A Guest Blog from Jan Daley
I consider Rebel to be my first pony. Yes, my sister and I owned and borrowed ponies as children, and my ISH was given to me on the understanding that if my circumstances changed, I would give him back to his previous owner.
But this was my first foray into “real” ownership of a potentially problematic equine.
My knowledge of horsemanship 10 years ago amounted to - and still does - a recognition of which end to offer hay. As far as Shetlands go, there was the utter terror of laminitis which I thought was brought on by too much Spring grass, but otherwise, Shetlands were uncompromisingly indestructible.
I had never had input to training or schooling a horse, and my childhood “riding” comprised bribing feral Shetlands to submit to baler twine halters and reins. The steering was somewhat erratic, and brakes were applied by leaning along the neck of the runaway, shutting off the nostrils until halt occurred. Hardly Dujardin or Detorri worthy, but it worked at the time!
Thus it was with some trepidation I left the cowshed with my newly acquired surf kite, to walk - using the term loosely - the 3-ish miles to the field where Rebel would take his place with Seamus the ISH, my friend’s cob and mini Shetland, Dougal - the first time Rebel would be in horse company since his persistent Houdinism had led to cowshed incarceration.
Considering this was his 3rd time walking on a road, in a relatively straight line, with traffic, he was amazing. We stood and looked at scary things until they weren’t scary, and even nibbled some grass to prove they really weren’t scary. Passing the primary school with a playground full of screaming children who all ran at us was as terrifying for me as for Rebel, and unfortunately remains so to this day.
Rule 2: take the time to smell the flowers!
© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio, 2021
Treating your horse with care, connection, curiosity and compassion