Saturday, July 30, 2016

30th July, 2016 Measure for Measure

Second visit to Sway this week, aiming to consolidate our progress with the two mares, Honey and Iona. There's no doubt that these two horses are very beautiful. Honey was ground tied to have her long reins on and then long-reined with a smile on her face (for once!).

She's a lovely stamp of a horse and we would love to know her breeding. We've made guesses at part Cleveland Bay or part Morgan and possible Thoroughbred.

Iona looks like an Irish horse, possibly Irish Sports Horse with some Connemara.

There's no doubt about Henrietta's breeding and the combination of donkey and Welsh Section A makes her impossibly cute. Today I measured her up for a hand made headcollar which will have magnetic fasteners and will be the next stage in her progress to wearing a 'normal' headcollar.

She's spending her day in the Nissen hut with Jack well out of the way of all of the insects.

Quite a congregation on the green at Fritham where the animals are now dependant on the water trough for fresh, palatable water. It's due to rain soon.

Very pleased to hear that Crazy did well at the Arabian Nationals at Malvern where of course he was required to wear a bit.

Friday, July 29, 2016

29th July, 2016 Wristband

This is the soft expression of a benevolent dictator who has decided that only wife number one is allowed to step into his bedchamber, wife number two can put her head in, and wife number three can definitely stay outside. No-one can get in without a wristband.

Jack was putting his best foot forward as we set off on today's adventure, Henrietta's maiden trek on the New Forest. The question was whether she would simply disappear...see for yourself.

Have you spotted the hidden bucket? Contingency plan in case things went badly wrong.

Thanks to Aniko for assisting me today. We also cleaned out the water trough at Fritham so that the ponies can get some fresh water without filtering the silt through their teeth!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

28th July, 2016 Making Myself Useful

Bit of a crèche site on the moguls on the village green this morning. We were setting off half an hour early to avoid the New Forest Show traffic and accordingly turned up at Sandra's half an hour early too!

More work with Honey...

...before Sandra got on board...

...and worked very happily off the lead rein. Honey's halt-to-walk and walk-to-halt transitions are nice and soft.

I haven't lost all of my usefulness. Where is a girl to get her ears rubbed if I'm not there?

Second shift with Iona this time. She's making steady progress each week time.

Today we started to introduce obstacles in order to give her a job to do...

...although she sometimes had her own ideas about what things would be good for.

Henrietta allowed me to pick up her right front and back feet today and even let me touch her bottom on the right hand side while she was standing on the pedestal.

This afternoon I went over to assess a very small filly, probably Shetland/ Welsh cross, that had been dumped in a drive in a very poor state. The house owner hasn't been able to find out who owned her and is now footing all the bills for her and will have to get her microchipped and passported once she becomes her legal owner. Even that is easier said than done because the filly is totally wild and traumatised and had to be held down to have her head collar put on and her feet trimmed. I'm about to set up a couple of Handling the Dumped Wild Pony courses to see if I can help her to make progress, get that old head collar off with it's horrible tag, and persuade her that being touched and being caught isn't so awful after all. There is some hope - she took bits of ginger biscuits from my fingers when I was sitting on the floor in the stable this afternoon.

Credit goes to Jemima for most of the photos from today. Except this one which I took unless that is a hologram of her! Here she is with Anthony's cow, Flower.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

27th July, 2016 Alphabet Ailments

The great thing about Kym is that she contacts me as the first resort and as soon as she is having problems. A great and kind trainer in her own right, and very clever with clicker training, she can spot when she needs help and does not keep practising the 'no'.

Elmo has been very upset about having a bit put in his mouth, running backwards and rubbing his head against the nearest wall. His teeth have recently been checked very carefully under sedation by the vet, however, as a three year old, he is undergoing significant changes in his mouth both to incisors and molars which will be losing their caps. His wolf teeth have been removed previously.

I showed Kym the technique I used to get Crazy used to the bit and to reduce his fear of it. Once again we used the leather bit which has been infused with a peppermint based solution. Within three repetitions he was accepting the bit easily and no longer fighting with it once it was in. In fact he was reluctant to let it go again.

Leaving the bit in place but with the lead rein (and later long reins) connected to the head collar, we worked on asking him to accept having his legs washed. Like a lot of cobs Elmo suffers from feather mites and between injections from the vet he has to have his legs washed and shampooed.

Rather than force him to accept hosed water straight away, we started with a house plant watering can, pouring water down his leg all the time he was moving, and then rubbing the sensation away when he was committed to standing still.

Once again this worked extraordinarily quickly and we though we would see what would happen if we repeated it with a slow trickle of water from the hose...

Sometimes it is a matter of building the central strands and allowing the horse to make the connecting threads...

...Elmo was happy to stand and eat while we hosed his legs.

With the time left in this hour of training we took Elmo long reining along the lane...

...and Kym was kind enough to let Jemima long rein him back down the track.

As a reward for helping with two days' worth of poo-picking during which we played Alphabet Ailments covering Angular Limb Deformity, Bot flies, Colic and everything we could think of through to L, we went out riding with Jemima riding Petra. There is a 62 year age gap between her and Pat who rides Petra on a Monday!

This is Jemima on her sparkly and aptly named Diamond Buttons competing at Moreton in the dressage where she won in the Prelim.