I wrote a blog a few weeks ago – “Why we need good foundations” I was touched to be contacted by a lady who said how much this had helped her when she had hit a bump during her journey with her horse. Much of what we write, we send out into the world hoping that it may help someone, but not knowing whether it actually does. So it is lovely to receive feedback from a reader.
Amy has shared her story with us here:
‘Why we need good foundations’
The link to this blog popped into my inbox at just the right time. I was beating myself up over the first big mistake I’ve made with my little project pony Lola, and feeling very thankful it hadn’t ended badly. I felt so stupid, and like I’d let her down. Lola is a very green seven year old, who I bought from a friend who just didn’t have time for her – she has been backed but not particularly well, or handled much in general. This meant she was showing some physical and behavioural issues. So, I have been trying to take her right back to basics and restart her, alongside treatment and exercises from an ACPAT physio. We have been a bit limited, due to me having a grass round pen – mostly doing groundwork and long reining in walk as the ground was so hard. But…I finally got another companion pony to keep her fieldmate company, so we could go out. I’d taken her out in hand, for which she was relaxed and impeccably behaved, and out long reining in the pen and round the edges of her paddock was getting really soft and responsive. So I decided with a helper to go out and long rein in the 50 or so acre pea field behind us. She was so relaxed that I got rather cocky…I decided to ask my helper to unclip her rope from her head so I could drop some trot work in a large circle, which was fabulous for about 30 seconds until she shot off, panicked and spun around, meaning the long reins had wrapped around her legs and I had to drop them, and she then disappeared into the distance!! Luckily she only went along the fence boundaries and after the longest 5 minutes of my life, including a few heart stopping moments when she headed towards a road, she calmed down and headed towards my friend who calmly clipped the rope back on. I was feeling pretty fed up when I read Lizzie’s blog, and I made me decide to reevaluate my attitude towards it; yes it was scary and worrying, but I was very lucky she was uninjured and didn’t go far, and I wanted to learn from it. So, what did it tell me? What cracks did it show up in our foundations? Well, I’d obviously asked far too much of Lola to go from the space in a round pen to a massive field and not panic; she simply didn’t know how to organise herself in that much space, or how to stay on a fairly balanced circle without the round pen walls to guide her. I also realised if only taken her out once in hand, and it was far too big a jump to long rein without the insurance of having my helper clipped on; I’d forgotten that Lola, as with many other sensitive horses I’ve worked with, struggles when being asked to cope with more than one new thing at a time. So, it’s back to repairing those foundations, doing more long reining in a secure area and more walking in hand before I venture out into a pea field again!
With thanks to Amy, and if you would like to share your story with us, please email [email protected]