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.......

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Photo Gallery of the Horses.

Here are some photos of the horses here. If you click on any of the photos you can see the large, or in some cases the enormous version!

First is Denny and Crystal, who have recently been introduced:

My Four Hooligans, Russell, 14.2 hands and 21yo, part bred Welsh Cob who I bred and saw born, Bella, Jack and Grace:

Maurice, who is an 11.2 hand Welsh Section A, about 18 years old. He was a free gift to his owner as he had a lot of attitude but he is fast turning into an excellent child's pony:

Maurice's fieldmate, Joy, who keeps him firmly in his place and stops him getting too cocky. Joy is about 15.2 hands and a part bred Welsh Cob. She is about 13yo and has had laminitis so is on restricted grazing. She is regularly ridden and is very well behaved but is claustrophobic and hates being in a stable:

Sapphire, who is a 15.2 hand 4yo and a TB/Warmblood cross.

Chantal, who is 14.2 hands and 27yo. She is an Arab and is very arthritic but is happy to potter about with small children on her back and is totally trustworthy on or off the lead rein:

Rush, who is 14.1 hands and 4yo. She is being trained for Western riding and is not too happy about it. She is developing a bad attitude to work and to her owner but I'm not sure he has the patience for clicker training:

Woody and Rupert, the newest arrivals. Woody is a 15.1 hands 6yo Welsh Cob who is ridden Western style and Rupert is an elderly very small pony of indeterminate breeding. He was bought from the gypsies at the side of the road. He is very quiet and an excellent child's pony. They have both had laminitis fairly recently and are both on strict diets as they are both badly overweight:

Tammy, the chestnut, who is about 16 hands and 23yo. She is very arthritic and possibly has Cushings Disease. She is retired. The bay is Hettie. She is 15.2 hands, 17yo and a part bred Shire. She had an accident to her hind leg a couple of years ago and, despite an operation, is not 100% sound. They make ideal companions for each other as they both just want a quiet, peaceful life:

Guinness, the grey, who is about 15.2 hands and 17yo. He and his owner had totally lost confidence in each other when he first arrived and he had become very wound up and nappy. He is a total clicker training success story as he is unrecognisable from the horse who came here just 4 months ago. He is calm, relaxed and happy, and so is his owner! Tom is 23 yo, 15 hands and an ex driving horse who was delivering coal in Dublin when he was 3yo. He wasn't gelded until he was 4yo and is very macho with other horses. The mares all love him. He had problems with his shoulder which ended his driving career but he is lightly ridden still, which he loves, and he is anyone's ride, as he has seen everything and has the 'T' shirt! He has lived here since he was 5yo.


  1. What a glorious herd. Nice mix of breeds, sizes, and personalities. They all look to be thriving and happy. That alone speaks well of your farm and how you run it.

    Glad too to know you have so many "rider safe" horses there too. Makes it nice to know people can really enjoy them safely.

  2. Thanks so much for the pictures - what a nice lot of horses and ponies - I also like the mention of the horses that have found a way to get over issues they have once they began working with clicker.

  3. Good Gracious! So many horses O_o ^-^ How lucky you are. It would be paradise for me, sharing a house (I cannot live alone in a house) and being surrounded by horses.
    I hope finishing my days this way ...

    Which breed is Rush? Wetsern riding done very Western is (I am afraid) very harsh, it was developped for QH. QH are able to put up with LOTS of abuse. I really mean abuse. But they are also very intelligent and once is enough to get it. They have been selected/bred for being tamed from birth (that is true, we are having young foal at the yard purebred QH and others, they are amazing), they understand very quickly what is asked from them, they accept harsh treatment. They are afterall working horses.

    I do not think Pure Western riding is for every horses, as it is a working riding like the Doma Vaquera, not all horses can put up with the harshness. But it can be adapted to any horses, if the trainer has enough knowledge and tact and compassion for the horse .... Well if the trainer is good.

    I am sure Helen that you can CT Rush to Western riding.

    You might remind Rush's owner that Wetsern riding is very black and white, there are NO micro-managements. That is why they get away with very harsh corrections, there is a COMPLETE release after.

    If you need any help, advises or to speak to Rush owner, feel free to email me.

  4. Thank you very much, Jean, Kate and Muriel!!!

    Muriel, the problem really is not so much the Western riding as a personality clash between Rush and her owner. He has a short fuse which, to be fair to him, he is trying to deal with. Rush, inspite of being a baby, has a very confident personality and doesn't like being told that she MUST do something, so she gets stubborn. The more determined her owner becomes that shw WILL do as she's told the more determined she becomes that she won't. For a 4yo she has a very strong mind and reminds me a lot of how Bella used to be pre clicker training. If Bella was owned by Rush's owner she would be exactly the same. I have a feeling if I were a horse I would be too!!!!

    I was hoping her owner might decide to move on because he wants to be the big male hero figure here and the more problems he encounters with Rush the more his ego takes a battering and the more he struggles to control his temper, especially as everyone else is doing so well with their horses. I think he might be much happier in a more conventional yard.

    I have also considered trying to see if he would sell Rush to me if he didn't pay too much for her (he only bought her a few months ago), to try and sweeten her up and sell her on to a nice girl who would give her the love and praise she needs to get her to co-operate and enjoy working. Everyone here loves her and she is no trouble at all when her owner isn't about. I don't really have the time though, and my own horses would lose out again, having had very little one to one attention for months now, but it may still be a desperate measures option.

  5. Bought from gypsies. Now that's an introduction to a story!!

    What a wonderful cast of characters.

    I find it interesting that someone wants to train "western." Does that mean to work cattle? Or ride with little contact in the mouth? I've always ridden western, but only trail riding and such. I've never ridden English and I'm very curious about it too. What does the horse have to adjust to, other than the saddle and different bit approach?

    Either way I hope he finds a horse better sited to his temperment.

  6. I wonder where his idea of riding western came from and how he tries to implement it. I am American and have ridden English, Western, I have driven cart and draft work horses. Our only QH was started Western and was never forced, over-corrected, had heavy nasty bits, spurs, draw-reins or anything else. He was shown in 4-H and trail-ridden. Right now he is rather lazy as not much saddle work is being done with him as his owner prefers the 14.2 Fjord mare instead of his 15.3 back to fall from! He has never been forced, beaten or anything else. Seems to me(and I am not being snarky or defensive) he needs to go back to square one and start his groundwork over again with a different attitude and trainer. That said, your string is gorgeous and the oldsters are in a super place to spend the rest of their lives. Good work, you! As a side note--all our horses ride in snaffles, plain O-ring, D-ring and full-cheek for driving. Learned the hard way with a new team of Percheron geldings how harsher bit can upset them. Put them in plain )-ring snaffles and never had a misstep from either of them, ever.

  7. What a fab string of horses! They all look so happy and chilled out. I was immediately drawn to the pic of Rush, so it was sad to read she has found herself a macho owner. The question about why he wants to train her western is a really astute one - what is it he hopes to achieve/do with her?

    I am absolutely sure its possible to train a horse quietly and calmly to western, but you'd have to find a trainer who also believes that. I have heard good things about the Mendip stud but haven't been there myself.

    Mares are difficult if you think you can tell them what to do - its that old saying again isn't it? You can't tell 'em to do ANYthing, its got to be a relationship hasn't it? Mind you, I don't need to tell you that!! There are days she could drive me potty but its definitely a case of not trying when I'm tired and emotional.

    Rupert is fantastic!! Love the pics of him and what brilliant ears!!

    Muriel, what a sad comment about the way QHs have been subject to lots of harsh treatment and abuse. I've heard that comment before, and I think it explains why so many shut themselves down and become introverted. Loly was very much like that when I first got him, and it took a while before he opened up. Speaking of which, I have done 3/4 of his story....but its already really long and I don't know where is best to post it!!!

  8. Thank you all so much for your comments and hello to Breathe and phaedra96! How lovely to meet you both!

    I can't really answer the "why Western" question because I would only be speculating. Maybe just to try something different after a background of hunting and show jumping? I feel a bit mean discussing him like this anyway because he is trying to do the best that he can, and to be patient for as long as he can manage.

    That's what I love about clicker training - it teaches people and horses how to deal with frustration and about controling their emotions, but I don't believe there is any such thing as a quick fix, especially when there are established attitudes and responses to work through.

    I shouldn't really have mentioned him at all but I too suffer from established attitudes as I have found out things about him which I would rather not have known and they have affected my attitude to him and my desire to help him. If it wasn't for that I might have tried harder to help him at an earlier stage so I am in part to blame for their present predicament.

    I do try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt but in this particular case, through loyalty to my friends, it was very difficult for me to do so and, having not known the facts before he came here, I was stuck with a situation which I would have avoided by not having him here in the first place.

    As it is I have to shoulder the blame for not being able to motivate myself to try and help him.