Tuesday, September 29, 2015

29th September, 2015 Scotland the Brave

A little heart to heart, or at least head to head, with Scooby in the sunshine today. Like many cobs he has never been taught how to pick his feet up properly and has developed strategies to postpone it for as long as possible. These include leaning on people, circling away or just plain pulling his foot out of the hand.

I needed to show him that he can balance easily. For the front feet that means him readjusting his back feet and that is best achieved by giving him a clear signal that you want to pick the front feet up. I tend to use a squeeze (and certainly not a pull).

For the backs, unlocking them, and bringing them forward to begin with can really help.

Later a 'loose foot' (leg cocked) can be gently lifted and kept low and directly underneath the body.

Owner Nicky was able to repeat several times before I left and can now look forward to the farrier's visit with some optimism rather than trepidation.

Although I often say repeat, repeat, repeat, for desensitisation exercises, it's amazing how much braver and more curious horses can get with just a few sessions. Hamish is now really brave about standing on the tarpaulin and could then meet the scarecrow with his brave pants on.

I am assured that Hamish is terrified of whips and yet with a recognisable pattern of work he accepted this schooling whip all over his body with no fear whatsoever and even coped with it swinging towards him as if it was going to hit him (which of course it was not, I always end with a lovely rub and I will only do this sort of work if the owner is committed to not using a whip on the horse).