This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Bella and Jack's First Demo.

Here is the uneditted video of Bella and Jack's first ever little demonstration. I had to give up on the retrieve as the wind was howling, as you can hear, and my plastic dog toy retrieve object kept blowing away. I must teach them to pick up some other things as I've done very little of this.

The yell in the middle isn't me - it's my camera person shouting at her mare who was sqealing at the pony she's turned out with.

I had to put a headcollar on Jack because if I don't lead him up to his step he tries to climb on the edge of it and falls off, as you will see from the one time I didn't lead him. Apart from that I never touched them at all to move them - it's all done by mirroring, targeting or suggested pressure.

I am very, very proud of them both and the way they concentrated, tried their hearts out for me in front of their first audience and stuck to me like glue brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful to them both and thankful that they are mine, and that they always choose to play with me and to stay with me, and to give me their all.

I hope you love them too.


  1. They look fantastic Helen, well done!!! SO love the SW and obvious showing off to the crowd :-) I also really like the walking in each other's footsteps, really shows how they are listening. Oh and the sidepassing down the pole, very neat!

    Its so great to see them enjoying themselves and clearly happy to be with you, despite the wind!

    you should be very proud of yourself - and them - they look so healthy, happy and shiny. Many would give their eye teeth for such a relationship.

    Thank you so much for posting it, so lovely to see your gorgeous pones again!!

  2. Great videos-made me smile!!

    You are all having such a great time

  3. You should be very proud of them - and yourself!

  4. Thank you so much everyone.

    I had a huge boost to my confidence tonight. We were burgled! I went back up to the yard at 7pm with a friend and saw three men walking away from the barn where my ponies live. I shouted and they started to run, at which point I noticed that they were carrying a summer sheet I bought for Bella in a sale on Saturday. It only cost £10 but I was totally determined that they weren't leaving the premises with it.

    I gave chase, with my friend in hot pursuit, yelling at them to drop the rug or else!!! My friend said I was quite scary. They got away with the rug but it wasn't for want of trying on our parts.

    The police actually came and took a statement. They asked if I'd be prepared to go to court and I said definately, to see them hang!!!

    I was so proud of us both - two women determined to apprehend 3 men, and we both meant business! They had to throw themselves through a Blackthorn hedge to escape, then drove off at high speed. It would have been better still if I had managed to make them drop the rug but, when the chips were down we were magnificent.

    I didn't know how I'd react now in a situation like that now David isn't here but I am so pleased that I instinctively chose the courageous path and think that I would have done had I been on my own too. I'm a braver, more assertive person now than I gave myself credit for. I can survive on my own and fight my own battles and I proved it to myself tonight.

  5. Wow! I don't know what's more impressive, the work with your horses, or your chasing the burglars.

    The videos show such a lovely relationship between you and your horses. What I love is how absolutely focused they are on your every move. Well done. I hope you had as much fun as it looks!

  6. Beautiful Helen. I really enjoy watching the videos. I love liberty woork, because the truth comes out. If your horse does not like you, he/she will leave.

    I love it.

    Well done for the buglars. One thing really scares them is ... camera. I know that I will take pictures with my phone of the car, their faces etc...

    But it is also good perhaps better to scare them off ^-^

  7. Well done Helen!! good for you - I'll bet the little toerags were sh***ing themselves. I hope they pass the word around that a really scarey bunch of women live at your farm and not to touch with a barge pole!

    Hope they tore their nether bits on the hedge!

  8. Wow Helen what a lovely film and what a touching testimony to your training,and to how far you have come.

    I had a tear in my eye when Jack climbed up onto his pedestal that was such a big ask for a partially sighted horse.they are brilliant both of them,and this is just the begining!
    Loads of ideas there for me to play with so once again many thanks for posting this,I will be replaying this all winter.
    So sorry about the thieving *astarrds made me grin,I would have done just the same,bet their nasty teenage boys! Watch they dont come back tho! Hows the driving coming on,and when shall we fire up the daily chunter?

  9. Awww, thank you all SO much!!!!

    Jean, Thank you! I could play with them all day, every day, it's so much fun, and they'd do it too!!!

    Muriel, I wish I'd thought of the camera as there's one on my phone. It never even occured to me but it wil if it happens again - thank you!!!!

    Charlotte, thank you, you really made me laugh there!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you so much Janette!!! My practical driving test is on the 16th so I'm starting to panic!!!! On the whole I'm pretty good now but I still hate getting anything wrong and find it hard to relax again if I do. I also haven't really done enough town driving and the responsability of it still gets to me a bit. If I have no bad luck on the day I should be alright.

    I didn't realise until the other day that, by complete coincidence, my test is exactly 6 months from when David died, to the day. I'm expecting some help from beyond the grave!!!!!!!!

    The thing that really makes me mad about yesterday is I hate the thought that they were so close to my ponies. I bought another baby monitor today, as I already have one in the main yard. One end is in the barn and the other in my bedroom, so I can hear what's going on in there at night.

    I can't believe how great the police have been though. They phoned me today to keep me informed and they are putting me in touch with the local Horsewatch co-ordinator. They couldn't have been kinder or more helpful and seemed very admiring of the way we dealt with it.

  10. Can't say congrats for having burglars, but fab to know how you reacted instinctively. Lets hope they got well and truly done by the hedge!

  11. It seems as if my earlier posted comment has been lost in space somewhere...
    Just loved to see you work together with your horses, Helen, they were so good!
    Especially considering the strong wind as horses tend to get tense and unconcentrated then, and they just kept on working together with you. Impressing.
    And congratulations on the burglar hunt! I don't know if I would have been equally brave!