Tuesday, March 11, 2008

11th March, 2008 The clip-clop of tiny feet

Gale force winds and sideways rain are playing havoc with my diary. I have been working flat out since mid-December and had no break at Christmas so I am looking forward to some spring weather and even a holiday. With seven horses in and four hungry ponies coming home off the Forest every day I am ploughing through my hay too.

X and her companion are due to go home at the end of this week and W may be going too. He is now trotting out in company thanks to some pretty imaginative work aimed at asking him to trot without any pressure (or indeed any bucking). It's the first time I have used clicker training for ridden work and we spent some very amusing days wandering about the inclosure and giving him a click and a treat for trotting up to me (or rather the feather duster that I was carrying). Now that he has got the hang of trotting independently with a rider on board we can cut down on this.

Rushy is coming back from his loan home through no fault of his own and we are going to assess him and do some work with him before trying to find another loaner.

Julie and I had fun on Saturday working with two miniature Shetland ponies. They had taken to including their owners in their colt games and were biting whenever they were led. We took them out for a walk on the Forest and addressed their behaviour as we went. It's so easy to see their behaviour as cute because they are cute but it's not funny when they pinch your skin. I shook a rattle bottle at the braver one and Julie slapped her coat at the other one and that sobered them enough to get their attention and to stop them being persistent. It makes me laugh that IH is not about hitting the horse but sometimes it is about hitting yourself!