Thursday, 30 December 2010
...And we are delighted to report that we had excellent official feedback about our first Equine Animal Rescue training day. We received 100% ratings for the quality of the staff, and the relevancy of the training for their role...closely followed by 27/28 for participants feeling equipped to directly apply knowledge gained on the course.
The Unit gets called out to some extremely dangerous situations, many of which are nightmare situations for horse owners. It's great to know that there are people you can call on for help in an emergency.
Saturday, 25 December 2010
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Thursday, 30 September 2010
- Basic horse psychology and instincts of the horse, and how we incorporate these into our techniques for effectiveness and safety.
- Learning to interpret and read the body language of the horse.
- How human actions and body language affect and influence the horse.
- How to use special techniques to approach wary equines and to acclimatise them to unfamiliar equipment.
- How to safely lead equines and deal with difficult situations or unusual objects.
It was a very enjoyable day, the ponies were brilliant teachers, and the firefighters were quick learners, with some great natural ability. If all goes to plan, we'll run a level 2 training day for them in spring 2011. We had excellent feedback from the firefighters at the end of the day:
"Excellent experience and insight into equine behaviour".
"Practical session of the course was really beneficial, especially advance and retreat".
"Excellent course, very interesting and informative. Ponies very suitable for course".
"The whole course was very enjoyable and relevant to our profession. I feel substantially better equipped to do my job. The horse psychology was fascinating...The teaching was nearly surpassed by the hospitality!!"
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Course participants included horse owners, members considering having equines on their smallholding, and those about to take delivery of their first horses and ponies. It was a lovely group and it was really nice to have a mixture of teenagers and adults. Everyone participated in activites and Faye was on hand to answer questions all day.
The course is designed to cover conventional ways of horse keeping as well as options such as barefoot/shod or chemical wormers/herbal wormers. By giving information about different options, owners can go away and decide what suits them and their horses best.
Faye received excellent feedback from participants for her teaching. Here's some of the feedback from the day:
"Good comprehensive course for complete beginners and "old hands". The whole course was presented in an interesting and informative way".
"Excellent course overall".
"I found out loads more and has been a confidence boost that what I am doing with my pony is OK".
"All great but superb being able to incorporate all the different individual requirements...Given me an idea of other information to look into re barefoot/shod, feeding herbs, natural wormers/conventional types. Thank you so much".
"Thought it was well-balanced and thought out. Good general information".
Faye received excellent feedback from her teaching last week..."Well communicated by Faye in a relaxed, calm environment. No pressure on me, unhurried, a fun, positive experience! I enjoyed the mix of theory and practical tuition and being able to put skills into action, initially with Faye and then with Bobby, Rocky and Frodo! A great day which left me feeling "Yes, I can do this"! In one session I feel that I have learnt so much. Thank you".
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
The article highlights our approach to understanding horse behaviour, communication, body language and psychology and how our techniques make a real difference to equines and owners. The great thing is that our techniques work with all horses and ponies - because we are understanding the horses themselves - and this helps us to be better horse handlers, riders and problem solvers. Our courses are allowing us to share this knowledge and help others, which is a real privilege.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Young handler Millie came to Horseford for 2 training sessions with Frodo. They were entering into classes at the rescue horse and dog show at Knighthayes Court and needed to be working together brilliantly for the classes. Each year I do some training sessions with the people4ponies young handlers to help to prepare for the show, and to make sure they can keep themselves and their ponies safe on the day. Millie is a very quick learner and she makes progress very quickly. One of our challenges was to train Frodo to actually go over a jump rather than just demolishing it!
On Sunday, it was the Brooke Show itself and Mille and Frodo were a great team. They came home with two, first rosettes. They won first place in the child handler class, and went on to win first place in their first ever Horse Agility class. Frodo impressed us with his jumping through the blue hoop obstacle. Well done to both Millie and Frodo, who had a fantastic day! Photos of the both of them in action are below - going through the Horse Agility curtain obstacle, receiving their rosettes in the show ring, and then showing off some of the days winnings at the end!
We had a fantastic review in last Thursday's Express and Echo, written by deputy editor Richard Birch. In case you missed it...
Taking a walk on wild side with Bobby the rescue pony
"ALL it takes is a confident stride and Bobby will shadow your every move. True, his head can be turned by a particularly attractive patch of cow parsley, but as we stroll through the Devon countryside it is difficult to imagine that this conker-brown pony was once wild. And not just wild; petrified of people due to a trauma he had experienced in his youth. It has taken several years of training and therapy to bring Bobby, now ten, out of his shell and he is now part of the team for a fledgling business that provides a gentle introduction to all things equine..." http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/news/Taking-walk-wild-rescue-pony/article-2516747-detail/article.html
Sunday, 8 August 2010
The day runs from 10.40-4.30 with parades and classes for the dogs and horses and it's a great opportunity to support local charities, as well as "The Brooke" hospital. This year Vanessa Bee is demonstrating her fantastic new sport "Horse Agility" and taster sessions will be available on the day.
There's still plenty time to enter your rescue horse or pony for the show, but you must enter before Sunday. It's a particularly good, friendly, "first-time" show for equines (or people!) who have never been to a show before. For details, please contact Penny on 01884 254665, or Jane on 01884 861181. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocky volunteered himself as a demo pony, showing how to teach a young pony to pick up feet - he's very well trained at offering you his feet, but he was a nice, calm pony to demonstate the technique with, having done it all before quite a few years ago now!
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Monday, 5 July 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
If drivers of large vehicles and horse owners take a few simple steps, everyone can stay safe, and horses can learn that big machines aren't a problem.
- Whether you are leading, riding or driving your horse or pony, make sure you are wearing flourescent gear to make yourself visible to all road users.
- Make sensible decisions on how it is best to pass a vehicle. It is better to face vehicles to pass them. Decide whether:
- There is plenty of room (at least a car's width) to pass the vehicle where it is in the lane.
- You need to go back along the lane to a layby or wider section.
- You need to use hand signals to ask drivers to stop or slow down.
- Getting off and leading your horse might be the best way to help your horse pass a vehicle.
- Have a positive attitude - being confident that you can deal with a situation will really help your horse. Horses should not be beaten or hit for refusing to pass a scary vehicle - this will lead to an association of fear with the situation.
- Always thank drivers for their considerate driving.
- After you have passed a tractor or large vehicle, turn to face it, and as it starts to move away from you, let your horse follow it for a few strides. This will help to create a more positive association for your horse.
Drivers of tractors and large vehicles:
- Approach horses slowly and with care, and always stop to allow horses to pass you. Stopping will always be the safest option.
- If you are following a horse which is moving towards the nearest layby or wider part of lane, keep well back to avoid the horse feeling it is being chased. If you can see the horse's head bending to the left or right to keep an eye on your vehicle, or that it is starting to rush and panic, this means that you are too close. Just back off a bit. This will prevent a situation from escalating.
- Give a horse, or pony, at least the same amount of room you would allow for a car to pass alongside your vehicle in a lane.
- Be aware that any load with flapping plastic on the back will be a challenge for any horse to pass. Again, stopping will help to minimise the movement of the plastic.
- Heed the hand signals of horse handlers and riders.
It's often forgotten that under UK law, horses have right of way over traffic on the roads. Whilst this shouldn't be abused, the highway code clearly states "When passing animals, drive slowly. Give them plenty of room and be ready to stop. Do not scare animals by sounding your horn, revving your engine or accelerating rapidly once you have passed them. Look out for animals being led, driven or ridden on the road and take extra care... Look out for horse riders’ and horse drivers’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop."
If you need help to get your horse more confident around traffic, please consider one of our Understanding Horses courses http://www.understandinghorses.co.uk/courses.html
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Sunday, 23 May 2010
DASH members are being offered the opportunity to enrol on "A guide to horse and pony management", and a date has been set for Saturday September 11th 2010. The day is designed for anyone who is thinking of taking on a horse or pony (for conservation grazing, working on the small holding or for leisure purposes) and we will cover topics such as stable and field set-up and management; feeding; worming; hoof and health care - including how to recognise and avoid common health problems. Full details will be published in the June issue of the DASH magazine and, from June, on the DASH website http://www.devonsmallholders.co.uk/training.html
Monday, 17 May 2010
...it definitely involves ponies, including these handsome chaps and their friends,
...the beautiful Devon countryside,
...and people enjoying a wonderful family day out...
...And it should be launched in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on the blog for more details...
Friday, 7 May 2010
Restricting grazing is the kindest thing you can do to keep your pony healthy. Ponies need a high fibre, low sugar diet and you can supplement their diet with soaked hay to ensure they have enough fibre going through their system. They should not be starved. I recommend owners use a weigh tape so they can monitor and manage the weight of their horse or pony throughout the year.
If you are in the unfortunate situation where your horse or pony is displaying signs of laminitis, you must take your horse off the grass immediately. Filling a stable with stable shavings can provide a comfortable surface for them to stand on. Soak hay thoroughly to remove sugars and there are hay replacements (designed specifically for laminitics) available in feed stores. Make sure you cut out feeding carrots and sugary snacks . Contact your vet or farrier/hoof care practitioner for advice.
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
Bank holiday Monday was the open day itself, and it attracted lots of families who enjoyed meeting all the ponies and watching the pony handling displays. Understanding Horses had our display there to promote the courses we hold at Horseford Farm. Faye was helping around the yard with logistics, handling ponies during the displays, meeting visitors and answering their questions about the ponies
The open day visitors were very generous with their donations and purchases of plants, food, books and bric-a-brac...and all the money raised on the day will go straight into looking after and rehabilitating the ponies.
Friday, 30 April 2010
Visit the "Courses" page of the Understanding Horses website for full details of the courses we have on offer.
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Admission is free and children are very welcome. All the funds raised for people4ponies help them to care for, rehabilitate, train and rehome equines, particularly those who are very traumatised. If anyone would like more information, they can visit http://www.people4ponies.co.uk/ or phone Cilla King on 01884 860252.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
More Understanding Horses course dates will be released very shortly...
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Friday, 16 April 2010
On meeting Benson, it was possible to look at understanding and improving his reaction to these 3 situations. We were able to make good progress using the advance and retreat method, which allows us to create a positive association with each activity. Benson has white hairs on either side of his saddle area, and it seems quite clear that at some point in his life he has suffered from saddle damage - which is probably when his negative association with the tacking up process first began. Benson's owner picked up the advance and retreat method very quickly, and for the first time ever, she was able to put a saddle blanket on him with no aggressive reaction at all - he stood calmly and quietly as it was put on, adjusted and taken off.
Benson hates being touched on his chest area and we were able to get him more used to this so that he doesn't react in a negative way. We also started to work on his dislike (or hatred!) of rugging. I could throw my waterproof jacket over Benson, move it around and put the sleeves around his neck and he had no problem with this at all...but when he sees a rug, it's enough for him to start scowling - so that's where we started. Benson has been reacting in these ways for quite a while so his owner will need to be consistent with the advance and retreat technique - there is a lot of history to undo but they have already made some great progress in a short time. Benson is a very sensitive, communicative horse and a real sweetie!
The latest update from the owner, is that she is definitely continuing with the advance and retreat method - after coming back from riding out after our session, her husband commented on how Benson was the calmest they had seen ever him, which is great.