Hope Pastures is an equine rescue centre near Leeds. Yesterday was their open day and Toby, India and I provided a show for them.
Above: India playing fetch: picking up the toy and then handing it to me.
The basis was on clicker training, what it is and why it’s useful, especially for rescued horses. India demonstrated that bit perfectly, staying really focussed and showing ‘touch’, standing on a mat and pedestal, going back, head down, kick (with a front foot), stay (just like a dog, I say ‘stand’ and she stays where she is, regardless of if I leave or even do handstands against her side) and fetch. Not bad for a 4 year old in a new place!
Toby then showed some of the more advanced tricks-he played football with a giant ball, laughed at jokes, gave me some pretty sloppy kisses (his techniques not great, he’s a bit too enthusiastic with his tongue) and also worked at liberty in walk, trot and canter, both on the ground and with me on his back (no bridle/headcollar etc). He also stood beautifully while I did poi on his back.
Unfortunately, we missed getting photos of the footy and the poi as India got a little overwhelmed when I was working with Toby. Not surprising when I realised how many ‘firsts’ she was dealing with; first time of: large audience, lots of children, between 2 main roads, donkeys (right next to the arena), cyclists, ambulance with sirens, double decker buses, cheering and clapping, pushchairs, zimmer frames… the list goes on! What was brilliant was that, although she freaked a bit when I left her, as soon as she was with me she calmed down again straight away. Another wonder of clicker training and building that strong relationship.
Anyway, it was a lovely day and I thought both horses were great. Hope pastures is a great charity and the staff do a wonderful job with the needy horses they take on so I’m glad it was a good day for them too.
Click here to see the piccies!