Friday, June 6, 2008

6th June, 2008 My friend Flicka

This has probably been one of the very best weeks since I set up my business. After Horseworld I have worked with four more lovely horses and their equally lovely owners. Three of them are newly bought horses and it brought it home to me how much we can do to help them settle into their new environment. At Horseworld most new arrivals are turned out into a mixed herd and allowed to chill out for at least a couple of weeks before work begins. Whilst being turned out won't resolve long standing behavioural problems, the herd dynamics can instill basic good manners in confused young horses and restore their equilibrium - they remember what it is to just be a horse. After that owners can use good quality groundwork to establish their leadership and introduce security and stability. There is even room for control freakery around horses - they like to have set rules as long as they are applied consistently, fairly and logically.

Yesterday I worked with a yearling New Forest pony called Flicka. While I touched her for the first time and then began to rub her neck and introduce her headcollar, I recalled the story of My Friend Flicka (Mary O'Hara) a book I read over and over again as a child and as an adult: still worth reading today. My current read is Mark Rashid's series of short stories "Big Horses, Good Dogs and Straight Fences". He describes how it is sometimes useless to offer advice where it's not wanted. He is told, never try to teach a pig to sing, it isn't possible and it irritates the pig.

I am also enjoying writing answers to questions posed by the readers of Your Horse. Some of then should start to appear in July.

Last night I went to see the final event of the Salisbury Arts Festival, a welcome dose of culture in my life. The Cape Dance Company were superb - oh to be so supple - and to cap it all they used music by Peter Gabriel from Passion, the soundtrack to the Last Temptation of Christ.

Sadly little Fox, Sheila's colt has had to be taken up to Endell's vets this afternoon because he has a raging temperature and can't put weight on his foreleg. Fingers crossed that they find out what is wrong with him and can put it right very quickly.