Monday, 6 June 2011

Equine Body Language and Behaviour Weekend

This weekend we had lovely weather for our Equine Body Language and Behaviour Weekend course. One of the highlights of the course for participants was going out to Dartmoor to observe the "wild" ponies in action. On 4th June (by coincidence and perfect for our course) there was a pony sale being held at Chagford, so we were able to visit the sale to look at how horses "cope" under stress, and the different stress behaviours and body language they exhibit.

After the sale, we headed out onto the moor to visit some of the wild herds that Faye is familiar with. The weather was so good that we could sit out on the moor for the teaching. This meant we could go through some of the theory...and being sat in amongst the herds we could observe the stallions, mares and foals and how they interact with each other. Our feedback showed that one of the aspects that the students most enjoyed was looking at how Faye handled a situation where a mare was trying to join in with our lunch! A pot of flapjacks were proving somewhat irresistible for her, and Faye showed how you can clearly "say no" but without scaring the pony. The mare stayed around us for some time - not trying to take any food but was almost joining in with the course teaching.

On the second day of the course we were based back at the farm with the people4ponies equines. Students started to look at how their own body language affects horses and they were able to interact with loose equines as well as directly handling/leading them...and students could see how the behaviour they saw with the wild ponies the previous day directly relates to domestic equines. We were also able to look at the differences between traumatised and untraumatised equines.

Here's a snippet of the feedback we received for the course:

"Thank you for your excellent teaching on our intensive weekend course...I feel I have a better understanding from an equine point of view and where I should be situated as a human interacting with them. I also realise I have much to "unlearn" and an area of personal development to explore...I want to tell everyone careless to stand within conversational distance of me what I've experienced. Thanks again Faye".

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