It’s been a busy couple of weeks here and as I write there is a lot of activity with a man and a machine, as our new Cheval Liberte stable block is finally going up after a delay with the concrete panels! I can’t wait to see it finished – it is going to be a great addition to the look and functionality of the yard.
In my last blog I was giving Clayden, the pony that came from the Happy Endings Rescue, his first rides. Since then, he has come on leaps and bounds with his confidence and his trust in me increasing daily. Having started him in the round pen, I have now progressed to taking him out and about around the farm.
Only a few weeks ago this pony was unhandled and running with a group of horses in north Kent. It is rare in the country to get genuinely “wild” horses so I have really been enjoying the challenge as a trainer, and I’d like to think Clayden is coming round to his new world too.
The grooms are now beginning to handle him too and while he is still wary and defensive at times, he is very inquisitive and will put his head over the stable door for a stroke. We have moved him into a large stable where he can watch the comings and goings of the yard. He has also been introduced to the horse walker, which was a massive step for him to take.
The next big step for him will be this coming weekend as I am planning to take him up to Your Horse Live along with Diesel. I am confident that he is ready for the occasion as the last thing I want to do at this stage is overface him.
Training with Team Tutsham
Last week my assistant trainer, Tom Mitchell, took on the role of teacher as a group of 10 or so children visited from Team Tutsham, a registered charity based on a farm near West Farleigh in Kent.
Recognising the positive influence that horses can have on people, one of the charity’s aims is “to provide disadvantaged children in Kent the opportunity to learn new skills in a fun, friendly environment”.
Tom got everyone going with a polocrosse session on foot which produced a lot of laughter and some good team work. The group had also brought one of their own ponies with them for Tom to work on.
Star, a lovely little grey pony had been having some catching issues, so Tom demonstrated and then got the children involved in a catching exercise to try and improve things. I think these horse-related programs are fantastic — we all know the positive mental and physical effects horses have on our lives!
I have also been out and about teaching and travelled up to Oxfordshire where I was working with a group who were lacking a little confidence in themselves and their horses. The horses ranged from a youngster who was just being started to a horse that had developed a rearing problem so it made for an interesting, but rewarding day.
Back on the yard we are making final preparations for our trip to Your Horse Live this coming weekend. We have been getting our stand smartened up, stock ready, flyers produced, and clipping Diesel.
He is definitely feeling full of himself and sees himself as quite the “big man”. Penny, my wife, took him over the cross-country fences at the weekend and he was bucking and squealing his way round the fields – I hope he doesn’t do it when I’m riding him bridleless in front of hundreds of people!