to flee when we approach him, it would be good if he could move away gently, and without fear, when he is being driven or directed. There, I have said that about four different ways now so I hope it all makes sense.

Before we went in to thaw out by the fire, we had to say hello to all of the Percherons, all of which I could take home and settle down next to my fire.
"Caught without him even moving!!! so happy he loves me!!!!  I think we definitely turned a corner yesterday." CK
One week later:
"Well we have cracked catching Barney he stands I rub he sniffs the headcollar then I can put it on. 😀 I took him for a little walk today to see the big world outside the barn lol. He found it quite scarey but he settled and stayed with me. I could stop and he would stop and he walked with me not behind or in front so all good. I took his headcollar off in the yard when we had finished. I put it away in the barn, came out and he walked with me to the other side stopped when I did and then continued to walk with me back to the gate. All of this was not asked for by me he just joined up with me." CK