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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Male Bonding!

Novillero, now known as Rico for short, has been making new male friends. He's fascinated by Ben, who you can just see on the other side of the gate in the first photo, and he really enjoyed getting a fuss from Mike. Mike says he's the loveliest horse he's ever met! The photos are not good quality as the light wasn't great but I had to capture the moment!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Novillero Comes To His New Home.

I can't believe what a lovely boy Novillero is! He very much reminds me of Bella when we picked her up and she was a year old - twice Novillero's age!

He very nearly walked straight up the ramp into the lorry but hesitated at the last second. The ramp was quite steep but he allowed himself to be bundled in from behind without protest and immediately started tucking into the haynet waiting for him.

When we arrived home an hour and a half later he was totally cool and calm, not a bead of sweat anywhere, still munching, and walked quietly down the ramp like a pro!

It was such a lovely day I decided to turn him straight out in a paddock with Dougal as he's used to minis, and Dougal LOVED having a new friend to play with and spent the first half hour with his head mostly between Novillero's hind legs!

Bringing him into the barn tonight caused a lot of excitement among the older horses but Novillero was very relaxed and went straight to his haylage! It's like having a flashy horse with the temperament of a Dales Pony! I never, ever thought I'd find another youngster as laid back and sensible as Bella was but so far he definitely seems to be out of the same mould!

I knew I'd bought the right one as soon as I saw his bold, trusting reaction to the horsebox (he's never been loaded before) and everything he's done since has convinced me further. I'm absolutely delighted with him, and, as you'll see, so is Dougal!!!!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Escaro Novillero.

Please meet my new boy - Escaro Novillero. He was born on the 18th August 2011 and has just been weaned. He will be coming to his new home here later this week.

This is his sire, Ulises, an unregistered Andalusian imported from Spain. He is very sociable and friendly and high school trained, including lying down which we were shown today.

His dam is Camisa, a registered PRE of pure Carthusian blood. She is by Emperador XXV and out of Dotado III. She was bred by Mario Torio Collantes of Madrid. She was out in the field wearing a rug so I couldn't get a very good photo of her.

Both parents are about 15.3 which is just the sort of height I had in mind.

Novillero's breeder told me very seriously that they are great believers in treat based training and when I told her that I'm a clicker trainer she whooped and gave me a double thumbs up!! The stallions there are unbelievably polite, well behaved and friendly. We were also introduced to a beautiful Friesian stallion whose owner is circus trained and a former cossack rider. She had him performing all sorts of trucks in return for treats with complete trust and great enjoyment on both sides - a wonderful advert for treat based training. I felt very much that I was among new friends at their yard!

I think Novillero will probably have his own blog so I can keep a clear record of his development and progress.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Never As Easy As You Think!!!

I used to spend a fair amount of time looking at horses with liveries who were looking for one to buy but I'd forgotten just what a minefield it is!

Recently I went to see an Andalusian stallion who is a schoolmaster and does the lot - piaffe, passage, canter pirouettes, changes, etc. etc. I went even though he was far more money than I've ever, in my wildest dreams, thought of spending on a horse!

He was beautiful, very quiet, friendly and kind and very easy and responsive to ride - my dream horse, except....

I was told that he'd sailed through a 5 stage vetting when he was imported 2 weeks previously. I noticed a lump on his dock and when I lifted his tail I found masses of melanomas, some quite large, all around his anus as well as loads on the underside of his tail. I asked what the vet had said about the melanomas and the response was "what melanomas?" I was led to believe that I was the first person to notice them!

I liked him so much that I nearly went back for a second viewing but some horror stories from a friend who'd had two horses with melanoma, and who pointed out that he was quite young to have so many already, brought me to my senses. She told me of the distressing problems one of her horses had had when they developed inside her back passage as well as outside. It would be an uninsurable risk as it's a pre-existing condition and I didn't fancy the worry of watching them develop over the years.

The truth is, although I would very much love to have an Andalusian, I don't really need another horse to ride at the moment. I want to concentrate on Bella and see how far we can get, and I need to do something with Merlin, so I'm going back to plan A - a youngster I can play with, watch grow, drool over and dream about.

With that in mind I'm hoping over the weekend to go and see a late born foal who's just been weaned. There are also some Lusitano yearlings near here whose parents all look stunning but it was really an Andalusian that I had in mind. I'm told that Lusitanos are bred for working, Andalusians are bred for posing! I don't really want anything that will be too high maintenance as an adult as there are lots of other things I want to do as well as riding horses.

My Dales have spoilt me in that respect and I don't really want the pressure of "having to ride" every day again - I had too much of that for too many years and it knocks all the fun out of it after a while. I love having my own horses to ride but, like most things in life, it's far more fun when you don't feel that you always have to ride them!

It's a lovely dilemma to have though!!! How do people without horses get enough fun and excitement into their lives? I'll never understand that one!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Next Plan!!!

I went to see the foal but he wasn't for me. He dished really badly and he had small eyes which showed a lot of white. He just didn't look like my kind of horse.

Ribamontan, his sire, is to die for but his owner wouldn't let me have him!!!

I'm not going to say too much for fear of jinxing the next one but I've been to try the horse of my dreams and I'm going back again as soon as the snow here clears. He can teach me everything, and I do mean everything, that I'm so keen to teach Bella! He's the schoolmaster of anyone's dreams and I just need to find the courage to go for it!!

Grace gave a little girl the best birthday of her life today. She gave her her first ever proper riding lesson, with an instructor friend, and behaved impeccably despite bitingly cold weather and not having been ridden for ages. Grace's fan club grew by 5 people - the little girl, her mum, her aunt, their friend and the instructor - who all thought she was wonderful and I got hugged by everyone involved! A lovely day for all of us, all thanks to Gracie!

Horses - they're loads of work and time and money but the good ones give us SO much joy in return! You just can't put a price on joy, can you?


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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!