A day of mixed fortunes. On of the owners that I have been supporting in starting her own pony at home was well and truly bucked off this morning when he said he couldn't cope with a rider and saddle. He was fine when sat on bareback and there is no reason to suppose that there is anything particularly wrong with the (brand new treeless) saddle; there wasn't time for him to register that. There is a real dilemma about starters and whether it is better to have them in or to work with them at their own yard. If they come in, there can be fits and starts as we deal with other issues such as sore backs or desensitisation and it is cheaper for the owner to have them at home. On the other hand the facilities are rarely as good when we go out - we don't have a round pen, the school may be as hard as rock and usually the owner will not be as experienced at getting on newly started horses. Most of the time it all works out but this time it didn't. We've all got to take a step back now and work out whether it would be better for him to come in. Incidentally, I am not too keen on treeless saddles for starters but this one fitted really nicely and he looked totally at ease in it. My concern has always been that a rider has to lean so far down to do up the dressage girth straps - not a good idea on a newly started horse - and could frighten them or just unbalance them. Also, it is too easy to overtighten the girth if the saddle is inclined to slip - and you can't afford to have that happen with a youngster either.
Following yesterdays training session, Fern is a little better with traffic approaching her from behind. I found that she is more likely to try to overtake when I lead her from the right than the left and this is resulting in her feeling less secure. I have found that by not letting horses overtake me when I am leading them, no matter which side I am on, you provide them with a brick wall of security and prove that you are "there" for them at all times. Once we had worked on this, she was so much more relaxed and we shall go and find some more cars to look at in the next few days.
Rosie did some clickered stretches today followed by a clicker training session with the worming syringe and then the massager. She was happy to be touched by both and for the syringe to be inserted into her mouth and the plunger plunged several many times! If there had been any wormer in it, she would have received sufficient wormer today to work a 14,000 kilogram horse!
This evening it was off to meet lovely Ludo, This 3 year old NF x Arab is really gorgeous and has a very nice character. He was bred by the Hankinsons at Fritham, the same people who bred Nelly, and they have a lovely way with their youngsters. They are so unflappable.