Saturday, May 27, 2017

27th May, 2017 Open and Shut Case

Following the massive storm last night the New Forest ponies were able to dissipate away from the ponds and delight in a different flavour of grass. I was ever hopeful that the cymbal-like crashes of thunder would have had the same effect as banging a few dustbin lids and a good curry and that Nelly might just have had her foal.

No such luck, she's still barefoot and pregnant...ho hum. The good news is that the further I have to walk the further they are from the danger of the roads.

Off this afternoon to see Leo once again and although his two owners were practising their wedding photos I have a feeling that there will be a third 'person' in their marriage if he doesn't beat Chris to get up the altar.

Chris is a great support to Melissa while she is working with Leo and we started with a bit of groundwork just to make sure that they were singing from the same wedding hymn sheet.

Leo's long reining is coming along really well although I was surprised that it is now possible to do quite a lot of waggling to ask him to go forward when he occasionally decides he'd rather stop without him having an absolute fit. Questioning his instructions is a good sign in this case.

He is still rather worried about going over poles so I decided to introduce him to our safety 'stop box' where he will be encouraged to stand and relax, and to open up both entrance and exit to begin with. Next we closed the exit whilst leaving the entrance open...

 ...and once he was confident asked him to go every which way but loose.

Each of these short stints provides a holiday from the last and so it was fine to carry on with a bit of short-reining next. This helps a horse to get used to the constant white noise of a 'leg' next to him as well as introducing and refining the 'leg' cue which is provided by the hip during this exercise.

We finished with some softening exercises, teaching him that he just needs to acknowledge the bit in order to feel a release in the reins - much better than the horse learning to lean on the bit and then to pull through the reins.

And of Lady Doris of Janesmoor who has put on a lot of weight and looks a lot better. I still miss this little horse that seemed to connect with me so quickly but am really glad that she is safe and secure where she is.