Saturday, March 14, 2015

14th March, 2015 Riding on the Buckle

...took on a whole new meaning today. The normally angelic Kestrel decided that he was a bit hot and tired. Nothing else for it but to do what every Forest pony does when it is is hot and tired, lie down and roll. His little legs buckled neatly and quietly underneath him and left Yvonne sitting on a Kestrel shaped sofa. Luckily he got up straight away when I encouraged him, Yvonne still on board,  and we set off again as if nothing had happened (except that we did avoid the softer ground after that!).

Other than that, Kestrel was perfect. My role is diminishing each session and I will soon be redundant. He is going out for rides with his friend Santi during the week and going further and further each time.

Distancing ourselves - note the optimistic wellies

Going walkabout in the bush

Through the watersplash which was deeper than the optimistic wellies.

This afternoon I failed. I had been asked to help with thirty year old cob cross Arab Harley who is nigh on impossible to catch by everyone. Everyone except his owner. Using clicker training she has managed to catch him consistently with and without a headcollar on for years now but he won't let anyone else do it no matter how well they try to emulate her.

Coming to a whistle

Happily entering the corralled area

Caught within a second

Harley was originally owned by travellers and then bought from the sales in Somerset by a riding school. His owner met him when she was twelve and he was eleven and without her he would never have been tamed and would probably have been put down. For the last nineteen years he has been practicing (and perfecting) his no with everyone else - and eventually people lose their patience and try to grab him, reconfirming everything he thought he ever knew about humans.

Look, I know how to clicker treat too.

I thought I would give you a lovely rub about here..., I don't think so. 

With limited facilities (non electrified electric fencing and low rails) I had to avoid putting pressure on him as he would have just left and learned how to leave.

Clipped on by K I could at least prove I know how to touch a horse nicely...

...and begin to clip on and off, taking care not to grab with the clip...

...and then click and treat. 
After an hour it was clear that I wasn't going to do any good overall and it would take me hours and hours (if not forever) to get to the same position as K. In some ways this totally vindicates the approach she has taken to her pony and his trust in her is testimony to how trustworthy she has been.

Two years ago, before he retired. Soul mates.
"Thank you so much for coming out today, maybe not 100% success but it was nice to get the opinion of a professional." KB