Tuesday, October 9, 2012

9th October Deux Bête Noire

A bit of a disaster yesterday when we took Fern out long reining on the lanes. She had been fine in the field and was working beautifully on the track having gone past her 'napping' point fairly easily and without much wriggliness, when along comes the farmer in his Landrover and drives straight at her. Having been hit by a Landrover in the past, she turns round and round, wrapping herself up in the long reins which frightens her even more since years ago she was lassoed by a cowboy trainer (won't mention names) and then takes off. I didn't stand a hope of holding on to her despite my gloves. and it was just good fortune that we hadn't crossed any roads so that she could go directly to her own field gate. She was a bit shaken up by the experience so we long reined in the field again until she was really calm and then called it a day. Let's hope that what she gets out of it is a positive experience - "all that happened to me and yet I was fine", rather than "Oh no, the world is full of Landrovers and ropes that frighten me". I hate being involved in dramas since I do everything I can not to activate the prey response in a horse and to teach them how to act if they are afraid of something.

This does show that turning a horse away, either because of circumstances as in this case, or design, believing that it will do the horse good, is not the panacea people think it is. Left to their own devices, horses become horses again and regress in some way. Often they become worried about leaving their field and the companions they rely on, and believe the world to be flat. You wouldn't want to be the first horse to go over the edge.

The day didn't get much better when a neighbour's dog, running loose on the path that goes to our house, dashed up to me barking and snarling. I was convinced she was going to bite me but stayed still and avoided eye contact. The owner doesn't think that she will benefit from training (she's a Collie) and says it is in the nature of the dog and that the dog thinks she owns the path. In that case I think she should be on a lead!