In sharp contrast to last year I am still at home. I'm going to be working all day. Lots of people seemed to have made New Year's Resolutions about their horses and the telephone and e-mail are red hot. Sadly the word Parelli keeps cropping up as part of the history of horses that have gone astray and I wonder if it's going to be come a recurring theme. I have recently been to see one horse where the owner had the Parelli work down to a fine art and the horse looked happy. All too often they look confused and frustrated and angry. Being so circle based, many of the horses are also sore. The Lusitana is progressing well. As I peeled away the layers of the onion, I discovered that she found it very difficult to stand still, wouldn't pick her feet up and tended to anticipate that she was going to be made to go in circles - if she thought she wasn't going to like what she was being asked to do, she threw a tantrum. Within three days she has given all of that up and is now merrily long-reining around the Forest.
I have also made a New Year's decision and wrote to the Moorland Mousie Trust as follows:
"It’s with a very heavy heart that I have to ask you whether you can find a suitable conservation project for Piper. I have had him with me for over a year now and despite what I think are my best efforts, I know I’m not going to do any good. I can put a headcollar on him but every day is a new day for him and we have to start right at the beginning every time I see him. He is still extremely wary of touch although he likes his head and neck stroked. He is very worried about anyone going near his back end and would always rather go away. He has had time off here and there and each time he has come back as if we have never met. It isn’t a complete regression but it’s hard to see him stand and shake especially when I have never done anything horrid to him.
I could cope with all of this and the financial aspects of keeping him but my real concern is about his weight. Inevitably he started to gain weight after he was gelded and towards the end of last year I had to restrict his grazing. None of my other horses have the same problem (and the New Forest ponies can always be put on a diet by turning them out onto the Forest – something the agisters wouldn’t tolerate with Piper) and therefore he ended up being kept on his own although there were horses in the next door field. More recently I have been able to turn him out on some rougher grazing with Petra and Chancer but even then he has gained weight and yesterday I had to separate him again. I am worried that he will have to spend the best part of his life in starvation paddocks on his own. If he were safe to lead out, I could have given him more exercise and I had dreamt of being able to lead him out off Petra.
Since he has been gelded (and even before) he has shown no interest in mares in a sexual way so I don’t think he would make himself a nuisance. He has always been very placid around other horses and especially foals. He has never been aggressive to me – he would always prefer to just leave – but did kick me once when I made the mistake of going with him. He has never struck out or bitten. His feet seem to look after themselves. I did have them trimmed once while he was under general anaesthetic for his op but he didn’t really need them doing.
Please would you have a think and let me know. I will arrange/ provide transport for him to wherever. "
So far I have had nothing but support for my decision which is about Piper not me; I have to accept that I can't succeed with ever horse and that he needs to be out with other Exmoors. Juliet has responded to say that he may be able to go to Sutton Park or up to Northumberland.