Friday, December 31, 2004

December, 2004


Rode Horace out on the roads for the first time. He was absolutely brilliant. I also go and meet an Arabian horse that will be coming in for starting next Spring.

Attended BHS lecture by Peter Maddison-Greenwell of El Caballo de Espana. The horses were beautiful and the high school movements artistic but I felt that I'd like to turn them all out in a field. Oh dear.

Attended the RA conference in Oxfordshire and Sasha went off to her new loan home (from which she subsequently returned). In the meantime Patty has arranged to have Bobbin on loan. Musical ponies. Went to Olympia with friends.

Resigned from my job as a Legal Adviser to the Magistrates' Courts. I shall be a full time RA as from March next year. Go around grinning as if I have swallowed a coat hanger.

Took a friend's pony to Endells Veterinary Hospital with colic. He was described as a diagnostic conundrum. What a worry. Went to work with a yearling Highland pony with no name. I taught him to pick his feet up and to allow me to touch his hindquarters. Did some good groundwork and then got him to walk over an reflective board on the floor. Everyone was much happier with some consistent ground rules.

House sitting six hens, ten geese, two dogs, two ponies and a cat. Worked with a horse that spins round when led to the field and disappears back to the stable. Did lots of leading work incorporating the "smile in the line" and worked with pressure and release so that she knew when she had got it right. Before that it was like having a balloon on a string on a very windy day. (Later heard that this horse was now leading freely to and from the field).

Worked with an untouched New Forest pony that had evaded being touched for two months since being bought at Beaulieu Road Sales yard. He had perfected the snatch and run food technique! Was able to touch him all over without him running away.

Over Christmas hear that the colicky pony had recovered and was back home (a bit slimmer). The vets were never able to say what had caused it.

Went to the New Forest Point-to-Point on Fritham Plain. Brian Ingram won his class but my farrier had to pull up on his pony. Met a journalist from the New Forest Magazine and talked about what I do. Took Liony and Rowan out for a walk and ride Rowan home bareback. Worked with a vet phobic New Forest pony. Took my white coat and stethoscope with me!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

November 2004

Return yet another saddle to the saddlers. It is uneven and asymetrical. If the saddle isn't right on the outside, how can it be right on the inside?

Patty came to the yard to look at my other horse Sasha, I decided I'd rather keep Patty and let the horse go to a new home so I persuade Patty to come and work with me.

It is pannage season and five pretty pigs have moved into the fields. The horses have gone from harassment, alarm and distress to feined nonchalance.

Asked to check a horse for a potential purchaser. She just wants to know how he behaves and what his manners are like. I spend a joyful afternoon riding someone else's posh coloured horse. He has manners to die for. Nice work if you can get it!

One of the Exmoors, Merrion, goes back to Exmoor to new fosterers. He will now live in luxury at their bed and breakfast. I met Val Sherwin, founder of the Moorland Mousie Trust who works tirelessly to find good foster homes for unhandled Exmoor colts. I don't know how it happened exactly but I seem to come back with two more Exmoor ponies - Pippa and Frances.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

October, 2004

Another New Forest pony comes in for starting. He is a mature looking pony and a little aloof (Rowan). I go and visit Vigo who is now two and has elegant manners. Later I bought a trailer which will need a lot of work to bring it up to standard but it will all be done to my specifications - a grippy floor and warm sides.

I run my first course with Kayti Harvey and Sarah Burchett - long-reining for beginners. My own horse turns out to be an expert.

To end the month and to celebrate being made a Recommended Associate, I hold a hobby horse party where there are over 40 entries for the competitions and rosettes to fourth place. My genuine British Horse Society judges were hysterical and the competition got hotter as the alcohol got lower.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

September, 2004

Qualify as a Recommended Associate of Intelligent Horsemanship Ltd.

Worked with a New Forest cross Warmblood. This two year old is rather full of herself and needs lots of interesting things to do.

Later I take delivery of two Exmoor ponies from the Moorland Mousie Trust. Although they have already been to one foster home, I decide to start at the beginning with hand grooming and headcollars on and off. I rename one Liony as he needs to become brave and friendly. He is right hand sided and won't allow anyone around his left hand side.

I rode Petra across the Forest to Ann NF's via the High Corner Inn. It is amazing to be able to ride for five hours without touching a road. The horses feel pretty fit although Petra is convinced that we are lost. On the way back we watch the deer being fed at Bolderwood and have an ice-cream in the pouring rain.

The following week a five year old New Forest pony arrives for starting. Nicky has lived out on the Forest until last year when I was asked to put her first headcollar on. She produced a surprise foal in the Spring. She turns out to be an absolute darling.

The next weekend I attend a John Jones (RA) demonstration in Herefordshire. What a wonderful way he has with horses. He is just so gentle and works in such a way that the horse can do the right thing very easily. I come away with more new things to try. I also meet Lesley from Trwllwn Farm where they rescue horses and ponies.

At the end of the month I go on the Forest Drive with Andrea Dymott and her show stopping Shetland, Jade. Although it's raining there are a great crowd of people there and we eat our picnics under the dripping trees. We share a flapjack with Jade and then come home again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

August, 2004

Marny comes down to video one of my case studies. The pony I work with is the star of the show and walks over tarpaulins and past flags and balloons without batting an eyelid. Later I went to meet Horace, another New Forest pony, who has bucked his first rider off and has problems with things on his back and behind him. Having assessed him I follow up with groundwork and get on and off him bareback. I am booked to work with him again.

Helped out at the Alfred's Tower Endurance Ride providing security for the FEI stables. I meet all the competitiors for the 160km endurance ride. It is incredibly hot and the stables filled up with crocked up horses throughout the day. The last competitior comes in at 10 p.m. having set out at 4.30 a.m.. I'm not at all comfortable with this and for this reason decide not to help out the following year even though it will be the European Championships (in the event they were cancelled and transferred to France).

Friday, July 30, 2004

July 2004

Worked with Goliath. His story can be found in the gallery at .

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

June 2004

Holiday in Tanzania. The best most restful holiday I have ever had. I love watching all the animals but in particular the body language of the zebra. They are all fantastic. Went riding at Makoa Farm near Kilimanjaro. The farm is owned by two German Vets, Elizabeth and Lazlo, and the horses' welfare comes first. I rode a horse called Marvin, a Brumby who has been rescued from Zimbabwe.

When I got back I went to work with a horse that was refusing to load. I find that she has been sedated so I can't work with her and offer to ride her back to their own yard the next day and work on the problem there. Later on in the week I got her loading in and out of the trailer. If this horse continues to be difficult she will be sent back to her previous owners and her rider will miss out on Pony Club Camp. (This horse went on to load consistently, went to Camp and is now competing at show-jumping and cross-country).

The first pony arrives at the yard for starting. She is a slight four year old New Forest pony and her owner's nick-name for her is Killer. Hmmph! (This pony went home having been started very gently and proved to be so fearless that she is to be broken for harness).

Monday, May 31, 2004

May 2004

Start working on a neighbour's wild colt, Thomas. I use clicker training to ask him to come away from his mother so that I can touch him. His mother is untouched. Thomas is a very very nervous colt.

Went to Beaulieu Road sales. The New Forest ponies are fetching much higher prices as a result of the Stallion Scheme (limiting numbers of stallion on the Forest). Little Thomas is sold for just £70 to a complete stranger. I learn stoicism.

Saturday, April 3, 2004

March, 2004

I attended a donkey driving course at the Donkey Sanctuary. I am pleased that some of my techniques can be translated into donkey language - particularly with long-reining. Midway through the month I attended a Mary Wanless Demo at Kingston Maurwood. I gain an awful lot from this and am very pleased to see that she doesn't believe in thrusting your seat backwards and forwards. I've never been any good at that!
Towards the end of the month I go and visit Tom and Sarah Widdicombe (both RA's) and get some very useful business advice. It is so relaxing to be around people and discuss horses without the risk of boring someone. Tom and Sarah have some lovely coloured cobs at their yard. I spend a long time talking to their stallion. (Tom is the author of Be With Your Horse). Tom and Sarah's website is at .
Article about me appears in the Farmers Guardian.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

February, 2004

Went to help at the Monty demonstration at Quob Equestrian Centre. Quite nervous as this was a venue I had picked out for him. It was sold out and apart from a short power cut (aaagh!) it was fine.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

January, 2004

New Year's Day and January
Moved the horses to the new yard at Fritham. Yard is rather a posh term but the fields consists of nine acres in the middle of the Forest with a couple of barns. We've got lots of work to do there but the idea is that we get it all fenced properly and that I have extra horses to stay for training and remedial work. As my customers will be able to combine this with riding on the Forest I may even get a few horses from further afield should people want to find accommodation for themselves too. I know a great bed and breakfast where the owners do massages and manicures. I'm really pleased with the land - it has barns rather than stables, a pony pound (where I can train untouched horses) and a flat area where I can put my round pen and do other groundwork. The fields slope downhill so there's somewhere I can ride the Pie pony uphill without him being able to put in a good buck and of course there are miles and miles of Forest just beyond the gate (plus the pub where you can take your horse for a drink). There's rather a lot of fencing, painting and repair work if anybody fancies a visit! All volunteers will be rewarded with food and a lovely rub in the middle of the forehead. Anyone who fancies a ride could take either Petra or Sasha out with me. Barns full of ancient hay, fences and buildings that need upgrading. Oh joy! The horses are delighted with their new field. Registered as business as from today.
3rd January. My birthday and my first properly paid job. Lovely Welsh Cob that barges and pulls and lies down in the trailer. Showed her owner how to do the groundwork exercises and eventually worked with the horse in the trailer. Next time she will take a short journey. Advised the owners about some simple safety precautions to take when the horse is travelling.
New farrier started with the horses. I have promised him a bottle of wine of he can keep Petra's shoes on for six weeks or more.
Started work with two donkeys who are going to be trained to pull a trap. Neither of them lead easily so that was a good starting point.
Later in the month the fencing materials and gates arrive at the field. The new vet from Endells came to visit the horses for their jabs and I booked myself onto a donkey behaviour course at the Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth in Devon.