I’ve just returned from another week working over in Portugal, many thanks to Sophie for making this happen once again. My time was split between teaching clicker training and doing Equine Touch and VHT.
You can see all the photos here or scroll down for videos and to find out what I got up to.
The second night I was there, Sophie had arranged a clicker training talk in the local bar. When we arrived we found that the projector they had didn’t have a cable to plug into a computer so it was actually quite lucky that only a few people turned up as everyone had to watch the videos on my laptop screen! Alternative horse training techniques are slowly integrating their way into Portugal, but it’s a very different equine culture over there, so it’s slow going. Sophie did a great job just getting the talks, demos and lessons to happen as it’s all very much against the grain. However, the talk went really well and I got some great feedback from the people who attended.
The next day, I did an Equine Touch demo at a local training yard. Quite a few people turned up to this, including a lot of Portugese locals, which was brilliant. Gavian (the demo horse) was super, and I received lots of questions and feedback. They’re now trying to get an Equine Touch Level 1 course organised over there so they can learn a bit of it for themselves!
We also did a little clicker training with one of the horses there and I met this lovely chestnut stallion, who they’d taken on as his last chance due to aggression (no one else would have him). He was initially brought out to receive some Equine Touch, to see if some of his behaviour was due to pain. However, he was so stressed about people just being near him that I only got to do some work on his neck and shoulders before deciding to call it a day. However, I did some lovely work with him afterwards when he was in his stable as he was craving attention despite wanting to bite and kick everyone when they came near. Check out this video to see how much he loved a head rub when he finally relaxed enough to let me in (although I didn’t realise how close he came to taking a chunk out of me every time I turned my back!)!
I worked with Sophie and her horses quite a lot, as well as clicker training her cats and dog! Check out the photos for some cat clicker action-all the cats wanted to join in-they’re really very trainable! Sophie has recently acquired a year old colt, named Frankie (or Frankster the Prankster-he escaped field from his a grand total of about 5 times while I was there!). This is a short video of Frankie learning some rules around people, i.e. they’re not other colts to be played with and it’s nice if you give us humans a little bit of space! Watch the video to see how we taught this using clicker training.
I met some lovely people while I was out there, and spent some time with Maggie and Danni. They enjoyed some VHT and their horses all got Equine Touch, we also did some clicker work with a lovely rescued donkey named Sylvester, who won’t let anyone touch him beyond his shoulders. You can see all the photos here. I also got some lovely film of Mula the Mule and Sylvester enjoying their new life with Maggie. They’re both rescues so it’s just lovely to watch.
All in all, it was a great trip. Thanks to everyone who welcomed me and especially to Sophie for making it happen, accommodating me in her lovely yurt and to her husband, Andy, for fabulous food all week! If you’d like to visit Sophie’s grogeous organic smallholding click here or if you’re interested in holidays or emmigrating try here first!