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Hoofbeats - The Blog 

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 editor@horseandponyinfo.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.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Worst behaved pony at the Pony Club Rally

webassets/SpriteatTullamore.JPGSprite 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.

11:09 am gmt 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

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.

10:44 am gmt 

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There are 5 breeds mentioned: Shetland, New Forest, Welsh Mountain, Thoroughbred and Irish Draught.


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Do you have ideas or a problem which would interest our readers? Please email to editor@horseandponyinfo.com .