Monday, January 9, 2017

9th January, 2017 Horse Hagony Haunt

My inbox is full of lovely questions about horses - nappiness, flash nosebands, travelling without a partition. I'm doing my best to answer them as fully and honestly as I can. I'm thinking of adding an extra line or two to every reply:
If my advice has been useful to you, please would you consider making a small donation to one of the four charities that I am supporting while I am off work - these are BARTA (British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association), HorseWorld, Shy Lowen, and Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal. Donations can be made via me through paypal and I will forward them on.
My advice is always intended to help you and your horse and I would only ever give it because I want to help, never to be mean or critical. I can only give general advice unless I have met you and your horse. Any advice I give is only my opinion and based on the best of my own knowledge and understanding.
This latter could do with going on all of my posts on Facebook Forums too where people who ask for advice seem to get mightily offended when you give it! Telling someone their Humane Girth is not humane is a grave mistake!

Having a broken and dislocated thumb is unlike a lot of injuries, you can't build up what you do with it over time. If the surgeon says it needs to be kept still, then it needs to be kept still! An accusation that I was 'milking it' hit hard, particularly as I couldn't milk anything with a thumb like this. Fortunately this injury has coincided with the quietest time of the year when only the hardiest really want to do any work with their horse, and many are just making plans.

Some people are missing me more than others. Vanessa is clearly lost without me and David as we were replaced with symbolic roadwork furniture yesterday. Apparently I am the cone...

When Wendy sent me her entertaining missive I reassured her that this is just young horses, that there was probably some much smaller sign that Zoe was going to react before indeed she did - the early pushy behaviour was a clue - and that it will be easy to resolve. Future walks need to be shorter for a while and some groundwork at home would be useful.

Further to our (well, Sarah’s) amazing successes earlier this year, I figured it would be nice to give a small and seasonal update on Zoe and Zelda’s progress. There’s only so much you can do with 2 year olds and I’ve been mostly enjoying their company and marvelling at their capacity for hairiness.

Zoe has always been the slightly more solid, dependable one so I’ve been walking out locally with her to get her used to the roads and light traffic. I figured that once her route was established Zelda could then join us and benefit from Zoe’s experience. In the meantime Zelda would be working on her separation anxiety at home! 

My idea/plan for this blog was that I would take Zoe for her walk around the village and deliver my Chrimbo cards. She’s done this route, impeccably, on at least half a dozen occasions - and I cosily envisaged my good neighbours popping out with mince pies and party hats, the local children painting her hooves with glitter.

The route is a elliptical one, with Zoe’s home field pretty much central. I long ago worked out that if you walk in a large circle, then when you’ve got to where you’re going, you don’t have to walk all the way back again!. This picture was taken about a third of the way around and we’re all very relaxed and happy...especially having got the steep hilly bit over with! Zoe is delighted to make a new friend over the hedge and spent a few moments huffing before  we set off again.

At the halfway point she met some more friendly equines and she started to show off a little by doing a sideways trot. Cute as this was, I stopped her and asked her to walk on a little more quietly.
She pushed past me. I stopped her again and made her step back and stand. She got the message

All was wonderful up to the two-thirds marker, where my hubby left us on a patch of green, whilst he went off to deliver our goodies over to some houses across the way. I showed Zoe the grass and suggested she had a snack. Zoe pulled back and showed me the spot I’d missed grooming on the underside of her belly!

Frozen for a moment in time - We both stood there on our respective hindlegs looking a little a bit dumbstruck.
A passing motorist commented on how beautiful she looked – and left me with it (my mental response to this was unprintable). Zoe launched into a passable Capriole before she hit the ground running. Luckily I had her attached to a lunge line and  did the best impression of a bouncing anchor that I could. Several circuits of the green and an absolute forever later, a passing farmer leapt to the rescue and manage to block her advance. He stayed at her head and I was able to close the distance and bring a degree of communication back. Zoe immediately settled (something about burly farmers I guess) and disappointed onlookers dispersed.
My husband came back. Zoe was a picture of innocence and, apart from some head snaking,  the rest of the journey home was uneventful.
But here’s the thing. Whilst I’m proud to say that I remained calm throughout simply hung in there, suddenly I find my nerve a bit shaken. Numerous hours of reflection have offered me no clue as to why she should behave this way. Having no external  perception of the events places me in a quandary as to how I progress with her. Do I carry on as if this little blip had never happened in the hope that she has forgotten all about it (but risking an opportunity for her to repeat and establish) or do we go back to the beginning? Do I have more of a problem with this than she has??? (probably).

I think though, that the sensible solution is to do nothing with her until Sarah is well enough to come with me. I’m sure you all join me in wishing her speedy recovery. Come back Sarah! I miss you😊