Saturday, March 28, 2015

28th March, 2015 Getting the Measure of It

Arab cross New Forest, Jasmine, seems to take to everything like the proverbial duck to water once she understands it. Her owner has tried long reining her before but struggled to stop her turning in towards her. A bit of clear body language, rather than voice commands, and we were on our way.

She was so good that she switched from pupil to teacher in a very short time...

...and then they were off on their own.

This proved to be a great warm up for her first sit on for some time. She's not done much ridden work at all so it was reassuring to find her so unworried and unhurried. Super pony and lovely calm rider.

Last session with Tilly at Fritham today and a guest appearance from Natasha. I short reined Tilly from the left and she worked from the right. Today we were trying the Myler Low Port Comfort snaffle on an Egbutt cheek to see if she would be happier in that. It has the advantage of not sitting on the tongue all of the time (thanks to the slots).

On the way home we tried to slope off with the Duke of Edinburgh Award participants who were nearing the end of their long trek. I wanted Tilly to get used to their colourful clothes and oddly shaped rucksacks.

Friday, March 27, 2015

27th March, 2015 Burning Ambition

The Forestry Commission have been very busy this winter actively managing the Forest for the benefit of flora and fauna. Controlled burning like this promotes vigorous growth and also provides a fire break for the summertime. As soon as the heat has gone out of this, the ponies will be in making the most of the caramelised vegetation.

A day later and you can at least spot the grey ponies amongst the burnt gorse...

27th March, 2015 Glad to See The Back of Us?

Last day of Natasha's work experience today and I think it is fair to say that she is shattered! Fortunately she has got the Easter holidays now before she goes back to college but with Tilly to train and ride back at home, and plenty of studying to do, she is not getting much respite.

Tilly: Jodie on board

Bella (Jodie) and Theoden (Tasha) enjoying trotting.

Jodie has only got a house move, a wedding and a honeymoon to get through before we see her next time although she is going to come and keep Bella and Nettles ticking over if she has time! We've got a new starter coming in, New Forest pony, and potentially a more remedial case, a Norwegian Fjord pony coming in for assessment shortly. I'm looking forward to both of those and getting them going under saddle when Jodie gets back.

To Sarah and Tracey, thank you for having me for the last four weeks. It has been a really good experience and I have enjoyed learning more about your training techniques, and I am sure they will come in useful in the future. Also a big thank you for starting Tilly for me and helping her to experience more things...I'm really looking forward to carrying this on at home with her. I particularly found the bit work useful and interesting." NP

Thursday, March 26, 2015

26th March, 2015 Command Performance

I think the ponies have been given a copy of my timetable as they were wandering along to the fields as we arrived this morning.

Mickey was convinced we were late and demanded to be served first.

Tilly enjoyed being in the top paddock where she could look at the Forest ponies (something we wouldn't have dared to do when she arrived for fear that she would have gone through the fence).

More work on asking Tilly to soften to the bit. Tasha has her fingers under the bit at the sides of Tilly's mouth. The key is to release the instant the horse stops leaning in any way.

 Tasha also had her first ride out on Tilly.

It was off to the fire station at Lyndhurst this afternoon to help out with the training of Animal Rescue Team Specialists. There were 17 officers taking the course from all over the UK. Many are commanding officers in their home counties.

This is just  a tiny proportion of the smaller specialist equipment that can be used during a rescue. As Fire and Rescue Services look to make cuts in their budgets, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has announced that it is going to cease offering Large Animal Rescue as part of the service it offers. Difficult to know how a charity or volunteers could ever the equipment and skills it would need to provide a comparable service.

Today's scenario was set at an event where the Historical Re-enactment Society has spooked two horses with gunfire at the same time as a tractor has ploughed down a hill and into the side of a trailer. In the trailer the horse is down on top of it's handler, Diane. She and her friend, Kay, are screaming their heads off.

Meanwhile the other horse has got trapped in a tree with it's handler, Jenny caught underneath. She is unconscious.

While the first friend is helping with the rescue effort...

another one, Barbara, is getting in the way, getting stuck in the mud aswell.Her carer, Tracey, is in on the act.

She has to be removed from the scene while the officers got on with their jobs.

Tasha was promoted to vet for the afternoon.

Jenny is extricated and appears to be unharmed...

...and the 'vet' seems very happy with the horse.

Apparently this horse needs to go over there!

And duly arrives, heavily sedated but unharmed.

The other horse is also out of the woods.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

25th March, 2015 Wednesday Recycled

Nothing new today. Tilly went out for her longest ride yet and was somewhat forward going to begin with but became more settled the further she went.

By the end she was off the lead rein again.

We always tend to walk the final she is going straight through the middle of the wild Shetlands.

Nelly said that watching all this work was really quite tiring.

Next it was Nettle's turn to go out and he is learning to put his head over gates too so that his rider can reach the gatecatch easily.

He and Jodie arrived home just as Tracey and I were riding around the field...

 ...on Theoden and Bella. It won't be long before Tracey is riding her out.

Then, up to the pub again with Jack and Nettles.

The wild ponies were a bit surprised...

...but the deer were pretty calm.

Jumping on the way home.

Last stop of the day, a return visit to Castillo. He is really mellow now and let Tracey and I take it in turns to catch him.

When his owner arrived he was keen to be caught...

"Oi, Dad, where are you going with that headcollar?"

Alan: "Okay, I'll catch you if I must."

It's obviously all very tiring not being chased around the field.