It's hard to come down from the euphoria and elation you feel when working with wild foals, helping them to understand that humans are not going to eat them and can be trusted. The five day course at the Dartmoor Pony Training Centre in Widdecombe is one of the highlights of my year. From day one we knew that we had an exceptional set of students and of all of the tutors are highly competent. The whole course ran smoothly and the foals all made great progress and were much much tamer by the end.
On day one it was unusual to find foals that were willing to present their heads for both running with a feather duster and contact with a hand. Two of the foals were very young so that whilst most of the foals were handled for half a day at a time (with lots of breaks) they were even more part time and got to lie down, chill and graze out in the field. The students included Joy, a vet with The Brooke, Xanthe who had come all the way from Mallorca where she rescues and trains mules and donkeys, and Jane and Sue who both work with children with special needs. John, the only man this time (!) work with traumatised pony at home and has done many of the IH courses. He quietly gave the DPTC a significant donation at the end of the course which made us feel very humble. Ruth is completing her HND in Equine Studies and two of the students were 16 year olds on half term - what a great way to spend a school holiday and such a pleasure to meet two young people who want to be gentle with the ponies they meet. Leanne is a conservationist with Essex Wildlife Trust and we tried t persuade her to take all the ponies home for a grazing project. Kay had won the course through Your Horse magazine and they came to watch us on the Thursday and an article should appear in the magazine in December. Kay actually took a pony home!!