Monday, 11 August 2008

White knuckle ride

Another day marking great progress at Rock HQ. William our fantastic welsh cob cross was backed for the first time by Tracey. This is a technical horsey term meaning sitting on the beast for the first time to see what will happen. Hopefully it wont end in a trip to casualty.

Now we do have a plan, one which involves getting our animals to trust us completely and as a result they tend to accept what we do without fuss or stress. Having said that there is always the potential for disaster, the animals can decide to do what they like, as in the case of Maggie the psycho goat having her feet trimmed. First attempt led to a strategic withdrawal by the humans at Rock HQ both having suffered injuries. The following day she submitted meekly to the indignation of a compulsory pedicure without recourse to extreme violence.

So we have invested a lot of time getting William used to our antics, he is a very placid lad and has only been a bit naughty from time to time, on one memorable occasion galloping off around the hill with his stable mate the pocket rocket, each goading the other to run further away from home until they were eventually headed off at five ways crossing by a very hot and bothered owner and marched back to their stable.

William has shown signs of how much he trusts us, lying down in his stable and staying put while we made a fuss of him was an indicator of how he was developing (see things you don't see everyday posted a few months ago) and he really is a people horse, coming over to see us even when distracted by food.

So today after a quick leg stretch walk and being made to give up his grazing early he stayed in a cheery mood and waited by the pile of steel gates. Once we were sure he was calm Tracey sat on him, this video shows how he took it. He hardly reacted at all, this is it has to be remembered totally alien to a horse as they would never have a weight on their back in the wild. As you can see he just carries on munching his dinner, listening to the noises around him and unconcerned that the dogs are as ever roaming around. I must admit to breathing a huge sigh of relief as Tracey got off him, it was a great test of her relationship with him and it shows what can be achieved with trust, patience and good horse sense.

He is not old enough to ride yet, we have to wait another ten months or so, we will use him to assist on the farm meantime, and that's a whole new set of tricks William and his humans have to master.

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