On Saturday I emailed Hilary, Hannah and Vicki to find out whether they wanted to postpone their ridden sessions today given the horrendous weather forecast. They were adamant that they wanted to carry on and who am I to turn them down?! So it was that Tracey and I set off in torrential rain and blustery winds to Compton to see what we would be able to do. Despite the evil weather all of the ponies were brilliant and actually very calm. More resilient than my camera which only stayed out to take picture of Benji, we carried on regardless.
Hilary needed me to work on asking Benji to stand still for mounting. His fidgeting is due in part to the fact that he has never been taught to stand still for mounting but also because Hilary, like a lot of people, has a tendency to put more pressure on his left rein when asking him to halt than his right. This has the effect of turning her head towards her and his bottom away from her - horses don't actually bend all that much in the middle. We used an old short reining technique to ask him to walk up to the mounting block straight and then maintained that by using just a little extra and light pressure on his right rein. Once this was established in the yard we took him into the grounds and the school to make sure it still worked there.
Email received Christmas Eve: "Had some mounting practice today and Benji had remembered all of yesterday's work- especially he bit where he gets a treat at the end! It's great to be able to get on without any help, now we can be independent." HP
and on Saturday 28th: "Must tell you about Benji's great hack today. First he stood still for mounting, even when a car and trailer suddenly drove through the yard! Then we went out with 3 other horses all larger/ older and he wanted to be in front all the way. Our ride culminated in a canter around a big open field and he kept up with a 16hh showjumper without any fuss. Better still he was happy to stop and walk home- in front of course! Callie also stood well as she [V] got on." HP
I had been worried that the pigs might have been evicted now that Jack and Nettles had been given access to the barn in order to stay dry. Nonsense! The pigs have just budged up to make room.