A joyful return to Dartmoor this last week for the Foal Handling Course. With 9 students and 12 ponies, 6 tutors and 3 members of the DPTC team, 3 was the magic number. We were able to set up on Sunday in record time having planned ahead for over a year.
We are always striving to get to the softest, safest method of training foals. At the beginning of the week we were joined by Zoopharmacognosist, Fiona Habershon, to see whether the foals would benefit from oils, herbs and macerates. On Monday morning Yarrow and Valerian were dropped on to our feather dusters as we began to work with the foals and they certainly seemed to be very chilled out.
There is no pony wrangling here in any event. No pulling ponies around or over with ropes around their necks or insisting that they face their trainer with both eyes; where ponies are happy to accept food from the hand we begin clicker training straight away and for those that are worried about being so close to humans we use the feather duster to establish first touch. As a result both ponies and people are very quiet and there is the air of a library about the whole thing.