Thursday, September 20, 2012

20th September, 2012 Long Reign the Long Rein

For a long time now I have maintained that I would be very worried about putting anyone on a horse that wouldn't accept long reins. Not only do long reins help to introduce horses to the aids and looking after their own feet, they are also brilliant for building up a horse's confidence. They are an excellent tool for assessing how well a horse will cope with something being on both sides of his body at once and something being in his blind spot. I have now got another excellent reason for using them. A friend's pony has just been found to have kissing spine and is receiving corticosteroid injections and undergoing physiotherapy. The physiotherapist has recommended the use of a Pessoa in order to build up the pony's back muscles. Now, this is a pony that used to spook very badly at things that came up behind her and has been very frightened by ropes in the past.- a tall order then?

"I am meant to be putting S in the Pessoa, so thought I had best start training for it today. She looked round at it, with all its ropes, clips, sheepskin, jingly jangly bits and  wasn't worried at all. Fine, I pop on the rear end (with breast girth so it cannot slip back when only half on), not bothered, walked her - not bothered, trotted her, she shortened up as she felt it move behind her bottom, stopped and turned her neck round to the RIGHT to have a look!   We continued with a little trot in both directions, did the rest of it up loose, more walk and trot just to check she is happy. This is a totally different horse, happy, ears forwards, no longer checking out whats behind her, and able to casually turn and look. Early days I know, but this is almost too good to be true.  Other than the injections, this all boils down to one thing, a massive thank you to you for politely putting it to me that she really does need to cope with long lines before backing even though she accepted the saddle before she accepted ropes." JC