Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Clicker Training Session 3

The weather has turned so bad here that we had a months rainfall in 24 hours, we thought it would be a good idea to keep Trooper in at night now. He was getting really tired before and I rode him this morning and he had so much energy! I think he just needed a good rest! He still isn't wearing a rug in the field and we aren't going to clip him this year again. It was raining really hard yesterday so he got soaked but this morning he was really clean and shiny when I brushed him, I think the rain had washed a lot of the dust away.

I did another quick session of clicker training this morning. I went back to doing what we did in the first session (using a small container and staying in his stable). As he was quite lively this morning I thought it would be a good time to have a go. He was doing "touch" and "lift" with the container quite well. Sometimes when I said "touch" he was about to bite the container and then I clicked which made him stop. Because of this he was getting a bit confused distinguishing the two commands so I waited a second or two to make sure he wasn't going to lift the container in his mouth before I clicked. He was getting better at this towards the end. I think after another session he will have got the hang of this and I will have to start thinking of something else he can move on to do!

Love Laura

Monday, 24 September 2012

Giveaway Winner

Thanks for you your entries for the Joules Notebook give-away. Using a random number generator, the winner is...

Christina Marie

I have emailed you for your details!

To those that didn't win, I will be giving away another notebook soon on Facebook so look out for that!

Love Laura

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Pony Panorama

My boyfriend came to the farm today and took some panorama shots on his phone. I thought it would be good to show you all where everything is on the yard so I have put stars next to some places. If you click on these photos then they can be enlarged.

Red star; Trooper's stable
Blue star; Joe's stable
Green star; hay
Yellow star; Bobby's stable
Purple star; muck heap
Orange star; Indoor arena

The photo above was one we thought we would try out with two of me! Trooper moved during the photos being taken though making him look a bit of a funny shape and I look cross-eyed!

Love Laura

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Clicker Training Sessions 1 & 2

After having a go at clicker training during an equine behaviour module at university (click here for the post), I thought it would be a good thing to do with Trooper as he is quite playful. I have finally got round to having a go with him.

In the first session I did with him we were in his stable. I cut up an apple into small pieces and just got a few bits out of the locker at a time. I used a little rectangle tub and started by getting him to "touch" with his nose. I clicked the clicker the moment he touched the tub and then followed this with a treat. Despite never having heard the clicker before he seemed to pick up the idea quite quickly and was touching it on command. Trooper likes to pick up things in his mouth so I then decided to get him to "lift" the tub. He was doing this quite well and after about 5 or 10 minutes was distinguishing between "touch" and "lift".

About a week after the first session I lunged Trooper for 15 minutes in the indoor arena and decided to do some clicker training after. Again I used small bits of apple as the treat. I had my Mum there to help me this time so she had the treats and the clicker and I held Trooper and the tub (I used a different, larger one this time). He touched the tub 2 or 3 times and then just stood there and didn't want to do it! There were a number of factors that may have caused this. He had just been lunged so he might have been tired, with clicker training they have to use their own brain and have to be willing to take part. There was also another horse in the arena that may have been distracting him. He had his bridle on because he had been lunged so was finding it difficult to eat the treats. I was told at university that a lot of factors come together for them to learn the commands, if you then change the environment this is changing some of the cues they know to perform the command and they may go back to the beginning again. Here I changed the environment and the tub used so that may have also had a part to play.

I also wrote a post on learning and training that you may be interested in reading if you like behaviour!

Trooper is still out in the field over night and in the stable during the day. The weather has gone much cooler now so I think he will be coming in at night soon (more mucking out for us!). At the moment he is not waiting at the gate in the morning and even when it has been raining he doesn't seem bothered. He is usually the first one barging the gate when he doesn't want to be in the field so I think he will be OK staying out for another week or two.

Sorry I have no photos or videos today, I forgot to take my camera! I am also back in Wales so I wont be able to take any photos this week. When I get back I want to do an update on his weight and on his tail (which has grown really well this year).

Love Laura

Friday, 14 September 2012

World's Tallest Horse

Just a quick post today showing you this video of the world's tallest horse!

Don't forget to check out my Joules giveaway!

Love Laura

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Welsh Cobs

As I am sure you all know, Trooper is a Welsh Cob so I thought I would write a post about the breed. Welsh Cobs can be used for a variety of activities and are known for their hardiness and gentle nature. They have been described as "the best ride and drive in the world". They also have the character of a pony (this is definitely true with Trooper).

There are a number of different sections for Welsh Ponies and Cobs, these relate to their size. Trooper is a section D Welsh Cob which is the largest section. Horses in the section D category have to be over 13.2 hh and Trooper is 15 hh. Section D's still have a pony-like head. Their movement is powerful and extravagant.

The section A pony is smaller than 12.2 hh. The section B and C both have a maximum height of 13.2 hh with the section C being heavier and more cob like.

There is some evidence that a Welsh-type pony existed before 1600 BC. It is thought that they evolved from the prehistoric Celtic pony. They are a hardy breed due to the climate they have lived in. The Welsh Cob existed in the Middle Ages . They were also used for farm work before heavy breeds of horses were introduced. On recovering from the Horses Act 1540, many of the welsh type horses were crossed with Arabs and Thoroughbreds. They were first exported to the United States as early as the 1800s.

The stallion Dyoll Starlight (seen below) is thought to be the founding stallion of the modern breed and was from Welsh and Arab breeding. 

This image does not belong to me.

A town I have driven through many times, Aberaeron in Wales, has a life-size statue of a Welsh Cob. They have a festival of Welsh Cobs and Ponies which I would love to go to one day! I also want to go to the Royal Welsh Show as I have watched the Welsh Cobs competing there on TV and they looked gorgeous!

This image is from the BBC website.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

*CLOSED *GIVEAWAY- Joules Notebook

I am going to do a giveaway every month over the next 4 months and each time I will be giving away a flowery Joules notebook (pictured below!).

The notebook is currently available from the Joules website and is worth £10. It is A5 and has lined paper with a little rabbit/hare in the corner of the page and elastic to hold the book closed. The yellow band saying "Joules Jolly Journal" is part of the packaging. It is perfect for blogging notes!

Here's how to enter...
1. Follow my blog if you're not already following. You can do this using Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, by email, Hay-nettwitter or facebook.
2. Leave a comment on this post saying how you follow me. For every way of following you will get an additional entry to the giveway.
3. Make sure I have a way of contacting you, if I do not, please leave your email address.

The giveaway is open worldwide. You can enter until midnight (GMT) on Sunday the 23rd of September. A winner will be chosen at random from the comments entered, it will be announced in a post but I will contact you. If you are under 18, please get permission from your parents.

Love Laura

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Bit Of Horsey History

I was recently researching to write a post about Welsh Cobs when I came across a horse law from 1540. I thought this was quite interesting so switched to writing a post on this (the Welsh Cob one will be coming soon!).

In the 16th century, King Henry VIII wanted to improve the breeds of horses present in the UK, particularly of those horses used for war. He developed the Horses Act 1540 which said all stallions under 15 hh and all mares under 13 hh were not allowed to run out on common land or run wild, therefore many of them were destroyed. Also no 2 year old colts under 11.2 hh were allowed to run out in any area with mares. Annual round ups of the commons were enforced and any stallion under the height limit was destroyed.

The law was turned over in 1566 by Queen Elizabeth on the basis that poor lands could not support the weight of these large horses. The population size of horses in the UK had been greatly decreased over the years of enforcing this law.

With regards to the Welsh Pony and Cob (which are often smaller than the required height in this act), it was said they managed to escape the wranglers on their rocky native territory. After the act was passed, the breed was crossed with a number of other breeds such as Arabs to help increase the numbers.

Love Laura

Monday, 10 September 2012

Picture Perfect

Recently I was on "Brays Of Our Lives" blog, a blog about mules. In the side bar on the right there is a lovely picture of her mule, Fenway  that you can buy with his back to the camera and he is looking over to one side. I like the image because it looks a bit different that the usual equine portrait but you can still see his eyes and ears!

My Dad paints as a hobby and he is very good at it so I have shown him the picture and asked if I can have one of Trooper which is similar. I will need to get a good photo of Trooper in this position that he can copy though first! I think it might take a few people to help get the photo right! When I next get the chance I will start taking some potential photos for it and I will share them on here.

Here are some of the paintings that he has done of Trooper and some other horses.

These three are paintings that he has done that are a copy of another painting.

Love Laura

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Trooper Trotting!

Here is just a quick video of Trooper trotting in the outdoor arena. Unfortunately with him being black he blends into the background quite a lot! I will try and get some more clearer footage soon with canter and some other dressage moves we have been trying out!

Love Laura

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A Nice Ride!

We finally got a nice day of weather and my Mum was able to come and take some photos of me riding! I went in the outdoor arena and he was being good. He was nice and relaxed and didn't trip up too much!

Excuse the bright bins standing out in the background!
I like this one, looks like he is on a photo-shoot with a wind machine!

He is very handsome if I do say so myself!

He is stretching through with his legs quite nicely, he kept messing around with his head due to flies though so wasn't staying on the bit. He is a bit on the forehand as well! Apart from that, he was going very nicely.

Some video footage to follow tomorrow!

Love Laura

Friday, 7 September 2012

Birthday Cards

It was recently my Mum's birthday and one of the cards she got was amazing! It was from Moonpig and I had to include it on here as on it, Trooper was the cover star of a magazine!

Love Laura

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Product Review; Joules Polo Shirts

Today I thought I would write a review on one of my favourite items of clothing, Joules polo shirts. I currently own three and have had a number of others since I first discovered them at Badminton Horse Trials many years ago.

What makes them so great is that they are really good quality, the material used for them is quite thick which makes them very durable but they also look really stylish. The shirts last me for years, and I practically lived in them during my time at university, as did most of the girls on my course (we studied equine science).

 I particularly like my red shirt as it has so much attention to detail. As well as having lots of different buttons at the top it has some down the sides and under the collar is lined with a really nice material.

This is one of the more plain styles they do (which are also cheaper). The sun decided to go back in when I took this photo but it is a dusky pink colour with their rabbit logo on the front in yellow.

On the Joules website they currently have a number of different women's polo shirts starting from £29.95. Some of my favourites can be seen below. I have a birthday coming up so I might be adding some of these to my wish list!

I even wore my red Joules top when I went to the Olympics as I thought it would fit in well with the Team GB colours!

Love Laura

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

GB Rider Profile; Natasha Baker

Natasha Baker is a Paralympic rider who has done very well at the London 2012 games. This is her first Paralympics at the age of 22 and she has scored a personal best and won gold medals during her time at Greenwich Park. Her horse is called Cabral and is an 11 year old gelding.

She rides in the grade II category which is for riders with locomotion impairment. She suffers from a neurological disorder causing inflammation of the spine due to contracting a virus at an early age. She also rides with no stirrups and cannot use her legs so uses voice and hand aids in order to control the horse. Her parent both are into horses and she has ridden from a young age, especially through the RDA (riding for the disabled).

During her freestyle routine she said she became slightly out of time with the routine and had to improvise in order to do the movements that would fit in with the music. She still won a gold in this event and broke the Paralympic record! A stamp is also going on sale to mark her success.

Below are two videos, one is an interview with her which was quite funny, she seems like a really nice girl. The other is her freestyle routine at Greenwich.

She has her own website which you can get to via this link; http://www.natasha-baker.com/.

(These images and videos in this post do not belong to me).

Love Laura
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