A tip for handling grass hungry ponies!

pony-eats-grass3

Out on a ride, enjoying the countryside, and down goes your pony’s head for some luscious grass.  He is eating as if nothing was ever quite so delicious and you are trying desperately to pull his head off the ground.  Try gently pulling one rein and squeezing your legs – it’s much more effective than pulling on both reins, but do keep both the reins in each hand. Don’t forget to scold him for his bad manners and remember to ask for grass reins next time.

Sue Taylor

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And in other news – funky toe protector trainers

Following on from Charlie B nearly but not quite stepping on my toe (bless him!)  — and the fact that my trainers with a firm protection on my toe had just worn out — and a conversation I had with Becky about her wearing her “proper” toe protector boots…

screen-shot-trainersI went onto Amazon and found these funky, great looking trainers! I wore them straight away for a 3 hour session and they were great (and believe me I am bad at breaking in shoes) so I would highly recommend them. Slightly pricey at £38 but better than a broken toe – and they come in all sorts of colours – woo hoo!

Amanda, Thursday Helper

A Superb Funday 2016

It really was a fun day. Very busy, organized chaos and running late but who cared? Everybody was enjoying themselves and even the horses behaved! The weather was very kind. We all worked as a team, especially the Thursday evening helpers.

There was no chance of sitting down for a break and Sue was dashing around seeing if anybody would like a tea or coffee and fetching it for them. Far too many golden moments to record, such as seeing all the children getting their rosettes, but one special superman-background-cute-superman-chibi-important-wallpapersone for me…

During the fancy dress parade, I was side walking with another Thursday helper supporting a super hero. He could not speak or sit up and was about five years old. I had never met him before, since I only do Thursdays. We were playing races and putting eggs, soft toys and cups in or on various implements. I just played with him and encouraged him to have fun. You could see him laughing by looking into his eyes and he let out squeals of delight.

Afterwards, I don’t remember if she was his mum, nan or carer, but whoever she was came up to me squeezed my hand and arm and thanked me profusely for helping to make the young lad enjoy himself… I just said that it is what I do.

It makes you feel good.

When Saturn rose…

An Inspired Lessonsaturn

Recently one of our ponies decided that he had an itch on the front of his leg and, going down to scratch it, his rider tipped forward, and despite being ably caught by a helper before he even really left the saddle, the small boy was a bit spooked.

He remained spooked for a few weeks insisting that he had two side walkers – both holding onto his legs, even in the indoor school.

That was until some inspired thinking from our instructor.

It happened that, during the Summer holidays, lots of children were away and all the helpers were there. This resulted in a pretty interesting ration of 8 helpers to 1 child!

Ah ha thought our instructor! She decided to station the helpers around the school, and suggested that our little boy not only lost his helpers each side – but was off the lead rope too. Just as clever – she distracted him by having his favourite sorting games going on – red hoop to red bucket, blue toy to blue tray…

After a few chin wobbles – he was off! And as it went on – a particular moment made us all smile – when the yellow hoop landed on the yellow ball, the boy shouted out “that’s Saturn!”.

By the end of the lesson was really confident, he has not returned to the spooked boy ever since and is now regularly directing his pony himself.

The balance between challenge and the comfort zone is always an interesting one!

A Thursday Helper

Footnote!

On the same lesson, there was also a little trotting opportunity! Another of our helpers recalls…

I “raced” him on foot (meaning side “walking” at trot), and as he was off the lead rope for the first time, he found it extra thrilling and he won twice, so was just ecstatic. That was brilliant to see!

Nervous about helping? Not a problem!

The oa165c-cartoon-horse-clipartne thing I would say, is that helpers do not need ANY horse knowledge, I didn’t have a clue about horses 8 years ago, I was really nervous about helping, but Ann assured me I didn’t need to know about horses, just needed to be able to help the riders. I can now tack up, lead a horse and do most of the horsey stuff (maybe not properly, but I have a go) I even had riding lessons for my 50th birthday, having never been on a horse in my life!

I think we need to make sure a new helper knows that if they don’t want to do horsey stuff, they can carry on being a rider helper. I sometimes get the impression from anyone who is vaguely interested that they wouldn’t be able to help as they haven’t had anything to do with horses in the past.

So not true!

Our first blog post – from Ian

Mr Brown
Mr Brown – a very good friend of Ian’s!

To all you possible new helpers, here are some tips…….

  1.   We need you!!
  2.  There is no reason to worry about the horses as there are lots of lovely people who will willingly help you tack/untack and lead.
  3.  Engage with both children and horses….that is really important.
  4. Make the children laugh……it is lovely to see them smile and the rewards are brilliant! Chat to them and let them know that you are interested in them.
  5.  Above all, have fun!
  6.  The real heroes are the parents and/or Carers