Saturday, January 29, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
A very successful morning with Beau, Brandee and Champ. Following a positive long reining session, Beau was backed for the first time without any drama whatsoever. Brandee was caught easily and stood with her son for her photograph to be taken and then Champ had his second session of short reining and worked really well, listening very closely to what he was being asked to do and no longer pulling as he did with the long reins.
Same with Jenny and Splash. Jenny fell off Splash when she spooked at something and as she did so Splash jumped to the side and was stabbed by a piece of twig - something that reinforced her fear of things falling against her side rather than of twigs.
I think horses like to know what it is that has 'got' them and will look for something to 'blame'. I don't think they can see the end of a lunging whip that is about to hit them and instead start to look for what they can see, i.e., the movement of an arm swinging towards them. When a horse is afraid of that movement it tells me a lot.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
This morning Julie and I went out to a little herd of Fell ponies near Wimborne to work with a couple of them. Both were really expressive about everything they felt. The first, was really bold and quite strong and took matters into his own hooves whenever he felt that the people around him needed leadership. Just a little groundwork for him and rewarding him with lovely rubs in places he had pointed out earlier. The other pony was born on the Cumbrian Fells and had had his right ear notched when he was a foal (now illegal). As a result he is still worried all these years later about strangers. Although he is ridden, he reacts badly if walkers pass him on both sides at once. The first time Julie and I simulated this scenario, he grew a couple of hands, tensed up and cocked a running foot on his left hand hind leg. At the end of the session he was standing calmly while Julie and I did a very slow jog either side of him. This is going to need some more work though if he is to accept people who are entirely new and we are thinking we might set up a social event at their field where people will wear hiz viz, garish clothing and peculiar rucksacks and headgear. The good news is that he is only frightened of people and not of new and novel things.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Guilda came up today for her second long reining session. She was so good that we took her out on the Forest where she was confident and happy. This is a pony with a very sensible outlook on life. Hopefully it won't be long before we put a rider on her.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
....not done that and not got the T-shirt. Today was another family affair working with a six year old 7/8 TB x 1/8 Arabian who actually looks nearly all Arabian. So far he has led a very sheltered life although the hope is that I can train him to load so that he can go off to be broken in. The fact that he has never left his family or field is one consideration and the other is that his sister, who shares a field with him, has never been left on her own either. This meant that all of the groundwork I did had to be done within a very short distance of her so that she wouldn't get herself into trouble. The next time I go it's hoped that she will have a nanny so that we can practice what we did today a bit further away and gradually extend their comfort zones. Then I will need to teach him to tie up, accept boots and a poll guard. If he does as well as he did today, I shall be very pleased. He is certainly mentally ready for his education and engaged with me throughout.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
This little powerhouse is Champ whose long reining is coming along well however he occasionally pulls like a train. Our plan is to short rein him for a while to ask him to be a lot lighter and to get used to the feel of a body along his sides. He'd make a great little driving pony so we will be following him around with a wheelbarrow shortly too.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
"Hi Sarah! Million thanks for your help yesterday. We're attempting to follow your instructions to the letter--its already made a vast difference. And of course once its been explained it all makes perfect sense! I must say also what a brilliant teacher you are--both of equines and humans. Your lesson was worth ten times your fee--love D & A & C."
Friday, January 7, 2011
I haven't been doing much with my own horses in this dreary weather - it's much easier to concentrate on survival and basic animal husbandry. I am impressed by anyone who has continued to ride throughout the winter. I don't have to and I don't want to!! I have been dodging the rain drops with a few clients. Beau and Champ are now long reining really well and it won't be long before we can put a rider on Beau. Guilda's owner came up for a long reining lessons with Petra - it took me an hour to get the mud off her (Petra not Kym!). I went to do some loading training with Gizmo and saw Duke, a pony we started about three years ago who has just come second in the New Forest point to point. Yesterday I did some work with a little New Forest foal called Teddy - he's a darling. Today I am having a day in the office at the Fire Station so I'd better disappear soon....
I have been very pleased with Chancer who is living out full time without a rug. This is the best he has ever looked during the winter. With Mussels for company and the Nissen hut to shelter in and lots and lots of hay to eat, he seems to be absolutely fine.
Many many thanks to Lorraine who gave me a big bale of hay yesterday for the New Forest ponies and also to Jan who sent me a book memories, my favourite photos, for my birthday.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
If only there was a device that would tell me where they ARE rather than where they have been. There are satellite tracking devices which can be fitted on a collar and logged at great expense (and the collar needs to be breakable - and is therefore lose-able - if the pony gets caught up) this still doesn't allow identification from a distance nor does it provide any deterrent to theft. Microchips are only worth anything if the police, ports and abbatoirs scan every pony.