Monday, 26 October 2009

Playing with the babies

So I've been in the UK three whole days and have been to see Skyfaxa twice. She's lovely and curious, she comes right up to you and sniffs around, even tries to nibble.......she's in with the herd, there are several foals and they play together all the time. Yesterday it was a windy day and the babies were feeling playful, they kept crowding round and trying to nibble us so we chased them off then they came back, we walked away, they followed, we chased them off etc etc, it was a great game to them, but after a while the stallion came over as if to say, "What's all this about?" and disciplined a few of them that got too close to him and they were stretching their heads down and licking and chewing "we're sorry dad, got carried away", it was so funny, as soon as he wandered off they started playing again just like naughty children!!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Halter training

Went to spend a bit of time with Noisette as she hasn't had any training at all and I will need to get her in a trailer soon! She learned pretty quickly to be lead by the headcollar, she's easy enough to deal with in familiar surroundings at least. She's very used to people but has never been out of her field, she was born there 6 years ago so maybe things will get more interesting once we take her out.......
Alienor took some video of us, she's not too practised at it, so apologies for any feelings of seasickness.....! As you can see, Noisette's little sister Isis was quite interested in the proceedings......

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Another new recruit.....

Went to see a little pony today who belongs to the mayor of our commune. He has four of them (he bought two for his grandchildren and didn't realise the boy still had some essential equipement so over the years two became four....!). He doesn't have time to do anything with them at the moment so I've asked him if I can borrow one to keep Skyfaxa company when she arrives.

So this is Noisette, 9hh, 6 years old:

She'll be coming to us in a couple of weeks and I'll start working with her to turn her into a leading rein pony like I did with Flecha and then Éowyn can ride her.

I was going through some old photos as I remembered going to visit the ponies when Noisette was a baby and this is what I came up with......weren't they cute???

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Horse Whisperer

Have had a fascinating weekend here with Adam Shereston, the horse whisperer. The main thing we have learned is we have a hell of a lot more to learn!!! Adam's method of horse training is in many ways the opposite of the usual method; he doesn't advocate any pulling on the horse or kicking to get it to move but rather teaching them to move towards a rein as it is lifted away from their neck or a leg away from their side.........

First up was Maverick. The first thing Adam does is to use the horse's own body language to get them to trust him as they would the alpha horse in the herd. Adam spent a lot of time getting him to expand his comfort zone so that he was willing to go with him away from the area by the gate back to the other horses which is all he wanted to do at first. Then the weather intervened, it started chucking it down and Mav didn't like the umbrellas so we had a lesson on getting him closer to them without dragging him along unwillingly, it's all about getting them to trust you enough to protect them from scary stuff......basically he didn't try to lead him towards the brolly, but past it and away from it and every time the horse retreated from something scary Adam went with him. this involved quite a bit of running around, if I do this, I could be in danger of getting a bit fitter........!

Then my French friend Audrey arrived on her French Trotter, Althlete, with her little fieldmate Polly in tow!

Athlete seemed to accept Adam as leader a lot more readily than Mav did, he soon went with him to the far side of the field with no problems, Polly was more bothered in the end!

Then after a brief stint with Buffalo, my friend's 35 year old Appaloosa, it was Gandalf's turn and he really wanted to let off steam having been standing in the box all day!!! Adam spent a lot of time saddling him without him being tied up in any way, he said you have to get them to do that before even considering getting on them, at first Gandalf just wandered off to the fence to go back to Mav, but eventually, he stood still for saddling next to Adam without being constrained at all. This was something that had never occured to me, usually Gandalf is saddled tied up in the box with no opportunity to move. Adam said he's a nice horse who would be easy to dominate rather than have a partnership with, so I must be careful not to bully him.......I felt awful after he said that, I don't think I do bully him, but maybe he does everything I ask because he feels he has to, not because he wants to so I need to change our relationship from "master and servant" to "partners".

Lots to think about........