Dreki is not brilliant at loading. In fact, he is pretty terrible at loading so I vowed, after the last rugby scrum to get him home, he would learn. To load would be part of his (and all the youngster’s) training. I hate a battle.
And I had a Cunning Plan. To feed him in the van – so I opened it up and showed Dreki his purple bucket.
After an initial not-sure sniff, Dreki put his front feet on the ramp.
I moved the bucket inwards and Dreki thought about it.
He began to see what I wanted.
Dreki is a quick learner.
In he goes because there is a bucket of his food in there.
Dreki is not a stupid horse at all.
He thinks while he is learning to trust me and he has a huge amount of wanting to do right.
I constantly told Dreki what a good little boy he was. as well as lots of encouragement plus little bits of carrot that happened about my person.
Et voilà! Mission accomplished with minimum fuss and Dreki never said no once. What a good boy!
After his food, we did the statutory in-hand training.
On both reins.
It is all about listening, trust and body-language – his and mine.
And then I walked Dreki up the ramp just to make sure he knew what he was learning. He didn’t even remember that he didn’t do this.
Meanwhile, the other two were working on their self-expression.
We encourage this. Efstur likes to eat his bucket (thought his Uncle Kappi’s talent is to throw his empty bucket over the gate!).
After all these efforts, I took the old man out for a little potter.
Now, we are a team – over 20 years together.