Monday 7 January 2013

The Horse Agility lady Comes to Visit !

Today the humans have had a wonderful day and the donkeys got to join in!

Firstly we had to be off quite early so we did the morning feet, swept the shed, threw them all some hay, filled up the water buckets and promised to be back soon. Today the lady from the Horse / Donkey Agility Club – Vanessa Bee - was coming !

 Vanessa was coming our way as she was giving a training session at a yard about 8 miles from us and, even better, we were invited to watch.. In the riding arena along with all sorts of obstacles there were 7 or 8 ponies and horses, from a little round brown-and-white thelwell pony to an enormous 17hh grey horse along with their handlers of all ages.

There was a tarpaulin on the ground, some barrells to walk between, a bridge which could be turned into a see-saw, a scary corner of flags,some hula-hoops and a collection of plastic bottles to walk over.Vanessa explained natural horsemanship methods of asking the horses to tackle the obstacles, how important it is to stay calm and quiet if your horse is nervous, how to use approach-and-retreat to improve the horses’ confidence and what things horses were likely to do when faced with some of the obstacles.

 Then everyone was sent off to play with the obstacles with Vanessa and Jenni giving them lots of encouragement and tips. Some of the ponies swapped their little handlers and some handlers swapped their ponies. When everyone had done every obstacle they had to choose their best obstacle and go through it with their horse. It was great to watch less-than-perfect horses and handlers and see the problems they had and how they overcame them. Everyone including the horses enjoyed themselves,nearly everyone did all the obstacles and it didn’t even rain !

 By then it was lunch time and Vanessa followed us back to Clovelly. After lunch we went out to play with the stallions, Pierre and Sammy. We’ll let Sammy tell it from here….

 Hallo everyone,
 Today Pierre and I met a very nice lady from the Horse Agility Club
 Sue says she invents the courses we keep doing for the filming. Vanessa was gentle and quiet and not at all scary so I let her put on my headcollar and we went off to explore the obstacles. Pierre got away with standing around doing nothing because Sue was so busy watching me.

 Here I am going forward for Vanessa over the pole.

Here she is asking me to move my bum round to the right by stepping under my tummy with my left back foot – I’m being a bit resistant but she asked me very nicely by just not releasing until I did - so I did do it for her.

 Here she is asking me to move my shoulders round.

 Then Vanessa took me to my favourite pallet and asked me to stand on it so I did. I don’t usually walk right over it, particularly when it’s a bit wet and slippery but Vanessa asked me so gently that I plucked up my courage and I DID IT ! I walked right over it !
ps everyone, this is a special pallet with very close planks. If you use one you must make sure it's strong enough to hold up your friend and you should put a piece of  plywood on top with some non-slip trailer matt on it.

 This is me with Vanessa. Sue loves the picture ‘cos I’m copying Vanessa with my ears !

Then I got Sue for a bit while Vanessa played with Pierre.Sue's a lot more clumsy than Vanessa and a bit scary sometimes.

 And here I am with Sue watching Vanessa again. Pierre is not looking very impressed but then he always looks like that ‘cos he knows he can get away with not doing anything.

Then Vanessa asked him to move his front and his back around and mamaged to unstick his feet for a bit - here he is looking alive and interested – Clever vanessa ! I told him I knew she was a nice lady. She’s given Sue some things to work on so hopefully Pierre will do another video entry soon . It is his turn after all.

The humans gave us some hay after this and went off to see the donkeys in the Clovelly stables. Talk again soon…~Sammy~

Hi everyone, Peter here……we’ve just met Vanessa too. I’ve had lots of fun cos Sue was playing with me and I got to tip over all the cones and barrels lots of times because Sue was too busy listening to Vanessa. Sarah got to play with Vanessa first – she’s so young she hasn’t done much and it was great to see her following Vanessa through the weaving cones and trying out the pedestal. Bart was playing with baby Kiwi too so we were all very busy.

Then we swapped about a bit and Vanessa played with Kiwi. It was great to see Kiwi being good and Vanessa saying lots of things to her and she was LISTENING. Vanessa was pleased when she played with the cones too – so Kiwi was pleased too as she loves tossing things around.

Here’s baby tossing the cone.
Here’s baby standing quietly with Vanessa without tossing the cone because Vanessa is so calm and relaxed. That’s Sarah and Sue looking on.

We three babies hope Vanessa will come and play with us again as we all had a great time. The other donkeys were a bit jealous too I think. Lots of eeores, ~Pete~