Another big bay baby today. Phineas is almost 15 hands already and he is only 10 months old! His front end is very friendly but his back end was unhandled. It was quite a straightforward job although we had to be mindful of just how long his legs are if he wanted to say "no". The best solution seemed to be to do a little bit of boundary work at the front end and then treat his back end like a semi-feral foal. I used my trusty feather duster to desensitise his bottom and back legs before teaching him to accept my hands. By the end of the session he was really not bothered - I was interrupting his eating after all - and starting to pick his feet up when asked. Jan, his owner, was very pleased with him and I have every confidence that she will be able to carry on with the work. By the time I'd got home she'd been on the IHDG:
"Wow! Can't stop smiling after spending two wonderful hours with Sarah Weston RA this morning. I recently bought an unhandled 10month old colt Phineas and though we've come a long way in the past 3 weeks I realised I needed help re touching his legs and rump areas. Sarah was just amazing and within minutes was getting Phin accepting all sorts of touching/handling with no bullying or manhandling at all. Not only has Sarah helped Phin but had the patience and skill to teach me too! I can't tell you how inspirational and exciting I found the whole experience; what a privilege to be able to work, watch and learn from such a skilled lady. I now feel ready to carry on the brillant work started today and know that Phin's had the very best teacher possible. Thank you Sarah! Oh ,and I'm very proud of my baby too, well done Phin"
E-mail 5.12.09: "Oh Sarah,what can I say? Had Phin's first lesson with me alone today and what a star he was! In fact I wasn't quite sure what to do as he only moved once!!! He was fascinated with the posh new feather duster my daughter bought me (purple and cream sheepskin!) and wanted to keep touching and smelling it as if to say 'thats not right at all'! However, he wasn't at all fazed by it and soon I was at picking up feet stage, which I have to say he did beautifully without falling over. Am I a proud mum or what? :) So I'll keep doing this til he's word perfect and introduce brushing, scarves, towels at some stage. Thank you from me and Phin , Jan x "