Friday, February 27, 2015

27th February, 2015 Eccentric Friends

The outcrowd were enjoying the warmer weather today and sunbathing outside my fields. Pie (bottom picture) is looking really well but will soon go through his burst mattress phase.

Owing to the fact that his horsebox was in dock, Lenki hasn't had much loading practice for a few weeks. He travelled really well and enjoyed his relaxing session at Ladycross which is a beautiful setting. He was very happy to be trotting around loose after me over the poles and he turned from taught to teacher in only his second session of long reining. Rosy tells him he has to be nice to his eccentric friend (me!).

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25th February, 2015 No Hillstreet Blues

A longish day starting out with untangling this New Forest pony cross from a giant piece of bramble. Too nervous to let me approach, I just went to the far end and stood on it until she moved off. Meanwhile the Welsh pony was busy trying to knock the posts over.

Nettles went out for his first hack on his own this morning with Jodie on board. Up until now he has always had someone on foot in the vicinity. He has never seemed bothered about being out without another horse and doesn't nap going away from home no matter how many times he is turned away from it. He seems to love being out.

He tackled his first gate and went trotting off. Jodie reported that he was calm all the way round and responding well to the bit. He is all terrain and doesn't look for trouble at all.

I hear some very wise words coming from this young woman and we are in agreement about so much when it comes to starting young horses. Like me she doesn't like to take up a strong contact or do too much schooling over the first few weeks and months. She'd rather get them out and about enjoying themselves and going forward.

She looked a little more askance when I pointed out that we take a completely different tack with Bella to Nettles. I sense that Bella has a bit of a 'no' in her psyche and would object strongly to being made to work on her own. Accordingly we are continuing to pony her off another horses and she is learning about direction and aids by slow osmosis. Today was her first hack out and she did brilliantly. Eleventy million out of ten.

Next stop was to Teresa's at Hillstreet. Very sadly, just after Christmas, she lost Chance her Bodmin Moor Pony to an unfathomable illness. The vet was at a loss and once it reached a certain point everyone agreed that it would be kinder to put him to sleep. Teresa was so fond of him that she sought out his original breeder (he came via Beaulieu Road Sales and a meat man) and managed to buy his sister, Kerenza, who was also completely wild.

At the same time she also bought a Dartmoor Hill Pony, Crystal. I have baggied both ponies for a course I am running for two people coming from Germany next weekend but went to see the ponies today to see what stage they have reached. Kerenza has come round very quickly and will soon be wearing her headcollar. She has never been drifted or gathered (as it is known in Cornwall) and so has not been manhandled to any great extent. Crystal has been gathered and is a year older and more shy altogether.

I did a little work with her today and we made some good progress but there is still plenty for Chris and Kerry to do when they come over. I was able to start touching her with the feather duster on her right hand side, using a deep rythmical touch which she seemed to enjoy. Her top lip started to quiver when I got to her neck.

I managed then to start touching her with my hand, using the same deep flat touch, and by now we were warming up!

I finished at her neck under her mane and she really seemed to like this. As you can see I am facing her back end so that there isn't too much pressure from eye contact or intent. There's the whole of her left side to work with as she is very protective of that side and can't bring herself to look at anyone with her left eye just yet. However, once she realises that "these monkeys are quite useful", I think she will come round really well.

As we left the fields tonight these two ponies were trawling for sweet grass under the water.

25th February, 2015 Just My Type

Meet the locals. The Forest is looking rather windswept and ravaged what with the weather and gorse being burned and crushed. Still, as a whole the ponies are looking really well and have only one more month of winter to get through.

Monday, February 23, 2015

23rd February, 2015 Reflections

It's been exactly ten years since I said goodbye to the courts to become a full time Recommended Associate. I've met so many horses and owners during that time of all shapes and sizes and with all sorts of issues and challenges, hopes and dreams. At the start I hoped that my business would grow and grow, that I'd get staff, a posh yard, and run courses, but in time I have realised that it is the one to one training, wherever the owner wants to be that works the best for everyone. Thus, there's no adverts for "What's New for 2015!", I'm just going to keep doing my thing, tailor making training for horses and their owners and making the most of our forest setting to get horses out and about and confident.

Spring is around the corner, although you might not think it, and the new IH magazine is on it's way. The front features Jackie Hall's pony, Charley, and inside there's details of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Associations' transport survey. Join IH at Intelligent Horsemanship to get your copy.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

21st February, 2015 Running Out of Words

After a long day at the 'office', I've almost run out of words so I shall let the pictures do most of the talking....

Friend Colin's trailer at Godshill. New Forest ponies are eyeing up his haynet.
Jasmine' s second session. polishing off the desensitisation work in a few seconds flat before going out for a walk on the Forest. First time she's been out for quite a while and yet she was really brave and happy.

Young show pony Silver (Newbrook Glamarous) going out and about on the farm later, meeting the cows and going up the lane, practising a bit of groundwork.

Smart Friesian, Lottie, has been trained using natural horsemanship techniques and was recently started under saddle. She is a little worried about being mounted and ridden in the school. We introduced long reining as an alternative to single line circle work enabling her to be worked in straight lines and eventually over obstacles. The mounting went well with the addition of a clickered reward and we did some slow work on adrenalin levels including breathing and relaxing.

Friday, February 20, 2015

20th February, 2015 As You Were

Following Jodie's second visit, both Bella and Nettles have recovered the ground that we lost when we back-tracked with a new rider. We're looking forward to making new progress next week and then to a month of  more intensive work with both of them.

We met another young pony on our way round the inclosure this morning. He and Nettles were happy comparing notes for a little while.

A couple of little problems that we need to resolve. Since being rewarded with clickered treats, Nettles is keen to spot me wherever I am and wanted to go a little faster than Jodie did.

Bella was happy to be lead around the field next to Theoden for a while but when she tired of it she thought she might like to roll, with Jodie on board! I was reminded that this was her default behaviour as a yearling when she objected to being led somewhere, she would just lie down!

Hopefully a change of subject will distract both of them next week.