Wednesday, May 28, 2008

28th May, 2008 More long reining and long raining

Pete, Harry and Freddie all being long-reined.

May appears to be long reining month. Two Haflingers, three New Forest ponies and an Arabian/Andalusian cross. Predictably, the New Forest ponies were the easiest to train although one of them was slightly sceptical of ropes having been lassoed as a foal! The Haflingers were fine too although inclined to go into pressure at halt; easy to imagine them pulling logs. The little Arabian cross is finding it harder having been lunged quite energetically last year - he finds it hard to believe that we really do want him to walk and just walk.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

25th May, 2008 Book signing

Kelly has confirmed her book signing which is due to take place on Saturday, 7th June, 2008 at 1 p.m. at Hampshire Saddlery, Botley Mills, Mill Hill, BotleySouthampton, Hants. S030 2GB. Not far from junction 7 of the M27.

25th May, 2008 Happy Endings

A little while ago I wrote about the meaning of success (or failure) and two particular cases where I was unable to help to any great extent. In both cases the facilities made working difficult, in both cases we were surrounded by barbed wire fencing. I hadn’t heard from either of the owners again and wondered how they were getting on. Coincidentally, both of them contacted me this weekend.

The first, the lady who loaned the rearing Throughbred, turned up at the Kelly Mark’s demo and later sent me the e-mail that she had intended to send: Thanks for your help yesterday, I have spoken to B’s owners and he is going back to them next Friday. I wanted to say thanks for your help. I have tried to give B the best of everything I could hence doing the courses before I got him and it was helpful to know it wasn’t just me or a lack of experience. You did a lot more to help then you may have realised and I wanted you to know that. It finally, as you put it well yesterday, gave me permission to say enough is enough.
E-mail received 24.5.08 VFB

The other concerned an untouched New Forest colt who had already gone through and over the fences. I had been worried sick as he was next door to a mare and rapidly becoming aware of his under-carriage. His owner wrote to me as follows and just shows that ponies can respond to kindness and patience over time:

You made many suggestions which were great one of them being we bring R (the new forester) to your place to help him learn that headcollars and lead-ropes aren't so bad, neither are people! Call us softies, but the thought of sending Ruben away kind of played with our heartstrings due to him only being used to us, and never seeing outside of his paddock at Parley since the day he was brought there. You will be chuffed to know that in the past month, Ruben accepted the headcollar in his new 4 acre home without any struggling at all! He did not bolt, rear or do any of the things that make horses dangerous. We didn't even need to round pen him, or place him in a stable, it was all quite mystifying to be honest! Although, him accepting the headcollar came 2 days after he allowed Debbie and I to fall asleep with him on the floor. We are not quite sure if that has anything to do with it, we are probably humanizing him in thinking that, but either way, it felt so good that Ruben dropped his fear and finally trusted us. In the past 2 weeks, we have been doing lead-rope work with him, even tied him to his new grooming post, where he stood still and let us groom him all over (including his mane and tail, that we have always longed to untangle!) and for the 1st time in 2 years, we took him for a lovely walk along a 2 mile bridle path which he seemed to enjoy! We do realise the length of time it has taken to get him to accept the things he feared has been very long winded, but we also realise that cornering him to accept it was not the way to go and that time and patience really does pay off when it comes to such challenges as it is so much more rewarding when its done in peace and with the look of trust in a ponies eyes that have always told fearful stories, up until now! Being an equine trainer who I am sure comes across many difficult situations such as ours, I am sure you will understand our joy of Ruben finally trusting us fully.
MB 23.5.08

I have also written at length about horses, often older ones, that have become so upset in the trailer that they go into pressure against the partitions and walls and “gallop” along the opposite wall. The only cure for this seems to be travelling them without a partition and with full width front and back bars. Nevertheless, these horses don’t ever seem to be relaxed about travelling again. Our latest case was a horse called Whatley. His owners have since learned that he has had quite a tough life one way or the other and have decided that his travelling days are over. I am sure they have made the right decision:

I’d just like to say a big thank-you to you and Tanya for the amazing work you did to today. It was such a relief to see Whatley in the box and not climbing the walls. I would recommend you to everyone, problem horses or not. Even the basic ground work was very interesting and just learning how to read and listen to your horse. it was fantastic to see the way you work and communicate with them. A big big thank-you.
Amy on 10.5.08

And a few days later:
Hi Sarah, it went really well last night loaded every time he was asked to go into the box. Wasn’t getting stressed when saw the box or anything, did it all in stages like you did, set off for the journey. I travelled half way round with him and he was fine, got out he got a little stressed when I left him but got through it. So after telling you this whole essay we have both decided not to travel him again as he’s an older boy now and we don’t want him keep getting upset. Someone also had contacted me from nfed who use to own him and apparently he had a real hard life so I feel I owe it to him to have a quieter hacking life now as he been so happy with us. Thanks for all the help you gave us. 14.5.08

In an ideal world, horses should spend as much time out in the field as possible and with other horses for company. Having said that, I can only advise people and I can quite understand that it is hard to risk an expensive horse getting kicked. A Quarter Horse that I went out to see had already calmed down significantly once he was turned out and I was pleased to receive the following e-mail:

Hi Sarah, just to let you know that we put J and S together on Sunday and so far there has been no problems! J has really taken to S and J is a lot more relaxed. S is also teaching J some personal space manners which is just what J needs! J has been a lot calmer when I lead him now and even mum has started to lead him around the field. We all have been so pleased with J's progress and if you hadn't been around J would probably have been sold by now, so we all owe you a huge thank you for saving us!!!!
T.B. 20.5.08

Some other bits of feedback have come through. First of all from the Horseworld demo:

I have to say well done Horseworld for putting on such a great open day and well done Sarah W for 2 cracking IH demos! The first was Sunny a 18 year old boy who wasn't bothered by anything at first until the feather duster wasn't meant to touch that leg! Also, in the second demo, Sarah used her 'Madonna bra' to help out a yearling who she used last year who was a nightmare colt! What a transformation!

Hello, well done for a great couple of demos today at Horseworld, you captivate the audience and make it easy to understand, and no matter how much I see the same thing, I always feel like I am learning more every time and want to try it out on my 3 hooligans!

I should perhaps explain that the “Madonna Bra” is a reference to using assertive body language that starts with your head, your shoulders, hips and feet and, if you are a girl, your boobs too! It’s my way of saying, point everything at the horse when you want to establish your body space or ask them to move.

And this:

We are all here now thanks again for all the emails. I will try to fill in the form but you know that we think you are the best. Just tell Kelly to phone us!
Hugh 22.5.08

A vote for this blog….

Sarah was very friendly, calm, clear and explained what she was doing and why at all times. None of the ideas were new to me as have been doing lots of research but there can be information overload so was nice to have a bit of clarity. Sarah did a thorough check over of Rosie which was reassuring and she gave me good advice and things to consider (without being pushy). Having the techniques explained in person, in detail makes a big difference and was the most helpful thing for me today. Sarah’s obvious love of horses, reassuring manner and commitment to horse welfare is a pleasure and a reassurance to me that a kinder approach is not just an ‘out there’ concept. I think the biggest thing I have gained from today is some courage in my convictions, better technique and a bit more confidence that this is a solvable problem….. I liked the ‘personalness’ (I know that’s not a real word!) of Sarah’s blog – it makes her seem very ‘human’ and approachable.
RA evaluation form AR 10.5.08

Saturday, May 24, 2008

24th May, 2008 Really posh babies

Diva and Destiny

Annabel very kindly invited me to go and meet her new fillies this morning that are by Eustanov and Wittinger respectively. Both have world and olympic class breeding.

24th May, 2008 Kelly's Heroes?

Helena (fell off Bertie at Exmoor's Golden Horseshoe) and Mandy (had a fight with a gate when leading a horse out of the field) at Kelly's demo.

Kelly's demo at Hoplands Equestrian Centre was terrific. With no seats allowed in the arena, it was good to see the round pen vanish after the first starter so that the audience in the gallery were close to the action. Pie and Caesar were fabulous fun, jumping and side stepping through and over various obstacles. Caesar, who is only four, stole the show. The trailer loading horse at the end was a good solid Welsh cob and when he said no he meant it, seconds later he's going up the ramp and in without a murmur. As usual Kelly was unselfish about sharing her techniques, explaining every detail and also sharing the limelight with the Recommended Associates. Loads of my clients were there along with lots of New Forest pony owners.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

22nd May, 2008 Arabian Days

Lovely day working first of all with a Haflinger that I saw few months ago. He is so calm now and we introduced him to long reining. Then I worked with an untouched yearling Arabian filly and put her headcollar on for the first time. She was a sensitive soul and yet accepted touch fairly readily.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

21st May, 2008 Fire and Rescue Service

Pictures with kind permission of JG.

Last night attended the most inspirational talk I have ever heard by Jim Green, Animal Rescue Specialist for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service on the latest developments in training and equipping fire officers to deal with animals, often horses, in distress. Hampshire has now been asked to co-ordinate training nationally and are seen as the leaders in this field. Jim was extremely well up on horse psychology and had some brilliant footage of dramatic horse rescues – good and bad examples. The aim is to really think things through before getting too deeply involved with the rescue itself so that it is clear where the horse will end up once it is freed and how to ensure that the horse is kept as quiet as possible during the rescue itself. Six years ago Petra managed to jump into a huge drainage channel which leads down to the River Avon. There was a horrible moment as she realised that the greenery in the middle of the channel wasn’t solid and an almost comic element of flailing legs a la Tom and Jerry before a huge sploosh. I was amazed at how quickly the cold and depth made her give up and accept that she would die and without the Fire Officers from Fordingbridge station there was no way we would have got her out. Although they are not a charity, they do accept donations towards specific equipment and training for their officers which all goes towards working with horses and developing a general pool of expertise across the country. At the same time, officers are involved in developing specialist equipment such as long distance cutters to release horses tied up in trailers and quick release webbing straps with which to extricate them without officers having to go into the trailer at all. Fantastic stuff. More information under Animal Rescue on

I had a bit of a light-bulb moment as I watched some of the video cuttings. Jim is compassionate about horses, passionate about getting the right tools and techniques for the job but brutally realistic about safety - if the owner is impeding the rescue, they will be asked to step back. I am sure that most people would be reassured of they knew that the fire officer involved knew exactly what they were doing and understood how horses work. There was a clip of an American vet, killed outright when hot-branding a horse in a makeshift crush. Although he was on the outside, the horse kicked him with absolute accuracy and certainty. Horse owners should not delude themselves; horses in stressful situations can react very violently and be utterly lethal. Another heart stopping clip showed two ridden horses that had gone through the planks on a bridge leaving both of them stuck. The horses had gone quiet and passive, perhaps accepting their fate, until the woman owner starting shreiking for someone to get a vet. Both horses then started to struggle and both went over the edge of the bridge narrowly missing the owner who had also gone into the drink and a firefighter who was underneath working on dismantling the slats. Nowadays the horses would be sedated and kept calm until it was safe to move them. (Incidentally, why don’t vets wear crash helmets when working with animals in pain/fear?)

RAs strive to be honest with people about their horse’s potential to cause injury without classifying horses as being evil or dangerous in themselves; they are just horses doing what they think they need to do to survive or influence a given situation. In these days of litigation, we have to think like health and safety officers and constantly assess risk without emotion.

The Horse and Hound is full of reports of people being successfully sued for compensation when their horse has injured a third party – even when that third party volunteered to be involved with the horse. I would think twice these days about letting any else ride my horse. If you know your horse has a behavioural problem, you are under an obligation to make sure that anyone dealing with it is aware of that – failure to do so, even to highlight obvious risks, is to risk being sued for negligence. I am amazed at how dishonest people can be when they are desperate to sell their horse although I do accept that a new owner can change a horse’s behaviour for the worse in no time at all. Working with horses without insurance is foolhardy too – I made my insurance company sign to say that I was covered for each and every heading of the work I do. I always think that everyone is your friend until an accident happens and even then it may only be their insurance company or their immediate family that wishes to make a claim against you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

20th May, 2008 Tantric

Top: Tantric? Middle: Sterling this morning. Bottom: Sterling previously.

After 11 months and a seemingly everlasting three weeks, Sheila's horse Vanity has finally given birth to her foal which is by Antics. you'd think that would have given her plenty of time to think of a name for him but as of this morning he is still anonymous. I am campaigning for Tantric but don't think I'll get my way. In the meantime, the orphan foal that she took on has grown out of all recognition - from the 2 dimensional concertina file he resembled when he arrived to a very rounded yearling - lucky lad and full of confidence.

Monday, May 19, 2008

19th May, 2008 Nice to go, nice to come back.

I don’t do hot holidays very well so David and I have spent a short week touring the countryside in Cyprus. Away from the big tourist centres, in the mountains, Cyprus is beautiful and it’s compulsory to drive off road. The coastal track from Paphos to Lacci can get exciting in places and we did wonder what would happen if we got two punctures in quick succession. The sun, sea and sand are mostly wasted on me as there aren’t many horses and apart from the odd herd of goats, too few animals altogether. I snook into the internet cafĂ© a few times to catch up with my e-mails and check out the picture of Cello but it has been great to totally relax for the first time in a year. The latest adventures of Mme Ramotswe and The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency kept me going for a couple of days but Alistair Campbell’s Diary of the Blair Years has been heavier going: oh for the thick skin of your average politician – absolutely no choice but to confront issues and make enemies. On a (much) smaller scale I do that with horsemanship; I’ve got a few horse hitters on one side and real natural horsemanship fundamentalists on the other. I might rename my horsemanship “Casual Horsemanship” because I don’t adhere to one set method but I am consistent in what I do and it’s meant to be easy and fun for the horse and the handler. Sometimes I’m tempted by the politics but wobble if anyone gets too feisty with me - horse bullies are often people bullies too; probably better to go passive and just keep on doing what I’m doing. Next week it’s business as usual with lots of evening sessions as the nights draw out and Kelly’s demo to look forward to on Friday.

Kelly will also be doing a book signing at Botley Mills Saddlery Southampton) on 7th June, 2008.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

11th May, 2008 Cello

Thought you might need another photo.....

11th May, 2008 Horseworld Open Day

Top to bottom - although quiet, Sunny wasn't at all sure about all this new fangled equipment; Garth the mule was born in 1963 the same as me but he dribbles less!; this Shire horse is one of four heavy horses at Horseworld - they all look fit and happy; Prince is probably the tallest yearling I have ever worked with - he was the foal I worked with last year that came back from his loan home just for the day.

Another busy week ended with two short demo's at Horseworld. Three loaders during the week all with different issues - one a first time loader, second a New Forest pony that has previously jumped over the front bar and then a big horse that I had actually met six years ago, when I was training, that has decided to go into pressure against the partition and scrabble with his feet. We managed to get each one loading nicely and the last horse is now travelling without a partition but with a full width front bar and back bar. He wasn't totally relaxed yesterday but it was fascinating to see him make use of all that room and standing with his back feet wide apart.

I also went to work with a horse I haven't seen for a year and his owner is now hoping to bring him back into work. Along with the Haflinger I went to see on Thursday, he was one of the lightest most responsive horses I have ever worked with and deeply offended if I didn't use my most subtle request. Bliss. I also introduced Frances' pony, Pete, to long reining and he accepted the surcingle and all the kit like an old hand - except when he saw the long rein move towards his right eye - he could cope on the left or out of both eyes but wasn't at all sure about the right hand side. Weird isn't it? But it gave us something to work on before we blithely carry on long reining him.

Horseworld was a delight. It was so sunny and there were 100's of people there to see all of the horses.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

8th May, 2008 Jumps

I spent the morning at Hoplands Equestrian Centre watching Kelly Marks and Rosie Jones having their jumping lesson with Pat Burgess. Pat does some fabulous stuff with gridwork, encouraging the horses to really lift at the front and the riders to "plug in" with their seat bones until they feel the horse take off. It's at least a hundred years since I did any show jumping and now I am sorely tempted.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

7th May, 2008 More Nelly and Bakeburn Jethro

I don't know where the chestnut came from but the I think his father gave him the blaze.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

6th May, 2008 Clever Nelly

Nelly had her foal early this morning and by the time I found them he was looking pretty robust. It's hard to leave such a vulnerable youngster out near the roads but it is what he was bred for and providing some idiot doesn't run him over, he will have a lovely life. It's a bit like having a cat, most people wouldn't keep them locked up in the house. Nelly was very pleased to be given a feed and I shall check on them regularly. I have called him Cello.

6th May, 2008 Latest reviews

Molly (first time loader)

Just an update to let you know Molly eat all her dinner in the trailer last night. She was a very good girl, she hesitated with me a little and did her paw of the ramp. Then she worked it out and she went in lovely.
LN (Molly above)

Many many thanks for yesterday, it was really just what we both needed and I feel more confident in handling him, knowing he is not just a frightened little scrap. It is reassuring knowing what I need to practice and how to do it with him - you are brilliant!!
CG 10.4.08 (First touch and headcollar)

Lancer has really come on in leaps and bounds - not literally!! So far he is leading from stable to stable and to the end of the yard and back and she also put a rug on him that he wore for about 1/2 hour and didnt bat an eyelid! Since you came out to him it really seems to have helped his confidence and he seems to accept that people dont hurt.
CG 18.4.08

Me and K took J-pony for a walk today, we were mostly on the roads and he was perfect , he didn't come in front of me once and there was no nibbling, K was amazed at the difference two weeks can make...
TK 12.4.08 (Jack, pre-starting pony)

Thankfully, long-reining hasn't turned out to be the nightmare that it began as. Thanks so much for de-mystifying the whole process.
AS 12.4.08 (Oberon, former trotting horse)

So back to the tried and trusted Sarah Weston method and bingo, at last, headcollar on. AND I’ll have you know, within ten minutes I was leading him around the yard and he was being fantastically good. I hadn’t reached the leading stage with him before so I’m really chuffed. I’m going to keep him in for the next few days and do some more sessions with him.
CB 15.4.08 (Scrumpy, Exmoor colt)

Even better today. Headcollar on this morning..using the same method…and a 15 minute play in the yard. Went out this lunchtime and bought him a new headcollar that fits him better. New headcollar on this afternoon and a ten minute amble down the lane. He was only very slightly silly, I was expecting him to be a bit of a loon but he really good.
CB 16.4.08

Thank you very much for the report and thanks again for giving us more of your time on the day.We have put in to practise all the things you and Sheila taught us and L and I agree we feel more confident around the ponies. I took M to a Fun Ride on Sunday, I re affirmed with her who is the leader ( it didn't take much) and she followed me straight into the trailer, I thanked her and backed her out and repeated this again, then off we went to the ride, had an exhausting day as she was extremely excited about the whole thing , she jogged/ trotted/cantered for the whole of 12 mile ride! then loaded beautifully to come home,.
HPJ 15.4.08 (Loading)

Thank you very much. I found the session with Zippy really useful and will do a few minutes groundwork with him several times a week. All 3 ponies went for a ride Sunday morning and Zippy was much better leading. He did not pull but he did come across infront of me when trotting. However you gave me the tools to sort this so he soon will be more perfect than he already is. Thank you again and it was great to meet you - someone who can tune into horses and their personalities instantly.
A very happy Jackie and rabble, 2 legged and 4 legged!
JM 15.4.08

I have been working with Katie this week and she is already showing much improvement over a week ago. NW 18.4.08 (Young show pony - groundwork session)

M is doing well. Her behaviour on the ground has been good, so far. She still has her ears back a lot, but some days she has enjoyed my company! Most evenings she volunteers to be brought in from the field which in much nicer than her previous tendancy of cantering at me with her ears back and then spinning to threaten kicking at the last minute.
AP 19.4.08 (Grumpy horse!)

Thank you so much for all your help at the weekend, it was fantastic stuff and has given L and I new drive and determination to continue in the manner you have started. We will keep to the exercises you have suggested and look forward to seeing you again in a couple of weeks.
CH 21.4.08 (Rather determined cob pony - groundwork session)

I found your instruction helpful and I now feel that I understand the way S sees me. For me to attain that leadership is something that I feel would give me a great deal of satisfaction and achievement knowing that I have helped S to become relaxed and taken over the responsibility of leadership from her.D wanted to know if I thought it was money well spent. I said it most definately was.
MC 23.4.08 (Groundwork session)

I am however pleased to report that J has really calmed down now. T & I continue to lead in and out and he certainly respects our space now. No rearing either! Thanks to your expert advise.
He is getting back to what we originally saw. Staying out virtually 24hr/day has also released his pent up energy even to the point we kept them in on Sunday night due to the thunder storm and Monday morning a feeling of dread came over me but he was good as gold when I took him out on Monday morning.
SB 23.4.08 (Groundwork session)

Funnily, we seem to have solved the nipping and shoving issues. B got really arrogant one day, so I used the "big body language" backed him up and made him stand until he started chewing and yawning and since then there has been no problem at all. Guess I just needed to stop being a soppy date and get on with it.
DA 23.4.08 (Youngster - groundwork session)

Just wanted to let you know on Monday eve, after a couple of practices at loading and unloading and closing the ramp etc, we took G-horse for a 20min ride round the block in the trailer, and I was able to get her to travel on the correct side of the trailer (it was all planned like a military operation, with 2 helpers). She stamped a little bit to begin with when we set off, but then settled well, and when we got back, we took it very slowly to unload her, and she was very chilled out, she came out calmly, step by step beside me down the ramp. So a big thank you because the techniques you showed us really did work and both Girlie and I were able to stop worrying because we knew our 'system'.
KB (Warmblood loading horse)

Following one of those days when everything went wrong, I finally came to the decision that my three year old Anglo Arab bred by Mum, was terrifying the life out of me. Pushing and charging. It was quite apparent that I would need to send her away for some kind of education, but where would I send her? Who would not beat her with a stick, tie her up to a tree for hours on end or worse - starve her. You hear such awful horror stories and who can you trust. After browsing the internet for hours, I kept coming back to an advert on a local equestrian site for Sarah Weston Natural Horsemanship - Natural, that must mean kind! I phoned Sarah for a chat who was so calming that I immediately felt better and more confident. I knew that she was the person for me. She was able to fit around my long working day and came to see Maddison & I a few days later. Within minutes, Sarah had achieved what I had not. A calm horse that would stand still and listen move forwards and backwards without barging and pushing. I was so proud, I nearly cried. Sarah put everything into perspective and once she had things firmly established with Maddison she coached me to do the same. Finally, I stopped shaking. After Sarah left, I turned her out on her normal head collar. Being away from her friends for such a long time, Maddison would normally have been dancing down the track with my arm feeling like it had a lead weight attached to it! She started to rush a little bit, I stopped her and asked her to move out of my space, which she responded to very well. A bit further on her friends came into view with our other three year old galloping down the field to greet her. Maddison continued to walk on a smiley rope and did not try to rush. We still have a very long way to go before our next visit from Sarah as Maddison will still try to offer me mixed emotions. But I am no longer frightened of her. I now love my beautiful girl again who I previously came to despise. Don't give up on what might seem like a hopeless situation. Intelligent Horsemanship may not be for everyone, I didn't think it was for me, but sometimes you need to think outside the box and look for alternative solutions. Sarah Weston is the best thing that happened to me. I can not praise or recommend her enough. Keep up the good work.
Article written by Tracey Head for the Listening Post.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

3rd May, 2008 Full frontal

Talin (Andalusian cross Arab)

It's not what you think. Today I have been working with a cob who looks like a small version of a Clydesdale. He is the most "into pressure" horse I have ever met and whenever I stood in front of him, even at a distance, he took this as an invitation to walk straight through me - and I mean straight through me. Fortunately by the end of the session I was able to persuade him that standing still was a better option. I also worked with a Quarter Horse that has changed out of all recognition since I saw him two weeks ago. Thanks to his owners being utterly consistent with him and consistent with each other, he is now looking so much calmer. He brought a rather difficult week to a close.

On Monday I had a small gynaecological operation under general anaesthetic and felt absolutely lousy for two days afterwards. Still, the fact that the consultant was a Mr De Kock brought an air of hilarity. On Thursday I worked with an 11 month old cob cross who was a darling and then went on to work with two New Forest stallions aged four and five that have not been handled very much. I used clicker training to get the first headcollar on the younger one and then couldn't get rid of him - please put the headcollar back on, please put the headcollar back on, please...... These two live on a farm with hundreds of other animals including goats, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, cats, dogs, pigs and have been together all their lives. The following day I worked with a difficult loader that flies backwards whenever anyone approaches the back of the trailer. David and I went to a barbecue tonight and I lasted all of fifteen minutes before I wanted to go home to sleep!!

Nelly has still not had her foal despite being really huge. She keeps disappearing for days on end and worrying me stupid but then turns up with Oliver in tow. I hesitate to say it again but she is imminent.