Yesterday's clinic for Dorset BHS clashed badly with the enormously popular Rockbourne Ride run by Hampshire BHS. Although it was quiet, it was extremely pleasant to be working with two dazzling equines at the Fortune Centre.
Blue, a five year old Irish Sports Horse, was booked in for a double session. This enabled me to run through a wide range of techniques knowing that each new aspect was a 'holiday' from the last one. For such a young horse, Blue was amazing.
We started off with basics such as energy levels - human and horse - quality of touch and fitting of the Dually.
Blue has a tendency to rush when led in hand, especially on the way home, so we looked at leading position and counted stops.
Until now Blue has been a get-on -and-go horse so we also looked at teaching him to park at the mounting block using clickered rewards on a variable schedule of reinforcement in order to establish patience.
He can sometimes be a little spooky as he is still green so we worked through the three types of desensitisation exercises which can have a general application. As you can see, he is pretty brave.
'Fly-pasts' are a useful addition to chasing the brolly. Here Paula is between Blue and 'The Thing' which helps Blue to relax (providing Paula doesn't have a brolly phobia herself!)
Here we are looking for a 50p again - which helps the horse to lower his head and really consider what he is walking over. In the absence of sufficient bollards, we had to make do with people!
Blue can also be a little bit sticky about loading; nothing too major. We practised using angles to ask his BACK feet to move which were actually the problem.
Later in the day Sarah arrived with lovely Iggy having walked to the venue past all of the UK Cycle event Wigglers. She wanted to work on Iggy's steering on the long reins and also his halts.
Once we'd done that we asked him to go over through and round some obstacles.
After a short break we did some work (fun) at liberty using the feather duster as a target.
We finished with more long reining, following him around the arena with a rattly wheelbarrow since Sarah eventually wants to drive him.
"It was lovely to meet you all yesterday, I shall try and gather interest and potential numbers for something in the Autumn and will definitely be recommending you to everyone I speak to!" Amy Walden, Dorset BHS
"Thank you for giving us so much time today, I got a lot out of it. Blue travelled home well and was pleased to be turned out to relax in the sunshine." PK
"I had a lovely time today, I do adore that pony!! Thank you so much x" SG