Friday, October 31, 2014

31st October, 2014 Andy are You Goofin' On Elvis?

It has to be said that REM lyrics never make a lot of sense but when you are working with a young colt called Andy then Man on the Moon is bound to come to mind. Andy, a Warmblood cross, was born at a well known stud. When he was born he was dehydrated and had to have medication which included injections and an enema. This wasn't the best introduction to people that he could have had but entirely necessary to keep him well. When his owner turned up to meet him he put his ears straight back at her and has hardly had them forward since! His repertoire for keeping himself safe has included kicking people and pulling very threatening faces and who can blame him? He doesn't know that it was all for his own good.

I had to pull something out of the bag to prove that I had anything to offer him at all. I started off by proffering the back of my hand and taking it away if he touched it. In this way I had his permission to touch him and everything went swimmingly from then on using No Fear, No Force techniques.

I'll just keep eating my hay as you are irrelevant to me

The absolute key is the quality of the touch whether it is with the feather duster, the soft scarf, or the hand - it must be deep, flat, and slow. Nothing tickly and certainly no patting.

That's quite nice...
and who did you say you were again?
Does it come in any other colours?
Take your hand out of your pocket when you're talking to me

It's only fair to allow him to drink whenever he wants to and to leave him in peace while he does it. It also meant I could give Stella a lovely rub which helped her to relax and release her milk.


Andy has had a headcollar on before but this way it could go on with no fuss or fight. The headcollar needs to undo over the nose as well as over the head.

By the end I think he thought humans were really quite useful. Mind you, foals like this are good for the soul.

"If you believe there's nothing up her sleeve, Then nothing is cool" R.E.M.
 Back out in the field where Andy lives out full time with his Mum.

"Thank you so much for all your help yesterday and for sending the lovely pictures and your report through so quickly.  I am delighted Andy responded so well and have rushed out to buy a feather duster, not quite as robust as yours, but hopefully it will do the trick. We have had a couple of chats over the fence and I am planning another stable session this afternoon.  I will keep you posted on our progress.Think I will take my time and really try to build our confidence together...Big thanks once again. It's been so helpful and I now feel quite differently about him!"

Caroline has done her homework and taught Lily to bend round for a treat from the ground - or at least, half way up the gate.

Once on board we can extend her periods of walk, using single clicks (no treat) towards the end ...

then three clicks and a treat at halt.