Sunday, June 30, 2013

30th June, 2013 Oh You Pretty Things

Nettles admiring himself in a silver balloon this afternoon. It might not have been much of a party but he enjoyed chasing me, the bike, and the balloons around the field. Great for his confidence.

Later we had a visit from Jackie with Charley and Pam with Katie. So many horses are called human names it's difficult to know who is who! Jackie and Pam are the ones on top. A couple of months ago Jackie had a lesson with a traditional trainer who implied that Jackie had been done and that Charley was a difficult horse. Rubbish! A couple of lessons with me and now graduated to ridden work with Amanda Barton and Charley has been reclassified as an endurance horse. Once you are satisfied that a horse has no physical problems, plenty of work can resolve a lot of problems. They appear to be having a great time.

I was worried that Lottie might revert to her wild roots when she went back home but I need have no fear. Her owner Tamsin came up to work with me this afternoon and has just the right attitude, energy and intent to carry on where I have left off. They really are a gorgeous together.

"Thank you so much! You are very talented. And the horses can really tell you truely love and care about them. Will recommend you always. Thanks " TW

Saturday, June 29, 2013

29th June, 2013 And all that Jazz

With only the weekend to go before Lottie goes home, I have been practising with her head collar as often as possible. Her leading work is coming along and she is much happier about having her ears touched.

Meanwhile after going out on the lead rein with Petra,  Nettles accepted me on his back. He was just standing so quietly next to the mounting block that I thought that the moment was right. There will only be a few sit ons before I stop again since he is only three and I am not keen on three year olds being ridden. His owner is deciding what to do with him next and we are both hoping that he will find a nice home locally where he can be brought on really slowly.

Jazz is certainly ready to be started and today i was asked to assess exactly where she is in her education. She was completely unfazed and in fact fascinated by the brolly and her first session of long reining went well.

29th June, 2013 Fat on the Forest

You'd be forgiven for thinking that my Forest kept ponies were all pregnant but since Nelly and Blue came off the Forest when the stallions were out and Pie is a boy, that's hardly likely. Everyone is tucking into the new heather at the moment and the crunching is really loud.

Ponies with pink extremities always struggle in the sun and Pie is no exception. He has got plenty of shade he can get under but is often right out in the middle of the plain. I work on the basis that he is happier out wild than in and that this counter-balances everything else.

29th June, 2013 I Get So Emotional Baby

I turned up at the gym on Thursday. It's been three weeks since I saw Sally my Personal Trainer what with going to the Isle of Wight, an injury to my Achilles, life and one thing and another. She put me on the treadmill and while I could still breathe I told her all about my aches and pains, my concern about the marathon, how I didn't have the satnav to get to my next appointment and how I was worried that I would lose all my fitness. She looked at my gait and rhythm and saw that it was all over the place...just like my mind; lamenting the past and wishing for the future, left, right, in front and behind the actual moment of just running on the treadmill. When it dawned on me what I was doing and I just settled down to concentrate on my stride, there was a vast improvement.

I have lost count of the number of times I have worked with owners, persuading them to leave their emotions at the gate - particularly the negative ones - as they are of no use whatsoever in the training of a horse. Work with what you have got on the day. Just that.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

26th June, 2013 Hat and Scarf

My Great Grandad, Nathaniel Cooper, used to tell us to take our horse's hat off when it was time to turn them out. Today Lovely Lottie had her hat on as well as her scarf. Jackie and I were met with a very different pony to the one that Alison and I worked with yesterday. Somewhere, overnight, something shifted in her mind so that she was happy to have her head touched from the outset today. All the barriers were down and it was wonderful to see her saying, "Oh yes, I get that" and "Yes, that's fine, you go ahead." It is so much nicer to work with a pony's consent like this and I am so glad that Alison and I took the time to prove to her that we weren't going to force anything and just handled those areas that she was consenting to yesterday.

This is the first time that Jackie has worked with a wild pony and it was incredible to see how she dropped her energy as soon as I asked her to this morning. From fast and excited, telling me all about how Charley has been getting on and her ridden lessons with Amanda Barton, she went into quiet mode, working peacefully and empathetically with Lottie. Holding these courses has meant that Lottie's owner has had an additional five hours training for Lottie which she hasn't had to pay for.

Lottie was very relaxed by the time we had put the head collar on for the sixth time in succession.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

25th June, 2013 Spotty Lotty

Lottie is making great progress and is allowing touch all over her body including her tummy and legs with the feather duster. She has also been touched by hands all the way along the top of her body right up to behind her ears. Today Alison S came to work with her, practising her No Fear, No Force techniques that she first learned with Nettles two years ago coupled with her own Reiki and healing skills. It was Alison that succeeded in putting the 'hoola-hoop' over Lottie's nose and this seemed like a very good note on which to end today's session.

Meanwhile Nettles has been out to look at some traffic and had a good look round Danny's mini-digger.

Monday, June 24, 2013

24th June, 2013 Horses are Dangerous

Life can be a bugger sometimes. Yesterday I was reminded of how dangerous horses can be when one of them ran into David while they were larking about and knocked him right into the gate. In those slow motion seconds when I ran to where he was on the ground, I thought he had been killed outright. As it was he was lying there assessing which bits hurt the most and whether anything was broken. Fortunately he was absolutely fine.

This morning I got to the fields to find Nettles in totally the wrong place and it became clear that one of the others, probably Theoden, had driven him straight through the fence. Fortunately he had only minor cuts although the fence wasn't looking so healthy. Before anyone feels too sorry for him, I was teaching him to pony off Petra this afternoon when he turned round and walloped her in the side with both back feet. She was unscathed but is probably bruised.

All of this pales into insignificance though as I have come home to find a forlorn text from Kanuthi's owner, Liz, who was the best home I could have ever wished a pony to go to, telling me that he was kicked by another horse last night and had to be put down as he suffered a severe fracture. I cannot imagine the pain she is going through since she loved him so much and I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face too. Kanuthi was the first Sherekhan foal that we bred from our New Forest mares and was a very beautiful and gentle boy.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

23rd June, 2013 Lipstick and Mascara

On the last day of my visit to the Isle of Wight, Jo let me into her vintage dress collection and got out her brilliant camera and photography skills. Who knows what the horses thought!

23rd June, 2013 Sunday Guests

Nettles was visited by his owner, Diana, today and her friend Nic and her family. Nic has taken a keen interest in Nettles and visited him regularly as well as doing some leading with him in his field at home. Today I demonstrated and therefore consolidated the work we have done on long reins and short reins and little Nettles just excelled himself. In time we will need to find him a suitable home and I just hope he finds somewhere where he will be absolutely loved and treated very kindly.

 Short-reining, normally undertaken with short reins (!), is just such a wonderful way of training a pony to accept the aids, the presence of a physical contact on his body, and control of his speed and direction. Nettles has taken to it like the proverbial duck.

Desensitising him to sudden movement on either side - I'm practising my Pilates on the move.

After this we all went out on the Forest and I had two very willing assistants. You might ask, "How many women does it take to long-rein a pony?!"

Later you might have wondered what all the excitement was about. The horses queued up behind the trailer and cavorted around the field. All this because....

... Lottie moved paddocks.