Friday, November 26, 2010

25th November, 2010 Stop meddling

If there was one thing I could stop people doing to horses it would be meddling with their noses. This overhandling irritates the life out of them and leads them to either move their head away or to start nibbling and messing back. Have a look at how many people automatically put their hand out to a horse's mouth when they approach it and how many then go on to play with them until they react. Instead of reinforcing this sort of behaviour which shows the horse how to demand attention, reward the horse for being calm and quiet by giving him a lovely rub on the neck.

25th November, 2010 Shetland, New Forest!

You'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the Shetland Isles in Fritham at the moment - what with the bleak chill and the Shetland ponies all over the green. These ponies are very popular with buyers and are put in foal to Shetland stallions rather than crossing them with the Foresters. They often behave like highwaymen, stopping cars and demanding food.

25th November, 2010 Hughie

This pretty little chap is Hughie, a Welsh Mountain pony. Although happy once he is caught, Hughie can be iffy about actually being caught and Anne, his owner, spent four frustrating hours trying to bring him in last weekend. Today I used clicker training to establish a link between his headcollar, a click and a treat. He was soon asking us to put his headcollar on in the stable and we then ventured out to a small paddock where he allowed us to do the same. Hopefully, this small change in technique will change his mind about being caught.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24th November, 2010 Lyndhurst Fire Station

From one emergency service to another. Jenny and I were invited to the fire station today for the formal commissioning of the Animal Rescue Tender which has been sponsored by the Petplan Charity. Jim's talk about the role of the Team in national and international training of fire officers and trauma vets was a good reminder of the serious purpose behind all the work that they do. Louise Minchin from BBC South who is also involved in Real Rescues came along too. To support them please see the Friends of Hampshire Animal Rescue Team page on Facebook.
Last week saw the team heading off to accept the award of the Tarquin Cup from the British Horse Society, talking about the importance of animal rescue to heads of service across the country as well as defending their funding; a busy busy time. Thank goodness for organisations such as Petplan that saw the passion and dedication within the team and agreed to support them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

23rd November, 2010 Imber Court

A fascinating visit to meet the police horses at Imber Court today with the Wessex Classical Riding Group. We had an excellent guide in Civilian Groom, Natasha, who has worked with the horses for years and years and clearly loves her job. With 110 police horses within the Metropolitan Police force, 63 of which are living at Imber Court at present, she has plenty of work - here they train mounted police officers as well as the horses themselves. The officers attend a 22 week full time course and some of them have never been near a horse before. This was week 8 and they were already jumping - they do however ride three times a day! The horses are used at football matches, concerts and carnivals such as Notting Hill as well as every day duties dealing with whatever crime is thrown up in London including burglaries and robberies. Some of the horses live at local stations where they are stalled all the time although they get plenty of exercise every day. The horses are also used for ceremonial events and now have to look forward to the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Monday, November 22, 2010

22nd November, 2010 ZZ Tops

Back to Vale Farm where Dot is leading nicely (and Alessa isn't doing badly!)
"Had the most amazing, surreal day, face to face with a zebra!"AS
"I had a really good day, feel like I've learnt a great deal with you and look forward to future courses :)" CER

Saturday, November 20, 2010

20th November, 2010 Buffy and co.

We worked with 10 different equines at Vale Farm today including Buffy. For Melanie this was her birthday present (I won't say how old). She brought along her friend Sally Toye who I last met 16 years ago when I was doing an endurance ride. I remember asking her what she did for a living - she replied that she worked for Richard Branson. "Trolley Dolly" I thought, somewhat sexistly, "I'm a pilot" she added. It taught me an important lesson about women's attitudes to women and I have never forgotten it. Hopefully I have moved on A LOT since then (I should think so!!!). Sally is now a Captain flying jumbos all over the world and she rides for the English endurance team.
"Thank you I loved every second xx"MM
"What was most exciting was to see all this in its infancy and I know how successful it will be...."ST
"Had an extraordinary day yesterday training with Sarah Weston and the Zeeee's. An amazing experience and a wonderful photo opportunity too - - - - - thank you!!!" ASH

Friday, November 19, 2010

19th November, 2010 One woman went to Mo...

And this is Mo, the Quarter Horse that I went to see this afternoon. He has been getting spooky out on rides and so we went though the basic groundwork and desensitization exercises to make sure there was nothing that particularly alarmed him before taking him out for a walk. He behaved impeccably throughout and was very curious about the novel items we produced. Hopefully some slightly less high octane food will help.

19th November, 2010 My new best friend

I have had a pretty special two days. yesterday I went to meet a black Welsh Cob filly who is part way through her education. Her owner wanted to make sure she was on the right track. I watched as she showed me the things that her little horse does including lying down on command and a really controlled rear all for hand treats. I felt that this level of communication should be enhanced rather than lost and so the aim is to see whether we can introduce some discipline through clicker training. In this way she would only be rewarded if the behaviour has been asked for not simply because she offers them; wouldn't be much fun if she took the initiative when being ridden. Very important to make sure that he owner is training her and that she is not training her owner!
Then, this morning it was off to see Breeze, the tall colt I mentioned recently. As a 17 month entire colt, he has been reluctant to be touched anywhere other than his head and wasn't all that keen on that! His owners had managed to get his headcollar on quite calmly a couple of day ago but he wasn't happy to be held and reacted strongly when anyone tried to lead him - we can't be sure that he has ever been taught to lead properly. I had been so concerned that I had made contingency plans if I couldn't make progress. Within quarter if an hour of arriving there today, Breeze was allowing me to touch his bottom - at a good distance - with the feather duster and then I was able to work my way along his back and neck. He then accepted touch by hand and light pressure on his headcollar. By the end of the session he had accepted the lead rein and was leading gently within a medium sized pen. He feels about 3 hands shorter now!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17th November, 2010 Rain, rain go away...

Despite the revolting weather, we have had another great day working with the Dot, the zeedonks and the Quarter Horse Foals. Frances, Laura and Hannah were amazed at just how tall the Mammoth Donkeys are. The floor of the stable is a little higher than the yard but even so......
"Thannkyou soooooo much for taking me on the course today!! i LOVED it :) x"LA
"Thanks for a fab day." HK

17th November, 2010 Bring on the Angry Horses

As usual there have been recurrent theme over the last week or so, in this case a month, with me meeting horses and ponies that are quick to anger. In the case of the semi-feral foals it has been because they have felt vulnerable and felt the need to defend themselves - one learned to bite (and meant it) and the other learned to kick (and meant it). In the case of the sports horse colt, he has been met with inconsistency and force, is living on his own and is full of testosterone. In the case of two full grown, well handled ponies, just ready to be started, it's because they have never been asked to accept direction before and it came as a shock when up until now, they have had things entirely their own way. There's always a cause - it may even be physical - but horses continue to get angry and to escalate their behaviour it because it has been so effective at getting people to go away or stop what they are doing; job done!

There are two ways of approaching an angry horse (quite literally), I either try to go under the radar, very quietly imposing rules, making sure that I never push too far and hope that they learn that there is no need to get angry. Otherwise, I work at my normal level, always trying to be fair, always being consistent and reasonable and deal with the behaviour that is thrown at me. If the behaviour still has a cause that can be eliminated then of course I would take that away but, if the cause is a reasonable request for the horse to move here or there, or accept some piece of equipment, then I will persist - otherwise the behaviour is still working. What is so important is to have reasonable rules and boundaries, only very slightly elasticated so that they are utterly consistent; to impose them each time, every time the horse asks the same question - is it alright to walk through you? - no; is it alright to bang you with my head? - no; is it alright to refuse to move? - no. If the horse offers me aggressive behaviour I will protect my space but never by hitting or indeed touching the horse at all; I use assertive body language and if necessary I will slap a rope across my midriff as strongly as needed to ask the horse to leave my space - for some horses a rattle bottle might be necessary. It takes a good amount of intent and sheer adamance that I am not going to accept that behaviour but I also need to prove that I am not up for a fight, it's just take that behaviour away from me, that behaviour is not acceptable, that behaviour won't work and that behaviour is going to become inconvenient. The instant the horse stops the behaviour, my response to it stops too and if it safe to do so, I go and make much of the horse with a lovely rub on the neck. It is so important to reward even the small stuff with a lovely rub and to make sure that any mental or physical pressure is released instantly so that the horse can see that there is something in it for him. There needs to be a very clear contrast between the yes and the no.

Monday, November 15, 2010

15th November, 2010 Beaubells

This morning it was off to do some leading work with Bluebell who has not only grown upwards and outwards since I last saw her, but she has also made brilliant progress. Now turned out with
two much bigger horses she will be caught in the field and loves having attention and being groomed. We started training her to be tied up today by slipping the rope through the tie up ring so that there was really a human on the end of it, and occasionally asking her to step forward following a pressure from the line. Once her owner is satisfied that there is very little risk of her pulling back, she can be tied up to a bungie type tie up or partially cut through baler twine.
It was also back to Beau who is being caught easily and co-operating well with his owner now that he has a few boundaries.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

14th November, 2010 Of swings and roundabouts

This recession scares and depresses me, all the people who are losing their jobs and their houses, as their companies start to cut costs because of a real or perceived threat to the life of the company itself. The same has been reflected throughout the horse world with ordinary, old, injured, young or useless horses being sold, loaned or given away as a response to changing priorites and the real or perceived threat of a reduced income. However, I am starting to feel some optimism because just as people tend not to move house during a recession but to concentrate on doing up the house they have got, some horse owners are now determined to improve the horses they have got. I've got one of my busiest weeks ahead...

David and I have certainly had the money conversation. My horses are relatively low maintenance but my Forest ponies still get their feet done regularly, their annual boosters and a worming programme. It eats into and almost decimates the profit from my business. We have made a joint decision to ring fence the horses that we have got; they are going nowhere and they'll get everything they need. However I won't be able to feed the extra 11 Forest ponies that I fed throughout last winter and only Nelly's best friend Brandy will get special privileges. Of course, Mussels is still with me at cost but he keeps Chancer company so that I don't have to give the fatties feed all winter through. If David loses his job, however, the whole picture changes.....fingers crossed that they will always need to keep aircraft in the sky.

Friday, November 12, 2010

12th November, 2010 Catch me.....

Beau has recently decided that he doesn't want to be caught so it was time to teach Marilyn some of the artistry that can make catching a lot easier. In the top picture, Beau is marching off and Brandee, who is keen to disassociate herself from the chosen one, marches off even faster. The absolute art is to catch his very first offer to be caught so when Beau turns against the fenceline, Marilyn turns with him, passing the headcollar into her outside hand and, the instant he comes to a halt and looks at her, stops and turns away using more inviting language. She is then able to approach, putting her arm in and out as "touch and move away" until she gets close to him. Here she reaches out touch him before moving her hand away perhaps three times before putting the headcollar on. Beau seemed to appreciate this level of real communication and was caught on several more occasions within the same session.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11th November, 2010 Listen!

This December's Listening Post magazine is going to be the best ever with an interview with Martin Clunes as well as articles by Monty, Nicole Golding and me. There are great give aways including a substantial discount on registration with the National Equine Crime Database, Western Riding at the Mendip Stud and as they say, much much more. In order to get your copy you need to be a member of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association which costs just £20 per year and includes loads of benefits. You can join NOW by going on to

All of this should fill you with glee, warmth and even Christmas cheer - for me though, fear and trepidation because as the new editor of the Listening Post, how on earth do I live up to that?!! I am keen to show that Intelligent Horsemanship is a strong broad organisation which lives in the real world with real horses and real people. I am hoping that the RAs will reveal some of their training secrets and the way that they have extended and evolved IH techniques for the future whilst retaining those important central concepts. I also want to know about people who have incorporated IH into their horsey businesses, be it livery, saddle fitting, veterinary or bodywork; how does the IH approach help them to help horses? At times likes this when it is pouring with rain, I thought we might be lifted by hearing about RAs and IH people who live in warmer climes - where are you Xanthe? - and in the summer, perhaps we'll go for the cooler ones. Kelly is keen that we should have some full head to heads on issues such as hot branding and the use of food in training. Watch out for fur and feathers!

If you have an IH minded article or something that you think will be of interest to IH readers, please send it to me direct at I expect in time there will be a seperate editor's e-mail address for me. Don't worry if you don't feel like a natural writer I can do all the faffing with layout, grammar and spelling - that's my job. Write as you speak about horses, with great enthusiasm......well okay, perhaps not so much in this weather but perfect for sitting by the fire and jotting down your thoughts.

11th November, 2011 Counting my Blessings

On Monday I sank into a depression - too much pressure just for a little while and the prospect of David going away for another two weeks. Fortunately these days it passes quickly and I am surrounded by the most special people in the world. David is an amazing support and has got involved in horses when really he prefers two wheels. His infinite patience and lack of pre-conceptions makes him an excellent foal-man and teacher and means that he can cope with me too. I am a high maintenance wife! When he's away I feel as if my heart has been ripped out and at least half of my soul is with him wherever he is. Fortunately this time it is a hot country and he is going to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday on Sunday. Look out for him in the crowd!

I am also blessed to have the two best girl friends I have ever had. Jenny (left) is better than she will ever know - efficient, earnest and very very competent. She's brilliant at inventing things - like woolly hoola-hoops for the ponies and a break away device for lead rein phobic ponies like Jack. She's up for anything and is as keen as me to work with the zzzzs and the farm that owns them. I value reliability and honesty. All talk, all action. She has been solidly revising for her MRPCH exams for the last 12 weeks only to find that the Stage II course has been postponed to March. She takes it on the chin and just gets on with it.

Julie has had a pretty grim year with another operation on her back which has hopefully worked this time. This has meant that she has been out of horsey action for most of the time and yet still come out and about with me. Four weeks after the last op she is down on Dartmoor with me, working with the ponies and the students and taking fantastic photos. She's a really peaceful person to be with. I love them both to bits.

I have moved so many times in my life that I have never had strong and lasting friendships before and anyway I am a bit of anti-social bod. I have a great deal of empathy with my clients and their horses and like them all enormously - most of the become friends too and I am always gratified when they come back to me years after they had their first appointment perhaps with a new horse or a new training issue. I may have a weird sense of humour, pass on some difficult news or jiggle with their long held views, nevertheless I am always there for them and their horse and generous with my time.

I have an awkward and rather involved relationship with my Mum but she perseveres with me despite everything and we both love many of the same things, in particular the written word. She is the best proof reader in the world and there aren't many of those about!

Grandpa Pye is still completely with it and wishing his legs would work better and I look forward to visiting him soon. He wants to see David's pictures from the Himalayas and engage in manly talk about engines and motorbikes. He gets a hard copy of my blog for Christmas and likes to read it day by day.

Dear Dad and Grandpa Cooper, now long gone, are both looking down from the family cloud urging me to do the right thing by horses and to be happy.

I really musn't listen to REM in the mornings.

10th November, 2010 Z Course

Today Jenny and I ran the first Equine Awareness Course at Vale Farm with Kathryn, Jan and another Jenny. The sun shone on us and the animals were fabulous. Dot has his left front leg touched by hand for the first time, the zeedonks were worked with seperately for the first time and Buffy, the Quarter Horse filly started to be handled for the very first time. It was a great great day for all of us.
"I had the most amazing day playing with baby zebra, zeedonkeys and quarter horse foals, and I loved the mammoth donkeys so many special moments. Was sooo cold but couldn't stop smiling all day. Thank you to Kathryn and Jan for taking me with them and to Sarah and Jenny for sharing. Very WOW! and not forgetting orphan deer Freddy love him :o) xx"JB
For more information about Vale Farm and these Extraordinary Equines go to

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

9th November, 2010 Casualty

Four ponies including three foals were killed on the New Forest roads last week.

People who regularly drive across the New Forest are being urged to be extra careful this winter.The New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers want to remind people to be extra vigilant on their way home from work after the clocks go back this weekend.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor and Recreation Services at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘It can often take a while for people to adjust to the darker evenings. In 2009 there were more animal accident deaths in October and November compared to any other time of year.‘A lot of ponies wear reflective collars but many don’t, so drivers should look out for dark-coloured ponies which are often more difficult to see. It is important to drive at a sensible speed and to make sure you can stop if an animal steps onto the road at the last moment. Ponies have no road sense so it is up to the driver to be extra cautious.‘It’s not just the animals that are at risk in an accident. If the driver is speeding the results could be catastrophic for their passengers too.’

Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers added: ‘Now is a timely reminder that we all need to be extra careful when driving in the New Forest, especially at the moment. There is a large glut of acorns this year so there are more ponies on the verges than usual trying to eat them. ‘Animal accidents are not only difficult for the people involved but also for the Agisters whose job it is to find the animal, which may have been suffering for hours. She continued: ‘Hit and runs are the most distressing of accidents – it’s vital that you report an accident straight away. Anyone who gives information leading to a prosecution can claim a reward of up to £1000.’

Driving tips:
§ Be ready to stop - ponies may step out even when they’ve seen you approaching§ Drive slowly, especially at night and when other cars are approaching with their headlights on
§ Give animals grazing by the side of the road a wide berth
§ Remember that deer easily jump the fences alongside roads like the A337, A31 and A35 and when there is one deer more will usually follow
§ The faster you are going, the greater the damage will be to the animal, your car and your passengers - start your journey early so you don’t have to hurry.

If you witness an accident:
Call 999 in an emergency or 0845 045 4545 in a non-emergency to report any road traffic accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, sheep, dog or deer. Call the Verderers’ Office on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday 9am-5 pm) or the Forestry Commission on 023 8028 3141 (24 hours) to report sick commoning animals.

Be prepared:
Carry an animal accident hotline card, it tells you who to call and display an ‘I go slow for ponies’ car sticker. Visit for more information on how to get a card and sticker.

Monday, November 8, 2010

8th November, 2010 Buzz Word

Remind you of anyone? This is Buzz, a Quarter Horse (not an Eighth Horse like Theoden) that I was asked to assess for starting today. He is six years old so more than ready for some work and fascinated with things like the brolly and the hoops that I got out to see how brave and curious he is. Having more or less done what he likes up until now, the main areas of work are asking him to be present with humans and to accept direction from them. We took him out for a lovely walk and he didn't bat an eyelid at a tractor and trailer and wanted to touch a big white van that came past.
"Since your visit Buzz has been a lot more interested in what we have to do with him, and he really enjoyed your lesson. He really wants to work. Today we did some leading work in the dually with counted stops and asking him to turn a circle, back up and walk away from Herbie. He was a star. " AS 15.11.10

Sunday, November 7, 2010

7th November, 2010 Honest Lee

This is Lee, a Connemara pony, who is living in a menage a quatre with the three ladies who share him, Carol, Liz and Heather. I met Heather at the Woodgreen Open Day and since then she has come out with me a few times, screamed for the Firemen and house and horse sat while I went to Dartmoor. Lee is a pony in a million, really nice to handle and apparently lovely to ride. He just has a problem about lifting up his back feet particularly when the farrier is about. We worked on asking him to lift his legs and to relax and accept contact on the inside and outside of his legs. Using an incremental approach and "clear rounds" of leg handling, we got all three sharers more confident about working with his legs. If they conitnue with this over the next few weeks before the farrier is due, gradually moving his legs about into different positions and for longer each time, everything should be a lot easier when he has his feet done.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

6th November, 2010 Fireworks!

Well not really. Sugar is a semi-feral Welsh Mountain pony and pretty feisty with it. There always seems to be a theme of the month and this time it is that if a prey animal feels that they can't run, they will fight instead; it should be no surprise. Sugar had learned that she could kick people out of her field. Out came my longest extending feather duster and once I had persuaded her that touch can be pleasant, it was fairly quick and straightforward to get to touching her with my hand, a scarf and putting her headcollar on (one and a half hours in total). Armed with a copy of No Fear, No Force, I am confident that her owner should be able to carry on.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

3rd November, 2010 Tall order

Having just got over the fact that the New Forest ponies seem huge compared to the Dartmoors, it was off today to one of the tallest horses I have seen. At only 17 months old, Breeze is giraffe-like at the moment and just as wild as those Dartmoor ponies. He has had some sporadic and rather random training in his old home so that he is ambivalent about touch, doesn't know how to lead and isn't sure whether humans are his mates (he's entire), his enemy, his mother or his girlfriend. We started today with the absolute basics rather than trying to unravel each individual issue. Accordingly, it was out with the feather duster in the paddock and later a more enclosed area to teach him about space, direction and touch. We've got some work ahead and it might be a tall order (did you see what I did there?) but his new owners are prepared to give it all ago. It's going to take some common sense and some real horse sense and a good deal of help at the start.

More thoughts - 4.11.10

It can sometimes be quite a responsibility to advise clients in these circumstances. Horses don't just arrive with manners and if they have had some confusing and predatorial experiences, they can be even more convinced that being around humans isn't a good idea and engage in flight or fight (or an interesting combination of the two) - and in the case of an entire be driven by testosterone. I don't like to label a horse as dangerous but their behaviour can be. The safety of the client has to come first. I had never really felt that my job had anything in common with David's (he instals and comissions air traffic control equipment) but this morning he was telling me about his responsibilities as an electrician on site - here, the responsibility falls entirely on to his shoulders as a qualified and competent electrician. He can't just follow orders or take the company line if he feels that the electrical systems he is working on are unsafe. Accordingly, it is open to him to declare a site closed until it is upgraded. At the moment, the horse I went to see need some careful and thoughtful intervention before he will be safe for them to handle.

In the same vein, today I went to work with a loader or rather, a non-loader. She seemed very genuine in her concern about going on the trailer and it was clear that we needed to do some work on leadership. She had been very calm in the yard but as soon as she was out in the field and near the trailer she began to whirl about. We did some very useful groundwork asking her to be calm and present and she brought her own adrenalin down bit by bit until she was working with us. However, I always want to look behind this kind of behaviour and as I worked with the trailer, I had more and more misgivings about it and I expect she had been feeling the same. For example, the ramp was slippery between the slats and the second layer of flooring was beginning to rot around the edges where the urine gets trapped. Closer examination revealed that there were rivets missing where the front of the trailer meets the floor. We always have to be conscious that the horse might be trying to tell us something, rather like Black Beauty at the bridge. The owners are going to have the trailer thoroughly checked and repaired as necessary and are going to make sure that some of the functional problems are addressed too - why do manufacturers make trailers with sticky out metal bits on the side of the ramp? Unless your horse always loads nicely within the confines of position A, there is always a risk of injury. I seem to be getting through an awful lot of pipe lagging in my attempts to cover these things up in order to protect the horse.

Monday, November 1, 2010

1st November, 2010 Positive Thinking

We have received an extremely positive response to the course and we are all set to do the same again next year.
Every student received a copy of my book before the course. One said "The book is fantastic - written from the heart, easy to understand and relate to and is bursting with compassion towards these ponies. A wonderful read and really set the mood for the course". K.E.
Of the course itself: "I really like the fact that ponies were not "hurried along" for the benefit of the students, which can easily happen in a course environment"(K.E.) and "there was no pressure, but secretly we had goals, we just didn't tell the ponies!"(L.S.)
"The food was good! Very important!" (L.S.) and "Everything was set up thoughtfully for ponies and people" (J.P.)
Overall: "It's a very rewarding course and very moving to work so closely with the wild ponies" (L.S.) and "I have really enjoyed it and have taken a lot away (including Chester!) from it. (K.E.)
"Many thanks for organising the super course last week. Holly enjoyed every second of it! I was amazed how much progress the foals made in just a few days. I know Holly has learnt some really valuable skills too." Katie Shellard

1st November, 2010 Open Day

One extra day for David and I at the official Open Day which is organised jointly by the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre and Charlotte Faulkner, who owns all of the ponies. It is an excellent opportunity to describe what we do to the general public although whether they can truly see just how far the ponies have come in what is only two and half days training, I'm not sure. The course itself is extremely worthwhile and the tutors including myself all work for free. The foals we work with will all be sold privately and hopefully stand a much better chance of a good life from this gentle start. PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BUY ONE OF THE PONIES.
The foals are a by product of the need to conserve our important moorland, mountains and forest, yet they are a useful, tenacious and pretty.
Top picture: one of our graduates from last year came back to show us his horse agility.

1st November, 2010 Day day

On the final day of the course we played the fishing game where students see how easily they can put a headcollar on their pony whilst it is in the big pen with all the others. We also had a theory session where we discussed timing, intent, energy, the value of mentoring, rules for herding and the use of various bits of kit. It was agreed that the feather dusters and the furry hoola-hoops were very valuable indeed (perhaps we should start selling them!). With certificates given out and various presents for the tutors, we had a relaxed afternoon working with the ponies before saying our farewells. We will hopefully be visiting Xanthe in Mallorca, receiving a visit from Joy and Chester will be going home to Kay.

1st November, 2010 Day Four

Day four found us in slightly brighter clothes and the odd bit of make up as Your Horse Magazine came to take photographs for the morning. The foals decided to give Matthew the chance to take lots of photos of them running around like wild things in the field. By now Charlie was getting much tamer and allowed Ruth to approach and kneel down right next to him when he was lying down in the big pen.