Tuesday, February 28, 2017

28th February, 2017 Bedtime Stories

Théoden is on temporary box rest following treatment for a foot abscess. Normally I would poultice him and leave him out but there is too much mud for that to be an option. Who better to keep company than Henrietta who can be his official food taster...

...his eyes and ears, especially the ears...

...even if she does wet the bed...

...and demand kisses.

Monday, February 27, 2017

27th February, 2017 Egypt Equine Aid Part II: The Outpatients' Department

The clinic at Egypt Equine Aid has around thirty-five equines as in-patients, resting in stables or outside in sand manèges depending on their status and treatments. However most days there is a stream of new patients arriving, some on foot, some lying on or being led by carts, with owners asking for help and treatment.

Sometimes EEA can help immediately with working, wound treatment, soft nosebands, saddle pads, and better tack, and sometimes patients are admitted. This donkey had a large haematoma and was admitted.

This cart horse was in fairly good condition but a soft noseband over a chain across his nose was a nice improvement in his daily life.

Examples of the 'headcollars' that are removed from visitors make an awful sight.

This little donkey care was well cared for but came in for worming and a new headcollar.

This horse was pulling a cart leading another horse in for treatment. They both needed TLC.

Sometimes the customers are not exactly horses.

With grateful thanks to Bea Hearne.

27th February, 2017 Fake News

One of the fascinating things we talked about at the weekend, blessed to have an expert on the subject in our midst, was the art of cold readings and how people can be utterly convinced by them. The person doing the cold reading, perhaps a communicator or a psychic, fishes subtly for information, and is adept at adapting to the body language of the person he is reading, or the owner of the horse that he is reading. He will say something like, "I am seeing a masculine figure," and as the owner thinks "no..." he will say, "no, it's a woman, but she is quite masculine in her manner...". Spotting the body language they can flip their information, and bulldoze over their mistakes. The student, a person with a professional interest in this so-called art, suggested that more than 90% of psychics are con-artists and that the more that people had paid for their reading, the more they cling to it. The reader is adamant, and says things with an absolute certainty, constantly talking, whereas the people that really have the answers are more hesitant about what they say.

Another phrase he used, which I may well pinch, is that people hold on to their beliefs as if they are fingers, when in fact they are only a ring on a finger, which can be taken off.

In these days when we are inundated with information about our horses, and desperate to have all the answers, is it any wonder we go to people who can give us a definitive answer? I have often thought that I can read a horse better than many animal communicators, simply through their body language, and wrote a long time ago about a pony called, Kennedy, whose headcollar was growing into his face. A communicator came to see him and listed a number of things that he had concerns about whereas all I could hear was, "My head, my head, be careful with my head." Don't misunderstand me, I don't mind anyone working with a horse that does no harm, but, having been a lawyer, I usually like to have a bit of real evidence.

Kennedy: I need to talk to you about something

Sunday, February 26, 2017

26th February, 2017 Kellied Out!

Spent the weekend at the Intelligent Horsemanship Horse Psychology Course with Kelly Marks and a group of students bringing back echoes of fifteen years ago when I attended the course myself as a student. It's probably my favourite course of all of them. As ever there are some lightbulb moments during the 'yes, no' game. But I won't give the game away...

At 10, this young lady was the youngest student, probably ever, and contributed to every session. She was particularly pleased to meet Pie...

...plenty of caffeine for two long days of solid learning.

Watching how horses will learn naturally...

...and how they might see the world.

Pie gave a demonstration of positive reinforcement, galloping up joyously...

...to have his headcollar on.

Presentations and problem solving...

...and a class photo.

Students were from all walks of life and included a vet, a psychiatrist, and an ex-lawyer, an ex-fireman, novice and experienced horse owners. A really lovely group of people who all worked together well.

Friday, February 24, 2017

24th February, 2017 Secret Files

It seemed that everyone else was out riding today but hopefully it won't be long before Théoden can come back into work. A slight set back today when I had to call the vet because he has an abscess in his foot. It shouldn't take long to resolve and, having lugged hay bales and panels around to set up his box rest at least I know that I am strong enough to ride.

As well as meeting Caroline, the new (and lovely) vet at The Barn, I have been setting something else up for another horse which I daren't talk about in case I jinx it. Fingers and hooves all crossed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

22nd January, 2017 Careering Around...

I have received some really beautiful comments from my fellow Recommended Associates since I made my formal announcement that I am giving up being an RA myself. Here's just a few of them:

"...you will have made a huge difference to many people's and horses lives for the better & given them a knowledge they wouldn't have gained otherwise, so for that you should be very proud."
"...you have contributed so much and benefited the lives of many horses as I'm sure you will continue to do with your writing."
"I love your No Fear No Force book that has not only helped me but many of my clients too, so I'm looking forward to reading what you've been writing recently..."

Today I set off on the first step towards my new career as an author, meeting up with Imogen (Cooper) Founder of the Golden Egg Academy. Normally looking after people who write for children, she has agreed to look after my project since it involves horses...and she has two of her own.  (Neither of us is any good at selfies.)

Here are her two. Balthazar, Icelandic horse on the left, and Welsh Cob Winnie, who I have worked with before, on the right.

Meanwhile I still have four months working with my current clients. I also have my Bar Buffers available aimed at helping horses to be far more comfortable when they are travelling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

21st February, 2017 Eyes Wide Open

Friend and client Sarah B has been having a torrid time with her horse, Jazmine, who has been in at The Barn for a month, following a fairly innocuous bump on her eye...

Fortunately Sarah had the common sense to know that she should call the vet because in no time at all things became very serious. Jazmine had uveitis caused by an infection in her eye.

This required a mesh cover over her injured eye so that it wouldn't let in too much light and would protect the eye...

...with her other eye uncovered.

Most of her medicine has been delivered by a fixed catheter but occasionally it has blocked or she has knocked it off when rubbing. This has necessitated the drops being applied manually and over time she has become more and more stressed about this taking place. Not only that, but Sarah will need to be able to put the drops in herself when she eventually takes Jazmine home.

At this distance, and with clicker training just started, she will keep her eye open...

...but get any nearer and she slams it shut and moves her head around to avoid it being done...meaning that her eyelids have to be prised apart. On day two of clicker training we were able to make this a lot easier and with practise hope that she will accept it, even if she doesn't look forward to it.

Resting her had on Sarah's shoulder seems to give her some comfort too.

Just to add to Sarah's woes, Jazmine's recent gastroscope didn't look too pretty and once she has recovered from this set of treatment, the vets are going to investigate what might be behind this problem. Until she went on to box rest, Jazmine had been living out full time. The question is whether the painkillers and antibiotics for the current problem have brought about the reaction in her stomach. If not, what? Life is definitely not fair when someone as conscientious and hard working as Sarah has to face all these problems with her horse who is in the prime of her life, and looks fit and healthy in every other respect.

Pie seems to think that we can't see him...

...and although he looks like a chimney sweep, he's come through the winter well.

Monday, February 20, 2017

20th February, 2017 Fat Bottomed Girls...

The dog was squeaking with anticipation this morning before we set off, and so was I...

...Vitamin and Vervaine are both Percherons, belonging to the McDermott and Kershaw family...

...and with just two days to go before they set off for a ploughing event in Northern Ireland, we were taking them out for some of their regular exercise. Out of the garden gate...

...and up the track to Breamore Downs.

Lorraine wore a colour co-ordinated fleece and jacket in her role as co-groom...

On our way back...

...and a chat about the benefits of curly grey hair.

...and back to the yard to be with the spotty ponies.

At the event in Northern Ireland...what a picture!