We’ve got Sarah on the reins today, we’ve just come back in the yard. We’ve taken the pony in a different direction so somewhere where he’s not familiar. And unfortunately we weren’t able to film this
exactly because Mel was opening the gate you know. So we’ve gone today out of his “comfort zone” out of what he’s been used to. And this is where the problem is and the reason I say this pony is not suitable in my opinion for the people that own it. Now the people that own it are lovely people and they want to give this pony a good home; he’s had a bad start he’s been left to do what he likes, bucked people off, 2 or 3 different people that rode him and he’s been an ill-mannered pony. Because he’s not done as he’s told and he’s found it very hard to do as he is told. So today we take him a different route he’s scooted more, by that I mean speeded up, same cars that he’s seen, same vans that he’s seen, same lorries that he’s seen he’s unnerved because he’s in a different route. He’s never been on that route before. Now, he went over the bridge very well you’ll see it on the film. But breaking horses is not putting them in a cart. When you break them to drive these shafts are neither here nor there. They’re not going to make any difference to the horse whatsoever. This horse now we brought him back into the yard. Normally we pull over, they go on a chain, we take them apart, take them out of harness, take them inside. Or in weather like this we drive them straight inside. Now this lass is on work experience, she’s come on really well in the time she’s been with me and I’m happy and confident as long as I’m sitting here that she’s on the reins and learning. And she’s learning a big lesson now because we brought him into the yard and he has been an absolute pig. Pawing the ground, stamping his feet, will not stand still for love nor money. Up until now he’s always stood still when we bring him back in the yard but he’s out of his routine as you can see. Now she’s not pulling him on the head; he’s got to stand still on a slack rein. And he is as annoyed as anything. Now unfortunately we didn’t get it on film when we came back in the yard and stopped here he was yanking the reins out the lass’s hands, pawing the ground, backwards, forwards, sideways, he’s jack-knifed the vehicle he’s done all that. We’re going to do this again tomorrow so maybe he’ll do the same. But what we’re doing now, and people say “you’re crackers!” – this is what breaking is about. Standing out here in the pouring rain with a pony, getting him to do as he is told. He’s obviously hot enough, you can see the steam coming off his back, he’s not going to get cold but if he does I’ve got a rug ready to lay over his back. But he will stand here and he will do as he’s told on a slack rein. Do you see me hitting him, smacking him, or doing anything? This is what I call discipline. He;s not being beaten into it I’m not going up and shouting at him I’m not pulling his head, I’m not doing anything at all other than applying the front brake, so that if he wants to come round there’s a little bit of resistance just for safety reasons. He will stand there now with these reins like this till I tell him that its alright to move. This will be the biggest lesson this pony’s had. We’re soaked wet through even with this stuff on but I’ll still stand here, if I’ve got to stand here 2 hours. And we’ll have our cup of tea out here and I’ll keep doing it until he will stand when he’s told. This will be the biggest lesson he’s had in his life. You know, the fact that we’ve gone a different route he’s been a bit more spooky, a bit more jumpy, he’s not used to it, doesn’t know the route, been a bit uptight. Nothing major, gone over the motorway bridge no problem at all pleased about that but this is his ignorance, this is an ill-disciplined pony and now he’s standing here. Now you say to me “surely not, standing in the rain” I’m standing in the rain let alone the pony. So it won’t matter that the rain’s on his back he’ll be washed off, dried and put away in a minute but he’s going to stand there until I allow him to move. And I don’t want to keep saying to him “stand still stand still” “don’t move, steady” and all that. He’ll stand there because he’s been told to. And what he wants to do is go through the doors, have his harness off, food, that’s what he wants to do. Now had he stopped here in the first place and not given me a load of hassle and “backchat” if you like like a teenager, tell them wait here a minute they don’t do that and wander off and this is discipline; its nothing to do with smacking horses. This is discipline, this is training. This is the bit I can’t get over to anybody “Oh but he’s only young” its nothing to do with whether they’re young, this is when they want to learn it now, they need to learn it now and then he’s got a future. You say “well is it that important” sure its that important because if you pull in somewhere you’re getting down, he jumps forwards, you’re on your ass down there and your pony’s gone. If he won’t stand still now he won’t stand still at a road junction will he? He won’t do anything that he’s told to do. He’s got to do what he’s told to do. When you say road junctions, he’ll stand there like a christian at a junction wouldn’t care. Stand there like that, lovely. Wouldn’t care what comes in front of him now really good. But because he’s been on a different route and he’s had to look at new things, see new things, that’s why we kept him on one route to get a certain amount established; his confidence on that route. Now we’ve got to show him the wide world. Take him in the middle of town… But now he’s standing on a slack rein and he’s behaving himself. This lesson he;s having right this second, I mean ask Sarah what he was like when we pulled up. Piaffing! Piaffing on the spot, trotting on the spot, pulling his head down, went round there, back round there. Forward, back up, down. Everywhere! Tried to pull the reins from your hands. And on a wet day like today this is a very good point as Sarah’s just said these reins are slippery. Gloves are soaking wet, reins are soaking wet. So to hold on to them is not as easy as it is in the dry. So therefore if you were just getting off the carriage, just pulled up somewhere, wanted to get down I know you say “have someone at their head” well let me tell you this if someone had been standing by his head just now they wouldn’t have held him, he’d have knocked them straight over because he was jumping this way, jumping over there. So this is what I call training. This is the bit you don’t see, pouring down with rain its not the warmest of days but we’ll stand here now until he gives up and does as he’s told. Now we’re coming to that time now; all the time we’ve been filming he’s entitled to move his head like that but I don’t want him moving his feet. What we’ll do now is move him on 5 feet more so so we’re telling him yes you’re going to go inside, then he’ll stand again. So move him on. Walk. Now this is nothing compared to what he was doing, so he’s going to stand still again until he gives up. See, snatching the reins, pulling, will not stand. Now he’s standing again. I’ve done nothing but make him do as he’s told, or instructed Sarah what to do. But he’s standing there isn’t he? He’ll fidget again. So we’re going to move him forwards a little bit more. And he’ll fidget again; if I want him to back up, he’ll do that. He’s going to do what I want. There you are. Snatching the reins, dropping his head violently but when he wants to stand and does as he’s told that is discipline. Nothing to do with smacking horses. This is a prime example of what I say all the time. But we never film it because it would be so boring in some ways, standing here but we do it whether its a red hot day in the summer or freezing cold in the winter and that is why we get the horses to the standard we get them to. But if you film him now he’s got a leg at rest, just started to rest, I’m unnerving him a bit being here talking because he thinks “Are you going to undo this harness? Are you going to take this off me?” There he is standing, he’s looking at me as much to say for God’s sake come on. You can say to me “Well you’re tormenting the horse for no reason” its nothing to do with that, that’s the last thing I want to do is torment a horse. I’m teaching him that I am in charge and he will do as he’s told. But I haven’t hit him with a whip, I’ve not kicked him in the guts like I saw someone do the other day I’ve not hit him with a piece of pipe, I’ve not done anything at all to harm him or give him any physical pain or discomfort I’ve just said “No what you’ll do is stand there” and if you say “Well you’re holding him on the bit” he’s only got a lump of rubber in his mouth, not what most people drive in, a big lump of iron with a nice twisted side on it and a curb chain. So he’s standing there on a piece of rubber. What I shall do now is mess about with his harness as though I was taking him out. I’ll move in front of him Now I’m getting to the stage where I’m happy with him he’s standing again, he’s now standing quiet we’ve moved in actual fact 3 times now. If we move up a little bit more please. See him try to move in to the doors and go inside, he’s going every which way but where I want him to stand. But he will stand before we give up. So she’s just bringing him back again That’s lovely. Now each time, the amount of time involved in the struggle is less. And he’s learning a lesson. I’ve got to do as I’m told. And that is training horses. All this nonsense talked about a partnership with a horse and like that, this is a true partnership when we treat him with respect and he
respects what we say, what we’re asking him to do. Never ask them to do more than they can do Now most people would think we’re crazy “Oh, don’t do that to the poor horse” – the poor horse will go and kill somebody someday or cause a major accident where this is where the standards are falling all the time and people are accepting this sort of behaviour and its not what is good. Now you can see the horse relaxing he’s got his foot at rest so he’s starting to go “I’ve got to behave myself” Ok you can take him in now.