Saturday, October 1, 2011

1st October, 2011 Hot stuff

Bertie, loaded.

Lucy, long reining

A small reaction Lucy style

Calm, calm, calm

On one of the hottest days that I can remember in England and on such a date, Julie and I went to work with Bertie a pony that has intermittent problems with loading. There really was no obvious reason why he was refusing to load, no obvious trigger points or worries, but he had certainly perfected the art of planting and refusing to move at all. He apparently travels perfectly once loaded and arrives calm and happy. He unloads steadily. The only suggestions I was able to make was that the front bar could be padded and needed to be midway between the two settings available now. The trailer is a 510 and the top setting presses against his oesophagus during braking and the bottom setting is low enough for him to think about breaching it if he wanted to. In an ideal world it needs to be somewhere between the two. I also suggested that he have his back and poll checked as part of an regular MOT since he is only four and will be changing shape as he matures and starts to work in earnest.

Normal gentle pressure and release had little effect and he wasn't all that bothered about food so we put the panels in place so that we could get him flowing on and off the trailer again, practising his 'yes' and his 'maybe' rather than his 'no'. By the end of the session we were able to take all of the panels away save for one on the right hand side where he was inclined to practice his default position of turning sideways off the ramp. I have left the panels with the clients so that they can practice for the next few days without engaging with his 'no' and then gradually take them all away again.

Email received 2nd October, 2011: 
"We had our first practice session this morning and all went really well, we even managed it with NO panels at the end. When we got to the last panel I moved it half way up the trailer and then 3/4s and then away completely and that seemed to work a treat, so lets hope all this good work continues.I thought what we might do is continue like this for a few more nights and then perhaps take him for a short drive then bring him back and unload and reload. E is absolutely over the moon with his progress, as you can see she loves him very much, and this was his little problem spot.Once again thank you for your help." SH

Later it was off to see lovely Lucy. Her clever owner has worked out that she is much happier accepting the surcingle if she has an exercise sheet underneath and in time this will be reduced down to a saddle pad or a towel. As an ex-racehorse she will be used to wearing a sheet but she is also used to the girth being done up abruptly while she circles around the handler on the floor. Success then today when she stood still to have the surcingle put on. We were also able to long rein her on two reins for the very first time and used the square poles to give her a job to do. Although she had a small reaction when asked to trot on the two reins for the first time, she was really calm and sweet. I think she is really starting to trust that things are not going to hurt her and to relax a lot more.

Email received: 2nd October, 2011: 
"Just to say a massive thank you for the photos, I was so pleased with Lucy today. When I went to bring her into bed a couple of hours later she was still as cool as a cucumber!"JC