Welcome to our blog page, HOOFBEATS, where we talk about
the countryside with a main emphasis on training and caring for horses and ponies. If you would like to contribute ideas and
information about your own experiences, we would be delighted to hear them. Please email to email@example.com or post to our Facebook Page, Horse and Pony
Info. If you're into Twitter, you can contact us @horse_ponyinfo.
The opinions expressed here are from personal experience and we strongly advise you
to contact your vet or your riding instructor if you are seriously worried about your horse.
Sprite had a new experience last week. He made an appearance at the Pony Club Rally with a 10 year old girl on board. I've
posted a photo of Sprite Being Good at the Tullamore Show (see left), safely on the end of a lead rein and ridden by an 8
year old boy. That's just to prove that he can be well behaved when he wants to be.
I delivered Sprite
to my sister-in-law with a long list of instructions, complete with sweet itch rug, sweet itch lotion and the recommendation
that a whip was a necessity. Not to beat the poor pony, God forbid. It's just that he came to my stables, aged 4, with a strong
belief that any child without a whip was easy to outwit. Please blame previous owners for this and not me. All you need to
do is wave it a little and Sprite knows who's boss.
I gave his rider a lesson the night before and they looked
very sweet together. She rode him well and he behaved like a little angel, trotting, cantering and halting for her almost
perfectly on cue. If he hesitated, he only had to glance in my direction (standing firmly and purposefully in the middle of
the paddock) to decide that it was better to be mannerly.
I had high hopes for the Pony Club Rally but unfortunately
couldn't attend myself. I could only rely on the mother's report and, apparently, things started to go wrong when the whip
was left behind. Sprite wouldn't go. He refused to move forward, he baulked at trotting and as for jumping a tiny fence, well
you'd think it was from outer space... A very experienced instructor ended up leading them around until he finally condescended
to attempt it.
My poor mortified sister-in-law could only listen in embarrassment as the instructor asked whether
this was the pony her daughter would be bringing to the Pony Club Camp. She replied that he usually needed a whip
to make him go and the instructor frowned even more. Whips were disapproved of (quite rightly too, I agree - for normal
ponies) as the Pony Club wished to encourage horsemanship. The instructor looked Sprite up and down for a few moments. Well,
she announced, it was obvious that he was Welsh. Welsh ponies were pretty but had character (a dangerous word when
connected to a horse). They had, she continued, 'minds of their own'.
Whether Sprite will make it to the Pony
Club Camp is still in the balance. Personally, I doubt it. The 10 year old girl has been practising hard this week, carrying a
whip and noting a marked improvement in behaviour from our little equine hero but only time and another Pony Club Rally will
tell whether Sprite goes or whether he returns in disgrace to me.
Horse portrait competition attracts record entries
Nobody could envy Sian Lewis of www.equineimaging.co.uk who had to judge our May 2011 photo competition of an Equine Portrait. Horse and Pony Info broke a new record with 138 entries
and the standard was extremely high. Sian, a professional equine photographer from South Wales, says she picked the first
six entries because they were the most technically correct. Congratulations to Stephen Launton with his photo of Bruno
who captured first prize!
Sian tells us that she will give us all a few tips on how to take a really good portrait
photo of a horse so we'll let you know when we have these as I'm sure there are plenty of budding photographers amongst
us who love taking shots of our favourite horses. I know we all do here... and not just our horses. Our cat and dog also provide
constant inspiration to all the family and consider themselves celebrities by now!
Thank you to everyone who entered
this competiton and made it so much fun to view on our Facebook page. See the full results here.
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FURminator Equine - We recently bought one of these ourselves and have found it great. It effortlessly removed loose
hair and the horses really seem to enjoy being groomed with it. We even tried it out on our dog! Obviously you need to take
care not to use it on parts of the body where the bone is close to the surface, such as face and legs. (by Suzanne Lalor,
Horse and Pony Info)
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Answer to Horse Breed Puzzle
There are 5 breeds mentioned: Shetland, New Forest, Welsh Mountain, Thoroughbred
and Irish Draught.
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