Friday, May 15, 2009

14th May, 2009 Another day, another loader

Today it was off to Bath or nearly Bath to work with a couple of horses. Yet another Welsh Cob that has gone on strike about loading and a horse that is really frightened of donkeys. In the case of the loader we got her loading nicely using very gentle pressure on a quarter rope. In her case, I think she had learned to go into the pressure of quite a sharp knotted halter (hard and thin across the poll) and was getting endorphins from it and planting. By asking her back legs, rather than the front we were able to take that pressure off her head. Nevertheless, I have asked the owners to practise lots as she is clearly worried about being in the lorry having had an incident in a trailer and I've also asked them to get her checked out physically. Travelling is hard work if you are sore - I should know!

With no "tame" donkey to work with, we were somewhat limited with the other horse so just concentrated on asking him to be present with us rather than away with the donkeys - both on the ground and when ridden. Every time his attention went away he was asked to bring it back. The donkeys are in the field next door but obscured by high fencing - he knows they are there, he can smell that they are there and he can hear that they are there and he is convinced that they are predators. By coincidence, the donkeys were at the far end of their field so we were able to get his concentration early on and then do some pretty ridden work using breathing, counting and relaxation to get the connection between horse and rider. I really enjoyed it as I don't get to formally teach ridden work very often.

I can't actually remember when I had my last day off and my next one isn't until 24th May. A shame then to have been criticised for not being able to take in a starter until August and to feel guilty for not wanting long telephone conversations about horses in the evenings. As I don't finish my horse reports until well after 9 p.m. and I get up early in the mornings to answer e-mails, pack books and to update this blog, I think I'm doing my little best. In the meantime, David has cooked supper for the last five nights in a row and had his favourite television programmes interrupted by the telephone as late as 10 p.m.