Well just snatching a few moments at breakfast to report briefly on yesterday. Luckily the weather held off, and although still grey and overcast for most of the day, the temperature was really about right, as my indoor school can be like a roasting tin on a hot day! Its bright and sunny this morning, I nearly fell out of bed with shock!- I had almost forgotten what it was like to have sun shining through the curtains, so long have we had grey and wet.
But the horse excelled themselves yesterday. I was thrilled with Rei who was so chilled and calm, and I think those who had seen him before, could see a big improvement. Sarah Fox's rescue warmblood Caz and groom, Aimi, were next, Sarah having given him to Aimi now. I last saw Caz in April, and Sarah had given him two years to rehab after he was so nearly put down. He had a stress fracture which took a long time to heal, but eventually he came sound. He had reached nearly Grand Prix in his dressage career, but as he was by then 14, his owner's daughter didnt want to bother to bring him back to full competition level and they were going to have him put down.
Sarah bought him, to save him, and left him to chill. He walked up and down the field fence for months, not grazing, just fretting and anxious. Gradually he started to accept that he was in safe hands and never going to be forced again. Sarah just hacked him and didnt attempt school work with him as he was still so stressed about it. Eventually he just switched off altogether to school work, and became almost dobbin like, whilst still having a heck of spook!
I worked with Aimi and Caz when I took a clinic at Sarah's in April. We worked purely on exercises to collect him again, a lot of rein back to trot transitions etc, and gradually he came to life in front of our eyes. By the end of the lesson, he was back to a high level dressage horse, but proud, showing off to us, and his rider with a grin that met ear to ear! People in the audience who knew him, had tears running down their faces.
Yesterday, a confident, positively cheeky Caz strode into the indoor school here. I couldnt believe the change in him! Eyes bright, interested, nosy, making everyone laugh as he demanded his treats for doing the work! Just shows what a kind home, with consistent handling does even to a horse who had mentally shut down. Great work, Sarah and Aimi, it was just so lovely to see him looking so happy and full of life!
I hopped on to see what he could do- the lateral work is a bit stiff so we worked on getting him to bend through his body again. He really has an exceptional piaffe for a warmblood too- so practised this to get him off his shoulders. He does very nice changes too, and really even at 16, is perfectly able to be brought back to full high level work. Aimi is a lucky girl to have such a schoolmaster, but I dont envy her having to sit that trot on a daily basis!!
Becky then did a clicker training session with Fanta, to show how to begin the work. As usual, this horse who should have been a dog, had everyone in fits with his antics. I have never had a horse like him in my life- he is ULTRA intelligent, and we constantly have to think up things to keep him occupied. He is an equine comedian, and knows just how to play his auduence, and they might see again later today, when Becky rides him with me on Rei to end the day!
Thanks to Debbie's aunt Dawn for her excellent catering and a splendid lunch.
Sarah and the lovely Bambu, did some of the work on body language that she learned with KLaus Ferdinand Hempfling.Several members of the audience had a go, including Erin, over from the US and I have videoed that, so hope to put it on Youtube for everyone to see!
Becky and Sudi did a long reining session next, and again, everyone could see a very different horse. He has also changed, almost to the point of Becky having to wake him up yesterday! But some beautiful work to music, as several said afterwards, moved them to tears. This often happens with Sudi- he has such amazing presence and is so elegant, that people frequently remark that it is so beautiful that it brings tears to their eyes. Becky's skill in long reins and in hand, is superb and there are very few in the UK who can come close to her. She just needs longer legs to keep up with 16.1hh Sudi though!!
Sarah and Bambu then came in, in their traditional Spanish dress and did a display to music. B as always, behaved impeccably and somehow comes to life even more when in the saddlery of the country of his birth. What an absolute darling this horse is, a temperament to die for, and such a stunner as well.
The barbecue went very well, and went on till close on midnight! We had professional caterers this year, it was just too much trying to organise it all on top of the day's work too last year. The caterers did an excellent bbq, and superb homemade desserts, everyone chipped in a bottle so a good time was had by all!!
More tonight, better go and get ready!