Meet Piotrus Pan (Peter Pan) aka Poldek. Poldek loves: being fabulous, kisses, scratches, his mummy, more kisses. Poldek is terrified of: everything. Leafs, shadows, cats, stones, noises, people coming out of unexpected places, such as doors, and all other terrifying things.
Poldek arrived to Anka Rancho on the 1 May. That was the first, the only, and the scariest change of yard in his entire life. From then on he has been introduced to the whole wide world. He even was ponied of the very patient mr Niko on a trail ride. Not only it gave him a chance to explore a new environment and take example of a more experience horse but also it introduced a human at the level of his back which is a great prep for riding.
Just as Fiestina does, Poldek loves moving his feet. However, he needs some further practice with coordinating them. Recently we practiced jumping barrels; an experience somewhere between the realm of “I like to move my feet” and “I’m terrified of terrifying things (like barrels)”.
By now, Poldek is a pro in Seven Games and his teaching them to his owner. But first and foremost, she learns how to be a good and reliable leader with a plan for every possible scenario (for instance, if a tiger jumps of a hedge).
In case of doubt, Poldek also likes carrots.
Fiestina was bred and born in Anka Rancho. She has spent all her life among her buddies in the field and she is very herd-bound and even more aunt-bound (she has a ginger aunt whom she loves deeply). When separated, ladies neigh their heads of making sure everybody acknowledges their despair. It comes as no surprise that Fiestina doesn’t like to be caught either. Not only it means being separated from the herd but also quite often a visit of a vet or a farrier. No wonder that when I came into her pasture she did a brief carrot check and left me as quickly as possible. It was time for changes. From now on catching will mean bringing back to the herd. It will be her who will do the catching, not me. And last but not least, the rope and halter will become her new best friends.
The next morning, she was turned out on a separate paddock. When she saw me and decided to leave, I encouraged her idea and we started playing the “catch me” game. When I was approaching her, I was always heading towards her hindquarters. When she was looking at me, I was walking away with “I wasn’t coming for you” face on. I soon had her attention, in a couple of minutes I also had her curiosity.
Soon she was following me and trying to catch me. When she touched my hand with her nose we started Friendly Game with the rope. I believe there is no point in going further if you don’t have a horse's trust and if he doesn’t truly accept tools you are using. When I finally saw a change in Fiestina's behaviour and relaxation I walked her all the way down the herd. Not only did she receive a reward for catching me but also I didn’t implement the idea of “I take the halter off – you run away”.
This has become our little ritual. Every day I come to Fiestinas paddock and let her catch me. We play Friendly Game and then I walk her to the herd, sometimes passing by the water ("wow! Not only she brings me to the herd but also she provides the water!")
What Fiestina loves? Her aunt, running and carrots.