Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Last weekend our local church in East Worlington was having a pet service, welcoming all creatures great and small. We were invited to attend alongside the cats, dogs, chickens and rabbits...which was quite lucky really, as 2 years ago Rocky mistook a church floral decoration of marram grass to be a rather conveniently, and thoughtfully placed, snack...and scoffed a mouthful of it! This year we were more careful about the floral decorations and all were left intact! Actually, the parishioners were rather grateful to Rocky and Frodo for doing some lawn trimming in the graveyard, as they carefully tidied up some of the areas of longer grass.
Having a fairly dry October and November has allowed us to continue running our outdoors courses into the autumn. We had perfect weather for our Understanding Horses "Body Language and Behaviour" course on 12th October. Next year we are going to run this course over a weekend, as our clients often say that they would like more time observing the herd.
On this occasion there was a bit of a slow start to the behaviour as the ponies had just changed fields!! They were so pleased at the sight of extra grass, that was their initial priority!
As it happened, a kite was being launched in the adjoining field, something our ponies had never seen before and that changed the situation. Little Frodo learnt a lesson this day...he had already chosen to leave the herd and escape through the electric fence into an area with more grass (escaping through electric fences is one of his specialities!). Some of the ponies weren't that frightened of the kite, and didn't move far from their grazing. Frodo was initially not that bothered about the kite flying around him, but once his companions on the other side of the fence moved away to better grazing, he was left on his own with the kite, he had a bit of a panic. After a short bout of running around, he came back through the fence (leaving it all perfectly intact) and back to the herd. He didn't leave them again for the rest of the day, so he learnt an important lesson that day, even if it was short lived!
Our course participants were able to interact with our herd of ponies, learning how to communicate with them, how to move them around, how to catch "difficult" horses and, as always, we included important aspects of horse psychology.
We had excellent feedback ratings about our course:
"Overall a most enjoyable day. Thank you."
"The practical experience with the ponies in the field was the most enjoyable for me. Would love to learn more - particularly about handling and relating to traumatised horses."
On the 6th of October, I made a special visit to Morebath, as I was invited to be a guest speaker for Tiverton Saddle Club. The club were particularly interested in having a talk about horse behaviour and psychology. There are so many interesting aspects that could be covered, and my aim was to keep the talk as interactive as possible. As part of the talk, I included a friendly quiz for members to test their knowledge on horse psychology, how their horses see the world around them, and some of the myths that have grown up in the ways we interact with and manage horses.