Courses for Horse Lovers

After years of admiration and a love of horses Sylvia wanted to do something to help the plight of so many unwanted and mistreated equines. Many Tears is running a FREE program to help anyone who has an interest in horses or who owns one or is thinking of owning one. The program educates by interactive example. We have resident rescued horses that love attention and in turn teach the public about their needs and minds. This program can be as little as a one off hour, or a once a week course for a month. Whichever option you choose needs to be booked. To keep this course running any donations to Many Tears Rescue are gratefully received and if you enjoy your time with the horses at Many Tears they always appreciate a carrot! If through our courses we only help one horse along the way at least that is better than none.

We cater for all ages but please note that this is not a riding school and little or no riding will be involved. However aspects of the observation and theory will certainly help your understanding of riding. We offer the chance to learn through discussion, theory, observation and practical work. Also included will be round penning, clicker training and all aspects of horse management. Courses can be structured to suit individual needs. Please mention what you are looking for when booking. Whether you would like to walk along a country lane allowing a horse to graze beside you, groom, learn about tack, or be taught how to clicker train or round pen, we are happy to help.

We hope that this program will make anyone wanting to get a horse think carefully and truly understand the commitment they will need to have. Hopefully this will save horses from ending up at market, losing their homes, friends and security as well as falling into the wrong hands.

Katy, who will run the courses, will do regular writeups about the horses at Many Tears and how the courses are doing which will be posted on this page. If you are interested in finding out more please email us at info@manytearsrescue.org or call us on 01269 843084.

21-04-17 Cassie

I've never met a young lady who has so much love to give! Cassie joined me for an hour this morning and was energetic, bright, happy and confident. Cassie has had lots of challenges thrown her way but her lovely mum has discovered her love for animals and is giving Cassie so many fantastic experiences.

I got to teach Cassie about feed, picking out feet, safety and grooming and she reminded me that smiling brings joy to the world!!

This is what it's all about!



30-03-17 MANY TEARS EQUESTRIAN QUIZ NIGHT

CHECK THIS OUT!!! 
Aimee, a dedicated volunteer with the horses and some fantastic friends are having a QUIZ night and RAFFLE to raise funds for Many Tears!!

Aimee signed up to be a EQUESTRIAN FUNDRAISING SUPERHERO and she's flying! It is being held on May 5th at Y Neuadd,
Cefneithin SA14 7DE.
Teams are £5, with a maximum of 6 people per team. There will be an awesome raffle on the night, with prizes donated by local businesses.
There will be a bottle of wine for the team with the best Team Name and of course a prize for the winning team too!
Please help us make this night a huge success!



18-03-17 100 SUPERHEROES NEEDED!

Times are tough. Money is tight. I have been able to work with our beautiful rescues and offer training, support, guidance and experience to so many people for free.

I don't know how long this will continue to be an option, unless I am able to come up with some fundraising.

If you follow Sylvia's diary http://www.manytearsrescue.org/sylviasblog.php you will see how much she has to cope with and that now, with her sponsored walk looming, she is injured.

In exactly forty days (and forty nights) I begin my epic 200 mile walk from the ITV studios in London to Many Tears Animal Rescue. Sounds Biblical I know, except for ...

I've seen the great benefit of the horse training I do with people. I've worked with some wonderful people dealing with incredibly hard circumstances, those that already own horse but lack experience and those thinking of buying a horse but need education.
It's all pretty tough at the moment but maybe we could help to make it better. 

Do you have what it takes to become a Many Tears Equestrian Superhero?

 

I am looking for 100 hundred superheroes to raise £100 each!

If you want to sign up as a hero, get in touch! I will post lots of ideas of how you could raise the money and how your money will help!

Last year the centre rescued and rehomed over 3500 dogs, along with supporting hundreds of students with learning about horse care.

Could you do it? Could you raise £100 and become one of our superheroes?

TAKE THE LEAP, BECOME A HERO and email me canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

 



28-02-17 FEBRUARY WORKSHOP

 
Sadly I had to cancel my adult's workshop last weekend but luckily the weekend before, the sun shone and the children's and teen's mornings ran as planned.
Both were brilliant fun. Lessons packed with grooming, feeds, driving Kenny and learning all about pony care. I love running these days. Partly it is brilliant to see children gaining an understanding about the amount of knowledge and responsibility needed to own a horse but also because of the amazing transferable skills. The children learnt about caring for others, being part of a team, being brave, being careful and mindful of safety, showing kindness, they learnt about their own confidence, about getting it wrong and then figuring out how to fix it and also had a lot of fun while doing it. Horses have a magnificent capacity to teach us such great skills.



24-02-17 Foundations of horse care CANCELLED


Foundations of horse care CANCELLED!!! 

Sadly due to bad weather being forecast I have had to cancel the foundations of horse care and dentistry workshop on Feb 25th! New dates will be available soon!! Follow us on Facebook for regular updates on events - Many Tears Equestrian



01-02-17 A new month!

WOW January 2017 has come to an end and what a month it's been!!! So many brilliant people and loads of awesome lessons!! I've crammed some of the highlights into this little video! Check it out!! February is going to be even BIGGER!!! Make sure you've 'liked' my Facebook page 'Many Tears Equestrian' to keep up to date with all of the things going on everyday!! 
 
 
BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THE CENTRE AND THE YARD!!

 



28-01-17 BARLEY RINGS

Did you know that Barley rings can double in size when water is added? 

 

Barley rings can be a great and useful feed to help put weight on a horse and when soaked it's brilliant for oldies with poor teeth. 

 

The bag says that soaking barley rings is optional but personal I wouldn't take the risk of not soaking them. We know how complex the horses digestive system is and that if they have a bad stomach, they aren't able to be sick. It is our responsibility to ensure that we do everything that we can to reduce the chance of our horses getting colic, which can be fatal. 

 

There is a huge amount that we should be aware of when feeding a horse. The horses stomach is comparatively small in relation to their body and we must ensure that we feed little and often rather than big meals. Horses should be fed at the same time everyday and changes within the feed must be made slowly. The horses diet should consist of a high percentage of roughage. Grass is an ideal but at this time of year, hay or haylage is more common. We need to monitor the horses weight, condition, energy and lifestyle to enable us to offer a suitable diet for their individual needs and then we have to continue assessing if the feed is appropriate. 

 

We need to practice common sense with using clean buckets/utensils, good quality 'in date' feed and ensuring that the horse is not expected to work directly before or after a meal. The horses feed should be dampened down to reduce the risk of choke and they must have access to fresh water always. 

 

The horses diet needs to contain enough nutrients and sometimes they require extra supplements to encourage hoof growth or perhaps support joint suppleness. Succulents like carrots should be fed daily and we should endeavour to approach the complex subject of feed as one which we continue to study. 

 

I have just touched on the basics of feeding a horse, it's a vast and interesting subject that we need to get right! 

 

Check out the photos to see how barley rings change size when they are soaked.

 



21-01-17 Another Crazy Week

Thank you to the brilliant students that have joined me this week. It's been another crazy, hectic few days and I'm exhausted! Highlights this week have included Aimee (pictured holding Rooney) having a breakthrough with her lunging technique on only her second lesson and also getting to teach some lots of new horse owners. I think it takes courage to be the owner of a horse and step forward and say "I'm struggling". When people come to me and say this, my first response is to ask how can I help. I try to make sure that lessons are always taught in a relaxed and confidence building way and I am grateful for having some lovely horses to help me with this. If you have a horse and need support, don't hesitate to get in touch. Email me on canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

I have 3 events coming up in February. My children's pony morning is fully booked, but I have a few spaces on my teens day on 19th February. I also have space on a brilliant workshop for adults and teens on February 25th. This three hour workshop is only £10 and included the foundations to horse care, a round penning demonstration and an exclusive talk by Kayleigh Sowden, our talented equine dentist.

If you're interested in booking or finding out more, please drop me an email.

Finally give us a 'like' on Facebook 'Many Tears Equestrian' so that you can keep up with all of the news, live videos and help us to share our mission!



10-01-17 I'M EXHAUSTED!

~
I'm exhausted!! But it has been a great and successful day! I'm very busy with lessons, along side my normal daily work but I love it! 
I've been teaching for 16 years and still love supporting people to progress, to build confidence and to recognise the brilliant transferable skills that you can gain when working with horses! It's not until you step in to the round pen with a horse that you start to really hear your own voice and notice your body language and so much can be gained from this skill, that we all think we already have! Your horse give you such honesty and can teach you huge amounts with his responses.
Massive well done to all of my students today. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and you are rocked it!
If you'd like  to book a lesson with me please email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



08-01-17 EQUINE WORKSHOP

🌟Horse care 

🌟 Dentistry 

🌟 Round Penning Demo

 🌟 BHSII SM and Equine Dentist Talk 

🌟 Only £10 

🌟 Saturday 25th February 

I'm absolutely THRILLED to be able to offer this talk/demo based workshop with myself teaching the foundations to horse behaviour, daily routine, feeding and foot care along with a ROUND PENNING demonstration with the stunning Andalusian Gueaero!!!  It doesn't end there!! The brilliant Kayleigh Sowden, Equine dentist and owner of KS Equine Services will be giving a talk on the fascinating and essential equine dentistry! 

  • Only £10
  • Adults and teens welcome
  • Limited places - email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk to book
  • This event is weather dependent! If you book please keep a close eye on the event page!
  • Hot drinks will be provided!
  • Please wear your winter woolies!



02-01-2017 HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  
Happy New Year Everyone!! It's very busy here, loads of people booking in for lessons and lots of people spreading the word of what we are doing. It's awesome to think of more and more people learning about how intelligent horses are and really understanding their needs.
I had a lovely visit today from Phoebe and Jo! They made the horses some amazing cookies for Christmas and wrapped them beautifully. The horses loved them so we thought we would share the recipe! I couldn't resist sharing these pictures with you. I love the photos of Phoebe laughing, the horses tried very hard to eat the recipe! 



27-12-16 BETSI AND MEGAN

  
I've had such a lovely morning with Betsi 4 and Megan 8. Bethan their mum wanted the girls to gain a little more experience of being around horses and it also gave Bethan chance to brush up her knowledge too as they hope that they might one day have their own horse. The girls were great fun! We covered everything from guessing supplements from their smell to looking Rooney's teeth to grooming. If you'd like your youngster to join me at the centre, you can email me at canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk to book a free lesson. If you already own a horse and you have come across any problems with care or handling, do get in touch and perhaps I can offer guidance in moving forwards.



13-12-16 COLEG ELIDYR

 
I returned from a hack with Quarrel and Gueaero literally soaked through to my skin. I was cold, tired and struggling not to feel miserable when with perfect timing I heard some shouts of "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" from some of the teachers and students that have joined me from Coleg Elidyr. Not only did they drop donations off for the centre but also bought loads of carrots for the horses and some lovely vegan goodies for me! My favourite thing was a lovely handmade card with such kind words, that really meant the world!  
It's been an absolute pleasure teaching the students from Coleg Elidyr. They're bright, enthusiastic young people who have connected beautifully with the horses here!
A MASSIVE THANK YOU to Coleg Elidyr for their support this year and for brightening up a miserable day! 



07-12-2016 Chrismas is fast approaching


Christmas is fast approaching and the horses have been so happy to have received donations of apples, carrots and even a bag of pasture mix! Thank you for supporting us!
Today I had another brilliant lesson with Russell. I work closely with students to help build confidence and a secure knowledge of the horses body language. Today I stepped outside of the round pen and helped Russel, a local college student, to achieve a connection with Quarrel which led to Quarrel wanting to stand next to him and then follow him wherever he walked! I can't describe what a buzz I get seeing that relationship and understanding grow.
The horses are all happy and healthy and I'm starting to make sure that I find time for clicker training. It's so easy to incorporate into daily work and the horses love using their brains! Watch this space and I'll try and get some clips on to YouTube so that you can see too!If you'd like to learn about horses or you'd like help to build your confidence get in touch and let me help. Just email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk
 



It's hammering down!!!!!

The rain hasn't stopped all day and it's dark outside! We're all determined to see the good things from today though and definitely high on the list was gorgeous Chelsea from the kennels making me a hot brew!
It's always a challenge making sure that horses have a healthy and happy day when the weather is like this. It's super important when it's cold and raining that we take good care to warm up and cool down the horses properly. Can you imagine having a good workout in this weather? When you finished, you could feel really fantastic but if you didn't stretch and slowly warm up, you could easily put strain on your joints. If you exercised and got warm or wet from the rain, you would get very cold, very quickly after your exercise. We've all seen athletes with silver blankets after their run! It's no different for the horses! If their coats get wet from rain or sweat, it's essential that we don't let them get cold. Some of the gang are happily tucked up in their pyjamas after their exercise, munching on hay and chilling out.
This afternoon I've been doing brain training with everyone! Horses are such intelligent animals and they need their brains occupied as much as their bodies. Molly was the star of the show! She's so quick to learn and loves clicker training. I placed an empty water bottle on the floor and she quickly figured that she'd get a small reward, if she knocked it over. It didn't matter where I put the bottle, she'd walk straight over and knock it over. Her body language was a picture of happiness, alert, ears pricked, absorbed and interested! If you follow me on facebook you can see a live video of her! Apologies in advance that it's a little dark but it's creepy how dark it is mid afternoon! https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=many%20tears%20animal%20rescue%20equestrian%20centre
Please remember I can offer online support for you and your horses! If you have any questions or need advice, don't hesitate to get in touch. If you'd like any training videos I can include them on the Facebook page. I've had some more lesson bookings since my last blog, please don't be nervous getting in touch. I create a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and lessons are made to suit each individual! Email Katy -  canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



25-10-16 A LOVELY QUIET DAY!


It's been a lovely quiet day on the yard with plenty of time working with the horses and giving them time to play! Quarrel did really well being schooled over poles yesterday and today loved hacking out!! It's also so nice that the rain has held off, even though the fields are wet, the horses love spending time in the round pen cantering around and playing games!
The best bit of the day was when Ffion came for a visit! Ffion was supposed to spend the day with me but is following doctors order resting her poorly foot! She did call by to visit the horses and give them some very tasty treats! Ffion absolutely adores all of the horses here and it's a pleasure to see.

 

 



21-10-16 Well done Jo

  
I couldn't resist sharing these photos with you of Jo, Edith and Rooney. Jo comes to the yard once a week to build her own confidence and help me with yard duties. Jo struggles sometimes with her confidence around the bigger horses but she has developed a great gift that will really help her to build bonds with them. 
Jo always walks in a calm manner, she is quiet with her body language, she speaks in a calm but happy tone of voice, she stands or sits patiently with the horses while they investigate her, she sings and she shows them all huge amounts of love! The horses pick up on this is such a strong way. They feed off her calm manner and recognise her now when she arrives at the yard. The horses are drawn to her because of her manner and it's so wonderful to see! So a massive well done to Jo for bringing her energy to me and the horses! 
 



11-10-16 WONDERFUL OCTOBER WEATHER!


October is giving me the most wonderful weather to work in! It's been a pleasure to be able to exercise the horses without the rain!! Please can this continue!?
I've had some lovely lessons recently and today was no different. I was joined by Russel and his tutor and we made the most of the gorgeous weather and took Tucson for a drive. I love being able to offer people experiences like driving that they may not otherwise get the chance to try. Tucson was, as always, fantastic. He stands patiently while tractors or lorries pass and is always steady and calm to drive. His only weakness is tasty looking grass! He loves it as much as I love chocolate!! If you are interested in learning more about horses please email - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



07-10-16 Hectic but productive week

I just had to share these stunning shots with you! It's been a hectic but productive week and the weather has given us beautiful, sunny, winter days which has helped a lot! Yesterday I finally got around to clipping the horses. They were so well behaved, just look at Quarrel in this picture. I placed his foot on the bucket to enable me to clip safely around his elbow. He happily stood there waiting patiently! Tucson on the other hand stood perfectly still until the last second while I was tidying up his face!!! Disaster! His face is now a little more naked than I'd planned!! Arghhhhh!!! Hopefully the horses will now be a lot more comfortable while they work! 
 
 
Today has been a very productive day with a morning full of loose jumping. I only do this roughly once a fortnight, so they all get excited when they see the jumps! Initially Tucson didn't want to work, but as soon as I put a little fence up he was flying! Full of life and full of happiness!!! It was a brilliant sight! This afternoon I've been catching up on piles of tack cleaning! There's so much!! It is very satisfying now though to look around and see everything shine!!
It's nearly feeding time so I must go and get organised! Hope you all love the photos as much as I do! 
 



20-09-16 Russel


This morning I was joined by Russel, who comes to Many Tears every Tuesday with his college. He did a great job learning to lunge for the first time and it was brilliant to see him starting to become self aware of his tone of voice and his body language and the way in which these things speak to the horse. Nice work Russ!! 
Tone of voice and body language are things that play a part in each of our lives, every day. Working with horses can massively improve an individuals understanding of how these things work and their effects. You can start to pick up on the subtleties of eye contact, tension through the body and the way in which you speak quite quickly by looking at how the horse reacts. This in turn can improve self belief and confidence.
If you'd like to find out more about lessons at Many Tears (which are by donation or free) then please contact Katy via email - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

 



14-09-16 The dentist has been

  
  
We had such an interesting morning yesterday when the brilliant Kayleigh Sowden came to visit Rooney and Edith. Here are before and after pictures of Kayleigh's mission with Edith.
Edith's problem with her jaw alignment are clear, but a good equine dentist can help the situation, especially if they are able to start work while the horse is still young! It's going to be a slow process, but Kayleigh will be working on Edith every three months to angle her molars to then encourage the jaw to slowly begin to realign. It is slow and very precise work ensuring the the molars are angled correctly and that the incisors are maintained in a way which allows the jaw to align with restriction.
Kayleigh has been hugely supportive of the rescue and only takes enough money to cover costs and not work or time! She is fantastic with the horses and always puts them at ease while teaching me absolutely loads! If you need an equine dentist, check out KS services or drop me a message and I'll put you in touch.



10-09-16 Another busy week

I have worn my waterproofs all week and the rain has stayed away and today I trusted the forecast and didn't wear them and it's hammering down! Luckily I have a few pieces of tack left to clean so can clean, in the dry tack room and listen to Molly, happily munching her hay outside the door.

I've had lots of visitors this week and have been fully booked with lessons! It's really great to see people make the most of the opportunity that we offer.

Sydney, Sylvia's granddaughter has been riding with me everyday and I was sad to say goodbye to her. I already miss talking about mermaids, blueblerries, unicorns and butterflies!

I've had lessons this week with people from all areas of life, college students, a young lady who is home educated, a lady who's interested in buying her first horse and more! It is frustrating though when I book people in and they don't show up. I love teaching and am glad we're able to offer it, but it does mean I need to schedule an hour out of the day, prepare a horse and or equipment in many cases, along with preparing forms. Always happy to do it and love meeting new people, but it's tough to stay positive about it when people don't show up, without letting me know.

Today I had a lovely visitor in Jo. She has come to me for lessons in the past and understands the how I like to manage the yard. She has her own horse, but isn't ashamed to admit that she feels nervous sometimes. I love that she's chosen to build her confidence up, by coming to me. She didn't just spend time with horses, but also did all of my extra jobs that I knew I'd struggle to fit in, including fully preparing a stable which we had previously needed to use as emergency kennels. She is truly in love with Molly and I loved hearing her sing as she worked!

My tack is calling me, so I must leave it there. Cross your fingers that the rain stops soon! Could somebody build me a big dome over the stables and fill it with sunshine and rainbows? Maybe not, but I'll keep dreaming :)



31-08-16 Busy morning with Tegan and Tia!

 
 
Busy morning with Tegan and Tia! They did a brilliant job of grooming, washing tails and walking Edith and Rooney out. So pleased the sunshine returned for their visit.

 



12-08-16 Another fantastic pony day!


We have had another fantastic pony day! I was joined by some brilliant, energetic and enthusiastic youngsters and we really filled out day!
The morning started with lessons on points of the horse, where horses live and what they eat. There were lots of crinkled noses when I asked the youngsters to guess the horse supplement from its smell! We had the best cake break with Caroline's delicious home made cakes and after our break the children were full of energy so we decided to go and play ponies in the round pen, jumping over fences and then running in and out of cones. The rest of the day was filled with grooming, lessons on bandaging (and yes they bandaged me!), a quiz, presentation and my favourite part of the day...the treasure hunt! They loved treasure box which was filled with sparkly jewellery and sweets!
A huge well done to Honey, who is in the photo with her Aunties cakes and her picture of Tucson. Honey won star pony person of the day! My favourite quote from Honey was "high five for doing your best" to one of her team mates when they didn't run quite fast enough. I think we all can learn from these youngsters.
Pony day is a lot of extra work for me, but I really couldn't have run the day without  Cordelia, Becca, Freddie and Monty who all volunteered their time, ran around doing jobs for me, helped with every aspect of the day and made it really special for everyone! They are also in a photo stood together. Great teens that I'm proud to know!



27-07-14 Another brilliant workshop


Another brilliant workshop is over. It's been a lovely morning with this gang of young people. I love listening to their stories of life, animals, plans for the future and all that they plan to do. A great bunch of people, bright and full of wisdom!
Time flew by, but we managed mucking out, grooming, health, ageing, points of the horse and more!! Also managed to help raise some essential funds for the rescue. Many, many thanks to everyone for the support!







 



22-07-16 It;s been a busy and fund week


It's been such a busy and fun week with these lovely ladies. Sarah and Maria are in their 3rd year studying to become vets at Liverpool University. Both have worked hard, been full of interesting questions and have shown great empathy for the horses. I have no doubt they will make fantastic vets before long. We've achieved so much in just a few days and I'm exhausted! It's been a very successful week indeed!


 



19-07-16 We seem to have hit a heat wave


We seem to have hit a heat wave just when we things are so busy. I've had the pleasure of teaching so many great students over the last couple of weeks! This week I have Maria and Sarah from Liverpool University, who are studying in their third year of veterinary school. This is Maria's third year with me and I'm sure that it is her love for Gueaero that keeps bringing her back. I love teaching vet students and thinking that the information that I share with them, may help their work in the future with handling horses within their work.
These young ladies have been working hard in the heat, developing their lunging, round penning and clicker training skills, practicing different bandaging styles and learning plenty about horse behaviour. Along with all of this we are getting lots extra jobs done, like pulling ragwort!! What a hard job in this heat! I am joined by such a wonderful range of students, from people studying at college, to new horse owners, to those just needing to escape from life for an hour and find some inner peace.
Many Tears Equestrian really is a safe and calm haven from the outside world. I insist on all students spending a little time learning about horse behaviour, understanding the importance of body language and the effect that it can have on a horse. This leads to a general feeling of calmnes. Even on the busiest and most stressful of days, I and my students will not let this effect the way we work with or move around the horses.
While I sit typing the gang are out in their yards sun bathing and I can hear Rooney calling for his tea (diets are no fun!), but before I go and serve their tea, if anyone is interested in finding out more about horse management lesson at Many Tears, please get in touch - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk
 



14-07-16 A REASON TO SMILE

There hasn't been many reasons to smile recently, but this was one. Today I've been joined by Morgan who is a second year veterinary student. Every vet student that has joined me in the past has always worked very hard and shown such kindness and empathy towards the horses and Morgan has also done just this! The highlight though was watching him round pen Guearro for the first time and it definitely made me smile. With little assistance he quickly picked up the techniques of asking for inside and outside turns along with changing pace. At the end, Gueaerro happily wanted to walk freely with Morgan. It was a wonderful sight! Thank you Morgan for working with me today and being so kind to the horses
 
 



23-06-16 A Busy Day


A very busy day at the yard today in the sunshine, packed with lessons, exercising these beauties, prepping for tomorrow's workshop and running the yard. Lucy joined me this afternoon and loved her first experience of driving Kenny! If you're interested in lessons at Many Tears Equestrian email Katy - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



10-06-16 SUMMER DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

The summer at Many Tears Equestrian is packed with events!!! If you would like further information or to book on to any of these workshops, please email Katy canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

 
June 24th An introduction to horse care 11-1pm
This workshop is aimed at adults who are interested in learning the basics of horse care. No experience needed! Confidence building class. The event will include a round penning Demonstration! We ask for a £10 donation for this event where possible. All money raised will help the horses and dogs at Many Tears!
 
July 27th Horse care for teens! 11-1pm
This workshop is aimed at teens who'd like to learn about basic horse care, including aspects of grooming, feeding and tack. No experience necessary. Confidence building fun morning!  We ask for a £10 donation for this event where possible. All money raised will help the horses and dogs at Many Tears!
 
10th August Pony Day 10-2pm 
Fun filled day for children to learn about horse care. Children need to bring a packed lunch, drink and sun cream. This event is weather dependent! No experience needed.  We ask for a £10 donation for this event where possible. All money raised will help the horses and dogs at Many Tears!
 
12th August An introduction to horse behaviour and round penning 11-1pm
This workshop is for adults who would like to gain confidence around horses and will include aspects of horse behaviour, body language basic, clicker training and round penning. No experience needed.  We ask for a £10 donation for this event where possible. All money raised will help the horses and dogs at Many Tears!
 
 



31-05-16 THE YARD IS BUSY


The yard is busy with lessons once again. Ffion has spent the morning with me, showing her love and empathy for the horses. The morning has been packed with lunging, grooming, walking ponies out and Ffion even got to sit in with Tucson while he was taking a nap. I will always find it such an inspiration being able to spend time with young people and being able to support their learning.



15-04-16 STABLE NEWS

8 has now become 6! Trey and Luca, the two beautiful boys from the horse sales have moved on. They were kindly offered a place in a large equine rescue centre where they have loads of grazing and a huge stable. They now have an even better chance of finding their perfect forever home! It was, as always very sad to say goodbye to them, but also so wonderful to experience them happily following me on to the trailer, total trust. They have had a great start with us and hopefully have every chance of a brilliant future. Definitely a happy ending!
Poor Molly has had some issues recently with her laminitis. She became quite sore and gave us all a scare. We had support from the vet and our brilliant farrier and thankfully she seems to be doing really well again! Please keep everything crossed for her.
Life on the yard is still busy, but great fun. I've been quite hectic with lessons, my favourite of which is always round penning. I love demonstrating the skill and intelligence of our horses and then teaching people how to control their own body language and voice tone to talk to the horses. I have also been joined by some lovely youngsters who just adore being with the horses. Most recently Ffion and Faith have come to the yard and given the horses lots of attention and grooming. They were a reminder of how responsible and empathetic young people can be.
Well the rain is pouring again and the yard is waiting! Back to it!                                   



07-04-2016 FFION AND QUARREL


I have just spent a lovely hour with Ffion and Quarrel. It was Ffion's first time in joining me at the centre and she loved Quarrel! I find it exceptional and wonderful when I get to meet young people like Ffion, who is just 12 years old and watch their incredible bravery in coming to a new place, with a new instructor and new horses and then to achieve the basics of round penning! Young people can be so inspiring!



18-03-16 THANKS KAYLEIGH


It's amazing how inspiring kindness is!! Kayleigh spent the whole morning with me, working on our horses teeth. She has set future plans for Edith and her troubled jaw, offered advice about feeding and has blown me away with her depth of knowledge on equine dentistry!! When she arrived I jokingly asked if she had a magic wand and I actually think she does!!! I could listen to her all day and learn so much from her!! She is so kind and quiet with the horses and they weren't worried at all!!! Not only did she do all of this, but the only money she'd accept, was a donation towards fuel!!! I'd highly recommend Kayleigh Sowden Equine Services!!! THANK YOU KAYLEIGH!!!



02-03-16 TUCsON


A horrible cold virus has been wiping out everyone's energy here! I hope you're all keeping warm and well. Work here continues and after 2 crazy busy weeks of lessons, this week is a little quieter on the lesson front. It's probably a good thing as I'm not sure my voice would last. All of the gang are working hard, although the weather isn't on our side. During a dry spell I got a fabulous half hour playing with Tucson in the round pen. Just look at the gorgeous mane!



25-02-16 A LEAP OF COURAGE..


There are so many things that I love about teaching, but the absolute best feeling comes when I see a student take a huge leap of courage, start to push past feelings of nerves and really progress. I've just had a wonderful hour, in the sun, with Jo and the horses. Jo truly unlocked some something inside herself and gave the horses real faith in her ability. A very happy morning indeed!



24-02-16 BLUE SKIES


Oooh we really needed blue sky and sunshine! A glorious day for a lovely round penning lesson. It's the perfect way to really start to understand your body language and voice tone and how the horse interprets them. Also Quarrel adores his cuddles after lessons!



22-02-16 TREY & LUCA


What would Trey & Luca lives have become had they not come home with us? Would they still be alive now?
They  are now happy, healthy geldings looking for their future. Could you offer them the future they deserve? If you'd like to find out more about adopting Trey and Luca, please email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



19-02-16 CATCHING HORSES

.....Recently Luca (Shetland) has become tricky to catch.  When a horse becomes hard to catch, the first thing to look at is why. What happens when you catch your horse? Are they asked to work every time they're caught, or have you tried catching them just to say hello and then walking away? Has there been an incident when catching your horse? Something that may seem minor to you, but major to your horse? A carrier bag blowing by at the wrong moment or a tractor starting up just as you slipped the head collar on. Horses have the greatest hearing and most incredible memory!!
.....As far as we were aware there was no incident with Luca and we regularly used the 'touch and go' technique. So without stress the next step was to deal with the problem. If I've learnt anything about horses it's that there are so many techniques out there and the key to success is learning as many as you can and applying what works with the individual horse and then being consistent.
.....I'm a fan of clicker training. It's a simple idea where we teach the horse through repetition and association. The ponies are naturally interested in people l, so I stood in the roundpen with treats in my pocket and a clicker in my hand and then I whistled. The noise of the whistle made them even more interested and they wandered over. I clicked my clicker, while whistling again and gave them a treat.
.....Within 5 minutes this has turned in to a fun game. I'd run across the round pen, whistle, they come, I'd click and treat. This short video clip is 4th or 5th time and you can see that Luca loves the game!!  .....This has not cured the issue!! Now my job is to be consistent. My job is to make sure whenever I catch them over the next few months, my whistle, clicker and treats continue until the sound of a whistle becomes their favourite noise!



12-02-16 CONGRATULATIONS KATIE


Every Friday I get joined by Katie an equine student from a local college. Katie always works very hard. She is just like me and is a perfectionist!! She cannot let herself leave on a Friday unless the yards are swept beautifully!! She is incredibly patient with the young ponies and I love the kindest she shows to them all.
I'm particularly proud of Katie today, as I've just discovered that not only is she studying hard for her first British Horse Society Exam, she also competed in her first dressage test!!! ....AND SHE CAME 5th!!! Huge well done Katie! Don't ever let the world change your kind and calm approach to people and animals.



10-02-16 Thank Goodness for the sun


Thank goodness for sunshine today! What a fabulous day it is, but such a busy one!! I was lucky enough to teach Jo, a wonderful MTAR Equestrian supporter today. She has her own horse and came across some struggles, as many of us do. Jo had the courage to ask for a little help, so we spent a lovely hour chatting over different handling techniques and even fitted in some lunging! Amazing work Jo!



10-02-2016 Trey and Luca

 

Trey and Luca are looking for their forever home! If you think you can offer them the perfect home email Katy;   canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

 



10-02-16 POETRY IN MOTION

"Ask me to show you poetry in motion and I will show you a horse."
Author Unknown



Ooosh I do love a good horse quote, something inspiring that captures the essence of their intelligence, power and beauty. But...owning a horse, as many of us know, is incredibly hard work! Early mornings, wind, rain, mud, the sweet itch in the summer, the mud fever in the winter, the tricky worming program, not buying a new pair of shoes in 3 years because your needs new shoes every 8 weeks. The list goes on!

Then, what about when there are problems? Your horse used to tie up well, but now pulls back or it always takes 2 hours to load them, they've started bolting when you lead them to the field or every time you try to pick up a hoof they clamp it to the ground!! I don't think it's possible to have a horse in your family, without hitting problems like these, then the hardest thing to do is ask for help!

Horses learn so quickly, an action only need be repeated a few times and they've realised that the string breaks when they pull back or you back off when they bite, as the girth is tightened.

I have 20 years experience of horse ownership (them owning me of course), a ridiculous amount of exams behind me, and 15 years teaching experience. I have made every mistake in the book and have come across so many problems!

If you own a horse and need advice or support, I am here to help!! You can come to the centre and have a practical, hands on lesson, covering the problems you've encountered, or if it's too far for you to travel, email me and i will try and help! Do not be afraid to say you are having problems, you never know there may be an easy way we can help to improve things!!! There is no charge for lessons or email support.

Email - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

Have a wonderful day MTAR Equestrian gang!



06-02-16 Train with a BHSII SM in horse care for FREE!


"To see the wind's power, the rain's cleansing and the sun's radiant life, one need only to look at the horse."
Author Unknown

Do you know anyone who would benefit from spending time with a horse?  We are offering the opportunity to come to the centre and train with a BHSII SM in horse care for FREE!  The benefits which can be developed from being around horses can help in every day life!

☑️ Confidence

☑️ Self awareness

☑️ Body language

☑️ Voice tone

☑️ Self belief

Skills gained from being around horses can help in so many ways from finding self belief in your work, to coping with stress or bullying. Horses have a unique ability to understand emotion, they, with my support, can help individuals find a way forwards with life changing difficulties like depression, anxiety or agoraphobia. We don't have all of the answers, but horses understand, they are always honest and always true.

Contact me (Katy) via the MTAR Equestrian Centre Facebook page or email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

I'd also like to share with you a message I received after this mornings lesson.

'Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for today. So much achieved and so much to remember. I purposely didn't YouTube what penning was so I could go in without knowing what's going to happen. I loved how the slightest of body movements changed Quarrel - I stopped, he stopped, change body direction/posture - he performs an inside turn or speeds up or slows down.

Very intelligent those animals are. I was scared at first as I've never ever been up to a horse in real life, but at the end - I could be comfortable with Quarrel all day long.

I know I don't show it in person, but I really appreciate that you took the time to teach me. Thank you so much, I really really enjoyed it today.'

 



05-02-16 Could you benefit from being around horses?

"To see the wind's power, the rain's cleansing and the sun's radiant life, one need only to look at the horse."
Author Unknown

Do you know anyone who would benefit from spending time with a horse? 

⭐ We are offering the opportunity to come to the centre and train with a BHSII SM in horse care for FREE! 


 

 

 

The benefits which can be developed from being around horses can help in every day life! 

☑ Confidence

☑ Self awareness

☑ Body language

☑ Voice tone

☑ Self belief

Skills gained from being around horses can help in so many ways from finding self belief in your work, to coping with stress or bullying. Horses have a unique ability to understand emotion, they, with my support, can help individuals find a way forwards with life changing difficulties like depression, anxiety or agoraphobia. We don't have all of the answers, but horses understand, they are always honest and always true. 

Contact Katy via the MTAR Equestrian Centre Facebook page or email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk for more information

I'd also like to share with you a message I received after this mornings lesson...

'Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for today. So much achieved and so much to remember. I purposely didn't YouTube what penning was so I could go in without knowing what's going to happen. I loved how the slightest of body movements changed Quarrel - I stopped, he stopped, change body direction/posture - he performs an inside turn or speeds up or slows down.

Very intelligent those animals are. I was scared at first as I've never ever been up to a horse in real life, but at the end - I could be comfortable with Quarrel all day long.


I know I don't show it in person, but I really appreciate that you took the time to teach me. Thank you so much, I really really enjoyed it today 😊'

 



26-01-16 I'm sat in the tack room

.....I'm sat in the tack room with greasy hands after cleaning tack. The rain and wind is battering down on the roof and the lights are flickering. I'm not too sure how long we'll have electricity for.   The horses are now in their pyjamas, eating hay and sipping water. I'd like to think if they were people they'd be eating crisps and watching Netflix.
.....Trey and Luca were quite funny this morning. The bad weather does not bother them in the slightest! As I mucked out, they stood at their gate, in the rain, desperate to go to the round pen to play, which is their normal routine.  They were thrilled when I agreed and we all skipped through the puddles and splashed through the sand. The other horses were not so impressed with being worked and I even agreed to Molly having a day off. She was even happier when I got in there with my grooming kit and gave her a lovely groom and massage. The rain has been hanging around here a lot recently, but I think the last time it was this bad was Christmas Day. Everyone soaked and everything flooded. Come on Spring we need you!
 



14-01-16 Rehoming

It's very hard to re home a horse and trust that you've found the perfect forever home! We've been very lucky in the past and the ponies and donkeys that have left us, have gone to the most wonderful homes!! The search is on again!!

TREY AND LUCA

Trey and Luca are going to be castrated next week and will then be looking for their forever home. Ideally they will go to a home together. They survived the sales together, have supported each other and become best friends since then! They are around 7 months old and currently share a stable, with 24 hour a day access to their own yard. Their education is extremely important and they get groomed/feet picked daily, along with various adventures of walking out and meeting new things like cars, builders and streams. 
 
Trey is currently very settled and quite relaxed. He will happily walk at my side, up and down steps and past pretty much everything we meet. Luca still finds certain areas of life a little stressful and will become cheeky if he feels the challenge is too great. Both have met the farrier twice and have tied up and been very quiet and patient while their feet are trimmed. 
 
It is essential that their education continues in their new home! They need a home for life and to be part of a family. Access to grazing and shelter is important and their new family must understand how to work with young ponies. 
 
QUARREL
Quarrel has been with us for a number of years and is a very special little horse. He stands at 15hh and is 11 years old. Quarrel is skilled at round penning, lunges easily and hacks out, schools and jumps small fences. I use him a lot for lessons as he's a wonderful chap to work with. 
 
Quarrel does however have an upsetting history before he came to us, meaning that he can sometimes be tricky if he meets something scary out hacking or if he is not handled in the correct way. Quarrel is the most loving and affectionate horse. He loves to stand with his face pressed against mine, breathing warm air at me! Sylvia would consider re homing Quarrel if the perfect forever home came along. He needs access to a stable and grazing. He cannot be turned out with mares. He needs an active life where he will be offered variety within his work. His family must have lots of experience with horses and fully understand the degree of responsibility. 
 
If you'd like to find out more about any horses available for adoption, please get in touch. Contact me through the Facebook page or email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



28-12-15 It's a hard life.... for some!

Going on adventures, playing in the roundpen, eating, sleeping... it's a hard life, but someone's got to do it!!!!!
Don't forget Trey & Luca are going to be looking for their forever home very soon. If you think you can offer them a happy home for life, with the continuation of their education. Please email Katy - canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk





 



18-12-15 IT'S THE END OF AN EXHAUSTING WEEK

It's the end of a long and exhausting week. The awful weather makes everything so difficult. Everyday we're all getting soaked through and it's a military operation working the horses in the right order, so they have time to dry, before they have their night rugs on. The tack always needs cleaning and oiling once it's been rained on, the weather just seems to double the workload! Luckily I get some banter with the kennel staff about how many layers of clothing are wet, we have a giggle and sometimes they bring me a cup of tea too, which always makes me smile!!

 

 

The ponies are still doing great. Every Friday my student Katie comes to me for a full day and it's brilliant letting her work with them. Not only is she gaining vital experience, but they are also learning that other people can be kind too. For example today I let her catch them, she helped me walk
them and she did the grooming. I even watched while she picked up feet! Great achievement!

The rest of the gang are good too! Kenny had good fun out driving today and Tucson is working really well on the lunge. Gueaero and Quarrel are both looking fit and strong and Molly is her usual beautiful self, although a little grumpy about the rain!

Fingers crossed that the whole of the winter won't be as wet as this week.
I'm dreaming of cold, fresh morning and stunning sunsets!!



 



10-12-15 LUCAS TRIP TO THE RIVER


Today was Luca's first trip all of the way down the big hill to the stream. His immediate reaction, as soon as he saw the water, was to climb straight in for a paddle, while I balanced on the edge!



08-12-15 Wild weather....

 
Wild weather and crazy busy, but we  always make time to play!!!
Here's Tucson in the round pen!







 



20-11-15 What an exhausting week


It's the end of a long and exhausting week. The awful weather makes everything so difficult. Everyday we're all getting soaked through and it's a military operation working the horses in the right order, so they have time to dry, before they have their night rugs on. The tack always needs cleaning and oiling once it's been rained on, the weather just seems to double the workload! Luckily I get some banter with the kennel staff about how many layers of clothing are wet, we have a giggle and sometimes they bring me a cup of tea too, which always makes me smile!!



17-11-15 Trey & Luca first time in the round pen!


 
This morning Trey and Luca spent a whole hour out in the round pen together playing. It's the first time I've had them together, loose in a large area and wasn't sure how they'd feel about being caught again. I went into the round pen, crouched down and within seconds Luca was at my side grooming me! The weather is truly awful again!! My boots are now lined with carrier bags and I look like a clown with huge puffy waterproof trousers!! But the handling training continues! Emma has joined me, on her day off to help introduce the ponies to new people. Emma is a natural with them, very quiet and calm. She even got a kiss from Trey!
 



16-11-15 Busy, non-stop day!


It has been such an incredibly busy, none stop day and I'm so grateful that the rain stayed away, for today at least.  I've been slowly working with both Trey and Luca to teach them to walk comfortably in hand and to tie up. They've picked it up very quickly and without stress. Today's big achievement was that both tied up quietly while I groomed them and picked out every foot! Then we went for a relaxed walk down the lane and Luca chomped some grass. Trey was also very brave and went loose in the round pen for the first time! He spent a lot of the time calling to Luca to check he was still in his stable and then coming to see me and Sylvia, to make sure that we didn't leave either! His confidence will soon grow and he will start to realise that he's safe.

 



14-11-15 Molly


.....This is what happiness looks like! As most of you probably know, this is Molly. She's a beautiful older lady that came here from America with Sylvia. She had suffered neglect due to her colours being the wrong way around!!! She is almost black with a white patch. She has 'good' breeding and if she had been white with a black patch she'd probably have become a western competition star. Instead she was totally neglected.
.....She has also suffered terrible bouts of laminitis and her life is a balancing act of the right type of feed, exercise and ensuring she is happy. She has an incredible bond with Sylvia and will nicker to her, if she's sees her across the yard!
.....I love these photos! They make me feel like we have been making all of the right choices for her!
 



12-11-15 Trust...


...and I whispered to the horse; "Trust no man in whose eye you do not see yourself reflected as an equal"



12-11-15 The boys are learning!


A few minutes ago I was walking through the yards, skipping out stables for the last time and they both wandered over and popped their heads through the bars to say hello!! They're learning so quickly! 💕

 



11-11-15 THE RAIN IS TAKING ITS TOLL!


This rain is starting to take its toll!! 3 coats soaked through by lunch! On a more positive note today's adventures were just as awesome as yesterday's! After lots of fuss and scratches we went for a walk and chose the trickiest routes! We walked between the van and shop, then between the trailer and fence, just enough space for a pony! They took it in their stride and trusted that the crazy lady in the funny hat knew what she was doing! Finally we walked down the road to the car park. We met cars, people, dogs, lots of puddles and even nibbled on some grass, on the verge. Both of these guys are such characters and are quickly learning that I'm on their side
 



10-11-15 Just take a look at our latest adventure!


.....Just take a look at our latest adventure!! I'm on such a high at how fantastic Trey and Luca and are doing!
.....I try not to start our adventures with any goal, other than it being a positive experience for the ponies.  Yesterday we started with scratches, that turned into grooming all over, including belly and tail, that then turned in to both ponies accepting me lifting all four legs!
.....Then we went for a stroll, that turned into walking through small gaps and gateways, sniffing all the donations, meeting lots of people all at once and walking through the kennels! It was a cold, windy, wet, miserable day and I'm as high as a kite that these beauties are doing so brilliantly!!!
.....Don't forget they'll be looking for their perfect forever homes after Christmas! 🎄
 




.....Trey and Luca are doing really well! I have now wormed them and sadly seeing the state of their droppings now it's clear how desperately they needed it. Onwards and upwards from here I hope. Today I've had one of my students with me for the day and we worked hard again in the rain this morning, with the big horses, to free up the afternoon for Trey and Luca.
.....I gave Katie a short lesson in how to handle Trey and Luca, but she really is a natural! I said I was going to leave her for 45 mins with trey on a halter and Luca loose. The aim was for them both to start to relax and enjoy being in the company of people. Here are a few lovely shots of them together. I later took Trey for a little walk in hand. He is still showing himself to have a fabulous temperament! Katie took a few pictures of our walk.
.....I have now left her with Luca on a halter and Trey loose while I clean some tack. I'm so happy that the ponies are getting this education in meeting someone new, but also that Katie is gaining this fantastic experience with inexperienced colts. Even though we're both soaked through from the winter rain, it's been a hugely successful day!
.....Don't forget, once these two beautiful boys are ready, we'll be looking for their forever home!
 

 



05-11-15 Luca and Trey

.....I'm currently laying on a thick bed of shavings, listening to the rain hitting the stable roof. Luckily my mission to get all of the horses worked this morning was a success. All of the big guys (and Kenny who thinks he's big!) have been lunged or round penned and are now lazily munching hay, wrapped in fleece rugs and hiding from the heavy rain.
.....Luca (5 months old Shetland) is nuzzling me and trying to stop me typing, so I can give him another scratch. When he's not successful and I keep typing, he leans his head against mine. Trey (6 month old Colt) keeps wandering over from his hay to sniff my boots! They're wet through so I'm guessing it's not pleasant! Both have just tried their very first piece of Apple and my hands are still sticky from Luca sucking it!!
.....This morning Trey came for a little walk around the yard with me. We met Charlie from the office, Chelsea with her bike and dogs, James with his big van, Lee carrying dog food and not to mention a big piece of tarpaulin! Trey was fabulous though, he has a wonderful temperament. It's going to take a little time to get him back to full health, his thick coat hides the protruding ribs and hips well, but Im starting to learn what a special little chap he is.
.....Luca constantly needs reminding that I'm not going to hurt him. As you enter the stable he darts away, desperately controlled by his flight instincts. Once I've put a halter on him and given him a scratch it's like he suddenly remembers who I am! He's a little fed up that I'm still typing and not giving him attention. His nose is about 6 inches from mine making typing with damp fingers even more of a challenge!! As soon as he remembers I'm not a bad guy, he becomes so affectionate, desperately wanting to groom me, while I scratch his neck!
.....Simply spending times with them both, for me, is the most important part of their basic training. There is so much I want to teach them, but I will not achieve anything if they are scared of me and are not relaxed in my company. Both colts have already picked up the basics of walking in hand. But I'm ensuring that I visit them regularly throughout the day, sometimes just calmly walking in and out, sometimes for a scratch and sometimes to play with halters.
.....Both colts are slowly improving in confidence and at some point when they are both healthy and ready we will be looking to find them loving forever homes! I'm going to be posting regular updates about their progress so if you feel you could give these ponies a perfect future, keep your eyes open and watch their progress.



02-11-15 TWO SOULS SAVED


.....We recently attended a local horse sales. I'd like to share what we saw, for those of you who have not attended before.  The sales are loud. There are people talking and shouting, the tannoy, vehicles moving, the sales ring noises and most noticeable is the noise of horses screaming and calling to find their companions.
.....The undercover area is split into stalls. Some stalls contain a single pony. Others contain many. As I stood looking at 12 Shetlands, born this year and packed into a stall, I heard a young child, quite distressed trying to get his mum to see how the ponies were all squashed. The mum didn't seem to hear.
.....A lot of the horses, ponies and youngsters in general, didn't seem to be halter 'broken'. In this scenario they would be herded into a pen before going into the sales ring. 4 or 5 men would wait in the pen before the sales ring to try and separate them, sending them in 1 at a time. This process appeared very stressful for a lot of the equines. I watched one yearling desperately trying to get to his friend who'd been put through to the sales ring. He kicked and reared, while the men grabbed and forced him back.  Once a pony is in the ring they are asked to move, so that the audience can decide if they'd like to bid or not. Many techniques were used from waving coats, to chasing, to shouting, to hitting with a walking stick or grabbing a tail. I saw several horses fall. The audience would sometimes join in too. A pony would try and press themselves against the railings before someone would wave their arms and shoo them away.
.....The fillys appear to make a higher price than colts. Coloureds seem to make a higher price than solid colours. Pretty horses seem to make a higher price than ugly horses. For example I saw a pretty, coloured filly go for £110 and then watched a dark chestnut colt go for £10. If I had to guess I'd say that if someone wanted to use ponies to breed they'd need lots of mares and one stallion. I wonder what happened to all of the colts that were not brought to the sales? I wonder what happened to those colts sold for £10?
.....On the sales catalogue it states that NFS means 'not for slaughter'. I may have miscounted and perhaps I can hope that some owners changed their minds on the day. But I counted 3 with NFS out of 247 in the catalogue. Watching the slaughterhouse staff purchase horses made me feel ill.
..... walked around the sales and counted 3 stalls that had water. It appears that giving your horse water is optional. There were a few horses that stood in stalls quietly waiting. They didn't appear stressed, they just stood and accepted. There were also many stalls where youngsters stood holding their heads low and pressed close together and there were stalls with very stressed horses, calling, sweating and pacing.
.....I watched a mare going into the sales ring, with a foal at foot. It was only the foal for sale. The mare and foal would be separated for the first time at the sales. While we were watching, a petrified skewbald Colt was pushed into the sales ring. He slipped, but was chased up. Boys waved their arms at him and hit him with the flat of their hands trying to make him run, but he just couldn't seem to make it happen. The Colt wasn't pretty and had one blue eye. Nobody bid. I used to think I was quite tough, but perhaps I'm not. I heard the words "shall I bid?" And with instant relief some tears fell. We bought him for £10. A little later a similar scenario arose with a black and white Shetland Colt, so somehow we ended up with two.
.....By around 3 the sales drew to a close and we went to pay. We weren't even sure who we'd bought out of the hundreds there! But we knew we'd give them life. As we walked around checking the numbers on the backs of ponies, we came across a little skewbald Colt on the floor. He looked exhausted and dehydrated. How could we walk away and leave him there? But by some miracle, the exhausted colt, was the one we had bought!! He was coming home with us!!
.....Later that evening we took our two new babies into their new stable! We had to be careful allowing them to drink too much, as it had been hours and hours since their last sip. But gradually we let drink a little more, until we were happy that they wouldn't colic. They munched on a little hay and went to bed!!!
We were both physically and emotionally worn out, pounding headaches from the noise and heartbroken thinking of those horses that started their day at the sales and ended it at the slaughterhouse.



14-10-15

"We will never have to tell our horse that we are sad, happy, confident, angry or relaxed. He already knows - long before we do."

Marjike de Jong

Life throws us many challenges. Sometimes we move forward, find peace or happiness. Sometimes it is a little harder to find that path. Depression, anxiety, low confidence, social insecurities are incredibly hard live with, but have you ever wondered if being around a horse could help? There is no pressure, you don’t need to know anything about horses, you will be in a relaxed and easy environment. Your visit with me, may take you to simply to say hello to the horses and perhaps hear a little about how they think or you may venture to the round pen, watch how I communicate with them and perhaps have a go, with support.  Horses understand things that many people don’t, they know how to keep a secret and they will listen to you and remember you forever. Horses can help a person to develop trust and boundaries, build communication skills and promote self awareness. Along with this, for many, being around horses seems scary. I can help you to slowly overcome any fears or insecurities. Donations are always a help, but there is no charge for lessons here at Many Tears. We are based in Cefneithin, Carmarthenshire, West Wales. Email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk with any questions.



09-10-15 GUEAERO ENJOYS THE SUN

 
Look at Gueaero having such a wonderful time in the roundpen! The sun popped out briefly and I took the chance to grab some shots. These are just a few of the awesome photos of this boy looking so happy, healthy and excited for life!! He loves getting into the round pen and having the freedom to play and leap! It was an awesome sight!










 



01-10-15 I've officially been working here 3 years

 
I've officially been working here 3 years and I'm feeling so blessed! Summer seems to have flown by, but Autumn is secretly my favourite season, especially with this sunshine!  Beautiful sunrises made even better knowing that I'm going to get to spend the day with these gorgeous chaps. This week I've been turning these fluffy bears into clipped beauties. They were so well behaved. I think they understand how much more comfortable they will be while they work now.
.....The heart on Quarrel's shoulder suits his personality thoroughly. I appreciate all the time that I get to spend with these horses, but I have a special place in my heart for him. I think he's the most affectionate horse that I've ever been privileged enough to work with. Right now I'm sat in my tack room typing on my phone and I can hear them all outside in the sun, playing with their treat balls!
Today I've also been able to help a little with the dogs. Sylvia, Natalie and the kennel and office staff work their socks off to keep the centre running smoothly, but the thing i notice more than anything is the love they have for every dog. It doesn't matter how much there is to do, if there is a scared new dog that needs to be held or youngsters that are desperate to play, the dogs come first, with every single member of staff. I have worked with animals my whole life and I don't think I've ever really witnessed it before coming here.
 



18-09-15 Round Penning

Are you interested in finding out more about horses? Would you like to learn about roundpenning? NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! You can learn how to communicate with horses through your voice and body language and watch their magnificent reaction! Round penning doesn't just help you to understand more about the horse, but it can help your own confidence and self belief. Please drop me a message to find out more. canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



10-07-15


It's been a lovely week and we have achieved loads! I have had Maria and Georgina with me for the whole week. Maria came to me last year for her work placement and has now just finished her 2nd year, as a veterinary student at Liverpool University. A BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO HER ON PASSING HER EXAMS!!  She has not had any hands on experience with horses since last year, when she was here, but she has been fantastic and picked it all back up very quickly! Gueaero is the true love of her life and she was thrilled to see him again. Here's a stunning photo of her with him. He has been teaching her so much about connection and balance and they make a great pair! 
 
Georgina is in the picture with Quarrel. She is Maria's sister and has just completed her science degree. Georgina has never had the opportunity to be around horses before, but has taken on the challenge beautifully. Not only has she managed to take part in all of the daily handling and care, but also she has been driving Tucson and Kenny and has picked up round penning very quickly! I was fit to burst with pride when I watched her, alone in the round pen with Quarrel cantering around her and her successfully asking for turns and transitions. What a huge achievement!
 
There is nothing quite like teaching people who want to learn and watching the bonds build between horse and handler. A successful week indeed!



07-07-15 It has been such a fabulous, busy day of teaching!

.....It has been such a fabulous, busy day of teaching! This morning I taught my brilliant young adults group. They all have individual challenges, that I've never had to face and yet that is not what you notice when you meet them. You are simply greeted by determined, focussed, loving, intelligent, inquisitive, observant, happy young people. They were, of course, as fantastic as ever.
.....We started the day with catching and grooming the horses, talking about horse behaviour and about the individual characters of each of the gang. Then the excitement hit, as we headed to the round pen, with Kenny and the cart! The group loved it! Their smiles and laughing was a joy to see! Fantastic start to the day!
.....The rest of the day has been spent exercising the horses, pulling ragwort, tack cleaning and teaching Maria and Georgina. Maria is a second year veterinary student and is here again for work placement, for the week. This time she has brought her lovely sister too. They have only been here for 2 days and we have already covered so much! Maria has picked up where she left off last year and is round penning and working with the horses confidently and with great empathy. Georgina has never even groomed a horse before and yet today I watched while she round penned Quarrel, calmly asking him to do inside turns. SUCH A HUGE ACHIEVEMENT!!



04-07-15 Where in the world

"Where in the world is nobility found without conceit? Where is there friendship without envy? Where is there beauty without vanity? Here one finds gracefulness coupled with power, and strength tempered with gentleness." ~ Isenbart


Here is Gueaero working and playing, talking and listening in the round pen.



01-07-15 Tucson had a lovely warm night i

Tucson had a lovely warm night in the field, happily grazing and wandering.  He came in early with Sylvia for breakfast and was tired out, so lay in his stable for a sleep! After his nap and when the yard was clean he went for a drive in the sunshine and this afternoon he has had great fun interrupting Tracey's work and nagging her for grass and kisses! Happy horse!








 



29-06-15 It's a beautiful summer's day

.....It's a beautiful summer's day and I've got a lovely morning of teaching ahead.
.....If you are thinking about buying a horse and would like to learn more about equine management and the responsibilities involved or you already have a horse and need some support with any aspects of horse care, get in touch!
.....We offer free stable management lessons to anyone who needs some help. You can come and learn aspects of horse behaviour, general horse care, lunging and round penning.
.....Email canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk for more information. Have a fabulous Monday everyone!!                 



24-06-15 Take every chance to share kindness!

.....Tucson and I are quite used to grumpy drivers and speedy cars, when we are out driving on the lanes. Tucson is wonderful and will wait calmly while lorries, cars or motorbikes pass, he was even fantastic today, with a loose horse! Sometimes we meet lovely drivers, who'll switch off their engines, smile and wave, while others will speed around corners, hammering on their horn (I've got to be honest I've never really understood why drivers hit the horn coming into corners, the horses simply tense up, awaiting the inevitable fast car!).
.....Today we were driving down a lane, in walk, and I heard a car approach behind. Not only did he (and his wife) stay well back, but when I reached a passing place, they slowly drove up, THANKING ME, because it pleased them so much to see a horse and cart out on they lane! They were full of compliments for how happy and healthy Tucson looked and they seemed genuinely happy to see us. Those smiles and kind words were totally unexpected and have made my day!
.....Never forget how much a few words of kindness can mean.
 



15-06-15 It's a beautiful warm day...

It's a beautiful warm day, the stables are mucked out and most of the gang are out relaxing in the field. They'll come in later for a good groom and some exercise!
I've been pulling ragwort and digging the sand in the round pen, getting hot and sweaty! (Not complaining - wow at the sun!!! Happy happy happy weather!!)
Now, with just a little assistance, I can watch Angharad drive Kenny on this gorgeous morning!







 



02-05-15 WILL YOU JOIN THE CHALLENGE?


.....Last year Many Tears rescued and rehomed thousands of dogs. The word ‘thousands’ may not seem to mean anything real, but please have a look at a few of the photos that I took this week, on a quick walk around the kennels. The word ‘thousands’ then turns into a real word, representing real lives.
.....I met some beautiful puppies and they wouldn’t leave me alone, climbing up my boots, chewing on my jumper, grabbing toys and trying to get me to play! They’re tiny and could sit perfectly in my hand! They had absolutely no idea of the fate that they nearly met. I was greeted excitedly by so many dogs leaping at the gates of their kennels, desperately shouting for a home, eyes pleading, tails wagging, praying that I was there to take them home. To be honest that was enough to make my eyes sting with tears.
.....Many times I’ve watched the staff here work with these dogs, walking, cleaning, running around with feeds, trying to show people around and working so hard to keep these busy kennels running smoothly. I’ve never met a bunch of people so dedicated and focussed on the animals in their care. I’ve listened to them talk worriedly about how they are going to get all of their work done, but they will never walk passed a dog without giving them love and fuss!
..... I walked into a new kennel. A few little ones jumped at my legs, one hid terrified behind a dog bed, while 2 Shih-tzus lay in their bed, not even looking up. Their skin was sore, but what was worse was the lack of life in their eyes. They just stared straight ahead. They didn’t look up as I stepped in, they didn’t watch when I fussed the brave ones. It didn’t matter if I was there to cause them harm. They’d accept it. They knew nothing different!
.....All of the dogs at Many Tears are now safe. The majority of dogs that have come to us, came from death row.  As you know I work with the horses. But being able to walk around the kennels really made reality hit!  Many Tears really needs help with funding if the centre is going to be able to continue saving so many lives! I’m reigniting the BIG 100 flame!!! CAN YOU HELP? COULD YOU PLEDGE TO RAISE £100?  All you need to do is get in touch with me at canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk and start fundraising!!! WILL YOU JOIN THE CHALLENGE?



01-05-15 EVERYONE IS TIRED...

Everyone is tired, working so hard. Funding is incredibly difficult and we are struggling. I have just walked around the kennels with a camera, meeting some of the dogs, whose lives have been saved by coming here. I'm going to be posting some more photo's soon and a little more about the dogs, staff and volunteers here at Many Tears. Will you help? Keep watching for how you can help to ensure that we can continue to save as many lives this year, as we did last year.







 



30-04-15 SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Well spring has definitely sprung and we've had some beautiful sunshine! The horses are happy and healthy and are loving long, countryside hacks. The weather is having quite an effect on their coats though! Spring time is malting season! Here's Kenny after a good groom. It's impossible to believe he's malting this much hair every day!!









 



23-04-15 Archie, Burrito, Taco and Thomas


Archie, Burrito, Taco and Thomas have started their lives, in their wonderful new forever home! I will definitely miss the hugs, but they are happy and settled with a great future ahead of them!

 



25-03-15 THOMAS


Thomas has made lots of friends doing this!!



16-03-15 OBIE

Many Tears has been very lucky to have been offered a place for Obie at a national equine rescue centre, guaranteeing his future. He followed me onto the trailer this morning with absolute trust. I could not be more proud of this gorgeous boy. Katy








 

 

 



03-03-15 Taco and Burrito


I've just snapped these fab pictures of Taco and Burrito. Archie had been joining in the games too, but wandered out of shot as I got my camera out! They have a had another fabulous day and love their routine. The morning started with play time in the round pen with Thomas and Kenny. They are a joy to watch and canter, leap, play and roll until they look like sand monsters! They then had a good groom and in two trips we walked to the stream, which is their favourite route! They love routine and have grown in confidence enourmously from having it. This afternoon they have been for another walk and have enjoyed a lot of fuss and grooming. It's impossible to walk passed them without giving them a big kiss on the nose! How could anyone resist that face! The day is coming to an end and soon it'll be feeding time, until then they seem determined to make the most of the day, playing and laughing!

 



03-01-15 I'VE SPENT THE DAY

 
I've spent the day working with the horses, individually, in the round pen and they have been a joy. They are all a little sleepy today, after a busy week of schooling, hacking out and lunging. As I finished each session, I would call them to me and stand or crouch while they pressed their noses against my face, blowing warm breath as they did. It's always a wonderful moment that I treasure and feel closest to them. So now they are all lazing in their yards. I've caught them all in flat out, in bed, at different points throughout the day and the best bit is that they all trust me enough to let me sit next to them, while they sleep. Here are a few photos of Gueaero having a sneaky rest!

 



23-11-14 I'm writing this with tears in my eyes.


I'm writing this with tears in my eyes. I received an email with a link to a Facebook page called Friends of Swansea Horses. Once I opened the page a harsh reality hit!

I clicked a link to watch a video and held my breath. I watched a desperately lame mare, in excrutaiting pain, trying with all that she had, to take enough steps to reach her foal. The next video showed, what looked like, a tiny foal, stood next to her mum in thick mud, on the side of an estury. Within seconds of the video starting, I watched as the foal slid through the mud, down the steep slope towards the water. The next video showed a small herd of coloured cobs, belly deep in the freezing estury, circling one another, in the harsh wind, trying to find solice in each others company. These are images that sadly I've come to expect from a number of under developed countries. But these videos were filmed less than an hour from Many Tears.

I contacted Friends of Swansea Horses and this is some of what they had to say...

Equines are suffering both in the rural area and the urban areas. We have been working closely with the RSPCA on the urban problem ie unsuitable ponies, turned out on harsh environments, where death from the elements (including the tide) or road are common. On the urban side we fund the transportation of equines who would be euthanized (some in foal) to a reputable sanctuary. One of our foals is named Sylvi by Wendy in Hillside Sanctuary. Sylvi would not have had the chance of life without the funds to remove her mother from the pound. Since May 14 64 out of 65 ponies were transported to a new life. May 13 - April 14 saw 113 equines destroyed whilst in the pound in Swansea. A shocking number!

What you can do....

 'Like' their Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/&!/pages/Friends-of-Swansea-Horses-FOSH/522108167891937?sk=timeline

Sign this essential petition to end public tethering
https://www.change.org/p/swansea-city-council-end-tethering-of-horses-on-public-land?recruiter=182875141&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_content=small

Donate
FOSH desperately need funds! It costs £750 to transport 10 horses, from a likely death, to the safety of a sanctuary. Also the sanctuary that the horses are being taken to, survive on donations. FOSH are doing all that they can to help donate towards the expensive upkeep of these horses, many of whom are in foal and suffering from worm infestation amongst many other problems!
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=MGFHPQD6CN22L

Join campaigns, protests or fundraising events
Email;        FOSH2014@outlook.com.

Please will you help...



05-11-14 Thomas and Tucson


I have slowly been encouraging Thomas and Tucson to build up a friendship. Today was the first time that I have played with them loose together in the roundpen and they were fantastic! So much lust and love for life!!!  They played, galloped, spun, leapt and then nuzzled and groomed one another. They are not yet ready to be left alone. But i'm sure that it's a friendship will grow and grow. Happy Days for the horses here.

 



04-10-14 I've officially been working


.....I've officially been working at Many Tears for 2 years (and 3 days:). Realising the date made me glance through some of my old blogs and it was amazing to see how much we've achieved over the past 24 months from loads of support to horse owners, to rescues, radio shows, workshops, pony days, setting up the BIG 100 which led to £14,500 being raised, news paper articles, loads of lessons and sooo much more.
.....The latest highlight was some filming for the BBC. I say highlight, but in truth being in front of a camera was a trauma indeed! The first part of filming was done at a community event in Ammanford where I was introduced to Kate and her husband Paul. Kate and Paul met when they were 12!! They are now happily married, but their lives were flipped upside down when Kate was diagnosed with ME. Kate who is just 22 explained that she is confined to a wheel chair, is often in a lot of pain, is on specialist diets and medication and rarely is able to get out of the house. Paul her husband is her full time carer and is also trying to build a career as a writer. The love, loyalty and dedication this couple had for one another was an absolute inspiration and it was very hard to imagine how difficult daily life must be.
.....After meeting Kate and Paul at the first day of filming, we arranged a date for them to come to the yard, to meet the horses. Last Wednesday, with cameras following, they arrived. It had already been a crazy, busy morning and an early start preparing the horses and ensuring we could be proud of the yard. The horses were truly wonderful! They were all very interested in Kate and loved the fuss she offered them. It was a long day, but I'm hoping my nerves at being filmed will be hidden and the end result will be worth it! The documentary is called 'Meet the Street' and should be aired over Christmas. ....
.....General life on the yard is busy, that goes without saying! But the horses are happy and healthy and that is always a joy to see! 



10-09-14 I have a yard of happy horses!

I have a yard full of happy horses! The days are as busy as ever, but I have a wonderful little peace of heaven on the yard. I love the afternoons when the yard is quiet and all of the horses are in and have been worked. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the horses sleep, in the sun, on a tidy yard. I make it a priority to create a calm atmosphere. I always want the horses to feel peaceful and relaxed when they are in their stables and yards.

The horse program is going well and now that the summer is coming to an end and there is less opportunity for pony days, I have been looking into how I can help more people from different areas of our community. I have been setting up, with local social workers, ways to support to those who are dealing with isolation, within their own community and have meetings up and coming to find out ways in which I can help to support people who live with mental health disorders. It's all exciting and  I'm looking forward to this new area of the horse program.

The horses are all working hard, but enjoying the variety that they get. Tucson has been wonderful with his driving and I am finally getting quick at tacking him up! I set myself almost unachievable challenges like managing to get the yard done and be ready to leave with him, by 9.30. Obie is still doing well. He has his moments where his cheeky side is expressed, but also seems to be able to focus and work hard! I actually measured him the other day and he's made it to 15hh!! This has made my long legs very happy!

Quarrel is suffering with sweet itch terribly. It's very hard to see how itchy he is, but as of  yet, our attempts to find him some relief have failed. We have lots of ideas though and will keep trying. Even though he's struggling with his skin, he has still been a hugely important part of the horse program. He is a dream for teaching people how to round pen and then once their experience has grown, Gueaero is their next step. Perfect!

Molly is doing well, considering all she has been through with her laminitis. We have been so lucky with the weather and she loves being out in the field with Kenny and Thomas! I'm driving Kenny regularly and as ever he's a super star! His orange locks and my red locks can be spotted a mile off with our little cart, power trotting up the lane!

Finally my gorgeous little gang of donkeys are a true delight! They bring me joy every single day! Whether it's the way they call and nag me for food or the way they let me cwtch up with them in the stable when they lay down or the the way I can hold Taco and Burrito's head, one in each hand and give them a huge hug!!  Gorgeous beasts!!



01-08-14 It has been a very busy 10 days.

It has been a very busy 10 days. Last week was packed with lessons and this week, lessons and Pony Day! Last week I was joined by Maria, a first year veterinary student. I've been teaching for 14 years, but have never met such a determined student before. Her enthusiasm never wavered, always interested, always asking questions and wanting to try everything! She created a short video of her round penning Gueaero, that I thought you'd like to see.

Lessons have been busy, but productive and people are still booking in. It's great to see! Many of my students have already bought horses, without the necessary knowledge or confidence. Even thought that situation is one which is sad, it is wonderful to see those who have the courage to come to me and ask for help!!


Pony Day, yesterday was a quiet one, with just 8 attending. However the children were, as ever a joy. I find that I learn so much from being around them. I have 3 young people who come to me and live with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type, a condition that I had never heard of. I asked them how they felt about others knowing about their condition and their response was that they wanted everyone to know! They felt it was important that people understand that even though they look like the other children, they actually have a huge amount to deal with. They are at a much greater risk of breaking or dislocating joints and simple tasks can be exhausting! They accept joint pain every day and get woken up by it most nights. They have to wear boots that offer support and flip flops in the summer are totally out of the question. This is just the tip of the iceberg with what these young people deal, with in day to day life and does not even mention what they've had to deal with the the reactions of other young people around them to this, growing up and yet they are still the kindest youngsters ever. These three young people are part of a lovely family and are determined and inspirational. They are the genuine, lovely young people, they look after each and everyone around them. They love the horses and give them so much affection and attention, always wanting to learn more. I always feel quite privileged spending time with them.

Another highlight of the day was just an hour into the day after the youngsters had been mucking out. Rhys came to me with his cousin Faith and had never spent time with horses before. After a short time Rhys, who is just 8, came and tapped me on the back. He said "I know I've not been here before, but I'm really happy". Those words took every tiny bit of stress away and made every bit of effort put into creating Pony Day worth it!!

If anyone would like to find out more about the condition the Cordelia, Freddie and Monty live with please take a look at this website. http://www.ehlers-danlos.org/
 

 



23-07-14 PONY DAY

.....Wednesday 30th July we have a Pony Day!!! The day will start at 10.30 am and will be packed with pony care lessons, games, spot prizes and quizzes.
.....The day will come to an end with a presentation and the finish at 3pm. It costs £10 per person or £8 per person if you have 2 or more siblings attending.  All of the money raised this day will be put straight back into the centre to help pay the essential work that Many Tears is doing. If however the cost of the day means that your young person is unable to attend, please get in touch and I will endeavour to find a way to help.
.....The day is aimed at young people aged 7 plus, but if you have a young person who is younger and is interested then email and we can discuss alternatives. Those attending will need to bring; drinks, snacks, packed lunch, sun cream and appropriate clothing. Places must be booked so email me now!! canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk 



03-07-14 Chelsea joins the horse team!

.....I'm really proud to announce that Chelsea has taken on the position of groom with me!
.....Chelsea works part time in the kennels and will be spending 3 days a week with me and the horses. She is just like me, in that she is determined and passionate! She loves the animals in our care and would do anything to give them the lives that they deserve.
.....I'm very much hoping that having Chelsea with me will mean that not only are we able to give our horses more love and attention, but that I am able to fit more lessons in and help more people who are considering buying horses or who have bought horses, but lack the knowledge to care for them fully. An exciting future ahead for sure!
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01-06-14 Taco & Archie


I managed to catch this little video of Taco and Archie playing! It was lovely to see, especially as Archie, who is a little older than the  babies, tends to stand back and relax while the other two play!


Also here's a couple of snaps of me hacking Obie up the lane! He was such a good boy and the star of this weeks news paper article!    



28-06-14 TUCSON

Tucson has had a fabulous, busy week! When the weather is good he spends his nights relaxing in the field and his days are spent with access to his big yard and stable. Everyday he's had loads of love and fuss, but has also worked hard!

Sylvia has far more driving experience than me, so initially she worked with him to help him regain his confidence with driving and this week I have given it a go! Sylvia has done a brilliant job with him and he has been wonderful! We have driven around the block twice this week, passing everything from tractors to scary builders and he took it all in his stride!

Tucson is only 12.2hh, but can carry me with ease, so this week I have also been schooling him in the round pen. We are a funny sight, as my feet nearly touch the floor, but he canters around easily, with his mane and tail blowing out behind him.

Also we love to go for walks! This morning, after a busy week we walked down to the stream for a paddle and stopped for a graze on the way home, trying to avoid the heavy rain drops.

This afternoon I continued some clicker training with him, securing the targeting that I had previously done with him. He is very quick to learn, especially if the reward involves pony nuts! I have just left the yard to come into the office and am covered in shavings, as en route I noticed Tucson laying down in his stable. I snuck in and sat beside him. I lay my head against him and he listened while I told him about life.
                                     



28-06-14 Donkey Playtime


Taco and Burrito just love to play! They found an old football, which had made it's way into the field and spent hours playing tug with it! Today I took some toys to their yard and the games began! Taco is a legend and I can pass him anything and he will take it in his teeth and carry it around happily. I would love to find some time to do some clicker training with them and see what fun we can have! Watch this space!



23-06-14 SATURDAY CLUB


I just wanted to share some pictures from Saturday Club this weekend. I had a full morning with 10 attending. The sun was shining and everyone worked hard, learnt lots and laughed lots!

The team are really fantastic at remembering names and uses of brushes and the points of the horse. Confidence with grooming and picking out feet is high and at the end of the morning the horses and donkeys are gleaming and happy!



15-06-14 SATURDAY CLUB & THOMAS

  
The weather yesterday was beautiful and we spent a glorious morning with the ponies and donkeys.

Ice lollies, sweets, Isla's home made cakes, loads of grooming, colours, points of the horse and tack!

Fabulous morning!! 

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THOMAS
I mentioned last week that Thomas loves to sunbathe on the concrete of the yard and then sleep flat out in his thick shavings bed! He puts everyone into a panic as he is so peaceful and barely raises his head as people pass.

We thought it would be nice to put some rubber matting down for him, so he didn't have to lay on the concrete. To our amusement, everyday he lays flat out...next to the matting! Funny little man!   
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10-06-14 What to do with Thomas!


Thomas, the funny little chap puts fear into us all on a daily basis!! Whatever the weather he can be found flat out, eyes shut, sleeping!! Thomas is a super happy, heathy young man, but like a teenager, all he wants to do is eat and sleep! It is a regular occurance for people to come to me in a panic that there is something wrong with him and even when I walk in next to him, at most he'll open an eye, notice it's me and you can almost hear him groan "leave me alone, i'm sleeping!!" When the sun is shining he's on the yard and if it's overcast he's in his deep shavings bed snoring away!!! Happy, tiny boy!



31-05-14 Saturday Club


Today I held another hugely successful Saturday Club. The young people who attended were as brilliant as ever. Enthusiastic, happy people determined to learn as much as they could and laugh a lot. We covered points of the horse and tack, we made big lists of all the things you need to buy before buying a horse and all the things that you need to buy while owning a horse and then looked at costs. Also we made out horses and donkeys look beautiful and gave them lots of love! Great morning all around!                                              



29-05-14 Fantastic ride on Obie today!


I lunged Obie to start and gradually introduced a ground pole. This caused lots of fun! After a while he relaxed and started to step over the pole easily. When I sat on him I was aware that he may be tense, but he put all of his trust in me and every time he asked me if he would be ok, I sat quietly and told him that he was fine. We walked and trotted different sized circles and cantered some big circle. The whole time the pole was watching him!! Even though he'd stepped over the pole on the lunge, it was a big ask for him to do it with a rider. But when I asked... he did it!! When the session was finished I rode him out of the round pen and across the yard to the office. Again, even though it was a big ask, he did it!! I couldn't be happier!! I love this baby boy!!           



27-05-14Look at this gorgeous boy!!

Look at this gorgeous boy!! I love him! I am now riding him almost every day. We can walk, trot and canter on both reins and his confidence with turning has grown massively!

The weather is allowing us to give the horses time out in the fields and Obie is loving his morning play time with Molly and Kenny! What a superstar!!
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17-05-14 Obie

.....Obie is doing really well. The hard work is paying off and he's growing up!
.....Through the winter I let him experience the saddle and bridle regularly. He lunged and round penned in both and went for walks around the block. As the spring approached I worked with Pete and gradually played each day until I was able to sit on Obie's back, with him relaxed and go for walks around the round pen, being led.
.....Unfortuantely life on the kennels became busier than ever and Pete was needed with the dogs. During this break I carried on clicker training and coming up with loads of new and fun experiences for him. The last two weeks, even while the kennels are so busy, Sylvia and Pete have worked together and helped me every day with Obie and the progress has been fantastic!
.....This week I had my first in hand trot! Obie was superb and really relaxed. The buzz it gives me when the session goes well is amazing. Remembering the difficult yearling I worked with, who had such a hard start in life and had developed a great skill of rearing and boxing and then looking at him now growing up and trotting with a rider is wonderful!



10-05-14 It's already May

.....It's already May, this year is flying by and I can't keep up! So much has happened so i'm going to attempt to get into the office a bit more often and share more of my news! For the first time in a long time I can say that all the horses and donkeys are doing really well!
.....Burrito's health has improved massively, but within a week of being here we discovered how poorly he was. When he came to us he was very weak. He was very underweight and looked like an old, sad donkey, when infact we think he's closer to a year old. Having received all routine treatments, along with being bathed and groomed and socialising with the other donkeys he showed no improvement. He was still very quiet, showed no confidence, did not impove in health in any way and actually showed deterioraton.
.....Burrito became very ill, very quickly. His respiration became 3 times what I would have expected and he was very weak. He received veterinary treatment immediately, but sadly it was not effective and Burrito collapsed. We carried him into a stable and I held his head in my arms, as he lay on his thick bed and while Sylvia rushed to call out an emergency vet.
.....Certain life experiences have stopped me from having any spirtual beliefs, but in those moments I didn't stop talking to him. I told him to be strong, that I knew it hurt and that if I could I would share his pain. I told him to rest, to save his energy and then we'd fight together. Somehow, against all odds and while myself and Sylvia were at his side, he found the strength to stand. The emergency vet arrived and began treatment.
.....We believe his severe illness was caused by lung worm. His treatment involved hourly fluids, regular medication and a lot of time. It was a very worrying, but gradually he improved. At the end of each day I would lay in his stable next to him and hold his head in my arms.
.....I never thought I'd get to say this, but now Burrito is back to full health and is fighting fit! Taco, Archie and Burrito have an incredible relationship, so close and bonded and have a lot of fun and mischief together. My favourite time of the day is when I put them to bed and crouch on their floor. They all gather around and press their noses up against my face. Very gentle and very happy! 



21-04-14 Stable Management lessons are back!!


.....I am planning a happy, busy summer of Pony Days, Saturday Clubs and Workshops. We have 10 fabulous equines and brilliant facilities, meaning that I can offer lessons in all aspects of stable management, lunging, round penning and clicker training. We do not charge for individual lessons, just ask for people to consider making a small donation if possible.
.....Lessons can be booked between 10 and 3 Monday to Friday and some Saturdays! So don't hesitate, get in touch! Email me for more information; canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk
.....Also find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ManyTearsAnimalRescueEquestrianCentre?fref=ts 

These pictures are of Kenya who is 11 years old and has had 2 lessons with me. In that short amount of time she has learnt about horse behaviour, how to catch, groom, pick up feet and the basics of round penning! Such a star!!                                                                                



15-03-14 New Arrivals

We have had a couple of new arrivals! Burrito is our new donkey who joined us when his owners had to move him on immediately. He came to us underweight and covered in thick dried mud and faeces, with a matted coat. He's now doing really well! He still has weight to gain and is very quiet and withdrawn. I have no doubt that within a few weeks he will grow in confidence and gain weight. Archie and Taco love him and the three of them have a lot of fun! Archie is the leader and the decision maker, Taco is the baby who loves every opportunity to play and leap around and Burrito is just learning how to enjoy life!

 

Tuscan, our tri coloured cob, came to us from a similar situation to Burrito, where his owners had to move him on quickly. Tuscan is a gorgeous! He has beautiful markings and lots of hair and feather!! He is about 3 years old and has an excellent attitude to life, taking everything in his stride! He has quickly learnt to lunge and is getting to grips with round penning. Deep down there are some big hidden fears that we are still trying to figure out.

We are still working to rid the yard of ringworm, but the horses and donkeys are happy! They love the sunshine (and so do I...what a relief!). They are all losing their winter coats and love nothing more than standing in the sun snoozing while I groom them and give them a back rub!             



04-03-14 It's been a while...

I'm sorry, I've had very little time and haven't managed an update in ages, so here's a little about what's been happening here...

.....When Toast, a little welsh cross, came to us from the horse sales he sadly brought ringworm to the yard. We are lucky with some of our facilities, but do not have isolation stables. Ringworm is highly contagious and unfortunately has been working it's way slowly from horse to horse. Along with dealing with the ringworm, Imp, a gorgeous grey foal, that also came from the sales, brought a respiritory virus to the yard. The virus also attacked each horse. Thankfully now the virus seems to have cleared up, but I am still working on the ringworm. It seems to be taking forever!
.....Peggy, Imp, Bowie and Toast have now happily gone to their new home. I was delighted, but a little bit heart broken too. I'd built up such a close bond to these babies and cried lots of tears on the day that they left. I've had several updates about them though and they are doing brilliantly!! So a big smile from me that they are happy, healthy and safe!! They will never see the sales again!
.....The biggest upset on the yard has been our beautiful Molly. She has had a severe relapse of laminitis. She is on complete box rest, on a thick, deep litter bed and is receiving treatment from the vet and farrier. Please keep everything crossed that we can get her through this hard time.
.....Treating these conditions is time consuming and expensive and have effected the happiness of the horses.


.....You may have already seen, through Sylvia's blog, that we have a beautiful new little donkey. When he arrived he was very thin, was covered in thick, dried mud and faeces and was suffering with severe rain scald. Sylvia named the little boy Taco. A month later and he is looking fantastic! He's put on weight and grown in confidence! He spends his life playing happily with Thomas and Archie and is turning into a cheeky chap!
.....I'm really hoping that life on the yard will settle down soon and a little miracle will help me to get these horses healthy again, but I'm so thankful that we were able to help the ponies that we did. The alternative doesn't bare thinking about!



16-01-14 The work with our youngsters continues


.....These pictures are of Matthew (6' 2'' kennel staff) working with me, to help Bowie and Imp understand that tall men aren't scary!! I would like to reach a point where Matthew is able to pick up all four feet and mimic some of the actions of the farrier and vet.
.....This was a really successful start and Bowie and Imp accepted him pretty well. A huge well done to Matthew also who has had very little experience with horses, but came to me asking for me to help his understanding, so he could become a little less tense around them. Now look at what he's doing!! Awesome!!!
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14-01-14 The ponies meet Matthew


Part of my work with the horses is to try and ensure that they gain as much life experience, while they are with me, as possible. The ponies are quite used to me, but it's important for them to meet men and also people of all shapes and sizes! We are lucky enough to have Matthew working in the kennels who is around 6'2''. This morning he took some time out of his busy day to meet the ponies! I have lots of lovely pics to share with you. Here are the first few!! Matthew with Thomas our little Shetland and Matthew with Archie. Both Archie and Thomas liked Matthew immediately, even though he towered over them!!                    



11-01-14 It's a Beautiful Morning...


It's a beautiful morning and the timing was perfect to take the work with Obie just a little further. Obie was an absolute dream!! I lunged him first and he was happy and relaxed. Pete came into the round pen and we spent some time playing and getting Obie used to me jumping on the spot. Gradually we worked up to Pete legging me up until I was leaning over him! Such a wonderful experience for all of us!! A big thank you to Pete!! When you are the rider, working with a young horse, you need absolute trust in your handler on the ground and Pete did a fantastic job!   



06-01-14 I just wanted to share a wonderful moment with you from today


.....These pictures are of Chloe working with Peggy. When Peggy came to us, she was petrified. Picking out her feet was simply not possible. I have been working with her very slowly, every day and have reached a point where I can now carefully touch all over her body and pick out her feet. It is still a slow process and I still use the clicker and my voice to reassure her that she won't be hurt.
.....Today I asked Chloe to follow my lead and give it a go. I trust Chloe completely and would struggle to let anyone near Peggy who I don't trust. Chloe was her usual quiet and calm self and did a wonderful job. Chloe commented later that she could feel Peggy shaking as she lifted her foot, but also felt her accept it. In the pictures you can see how Peggy has curled her body down, still so unsure, but huge amounts better than where I started with her when she would actually collapse onto the floor. It brought tears to my eyes to see how brilliantly Peggy did and how well Chloe worked with her.



02-01-14 IMP


Gorgeous Imp is looking for his forever home!! He is a grey, section A colt and we believe he is around 5-6 months old. Imp has quickly developed trust and wants to learn! He is hugely interested in everything new and wants an adventure!! Imp will walk with me through small gaps, passed cars, near barking dogs and I get the impression he would come anywhere with me! Imp is full of character and has a cheeky grin!! He wants to learn and with the right training, could make a fantastic driving pony. Already, Imp has eye catching paces and a happy, cheeky personality! Imp needs a home where life will be a great adventure and where he can be a little person's best friend!
 



21-12-13 It's New Year's Eve

.....It's New Year's Eve and time to announce how much you amazing people have raised with my BIG 100 CHALLENGE!!
.....In just over four months you have raised an incredible £14,500!!! I cannot thank you all enough! You are truly fantastic, dedicated supporters and have made a big difference to this fantastic rescue! I have been  overwhelmed by the response!
.....If anyone has raised money and is yet to send it to us, then get in contact. Thank you so much amazing people, you have so much to be proud of!!!!
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30-12-13 Our beautiful babies


Our beautiful babies are having an introduction to new people!! Mark, Jarad, Samara and Angharad have been coming to me for lessons for a while and have now reached a point where their confidence and understanding of reading horses has really grown. They all worked with them brilliantly!! Mark can be seen in the picture with Bowie, the bay foal. We didn't know if the foals had ever met men before, so Mark just lent quietly on the fence and waited so patiently until Bowie decided to make friends. It was wonderful to witness and is a life changing experience for Bowie.                

 



27-12-13 A photo to share...

I've just received this lovely picture of Alfie, now Sammy and Brambles, happy in their new home! True happiness!
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26-12-13 HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

  Happy Christmas all!! My huge apologies for not updating sooner, but I've been run off my feet! We are all working super hard and the weather seems to have been attacking us for the last month, but today we have sunshine, so I have time to get in the office. The horses are all doing very well and for those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that we have lots of new little ones in our gang! At the moment we have 11 in the family! Gueaero, Obie, Molly, Kenny and Quarrel are as happy as ever and we have been given free use of a lovely family's field down the road, so when the weather is good, the boys get to go out. Obie has been a little under the weather, but thankfully is picking up now.
Alfie and Thomas our two miniature Shetland foals improved in health quite quickly and now Alfie has moved on to a wonderful new home and will now be known as Sammy! So Thomas is now happily living with Peggy and is getting pretty confident about life and the reasons that people exist! Poor Peggy had bloods done last month which confirmed our concerns, that she is pregnant. She is generally happy, but still has a long way to go with gaining confidence around people. I work with her everyday and she is often very scared. The improvement is Peggy since she has been here though is massive. Not only has she lost some of her excess fat, but she has a shine to her coat and is interested in being handled, even though it's still scary.
.....Bowie and Imp are our two little foals. Initially they were also very scared and quite weak. Similarly to Peggy, they have quickly improved. Their general appearance is brighter, they have lost their huge worm ridden bellies and are starting to put weight on in the right places. They are interested in people now and want to learn! Both Imp and Bowie are looking for new forever homes. In particular we are keen to find Imp a new home, where he will get plenty of stimulation. We feel that he is a month or 2 older than Bowie. He is stronger in his health and is ready for an education. I handle him daily and we play in the round pen. He understands how to tie up and has seen the farrier. But Imp is ready for more! He is a stunning little horse and with the right education, could make a wonderful child's riding pony. We believe he should grow to around 12hh and already floats around the round pen, showing off his beautiful paces.
.....Archie is our new resident donkey and will be staying here for the time being. He arrived under weight and we are still working to help him gain condition. He is sweet and generous and is at his happiest when he's relaxing in the field or getting scratches on the back. Today we have been given a rest from the storms, so he's outside sunbathing now!
.....Our final new guy is Toast. He is around 3 years old and has already been through 5 sales and been part exchanged. Toast came to us very over weight and nervous. He lives with Gueaero and is learning about the good things in life from him! His weight is slowly starting to come off and he is a lot more confident around people already. He was even the star of the Christmas Saturday club and let Lois, one of my girls, work with him.
.....If anyone reading this feels that they can offer Peggy, Bowie or Imp the perfect forever home then please take a look at our horse's needing homes section and get in touch. I will try and get some more updates soon!                                                                                  



16-11-13 More Saturday Fun

 
Saturday Club has been huge fun again this morning!! My gang arrived full of enthusiasm and I had a busy morning planned!! We started the morning with grooming and plaiting Molly and Kenny. The horses were in their element and stood completely relaxed. Isabelle and Lois must have been revising, as they had remembered 'points of the horse' beautifully!! We had a break and with tradition drank hot chocolate and ate delicious pony cupcakes made and donated by Gem of Mrs Cupcakes!! After break, it was time to drive, so we tacked up Kenny and the fun began!!! The children were wonderful and laughed and chatted. Kenny was a star and behaved impeccably!


Finally after driving we played with the foals in the round pen, grooming and fussing them and teaching them that little people were fun!! 

Thank you to all who came, it was a great morning and we raised £25 for the rescue.

The next Saturday Club will be in a few weeks, but I shall post on the Facebook page to confirm dates. Also the girls have convinced me that if the weather allows we should have a pony day in the Christmas half term!
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09-11-13 Saturday Club!


Today was our first Saturday club and it was a wonderful morning!! We groomed, learnt about points of the horse, learnt about and made up feeds and haynets and played with the new foals, while learning about our body language. The Saturday club will be held regularly on Saturday mornings. For just £5 each the children can join me to learn about horse care and get lots of practical experience. The full £5 will come straight to the centre to support the ongoing rescues. If anyone is interested in joining the Saturday club email me; canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk or find me on facebook; Many Tears Animal Rescue Equestrian Centre. I would love to be able to continue the Saturday club for as long as possible. If you feel that you can support us in any way through donations please get in touch. These fabulous photos were taken this morning!! Thank you to Isla, Lois and Isabelle for attending and behaving so beautifully with the horses. Great morning!!! 



16-11-13 Yesterday the sun shone for an hour

............THOMAS.................................................ALFIE......................................PEGGY

Yesterday the sun shone for an hour, so I grabbed the opportunity and took the Thomas, Alfie & Oeggy to the round pen for the first time!! James who works in the kennels, was on stand by to help me but I chose to lead all three ponies together. They were wonderful and wandered happily along with me. Once in the round pen I continued the clicker training, that I had been working on and then unclipped their lead ropes. I knelt and waited for something to happen, but they stood at my side waiting for me to talk to them. What a privilege! As their confidence grew, they decided to explore. Each time they would wander for a minute or so and then return to make sure I hadn't left them!! A perfect experience.



06-11-13 It's been one of those crazy weeks

 It's been one of those crazy weeks, where you're not quite sure when one day ends and the next begins. An unplanned outing to help some dogs took Sylvia past a horse sale. Witnessing the way  the horses where being handled she called the rescue and  within half an hour Bill and I were in the car on our way to find her.   Bill warned me in advance I may find it difficult and he was not wrong.

As someone who has lived and breathed horses for 25 years it was a truly difficult insight to this side of the horse world. Observing the treatment of the horses, ponies and donkeys left me breathless. As we walked towards the giant barn we could hear the sounds of whinnying. It wasn't like the sound that Obie makes, as he notices me from the field or even the call of a horse at a new show.  To me it was more like screams.

There was a stall with 5 or 6 yearlings. One was tied up. When I looked at them I saw beautiful riding horses, the type who'd move with pride and trust. One had a large wound on its knee. I'm not a vet and maybe my opinion means nothing, but that wound looked infected - a large gash on the joint, with massive chunks of discoloured scabs. As I watched, I saw a girl of about 10, hitting the youngster with a cane and making it move around the stall. A man watched. I thought I was going to throw up, but before I had time to take a breath, another man started shouting at us to get out the way and we leapt up on to the railing of the stall as 7 youngsters were herded at speed through the small gap where we had just stood, slipping on the concrete as they ran. They were greeted, head on, by the shouting man, waving his arms and a stick, herding them around the corner to a corridor and then down to the pen for bidding.

Each stall held horses, ponies or donkeys. Some were tied, some were loose. Each of them had a number glued to their hind quarters; some were fearful, jumping and scrambling to the back of the stall pushing another to the front. Some stood with their heads almost touching the floor, like every ounce of spirit had gone. Others just stood and waited.

Next to two pens of foals were many more stalls containing youngsters, donkeys, horses and ponies, tense and waiting. A boy was perched on the gate hitting a yearling with a stick, scaring it from one side of the pen to the other while a man watched it move. There were foals and ponies who were clearly exhausted. A yearling had given in and lay on the concrete. Its breathing was laboured and eyes kept shutting, even when the others stood on him.

The horses, ponies, donkeys, foals, were herded into a pen. Then they were split from their friends and men waved their arms until they ran, one at a time, into the bidding ring. At one end was the auctioneer, in a wooden shack. Each side there were a crowd of people bidding....  £5, £10.

A few men stood near the auctioneer. "They are the meat men" I heard whispered in my ear. I watched. A gorgeous black and white gypsy cob got scared in, calling for its friends. A minute later and another whisper 'he just got bought by the meat men'.

I knew that I was snowed under with work, but also knowing that we had an empty pony sized stable at the yard meant it was impossible to leave alone. So we now have 3 new special, little, members of the family. 
 
I would like to introduce Peggy. Peggy was a brood mare. Her job in life was to breed constantly, until she could no longer manage more. Peggy is thought to be 7 years old. A horse's gestation period is 11 months, meaning that it is quite likely that she has spent a greater portion of her life pregnant than not.

Peggy is very scared, her feet are long and teeth are so sharp that I sliced my thumb on them, while checking. If you approach Peggy she backs off. If you place your hand on her leg, chest or barrel she shakes.

Our beliefs in how horses should be cared for, means that Peggy's life will drastically change. She will be handled daily and will grow to trust. She will be wormed regularly and receive her tetanus vaccine. She will be visited by the farrier every 6 weeks, will receive nutritious feed and will have a thick bed to sleep on.

Although Peggy is still sure that the world is a dangerous and scary place, we are going to teach her that life can instead be a wonderful blessing.

If anyone is considering selling a horse, I'd urge you to learn as much as you can about the different sales and the various reasons that people purchase from sales, before making any decisions.


YOU CAN READ A FULL VERSION OF THIS STORY IN OUR NEWSLETTER.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.



23-10-13 ZUMBA!!

This Saturday is my Zumba fundraiser!! It's being held at the Calsonic Club, Llanelli, 3-4 on Saturday 26th October (this Saturday!!!). Louise Iles an experienced and passionate zumba instructor and is coming from Cardiff, to teach the lesson. It's going to be a fun, dance, fitness class. No experience necessary!!! Anyone, any age is welcome!!! Even my mum is coming!!! Louise will be on stage, giving us moves to try and follow and then you can make it as easy or as hard as you like!! You don't have to be able to dance and you don't have to remember any routines!! Just come and laugh a lot and support Many Tears!!!
 
Some of the Many Tears staff will be attending and we'd really love to see you!!! Wear something comfy and ideally some trainers!! Bring some water and remember to rest as much as you like!! If you really go for it in class you could burn around 600 calories!!! Or you could have a little dance about and giggle at me!!!
 
The class is £5 per person and £3.50 for under 16s. Louise is not charging for her time and Calsonic club is giving us the room for free, so every penny is coming straight to the centre!!
 
For more details email me on;    canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk
 
Follow 'Zumba with Lou' on Facebook;   https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/484628251601655/
 
Zumba class address;  Calsonic Social Club, Llethri Rd, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, SA148HU
 

http://www.manytearsrescue.org/kcfinder/upload/images/webpage_general_imgs/ZumbaClass.jpg



16-10-13 Something wonderful has happened

Something wonderful has happened and I'm quite choked up, even talking about it. This wonderful thing has happened because of you!! Sylvia told me this morning that Quarrel should stay with us for another year. This decision has been made because of the incredible support that we've received with the big 100 challenge. 45 people have signed up, 11 have already completed and we received a fantastic cheque, which will help us tremendously, it seemed quite unreal when it came through.

I have also had people taking the challenge further!! I received a fantastic donation of £200, another of £250 and remember little Isabelle? She proudly arrived, after school on Wednesday, with the £270 that she'd managed to raise!!!  I'm completely overwhelmed and have never been in a position to witness this type of strength of human kindness and selflessness before. This has taking us from drowning in bills, to us treading water and I'm absolutely delighted. Quarrel is here for another year, it's wonderful!! I felt guilty every time I spent time with him, like I had a secret that he'd never understand. I know that I'm far too attached to our horses, but I'm totally in love with them!!!

Megan and Lucy who work on a Sunday were in floods when the news broke that he was being rehomed. It is such a relief to be able to share the great news with them. When we were searching for a home for Quarrel, we had lots of lovely applications, from potentially great horse owners, but there wasn't quite his perfect home. Now thanks to you he gets his perfect home, with us and his friends, for another year and if our prayers are answered then maybe longer.

Quarrel is at the centre of the horse program. He stands patiently while beginners learn to groom and tack up. If the beginners are quiet enough with their presence, he will even shut his eyes and snooze while people learn. He loves the children on pony day and is desperate to please. He is loving and affectionate and I couldn't bare the idea of seeing him go.  So today I feel a little lighter, a little less tearful for sad reasons and a little more tearful for happy reasons!!! Goodness, Someone needs to make me care less, as my emotions are worn out!!

Our battle to keep the centre afloat and keep it in a position where we are able to rescue similar numbers of dogs, rather than reducing the number of rescues goes on. Nothing is cured, but we have reason to smile and take a few breaths!! 

The big 100 challenge is continuing, as planned, until the end of the year and I want 2013 to end with a bang!!! We've come this far,  let's see if we can set up 2014 to be a year of life saving, with  smiles and confidence in our future. Most of the dogs that need saving next year are out there now. They are waiting for us and everyone here is determined not to let them down.

Over the last few months, twice I've asked for help with donations for the yard and pony day, not to mention my requests for financial support through the big 100. Well here I am doing it again. I do not want the horses to ever be rehomed. I need to find a way to save the money that we spend on feed, rugs, bedding, the farrier, worming, the vet and more. The horse program is going great and it's doing really good things, it must continue! I get to meet and help so many wonderful people!! Some are considering buying a horse in the future, some are desperate to have had a lifetime with horses and were never financially in a position to. Lifetime dreams are being realised here. Some who come to me have gone through incredible hardship, that on a number of occasions, has struck a painful chord with me, but have also given me such a buzz to see their achievements.

We have had several boxes of tack donated recently, some of which will make great teaching tools and some went to an agility show sale to try and raise funds. We are so grateful for this help. unfortunately it's not easy for us to sell smaller items as we do not have regular sales. Saddles are different and can really help, through online auction sales. I thought I would let you know the things the yard really needs just in case anyone is able to help.

  • A full size set of 4 brushing boots with strong Velcro straps
  • Mains supply Lister horse clippers like the laser 2 clippers
  • 2 full size and 1 cob size and a Shetland sized leather head collar
  • A cob size lunge caverson
  • A full size lunge roller, with several rings for attaching side reins
  • Equine specific feed supplements; garlic, seaweed, apple cider vinegar, equicell, biotin and the big one that Quarrel really needs is red cell.
  • Molly has recently lost weight and we are really concerned. Nothing we do is seeming to help. Her history of laminitis means her case is rare and tricky. I have spoken to a nutritionist who has advised us to feed her Dodson and Horrell Stay Power cubes. We cannot buy this at our local feed suppliers. Is anyone able to help?
  • Carrots. Succulents like carrots offer such important nutritional value to the horses.

It's funny I've always been very independent and have always hated asking for help. Currently that's all I seem to do!!! I have no choice though. When it comes to these animals I have to swallow my pride and ask.  Without your help Quarrel would have been rehomed and now he's spending another wonderful year with us, as the star of the horse program!!! All I can say is a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Katie xx



09-09-13 The BIG 100 challenge has led to a lot of extra work for me

.....The BIG 100 challenge has led to a lot of extra work for me, with most evenings taken up trying to promote it and keep in contact with the wonderful people, who are getting involved. It's seems though, that I am very lucky, as whenever I've had enough and can't find the enthusiasm, I get contacted by someone who boosts my spirits and reminds why we are doing what we are doing.
.....Towards the end of last week, when I finished work exhausted and had a huge list of jobs to undertake in my evening, I received a wonderful email from a supporter who'd rather her name was not mentioned. Here are 2 of her messages:

First Message
Hi
I am so blown away by the work that you do at Many Tears, I would like to send you a cheque for £100.  It is so important that you are able to keep doing what you do.
Can you tell me who should I make it out to please?  Then I’ll send it off to you.
Thank you
 

Second Message
Hello,
Well it’s all true! You must all stay positive because what you do is so amazing and important.  Cheque is in the post today for you. I’ve made it for £200 (I will get some overtime in!)
You sound like a lovely person, thank you for your lovely emails. I read them to my husband and daughter last night and we all had tears in our eyes…
Thank you

.....I can't describe what a wonderful boost this was for me personally, not to mention the amazing support this money is going to give the rescue. A massive thank you to this wonderful person and her family!!

Catherine Malins is a big supporter of Many Tears. Catherine's dedication and incredible hard work has been ongoing here at the centre. Not only has she fostered and helped with numerous fundraising events, most recently she spent 2 days solid working on a stall at an agility show with Leah, raising a fantastic £1000!!! Since then, Catherine has joined the BIG 100 challenge and set up a facebook page to sell her beautiful, handmade jewellery. This is what she had to say...

.....When I first had the thought to sell my jewellery, which I make whenever my busy “working mum-of-three” life allows, I felt a bit... embarrassed. I thought how presumptuous of me. But then all these bracelets and necklaces were sitting in boxes and when I heard the plea, I thought – why not?
.....Two days after setting up the FaceBook Page ‘Many Beads’, I have already sold 7 items and I have two ‘special’ orders that people have requested. I’m nearly half way to the Big 100 challenge.
.....Yet again, all the support from various people – friends, MT fosterers, supporters, friends of friends, family – has been overwhelming.  And I think how lucky am I to be doing something I enjoy to help a cause I so strongly believe in?!
.....It’s not an earth-shattering financial contribution I realise that; and it won’t fully replenish ever dwindling funds. But if it’s helped put a smile on the face of all the staff and volunteers who work their socks off in the face of daily and relentless adversity, then I am glad I disregarded my initial hesitation.
.....If you can, use any hidden talent you have and share it. You’d be surprised how much people will be willing to support you... and how much inner joy it will bring you.
.....Thank you so much Katy for inspiring so many of us to do something useful.

Catherine has now completed the challenge and has raised £100!!! She plans to continure and raise even more!!! Please check out her page and support her amazing work!! Thank you Catherine, you are a so wonderful to help us again in this way.

I received a brilliant Email from Briony Adams who took on the challenge!! She cleared her house and collected anything and everything that she could and her and her mum got up at 6am, arriving at a carboot sale at 7am!!! They raised £96.55!!! Briony's mum then chose to make up the rest of the money herself!! Briony has now completed the challenge and has raised £100!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much Briony and mum!!!!

Steph Webb Elder has been raising money for Many Tears for a long time and is a dedicated fosterer. She has been under a huge amount of stress recently and has suffered some very upsetting weeks. She has still done it!!! Steph is a musical genius!!! She has created some cds, with her music and has raised £100 very quickly! Thank you for your ongoing support Steph!!

Jenna Chung who is part of the adoption team raised £100 over night from donations from her fabulous friends!!! Thank you Jenna!!!

Jenna's family, Ian, Ellie, Rosey, Amelie, Zac got involved and worked really hard doing a 2 day car wash!!!! They have done it toooooooo!!!! Thank you to the wonderful Chung family!!!!

We have just received a cheque for £150 from Julie Lewis-Sussex!!! She has been looking after a friend's dog and gave her friend a parking space while they were on holiday!! As a result we have £150!!!!! Thank you Julie!!! This is a fantastic gift!!!

This morning I received an email from Glenda Foster who has also completed!!! Glenda is a big and invaluable supporter of Many Tears. She has helped me by donating prizes for my pony days and has given continuous support!! Glenda did a car boot sale, with her own belongings, raised £91.50 and then made the money up to £100 with her own money!! Thank you so much Glenda!!

The total of all the money raised from completed challenges so far is £950!!!!! I launched this fundraising challenge on August the 15th!! So in less than a month we have raised nearly a thousand pounds!!! Thank you isn't enough is it?! I am personally so grateful for all who are getting involved and all who have already completed. I am having regular updated from others who are working on the challenge and desperately hope more will join us.

Thank you everyone
Katiexxx
 



02-09-13 BIG 100 Challenge Update

Well I have had a wonderful response for the BIG 100 challenge!! Some incredible, selfless people have signed up and some are well on the way to completing the challenge, while others are in training for sponsored events that are due to take place. If you think that you could raise £100 for Many Tears, please get in touch. The dream is to have 100 people to take part!! It doesn't matter if you want to do this alone or as part of a group, but we need your help if we are going to start to feel confident about the future of the rescue. Here's how we are doing so far!!!!!!

  • Gem Paul who bakes beautiful cupcakes is doing a bake sale for her customers and they are having a clear out and getting on Ebay to make some dollars!! Isabelle is one of Gem's daughter and she is 7 years old. Isabelle has asked if she can sell some of her toys to raise money too!!
  • Garthine Walker has pledged to raise money by running a half marathon!! She began her training and came down with a nasty chest infection!! She is still determined and I want everyone to get behind her and show her our support!!
  • Catherine Malins makes beautiful jewellery and is going to tackle the challenge through selling her exquisite items. Catherine has also sold jewellery already for us and has been a big support with a recent table top sale at an agility show.
  • Steph Webb Elder has signed up and has started by selling hugs!!
  • Jess Kerr is hoping to tackle the challenge and is coming up with ideas of where to begin. Jess has also kindly emailed me offering to put up posters and approach schools, in her local area of Surrey, to promote the art competition.
  • Amanda from North Yorkshire has also contacted me offering to put up my posters and offering to contact local schools.
  • Jenna Chung has completed the challenge by asking for donations!
  • Ian, Ellie, Rosey, Amelie and Zac Chung have raised £89 car washing!
  • Sylvia Van-Atta has raised £30 selling her beautiful, handmade silver horse rings.
  • Louise Iles is planning on travelling to Llanelli to run a fundraising Zumba class!
  • Rosie Williams is planning coffee mornings and has pledged to give the money that she would normally spend on scratch cards to us. She has also already raised £12 by selling some of her cosmetics.
  • Alex Gillam is planning a car boot sale and soak the instructor game!
  • Vicki Wallace is selling beautiful handmade jewellery.
  • Bernadette McCarthy has signed up and is making plans of how she is going to raise the money.
  • Caroline Davies is selling delicious,  home made jam.
  • Zoe Samantha Davis is hoping to get involved as soon as she returns fom holidays.
  • Briony Adams is planning how to raise the funds, but is raring to go.
  • Kelly-Anne Higman is planning on running a sponsored 10km race!!! I will be spreading the word when there is an opportunity to sponsor her!!!
  • Leah Gardner is selling some gorgeous, personalised, themed name pictures.
  • Jennie Herndon is on a mission to reduce her coffee and cake stops while out and about and is going to collect the her savings to make the £100!!!
  • Mandy John is planning cake sales and a sponsored stay awake!!
  • Julie Lewis is renting a parking space and will raise a whopping £150!!!
  • I recently ran another young people's workshop which was fantastic fun and raised £60 for the rescue!! Yesterday I also gave a short lesson to Carolyn a brilliant, dedicated supporter who donated £10!! 
  • The art competition has raised £16 so far!

Thank you to everyone who has signed up for the BIG 100!!! It's inspiring to see such selfless acts, people taking time out of their busy lives to help! Our situation is scary. We do not know what the future holds for the rescue, but we know that we are fighting as hard as we can, with everything we've got!!! Can you help?
 
How you can help...

  • Get your children to enter our art competition, promote it by emailing me and I'll send you our posters, contact local schools and groups with the poster and information.
  • Make a donation to the centre, look at the wish list and help in anyway that you can.
  • Sponsor our fund raisers or buy cakes, jewellery or personalised names pictures to support our team. How about some beautiful jewellery for a Christmas present? Check out my facebook page for more information (search Many Tears Animal Rescue Equestrian Centre on facebook)
  • We will soon have Christmas Cards on sale!! Please get your cards from us this year!
  • The BIG 100. This is the big one, this is where we really, really need the help. Can the dream come true? Will 100 people sign up and complete the challenge? C'mon you can do it? Are you a member of a group or organisation? Would they get involved? Is there an event that you could organise? A coffee morning? A tea party? A children's face paining party? If you could get 100 friends to give £1 each or 50 friends to give £2 each, you'd do it!! What about something big? If you've ever wanted to do a sky dive and bungee jump, now's the time!!!!!!!!!!!

 
The fabulous picture's are from the workshop! The individual young lady is Isabelle with her 3 art competition entries and who is planning on selling her toys for Many Tears! The two youngsters are Lois and Isabelle posing with their mum's gorgeous cupcakes, which she baked especially for the workshop!! Lois and Isabelle's mum has signed up for the BIG 100 and is planning a bake sale!! Delicious!!!! The group is my fabulous team who attended my workshop and raised £60 with their attendance and had a lot of fun!!! 
 
Email me for more information or to sign up for the BIG 100;
  canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk



27-08-13 CAN YOU HANDLE THE CHALLENGE??

THE BIG 100!!!

I am looking for special, dedicated and wonderful people to take on the BIG 100 challenge!!!!

Here's the challenge... I want to sign up some fabulous people, who want to end 2013 doing something amazing!!! I challenge you to get involved and pledge to raise £100 for Many Tears, before the end of the year!! I want to follow your progress and be your biggest supporter, while you become ours!!!

I'd love pictures and updates during the fundraising efforts and with your permission, I'd love to share the news and pictures on the website and perhaps in my newspaper column!!

It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live or whether you have worked with us in the past. All that matters is if you have what it takes to take on the challenge!!

Here are a few fundraising ideas ...

  •   Sponsored walk, run, swim, bike ride.............................................
  •  Cake sale...............................................................................................
  •  Sponsored fitness class .................................................                    
  •  Bad hair day, bad tie day, backwards clothes day in work!!............
  •  Car wash ................................................................................................
  • Coffee morning, film night, BBQ...........................................................
  • X-Factor competition...............................................................................
  • Old school sports day.............................................................................
  • Sponsored tie yourself to someone for a whole day!.......................
  • Sponsored mountain climb, zip wire, bungee jump, parachute!!!!


There is so much you could do!!! Are you willing to help? Could you get 50 friends to donate £2 each? Or a hundred friends to donate £1 each? IMAGINE IF JUST 10 PEOPLE SIGNED UP AND RAISED £100 EACH?...THAT'S £1000 THAT'S DESPERATELY NEEDED!!!

THE BIG 100 CHALLENGE, CAN YOU SMASH THE CHALLENGE??

INBOX ME THROUGH FACEBOOK TO TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE AND LET ME FOLLOW YOUR PROGRESS!! OR EMAIL... canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk

C'MON LETS DO THIS!!



25-08-13 Art Competition

MANY TEARS ANIMAL RESCUE EQUESTRIAN CENTRE
ART COMPETITION

Give the young people in your home the chance to win a beautiful handcrafted flying horse and scroll The scroll explains the myth that native Americans believed many years ago about Anju (pronounced anew) and meaning 'one who lives in our hearts'. They believed that when they saw this winged horse in their dreams that it brought them luck and would change their lives. This led them to approach life in a very positive way and which led them to be self sufficient and prosper.

To enter the competition, all you need to do is submit a piece of artwork, inspired by the work we do to Many Tears before 31st October 2013!

The piece must be no bigger than A3 and can be drawn, painted or created through a collage or any other medium, that will still allow us to hang it from a wall. 

We are opening the competition to children of Primary School age (so that is usually up to and including age 11 years) and entries are £2 PER piece of art work. We will accept more than one entry person if desired and if entries are correct.

The art piece can be posted to Many Tears or delivered by hand and must also contain the name, age, address, phone number and or email address of the entrant. A cheque or cash needs to be given or sent with the piece at the time that the entry is made.  The winning piece will also be put on the website for everyone to see!! 

Our address is:
Many Tears Animal Rescue
Cwmlogin House
Cefneithin
Llanelli
Carmarthenshire
SA14 7HB

Cheques need to be made payable to:
Many Tears Animal Rescue

By entering this competition you are not only gaining the chance to win this beautiful horse, hand crafted by Sylvia, but also your support to the rescue is invaluable!! Many Tears has hit some very hard times and the staff, fosterers and supporters are working and praying hard for the rescue and horse program to continue doing its incredible work. Please get involved. Please share and tell everyone who may want to join in, possibly win an amazing prize and support an incredible cause!! 

If you have any questions feel free to email us at
info@manytearsrescue.org



24-08-13 Sadly the time has come to share our news.

.....It's always been a struggle for Sylvia to keep the rescue running, but it has now hit a very scary time. Devastatingly redundancies have  been  discussed  and some staff hours  have now been cut.  The fear of more cuts haunt everyone, along with the massive fear about the future of the rescue itself.   I desperately hope to keep my horse program running, but it feels like we are teetering on the edge. I've had meetings with Sylvia and Bill and we are trying to be as positive as possible and will be working as hard as ever and praying even harder that a miracle will come our way.
.....The horse program was set up to help to teach new and potential horse owners more about horse care, to give them a help, support and the understanding to be able to give their horses the best care. We also want to help people of all ages who aren't in a position, to be able to afford a horse to become familiar  with these beautiful animals. We want to help people who have difficult challenges and problems in life to learn about horses and perhaps grow in confidence or maybe find some peace.
.....I have been working with lots of ideas for fundraising. I cannot let the horse program end and we need this feeling of fear at the rescue to ease. I'm putting out a plea for some help!! Please keep an eye on this page and please get involved however you can. Please help.



13-08-13 Events for all!!!!

This week is Pony Day and I still have spaces!!


15th OR 16th August 10.30am - 3pm
It will either be Thursday or Friday depending on the weather 
£12 per child or £10 per child if booking for 2 or more siblings!!
A fun filled day of games, stable management lessons, a quiz, a scavenger hunt and more!!! For children aged 8+.

Thursday the 29th August 10.30-2pm
Is a teens training day!! For young adults 11 years plus. This training day will include many aspects of equine management from feeding to psychology to tack care to daily responsibilities. £12 per child or £10 per child if booking for 2 or more siblings!! A relaxed fun atmosphere, packed with essential horse care knowledge.

Friday The 30th of August 12.30 - 3pm
'An introduction to horse care for adults' A relaxed afternoon filled with basic horse management. This is the perfect time to learn some basic equine care skills, gain confidence around the horses and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere. This event will include short sections of theory, but will mainly be practical based work. No experience necessary. If you have an interest in horses, but never the chance to get close and learn about them, or perhaps you have children who ride, maybe you rode as a child and would like to learn more... this is the workshop for you!! £12 per person or £10 per person if booking for 2 or more adults at once. Tea and coffee provided!!

If you'd like to find out more contact me through Facebook or call 01269 843084 or Email info@manytearsrescue.org.  By attending this workshop, not only will you be able to learn the basics of horse care, but the money raised will be put straight into the centre and support the rescue of so  many poor dogs.

Please can you help spread the word about these events, tell your friends and family!! Please tell everyone about our Facebook page and help me to keep the horse program running.



08-08-13 Today I feel deeply sad.

Today I feel deeply sad. My face is still dirty and my T-shirt smells of urine. I'm not a pleasant sight. Today I've choked back many tears and have learnt even more about the strength of the staff I work with. Last night the van arrived home, with dogs rescued from death row and today we were going to check them in.

My day started brightly with kisses and love for the horses and they were happy, as I turned them out to graze. I flew through my mucking out duties, in anticipation of the busy day ahead. I was paired with Vicky, the office manager, which as always was a relief. Her system, compassion and great understanding for the dogs meant that I'd have a good chance of being helpful, in our job for the day. Two other pairs of staff also had a day of checking in, ahead, including Sylvia, whose last sleep had been 3 days ago.

Systematically, we brought each new dog from it's kennel. They were health checked, photographed and assessed, while another member of staff took charge of worming, vaccinating and chipping etc. It seems like a straightforward plan but it's not. Some of the dogs we met were happy and boisterous. They jumped to our legs shouting 'pick me!!' Others made my heart fall to floor and filled me with a hatred for people and what they had done.

Hiding at the back of one of the kennels was a wire haired cross breed. She was beautiful and looked like the star of a Disney film, playing the roll of the abused dog. But this was real life and she was the abused dog. I quietly walked over to her and even though she was cowering and terrified, she let me pick her up and wrap her up in my arms, reminding her of what love felt like. While we were checking her health and taking her pictures, her eyes didn't leave me, desperate for me to take the fear away. Vicky found that she had come with a few notes. This gorgeous Disney dog had been thrown from a moving vehicle on a busy road, before being picked up by the pound. This dog, like all the others that had come in, was on death row. This beautiful, healthy, but terrified dog, was going to be killed, because her owners, threw her away, like old trash. Thank God she is here. Thank God she is safe.

We continued to work through the kennels, finding many sad stories and many gorgeous dogs. We checked in a Border Collie, who didn't have an ounce of flesh. Ribs and hips protruding and her face ill looking from being starved. This dog had been dumped, who knows why. We found she had a limp and so the vet looked her over. she is full of shot gun pellets, and so to-morrow has to go to another vets to be x-rayed encase there are shots in her joints needing to be addressed.  We had already read about a dog who lost it's family and was going to lose its life because there was a new baby.

Vicky and I reached the last kennel by 2 o'clock. We were both tired, sweaty and hungry. But the last kennel made my appetite disappear, within a heart beat.  As I entered I couldn't see any dogs. At the back of each kennel is an enclosed living space, for dogs to hide and sleep when they choose. Hiding in there were 3 dogs, a cavalier and 2 bichon frise. They didn't look at me. They buried their heads under each others legs, praying for safety. The first dog I lifted from the bed immediately wrapped its legs around me again trying not to look. The smell of urine was intense. Her legs and barrel were stained yellow from urine. Dried faeces was matted into her coat, her eyes were ulcerated and her dew claws had curled dangerously close to breaking back into skin. The second dogs was condition was similar. A small cavalier with painful skin, from urine burns. As I lifted her, her body went limp. She surrendered. 'I will hide deep inside my own soul and then maybe the pain won't hurt so much'. The third dog ran from me and hid in the furthest corner. I sat on the floor and loved the other two, until I was able to get close enough to hold my final dog. As I placed the lead on her, she panicked, jumped and turned, desperate to save her own life. Again as I picked her up she surrendered almost instantly. It's a devastating feeling. Her spirit was no longer there.

I normally work with the horses. They are now healthy resident horses. Although their histories are heartbreakingly sad, they are now confident, happy members of the family. Working with the dogs from the pound is always an honour, but it is a heart wrenching feeling that I'm not yet accustomed too. I'm not sure you can ever shut out the feelings altogether, but watching the kennel staff is an inspiration.  When I lifted those emaciated, terrified dogs from the ground I could have fallen apart. But seeing the kennel staff don't allow the tears to come in front of the dogs, they sing to them, cuddle them, fuss them and use all their energy to help them understand that they are now safe.

I suspect I will shed a few more tears tonight, but that fact is... these dogs were going to be euthanised. They were going to die, through no fault of their own. Now they are safe. They are warm and comfortable. They have been bathed and their sores have been treated. They have been wormed and inoculated. They have been assessed and will only be rehomed to a real home, where they are part of a family. They will be neutered, removing any chance of their bodies being used to make money and perhaps help reduce the number of unwanted puppies. Most of all while they are at Many Tears and while I am back working with the horses, I can guarantee that the amazing kennel staff will give them more love than they have ever known. Although i'm filled with sadness about the suffering that these dogs have encountered, I can truly say I'm incredibly proud to be a part of something so wonderful.

Katy
 



01-08-13 I recently asked for some help


I recently asked for some help and have been overwhelmed by the kindness of a few wonderful people. I asked, thinking that there wasn't much hope, if anyone had a bit that would be suitable for Obie. Lynn Mann, a fosterer for Many Tears contacted me offering me the perfect bit!! It is a snaffle with full cheeks and a comfortable, curved mouthpiece. If I was rich, it would have been the bit that I would have chosen for him!! She also offered me a padded noseband. I replied saying how I would love it, as the bridle I had managed to get for Obie was quite old and stiff. Lynn's response was that we couldn't be doing with that and sent me her retired horse's beautiful bridle as well!!! It's in brilliant condition, is super soft and padded and looks stunning. Here are the pictures and Obie looks gorgeous doesn't he!! Very grown up!! He is very relaxed in it and in one photo he forgot it was even on and thought it was time to do some clicker training and showed me his smiles!!
 
I would also like to thank two of our other fabulous fosterers Julie Higham and Gloria Van der Wonde who sent me 2 parcels full of donations of prizes for my Pony Day!!! I was quite excited opening the parcels and seeing all the gifts!!! Cannot wait for Pony Day and the sight of a lot of happy faces!!!
 
A big THANK YOU to three fabulous fosterers!!!!!



28-07-13 I'm pleading for a little help...

.....Does anyone have any small prizes that they could donate to the centre for pony day? The children who come are aged from 8 to about 14 (both girls and boys) and are very mature young people! The last pony day someone had donated a small ball filled with hair clips and someone had donated a little necklace. It was wonderful to be able to give these prizes and see such happy children, being rewarded for their efforts.
..... The pony days are great fun for the children, they get to learn about the responsibilities of owning a pony and it brings funds into the centre, which we really, really need. Sylvia is working very hard to save money wherever she can in order to be able to keep the centre going. Bill gave me some rosettes which I've spent a long time altering so they are suitable to use. If anyone is able to help, it would be amazing!!!  Our next pony day is on 15th of August.
.....Also I have managed to get hold of a second hand saddle and bridle for Obie, at no cost to the centre but I have no bit. Does anyone have a 5 inch eggbutt snaffle in their tack room that they no longer need? In the dream scenario it would have small rings and ideally a curved mouth piece.  Obie is not old enough yet to be backed, but I'm doing all I can to ensure that he is comfortable in tack, before the time comes.  A massive and HUGE thank you to anyone who is able to help me out!!!!

My email address is canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk 

If you have anything that you could send our way the address is...

Katy Kear
Many Tears Animal Rescue Equestrian Centre
Cwmlogin House
Cefneithin
Llanelli
Carmarthenshire
SA14 7HB

BIG, BIG THANK YOUSSSSS!!!!!



24-07-13 It's been a while!!

.....I have had an unsettled few weeks. I had a week off to celebrate my Birthday and to try and have fun and some relaxation time. My days off are usually very busy, so this was a huge, massive treat. Sadly on the day of my Birthday my gorgeous Labrador cross and best friend came to the end. His legs had stopped working altogether, even though he was still able to wag his tail. I carried him from the car to the beach at 7am on my birthday and we sat together, before traveling to the vets. It's hard not to be engulfed with grief. I'm sure most of the people reading this will understand this devastation fully. I tried to help my other 2 dogs deal with the loss, especially Max who had never spent a single night away from Benji, apart from his recent vet trips.
.....Sadly last Sunday after a glorious walk on the same beach that I took Benji to, Max's health deteriorated quickly and I rushed him to the vet, where, within a couple of hours he was in surgery. Max had suffered a serious and large sand impaction in his small and large intestine. It is thought this was from playing with a tennis ball on the sand. Thank God he is now home, very distressed and can't sleep without his head on my chest and my arm around him. So my head has been filled with tears and sadness and everyone has had to put up with me grieving, ever so slowly.
.....The horses are spending all day every day out in the fields, relaxing and finding shade under the trees. Yesterday we had the vet here for some important work. Brambles had Xrays which confirmed our suspicions that she has chronic laminitis. However it appears that it is far less severe than we first though and the vet was very happy with her progress. Molly's Xray's shows continued improvement!!! This is really wonderful news! Kenny had 2 wolf teeth removed, which came out quickly and easily. Poor Obie had 4 wolf teeth removed!! Three of them came out fairly quickly, although the 4th was a little trickier. He seems happy and has recovered very quickly, but is on mild pain relief, just in case he's sore.
.....The staff and Sylvia have been helping me work the fields and pull ragwort. It is back breaking work, but finally we are making some progress!!! I have been unable to ride this week, as I have sliced my heel open, so this week I've been sporting Sylvia's crocs and catching up on maintenance work! But hopefully next week I'll be back in action and a little more focused!!
.....The black dog is Max and The golden dog is Benji. The other picture is myself with Quarrel and Gueaero who are showing of their fly sheets and masks, a must in this weather!!                                                                          



07-07-13 Phoebe

Phoebe she is a 14.3 hands gypsy cob who Sylvia rescued some time ago from a market where she would not load and was suffering abuse from many trying to  force her.  She brought her home and bathed her many wounds as it was apparent before the sales horses or a stallion had attacked her. Once well Sylvia broke her in and taught her to go easily in a trailer with no fear and even  took her in a trailer to the beach and rode her in the sea.  Many children learnt to ride her and when Sylvia was careful where she homed her and put stipulations in place but sadly these were ignored and she was moved to different locations without permission. Sylvia had a very hard time checking on her and keeping in touch but eventually tracked her down and then had to try and find her a wonderful home where she can live as a permanent foster.

This is the latest news about Phoebe for those of you who have followed her story on our old website.

Phoebe has had a name change to Molly.  Phoebe seemed like the name of someone who was lost and she appeared to like the name Molly, I wonder if she knew it was one of the most loved/popular names for an animal?

The bad news regarding her eyes is that the near side one has 2 cataracts and signs of an old physical trauma at the bottom and her off side eye currently has very limited vision due to the uveitis.  She is seeing the chiropractor every few months plus she is doing stretching and having frequent massages.  These seem to be relieving the pressure on her eye and I am still hoping that there will be an improvement in her vision.

She has mixed well into the herd and they are all friends, though I think they are all looking forward to the horsefly season coming to an end – roll on winter!



17-06-13 Busy, busy, busy!!


.....
It's been such a busy few weeks here at the yard. Saturday the 8th was my first equine behaviour workshop here and Saturday the 15th was our first pony day!!! Since planning these events I had been hoping and praying for good weather and on the morning of the workshop, the sun shone down!! The morning started with a tour, before we all sat in the heat, outside the horse's yards. Everyone drank fresh, cool fruit juice, as I chatted about various areas of horse behaviour and training methods. We then moved to the cool of the round pen, with Obie and everyone observed my progress with him. Obie was a superstar, responding quickly with his clicker work and moving easily, when being round penned. 3 days earlier I had started to reward Obie with a click and a treat, when he offered me signals that he would like to lay down. This progressed beautifully and even on the day with 9 people watching, he chose to lay beside me.
.....We moved back to the yard and everyone got to gain some practical experience clicker training and played with Gueaero and his hugs and Quarrel and his pointing, along with the horses and their targeting. Finally we moved again to the round pen with Gueaero. I recovered the basics of round penning and a couple of people were brave enough to have a go too!!
.....It was a lovely morning and I'd like to say a big thank you to all who attended and helped to raise just under £70 for the centre.


.....This Saturday was Pony Day!! Sooo much fun!!! The children arrived at the yard, had a quick tour and settled into our feed room, before the crazy day began!! The gang was split into two teams...'Pony Party' and Team Kenny'!! Team names, they chose themselves!!  Megan (who works here on a Sunday) and I taught and the girls learnt about grooming, safety around the horses, tack, feed and more!
..........Dinner time approached quickly and it was wonderful to hear the sounds of happy children! After dinner it was time for our 'on foot gym khana'. Even though the rain had started to threaten, the children were full of energy and the pony games were a hit. Our cheering could be heard from the road!
.....The busy day continued, with the excitement of a treasure hunt. I had taken great pleasure in writing and hiding 10 rhyming clues, all over the yard. The team worked together and found the treasure and sat and ate the treasure!!!  The quiz followed our break and finally the presentation took place, with a fantastic amount of cheering.
.....Finally as the day came to an end, my team of children headed home with their parents and Megan and I together with my 2 helpers, Leah and Ellie all exhausted, started the yard work. Again a massive thank you to all who came. I had a lot of fun and the Pony Day raised nearly £100.



The horse have seen the dentist...

The sun is shining and the horses are out in the field, giving me time for an update and time to get some extra jobs done. All of the horses are happy and doing well. Brambles is settling in very well and is out in the field with Molly, Kenny and Obie. She has also made very good friends with Gueaero and romance is in the air. Yesterday I had a visit from Kayleigh Sowden an equine dentist. She contacted me last week and offered to come and treat our horses for free!!  Kayleigh studied at Hartpury College and took on an intensive apprenticeship in Texas, USA with a master of equine dentistry. Kayleigh had a professional approach to working with our horses, but the things I really loved was that firstly her biggest priority was to ensure that the horses had a positive experience of her visit and that they were neither scared or too tense and that secondly she explained everything!! She let me feel the teeth of every horse. She pointed out where the problems were and let me feel the teeth before and after treatment. I plan to have Kayleigh to come and treat my own horses within the next few months.
.....Brambles found it stressful having her teeth rasped, so Kayleigh worked very carefully and slowly with her and she was treated in two stages. Her teeth were found to be very sharp and had caused pain and discomfort in her cheeks, as I had expected. Kayleigh found Molly and Kenny's teeth to be in great condition, however Kenny had 2 wolf teeth, which she advised to be removed. Wolf teeth are small remnants of extra teeth, that the horse had millions of years ago. The horses do not need or use the teeth. They can be found close to where the bit sits and can cause pain if the bit puts pressure on them. Obie was also found to have wolf teeth. He had an unusual 4 wolf teeth! It is far more common to have 1 or 2. The discoveries continued and Gueaero was found to have a few sharp points which Kayleigh felt would have affected the action of the bit in his mouth, while being ridden.
.....After rasping the sharp points she advised me to work with Gueaero, while riding, to encourage him to stretch down and work deep. Quarrel was found to have a broken molar. The broken tooth had not appeared to have caused any pain and Kayleigh is hoping that the tooth should begin to grow back.
.....So yesterday was very positive. It was really interesting for me to get the chance to feel the horse's teeth with the speculum safely holding her mouth open. I spoke to Kayleigh about possibly coming to Many Tears in the future to give a short talk, in a workshop and perhaps give people the opportunity to have a feel of the horses teeth. I found Kayleigh very interesting to listen too and would to be able to set something up for the future!! Get in contact if you are interested!!! Of course I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Kayleigh for her great work!!
 

 have a behavioural workshop on Saturday 8th of June. It will cover behaviour, body language, 'when things go wrong', an introduction to clicker training and an introduction to round penning if the weather allows. The morning workshop is at the small cost of £12 per person or £10 per person if booking in a group of 2 or more. This money will of course go straight back into the centre and help to save lives!!!

On June 15th I have a pony day for children!! It was aimed at children of age 8 plus, however I am happy to make exceptions! The day will be packed with stable management lessons, pony related games, a quiz, gymkhana on foot and a presentation!!  Pony day is at the small cost of £12 per child or £10 per child if booking 2 or more siblings. This money will also obviously go straight back into the centre, ensuring that these events can continue and supporting the rescue of so many poor dogs.

If you are interested in either of these events then get in contact!!!!!

Tel. 01269 843 084        Email. info@manytearsrescue.org

Message me through our facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/ManyTearsAnimalRescueEquestrianCentre?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

Please help me spread the word about these events!! Not only will they be educational and great fun, but they should help to bring in vital funds!!  To find out more about Kayleigh's dental services please visit her website here.       



27-05-12 Thank you Gillian Bedells

Just a quicky, as I need to say a massive and humongous THANKYOU to Gillian Bedells!!! I posted a plea on our Many Tears forum, in the hope that someone may be able to help me, by printing copies of my poster. I made the posters to advertise my pony days and workshops which will hopefully bring funds into the centre. Within a couple of hours Gillian had replied, offering to do the copying and within a couple of days a fat envelope arrived on my lap, delivered 1st class, full of my posters!!! Thank you so much Gillian for your help!!!!    



25-05-13 Introducing Brambles

.....Brambles is an incredibly sweet Shetland pony. She has had a traumatic few weeks. Her best friend and paddock mate recently died. That in itself is a horrible thing for any horse to suffer. Her owners contacted Sylvia, in need of a new home for her. We were told she suffered with laminitis and when we arrived to pick her up, we could see her lameness immediately. She had heat in all four hooves and flinched away from pressure from my thumb to her frog. Her front legs appeared to have twisted over time, probably from her being uneven in her hooves and all four hooves showed bruising.

.....Brambles has now been here for 3 days. The farrier visited especially to see her and trimmed her feet. While trimming, he found an abscess. This was good news, as it would account for some of the lameness and sensitivity of the foot. An abscess is fairly easy to treat with poulticing. However the farrier did not feel that a poultice was necessary. Brambles is on pain killers and antibiotics.
.....We were told that Brambles had never received a tetanus vaccination, while with the previous owners, so yesterday Brambles stood like an angel for her first injection. The previous owner had mentioned that they had wormed the pony, but seemed unsure when it was last done, so Bramles has also been wormed.
.....We are due a visit from our equine vet in a couple of weeks, so have asked them to x-ray Bramble's feet at the same time to enable us to assess the severity of her laminitis. I had a feel of Bramble's molar teeth and several teeth on the left side were as sharp as a knife. Therefore, along with the the vet we are also expecting the dentist next week.
.....Within a short space of time, Brambles has experienced the death of her best friend, has lost her home and has experienced a considerable of pain in her hooves and in her mouth over what I would guess to be a long period of time.  Even with all of this Brambles is the kindest, sweetest and most affectionate little lady!!
.....It's been a stressful and exhausting week for everyone. This week I was overwhelmed to meet a lady called Carolyn Rose who drove all the way from Kent to deliver donations!!!  She brought a beautiful saddle, which will be sold to raise funds for Many Tears. She also brought some immaculate rugs and other equipment which was donated to Lluest to raise funds for their rescue horses. A massive thank you to Carolyn for her incredible kindness and lifting reminding us that there are some genuinely brilliant people out there!!
.....Another big thank you to Glenda Foster who collected a huge pile of rugs to donate to Lluest!!! It was a wonderful sight seeing all the rugs being unloaded from the Many Tears van.



16-05-13 Yesturday I was fit to burst with pride!!

.....Working with Obie is one of my favourite parts of the day. I never tire of seeing the little improvements. One of the most important things is, for me to make sure I plan my work according to how he is feeling. Whatever I do, I need to set myself up for success and give myself every opportunity to be able to praise him. Therefore pushing him to wear tack, when he's mentally tired or asking him for a round penning session, when he's physically tired, would probably result in a stressful session and little chance to offer him praise. Instead, I have short term and long term goals and then try to be aware of what he has done over the last few days and how he's feeling, before deciding what to do. I also have to be aware of the environment around me. For example if a mini bus full of people had just arrived at the yard, then I'm unlikely to be able to keep him focussed and relaxed. Yesterday Obie was attentive and relaxed. I round penned him for about 10 minutes to give him the chance for a leap and buck, if he needed and then whistled him to come.
.....I decided to walk down the hill towards the stream. We had never been in this direction before, as the lanes are more narrow and I wanted to be sure of his respect of being led, before tackling it. Obie walked like an absolute gentleman!! Without any pressure on the head collar, he stayed at my shoulder. We walked past water running into drains, a lorry with air brakes, builders working on a farm, road signs and then over a bridge with fast and noisy water running beneath. He was perfect! I walked down the muddy slope and over a fallen log. I watched his face and his uncertainty, but without question, where I went, he followed. When we reached the stream, he reached his nose to the water and bravely splashed his foot into the water. I stepped further into the stream, regretting wearing ankle high boots!! Obie followed, until all four feet had water running over them. On the walk home I had expected Obie to be anxious and to want to accelerate, instead again he stayed at my shoulder. That half an hour was probably my favourite half an hour yet at Many Tears. So proud of the boy growing up!!!             



08-05-13 I'm getting excited!!

This Saturday is the first equine workshop!! I will be teaching horse behaviour and psychology, how horses learn, when it goes wrong and what to do, an introduction to clicker training and round penning and more!! It will be a packed morning, but a very relaxed and fun atmosphere!!

This workshop is perfect for anyone and everyone and I still have just a couple of spaces left!! Whether you have your own horse and are experiencing some problems or have never even touched a horse, this workshop is perfect for you!! You do not need to be confident around the horses or have any previous experience.

The morning will be split into theory, practical and observation. There will be no pressure to join in the practical parts of the morning. If you feel more condifent sitting back, watching and learning that's great or dive in and get involved!! Drop me an email at canvasbags@hotmail.co.uk to find out more about this Saturday and about future events!!!                                                                    



02-05-13 It's T shirt weather!!!!

It seems to have been months since I last got chance to make an update. The weather has been beautiful and I have had such a productive few weeks!!  Yesterday was filled with washing manes and tails and Kenny, much to his disapproval, had a full bath. Then once everyone had dried out, in the sunshine, their work began. Today the horses have had a fabulous chilling out in the fields. It's a glorious sight!!  So lets give you a wee update about what these beautiful horses are up to...

I've had a fantastic mini break through with Quarrel!! He is such a star, but is ever so cautious of people. When I started round penning Quarrel he was responsive, but always careful. He would never take his eyes off me!  When I would whistle he would stop and look at me. Eventually he was brave enough to wander a circle around me and gradually he would approach me, but always to my back. His confidence has suddenly blossomed. Now when I whistle he comes straight to me, walking confidently up to the front of me!! This has progressed even further. Now once he's reached me, if I walk, he chooses to stay at my side and walk with me!! When I stop he stops. When I turn he turns. I feel quite privileged to see how he has changed and grown. It's still very fragile, but with a little luck and a lot of work I hope it will continue improving in this way.

Kenny and Molly are loving the sun trap that is created in the round pen. They spend an hour every morning lazing and soaking up the sun. They stroll down the lane and occasionally drag me to the grass, as I try to remain composed and look professional. I'm driving Kenny at least twice a week, he's as strong as ever! Make sure you keep a look out in the Llanelli Star next week, as Kenny our rock star gets his 3 minutes of fame!!

Gueaero is a very happy man. There is an air of 'knowing' about him. He works in the round pen like a pro and he just loves getting out for a hack and trotting down the lanes, proudly showing off his elegance. I have been pushing him a little harder, schooling him in the sand arena. He can perform some beautiful lateral movements, but it still takes a full session to get him to really use his back and cover the ground. Watch this space...I'm a determined lady!!


Obie has also had a challenging few weeks! He was ready to be offered a bit more and had accepted the roller so well, that now I have moved on to him wearing a saddle! The photos are of the first few minutes of him wearing it. He did exactly what I had hoped and jump and leapt around, getting to feel the saddle with every movement he made. I was chuffed to get these pictures as within a couple of minutes he was trotting around ready for the next challenge!!

 

 

Keep your fingers and toes crossed that this weather continues. Wearing T shirt and not 8 jumper is wonderful!!!                                                                             



14-04-13 This week has been long and very hard.

The loss of Wendy has been tough, but I have seen so much kindness surrounding her death.  I am hoping to start working more closely with another fantastic rescue based in Llangadog. I recently visited Emma, who runs the rescue and was in awe of her work, as I am when I see Sylvia in action, everyday. Emma rescues and rehomes horses and donkeys. When I visited, I was able to meet some of her rescues and hear their terrible stories.

I am starting an appeal to collect as much used equine equipment for Lluest Rescue as I can. The equipment collected will either be used for the rescue horses or be sold in their regular table top sale. The last sale raised over £800!!!! Money which is desperately needed if the rescue is to continue.  I have contacted many old horsey friends and the response had been fantastic! I am planning a trip to South Wales in the next week to collect.

Can you help? Do you have any used or new equipment hiding away? It could be rugs, brushes, bandages, numnahs or anything similar. You could clear out your tack room or garage and be helping a fantastic cause at the same time!!! I can store the equipment at the yard and deliver it to Lluest in the next couple of weeks. Please consider getting involved if you can!

As I started this appeal I was contacted by two girls aged 13 and 15 who are a massive part of Many Tears Rescue. Megan and Lucy work incredibly hard to support what we are doing and are true gems! They were both devastated with the loss of Wendy, but have asked if they could donate some money to Lluest in honour of Wendy and to help save the lives of more donkeys. I was so touched by this. The kindness from these two girls gives me so much hope for the future. Megan and Lucy keep up the amazing work, you are both a real inspiration!!!

I would also like to spread the word that I'm finally catching up with the times and now have a Facebook page dedicated to the yard and horses. I'm hoping to make regular updates and offer lots more photos through the page. Please come along and show your support by 'liking' my page. Simply search for 'Many Tears Animal Rescue Equestrian Centre' from your Facebook page or CLICK HERE and we'll be waiting. It would be fantastic if you could also share the page with your Facebook friends and help me let the world know what we do!

Thank you



12-04-2013 In memory of Wendy

Our beautiful donkey Wendy, sadly had to be put to sleep this week. A heart breaking day.

Here's Wendy's story. Wendy had been here for nearly 2 years. I have listened to the stories about her condition when she arrived. Her hooves were massively over grown and curling back on themselves and her teeth were in such poor condition that our dentist wanted to photograph them, as she had never seen teeth like it before. She was very unsound and Sylvia had great concern about whether she would survive.

When Wendy arrived we were told that her previous owners had had her for 28 years and had bought her as an old donkey. Wendy could have been in her 40's or older. Wendy received treatment from our farrier, dentist and vet. She was put onto long term medication and gradually started to improve and grow into the Wendy that I met, when I started working here in October. Wendy loved children. She would happily stand quietly and completely relaxed while a child groomed her. She was strong and determined! If I wanted to catch her, to wash her eyes and she didn't fancy it then she was clever enough to outwit me!

Wendy started spending more time with me and the horses. I made her a thick bed of haylage on the yard and she would spend every afternoon laying down and munching haylage.  If I called her she would slowly wander up to the yard and await a treat! Everyday around feed time she would call to me, just in case I forgot her... as if I would!!

Last week Wendy became seriously lame. She was clearly in a lot of pain and the vet was called. The vet took X-rays of Wendy's feet and Wendy stood with her head in my arms and seemed to know that we were trying to help to take the pain away. The X-rays were instantly brought up on screen. The years of trauma and neglect that she had suffered had led to severe problems in her feet along side arthritis, which had started to fuse the joint. I knew at a glance of the X-rays that it was very sad news and the vet confirmed my suspicions. There was no treatment that could ever take the pain and damage away. Such a sad day, but proves how strong that little lady had actually been.                                                                                  



01-04-13 I'm sat in the office with a hot cup of tea and slice of chocolate cake

I'm sat in the office with a hot cup of tea and slice of chocolate cake. Thank goodness for our cake lady!!! The best thing about Lynne's cakes is that they are so well risen, that you can take what appears to be delicate, fairly, healthy sized slice and end up with a massive chunk of chocolate cake!!!! So here I am thawing out, in chocolate heaven and holding off the guilts for breaking the diet...again. Actually I turned down McDonalds for dinner so that's bonus points for me isn't it? I'm sure they counter act each other somehow.

Once again it's freezing cold! My mission today was to work a full day, without my thick, ski pants over my johpurs. In my head doing that actually means that spring is here. I'm regretting it slightly now!!  I schooled both Quarrel and Gueaero, in the sand school, this morning. Both horses worked hard and bounced around the school full of life and energy!! Molly's cuts on her legs seem to be healing well and she and Kenny were full of the spooks, of a cold day for their walk out.

Obie's education is continuing! He has now progressed to wearing a roller with stirrups attached. This gives him the opportunity to feel a little extra weight, but also to feel the stirrups against his sides. Initially, like most youngsters, he didn't want to move!! Then from no where he leapt, cantered and jumped around. The first photo is a fab shot of him leaping into a buck to test what the stirrups did. I love that we have the round pen, as it's the perfect place for a young horse to work. He needs to know what it feels like when he walks, trots, canters, jumps, bucks and everything else with the stirrups and roller against his side, then eventually a saddle. The second photo was taken a few minutes later when he decided that the roller was not scary and in fact it was something to show off about!!                                                                     



30-03-13 Beautiful Horses


The horses have raised my spirits this morning. After mucking out and tidying up, I spent a bit of time with Molly, grooming and Iodine washing her legs (more on that later). Then Molly and Kenny took me for a walk! They were a feisty pair, that were on a mission to see and hear every scary monster, around every corner! On my return I had a couple of hours that felt like they were made just for me!! The round pen is a safe, little haven for me, that locks the real world out! The sky was bright blue and the sun shone brightly through the branches of the trees surrounding us. Individually I round penned Quarrel, then Gueaero and Obie. Maginificent is the only way to describe the horses, as they moved in the pen. Each of them full of energy, lust for life and so very powerful. Their long glossy manes and tails flowing out and catching the sun, making it look like they had tiny diamonds brushed into the hair. As the horses moved they kept an eye and an ear on me, waiting for any slight movement of my body, so they could jump into a different pace or fly across the circle to change direction. It's such good fun and so humbling.

I generally work alone, which I love!! I love that the atmosphere, in which the horses live, is created almost soley by me. I have worked on yards before where there is such an unachieveably large number of tasks to do, in such a short space of time, that staff are very stressed. Staff run into horse's stables with a fork and skip and then launch the door open and fly into the next stable, or staff fling the horses tack on and trot them 'in hand' out of the stable, leap on and are straight up and into trot or canter, minutes after the horse was dozing in the stable. I've witnessed, many times, how horses react to this and how, long term, it affects them. They become nervous and are permanently on edge. Instead of greeting you at the door with a smile, ears will go back, quarters turned and they develop habits like kicking and biting. The yard here is very different and the horses are starting to sense how I behave and what they should expect from me. This morning was a perfect example of this, I opened the noisy metal gate into Obie's yard as he slept, with his eyes shut!! I walked passed him, skipped out his stable and opened the clanky gate into the next yard and he didn't even open his eyes!! Totally relaxed!!! I love it! Later, after I finished round penning Quarrel and walked back to the yard I found Wendy donkey laying down on the pile of hay that I'd put out for her, up by the horses. It's great to see the horses so happy and comfortable.

Back to Molly and her legs!! The sun was shining and the wind had dropped at about 3.30 a few days ago. Jenny (who works with the dogs) ran into the office to find me and asked me to check Molly, as she was laying down on the concrete in her yard. I ran out, with thoughts of colic running through my head to find Molly laying, relaxed in the yard. Unfortunately even though she seemed happy, she had managed to cut a hind and fore fetlock joint. I treated the wounds, but sadly that night she managed to reopen the wounds and cut the inside of her cannon bone. The cuts aren't deep and aren't really a worry, but need taking care of! So Molly's new management plan includes Iodine washes and nightly pink stable bandages!!    



26-03-13 A warm day last week


A warm day last week, amongst what feels like years of cold and the horses deserved a relaxing day. They all love spending time in the round pen, loose and without their rugs. They love the feeling of freedom and having the opportunity to roll and scratch. The pictures are of Molly and Kenny loving every minute! It's a pleasure to have the chance to stand back and see happy horses, behaving naturally, while I'm holding a camera. It makes me smile that they now trust me enough, to flop to the ground, feet away from me and roll and roll!!!                            



17-03-13 I've been thinking...

It's 7.30 pm and I had planned to be packing for a rare and fantastic weekend away dancing. But I can't switch my mind off from work. So instead I'm sat on my bed, with a cheeky jack Russell at my side trying to make some sense of the world.  I have said many times that I really love my job. I also loved the idea of working in a rescue centre. It's only recently though, that I'm really starting to understand the living thing, that is many tears rescue. I'm a little on the outside of the rescue. Sometimes it's like I'm looking in, with the occasional taste of what's its actually like.

Sylvia came to me last week, while I had Quarrel in the round pen and asked for a lesson. She said 'make me work hard, make it really painful, I want to get off, aching all over.'  She then told me a story of her experience in rescuing a dog the evening before. I could not register or truly take in the depths of how awful the things she was saying, actually were. It's hit me now.

Last night as I drove home I saw a dog running along side the busy dual carriageway. She kept trying to cross and the cars raced passed her at speed. I hit the brakes and before I knew it was crawling, on hands and knees, along the dual carriageway as arctic lorries sped past, a couple of foot away. Moments later the dog was in my arms. The warden was notified, incase the owners were searching and the dog spent the night with me. I bathed her and she slept soundly on my sofa. The next day I took her to the kennels. She solemnly took a place in a bed. While i worked through the morning, she was all I could think about. I could not see the fact that she was now clean, warm, fed and safe. I could not stop the heartache. Later I visited her and she leapt from her bed to see me. She was sure I was going to take her home. My living arrangements are scarily complicated and there was no way that I could take on another dog and know that I could give her a home for life. I left the kennel with tears streaming down my face and she had to watch me walk away.

A little later in the day Pete, a loyal member of staff, returned with some rescued dogs. I watched as I worked. They were carefully helped off the van. Some were rushed straight to the vets for care, while others were vaccinated or checked for injury. I walked past Teri, again another very dedicated member of staff. She was holding a bitch who had clearly bred many times. Her skin was raw with either infection or maybe burns from urine. Teri carefully soothed and bathed the wounds and talked to the dog, holding her emotion in and giving the dog confidence. I quickly walked to my car and sobbed.
The reason I'm sharing this, is that I am completely in awe of Sylvia and the staff of Many Tears, alongside the volunteers and fosterers. I spent one night with a dog and could not hold it together. Where does Sylvia and the staff find the strength? How is it possible for there to be a positive
atmosphere, when there are such awful things being dealt with? How do the staff and fosterers survive the dogs being re homed, when a bond is so quickly developed? I guess the answer is obvious. The dogs are 100% top of everyone's priority. Everyone in that centre are dedicated to giving each of dogs the very, very best and that is put before their own feelings.

Many of the staff work hard all day and then go home to their foster dogs, often taking more dogs with them. Jenna who works in the office is always caring for so many foster dogs and often the ones who need the specialist care. She has children a, house and all the normal worries people have, but still doesn't complain and dedicates herself to these poor animals.

I feel incredibly feeble next to these amazing people, but so proud to be a little part of it. My thanks is means nothing really. But I'm so thankful that Many Tears exists and so many amazing people are involved to make it the special place it is.



13-03-13 Farriers and vets

We had a brief scare today with Molly. The vet and farrier were arranged for an early start at 8.30 this morning, so Sylvia let me start early to satisfy my OCD and allow me to have everything done before they arrived. Molly is X rayed every few months to check how her laminitis is doing. The X-rays were done and me, Sylvia, the vet,  farrier and his apprentices gathered around the laptop to find the results. The initial improvement was obvious. The left foot is looking like any normal foot and the right is significantly better. The X-rays did however show what looked like a chip of bone. Words like fractures and permanent damage were thrown about. The vet decided we needed further images and luckily the next three X-rays seemed to show that the extra lip of bone was actually the bone's way of gradually adjusting to suit the changes of pressure in the foot. With luck it won't cause any extra problems to this beautiful horse.

The causes of laminitis are under constant research. It always used to be thought that the only cause is allowing horses to get fat on rich food. In fact there are so many causes!!! In Molly's case, tests are now going to be conducted to see if there is a hormone imbalance which has caused the problem. She sees the farrier every 6 weeks without fail, sees the vet as often as necessary, is on a strict diet and gets supplements to aid her hoof development and  digestion. It was heartbreaking hearing Sylvia telling the vet how long this poor girl has had these problem. Unfortunately the recovery is a very slow process, but we need to keep our fingers crossed that something good shows up on the hormone tests and that a supplement may speed up her recovery.

All the horses were either shod or trimmed today. If I have a choice I prefer working them on a soft surface if the farrier has just visited, so all the horses were individually round penned. Honestly they were all magnificent!!! Each of them made me burst with pride at how attentive they were. Quarrel probably made me laugh the most. He seemed particularly enthused and paraded around the pen, like a stallion. He hates to get anything wrong, so when he misread me asking for an inside turn, he reared on to his back legs and did two amazing bunny hops before cantering on. He is such a stunning little horse.

Finally Wendy donkey has me in training!!! She has trained me to call her when the horses have their treat balls so she can have treats in a bucket, she has trained me to always carry treats and to crouch to her height if I want to talk to her and has trained me to let her choose whether she has tea with the other horses or has it in peace in her stable. Yes Wendy is definitely the boss of our friendship and it will undoubtedly remain that way.



08-03-13 The weeks fly by...


The weeks are flying by in a blur! Life outside of working is exhausting at the moment. It happens to us all doesn't it? You know the feeling, when the alarm blasts you out of a dream, while it's still black outside and you can't imagine how your energy will last for the 17 hours or more until you get back into bed. Of course I still get my 'me' time walking my beautiful dogs before the day really kicks in. I read Sylvia's blog about her feelings towards her dogs and it's so true. I feel exactly the same, they bring me more joy and love than I could put into words. Arriving at work is always pleasant. Sometimes I fly through the mucking out, on a mission to achieve as much as I can throughout the day. Occasionally I'm a bit cheeky and meander my way through, playing with the horses as I go. They all seem to be extra playful first thing in a morning and watch me sing and dance my way through the stables. I take time to find the point of their withers where I can scratch and they faces curl up with pleasure.

Even though my energy has been wavering, there has, as usual, been many moments where the horses or my daftness has made me laugh out loud! The other day I knew that I would be short of time, so turned Molly, Kenny and Obie into the round pen, while I mucked out. I flew through the first 3 stables and heard a ruckus from the round pen. As I looked up I noticed Obie cantering at speed from one side of the pen to the other, head held high, proudly holding a football in his mouth. Molly stood somewhat unamused at the commotion, while I stood in stitches at this baby's enthusiasm at discovering the dog's football and that he could carry it with him.

Later in the week I was in the sand school riding Gueaero. It was one of those amazing rides, where everything works!! Gueaero was powerful and expressive. He danced from a leg yield to shoulder in and into medium trot without a moment of doubt. I held my position and proudly rode around the arena. I had noticed that the builders working on the kennels had stopped for a mid morning break in their van and were watching. They had been watching for about half an hour, which seemed a long morning break. It crossed my mind that it must be because Gueaero was looking so impressive, as he moved with such power around the school. Once I had finished my ride and let Gueaero walk and stretch, feeling chuffed with our efforts. As I dismounted and remembered that I was wearing my broken jodhpurs. Yes the zip was wide open and yes there was pink lace on full show. No wonder the builders took such an interest!

I think the two pictures are beautiful. The first is Gueaero standing in the sun, looking proud and strong. The other is Quarrel having a blissful roll in the round pen!! Gorgeous boys!!!

Just a final note. I recently chatted to a horse owner who had kept a miniature, Shetland pony stallion who was kept in the field with her big mare. She had thought that there was no possibility that they could mate. 11 months later an unplanned foal, with no real future, appeared. To any horse owners out there, please be aware that it does not matter how small your stallion is and how big your mare is. They will find a way to breed. The mare may lie down or even stand in a dip in the field. But trust me they will find a way!!!!                                



04-03-13 The sun is out and the horses are sleeping!!

Wendy the donkey is loving this weather. She is spending more time up with me and the horses and seems to enjoy sunbathing with the horses. She now recognises the sound of me walking out of the barn and filling the treat balls for the horses and will call me and then wander up to to have some treats in a bucket. She hobbles around and really shows her age, but I'm still sure that she is happy. She will happily show me a hind leg and tell me to leave her alone if I'm in her way! Minutes ago as I came into the office the horses and Wendy all stood, in their yards, relaxed and dozing. It's a very satisfying sight!!

I arrived at work this morning excited to start my working day. Bizarrely it's a normal feeling for a Monday morning, especially when there is no rain or ice!! By Tuesday the feeling normally eases, as my tiredness grows! The horses are getting quite used to my behaviour while mucking out in a morning. I put the radio on, on my phone in my pocket and sing and dance along to every tune I can. I'm salsa dance lover so can often be seen doing a practising my spins while flicking open a gate!!

Once the mucking out is done, my mind is buzzing of all the possibilities of the day ahead. This morning I had the most fantastic ride on Gueaero in the sand school and he danced through every movement I asked of him with ease. When I finished with Gueaero and washed him down, I approached Obie. He is lovely to lead at the moment and remains at my side easily on the yard. I round penned him for a short time and we wandered out into the lanes. He is getting better to walk out, although is never completely relaxed.

Next job was to groom and walk Molly and Kenny. Kenny was full of enthusiasm and very fresh! He jumped about while Molly hinted that she wanted some grass and really couldn't be bothered to walk. The last horse was Quarrel. He is so affectionate!! He likes me to run my hands down each side of his mouth and will then press his face against mine. We went for a hack around the block in the sunshine. He was a little lethargic, so I let him amble the last part of the ride and just relax happily. So the everyone is happy and I'm super busy and very excited for the summer!!



24-02-13 These pictures make me smile!!

 
I wrote a list of extra jobs at the start of the week and every time I cross a job off, I think of two more that need to go on the list!! I have not had anytime to get into the office, to write, so a super quick update today, as I'm due to start teaching in 20 minutes! The horses are well and happy. Quarrel and Gueaero seem to be getting fitter and it's really satisfying seeing them snooze in an afternoon, after a morning workout! Obie is trying his hand at every trick possible to get his own way and is really starting to fill out and get confident. Yesterday I was skipping out the stables and noticed him laying down in his stable. It's not unusual for him to lie down, but it's unusual for him not to see me and jump to his feet and come looking for attention. Yesterday he opened his eyes, to see who was around and then lay still and shut his eyes again. It crossed my mind that there may be something wrong so in the middle of Obie's yard, I got onto my hands and knees and crawled across the concrete and into his stable. He opened his eyes and watched and I could see the normal spark in his eye to tell me all was ok. I kept crawling until I could reach his withers and gave him a scratch. Horses generally love having their withers and back scratched and Obie is no exception. As I scratched his back, hard, he rolled onto his side like a dog and moved his head in rhythm with my scratching! I sat with Obie for about 15 minutes until he eventually decided to stand and start the search for treats.

Everyone else is good too! I took Kenny for a drive on Tuesday and apart from a scary man up a ladder, it was a success!!! I had a lovely moment with Molly when I started scratching her withers and she reached her head around and started gently grooming my back. Molly doesn't tend to be very affectionate with me (Syvia is the only person that she loves!!!) so it was extra special that I got the attention! Wendy donkey is looking more like an older lady, but still seems to be happy. It's always reasuring when I try to give her a scratch and she swings her quarters to me to tell me to leave her alone!! It shows me that she is stronger than she looks and still has her determined personality!!

Hope you love the pictures as much as I do!!! I think Obie looks like he's singing!!! More updates next week!!!  



13-02-13 The last two days have been unbelievably busy and have flown by!!

On Monday I continued my dressage mission with Gueaero. He has improved so much and is really starting to understand what I'm looking for from him. I have to keep remembering the weaknesses we had initially, so that I can constantly feel positive about the improvements that we are having. I warmed him up and started playing. By the end of the session we could easily ride down the 3/4 line and leg yield 3/4's of the way across the school, to the track. He happily walked the long sides, on both reins in shoulder in and travers and the transitions were so much softer (leg yield, is where the horse's body remains straight and they are asked to move forwards and sideways. Shoulder in, is where the horse is asked to maintain inside bend and asked to bring the shoulders to an inner track. Travers is where the horse maintains inside bend and is asked to bring the hind quarters to an inner track.) The canter still needs a lot of work. He still assumes that if I change the rein in canter, he should leap into a flying change instead of waiting to see if I ask for counter canter, a downwards transition or for a change. The counter canter will improve his balance massively, but getting him to feel comfortable and relaxed through the basics is slow work. (counter canter is an exercise which needs to be introduced carefully and asks the horse, for example, to move to the left while remaining on the right lead canter or vice versa). 
 
Yesterday we had our second jump lesson and it was fantastic! I have clicked with my instructor and love that he has the same strong belief as me, that it is pointless rushing to progress, if the basics are not absolutely secure!! We worked on an exercise which I have taught many times, but don't have the room to practise at home. He had a related distance laid out, with a ground pole where each fence would eventually be. A related distance is two fences on a line, with a related number of canter strides between them, which is greater than 2. He had the related distance set up to be ridden either on 5 or 6 canter strides. Canter poles are a challenge, even though they look very easy! We spent a large portion of the lesson varying the length of step in the canter and riding the distance between the two poles. This is the kind of work I really love!!! We gradually built the two fences up to about 3ft, but the exercise was so much more than the fences, it was the impulsion, lift, quality, straightness and consistency of the canter, along with the quality of the turn, security of my position and calmness of mind!!!! The fences being introduced almost became background information and the basics were blasted!! I loved it!!
 
I have also been on a mission with Quarrel. I have been lunging him, to help me with his dressage. He always tries very hard when I ride him, but initially I struggled finding the key to improving his impulsion, suppleness and confidence, when I'm sat on his back. Working on the lunge has given me the chance to stand back and watch him move and also means I work work him in a very consistent manner. I am shocked how quickly he has learnt!! On the last couple of rides, he has been very quick to respond to a light aid with the leg and has been much looser in the shoulder. On previous rides a simple transition from walk to a quality working trot, would often result in him breaking to a choppy canter, instead of being free enough to move into a loose trot. In the last few rides he has maybe done this once or twice only and has generally been propelling himself forwards into fairly powerful trot. I have been lucky enough observe several demonstrations by Carl Hester, who is an incredibly inspiring, international dressage rider. One of the things that he said, that has always stuck in my mind, is the confusion that so many people have with the amount of leg one should use with each individual horse. He said that it's a common misconception that 'lazy' horses need a lot of leg and 'speedy' horses need little or no leg. He said that, in most cases it is actually the opposite of that. There is no single rule that applies to all horses, but very often, a horse that lacks natural impulsion, actually needs a very light aid, with the leg and needs to be taught that they should respond to that. In many cases the slower horses tend to get more and more desentised due to riders over using the leg. A forward thinking horse will often need more leg applied to aid the horse's straightness. In many cases the forward thinking horses will often be ridden without use of the leg, which can cause an enormous amount of problems in future work. I agree with Carl's thoughts 100%!
 
Obie appears to be turning into a horse!!! When I started working here, he looked like a gangly yearling, whose body didn't seem to fit together properly. Suddenly his body seems to fit him far better!! He is still desperately in love with the big green ball! When I lead him to the the round pen, I watch his head flickering about looking for where the ball is waiting for him. Today I led him into the pen and reached to the clip on the leadrope, but failed to unclip it properly. As soon as he thought he was loose he leapt in the air and tried to spin around. To his shock the clip was still attached and I still had hold of him. I consider this behaviour to be cheeky and not acceptable. He was certainly not trying to hurt me or be 'naughty', but even though he was excited to play ball, he still needed to be respectful of my space at all times. I continued reaching for the clip and purposely not unclipping it. Each time he leapt in the air and each time I stood very still, kept hold of the end of the rope and said 'no' firmly once. After about 5 attempts he started to realise that me touching the bottom of the head collar did not necessarily mean that he was about to play. On the sixth attempt I unclipped the rope and he stood by me and waited. I gave him a treat, walked away and he trotted off to find his ball. Small 'potential' problems, like this, occur regularly and need to be dealt with immediately and consistently. It was the perfect occasion for this problem to arise. I was wearing gloves and we were in a safe and enclosed environment. If this problem had not have been dealt with, then it could have easily developed into something more serious. This problem will arise again, at some point in the future, I'm sure and many more problems before it!!! I love the challenges of bringing up a yearling and love seeing the moments that something with them clicks and your bond becomes that much more secure.    

Obie playing with his ball.  

 Me whistling Obie to come and then asking him to smile.

 

 



06-02-13 It's been a busy and strange week.

Monday was a very sad day for all at Many Tears following the loss of Heath one of Sylvia's dogs after a long battle with his health and the day was full of tear stained faces. Since then, the wind has been blowing away the cobwebs and everyone seems as rushed off their feet as ever. Monday I had my first jump lesson on Gueaero. We strolled the 50 minute hack to a local yard and met our instructor. He had a huge arena and perfect surface, with a course of fences, layed out ready. Combinations, related distances, a double and some little spreads lay in wait. Gueaero was quite taken a back and initially started giving every fence 2 foot clearance. He gradually settled into a rhythm and started taking things in his stride. We ended the lesson by jumping a course of little fences, at around 2' 3". Another lesson is booked for next week and I'm excited to tackle the course again and try and start the session as we finished the last. 'Rhythm Rhythm, Rhythm!!!'
 
Yesterday Gueaero had a more restful day and Obie was in the limelight. I feel strongly about how a young horse needs to be handled. He is too young to carry the weight of a rider and his body is not yet developed enough to cope with lunging. However pretty much everything else is on the agenda! He is handled on a daily basis and spends time being round penned, turned out with his green ball and being walked down the lane. I also make sure that he sees as many 'scary' things as possible, while in a safe environment. So I'll take big plastic sheets out to the round pen, to walk over and rest over his back, if there are builders on the yard, then we will go and investigate and I take every opportunity for him to wear different rugs and boots. Our current game is for him to wear a roller and saddle cloth, while turned out in the round pen. He is teaching himself  what it feels like to move and roll and leap around with the pressure of the roller around his girth and is learning to associate the roller with fun, positive experiences. My job is to be as consistent as possible and to challenge him as much as I feel I can, while giving him every opportunity to have positive experience, be successful and get lots of praise!! I took a couple of videos of Obie and his beautiful smiles and kisses... My videoing skills will hopefully improve, but he's such sweetie and I love being able to share a bit about him!

 

Obie Giving Kisses

 

Obie Smiling

 

 

 



02-02-13 Good morning everyone, the sun is shining

Good morning everyone, the sun is shining and it's a normal, crazy busy day here. I have an unachievable list of jobs to do and should really be cracking on with them, but have to share a little about the last couple of days. It's been fantastic being able ride again and not having to deal with the extra stress of the snow and ice. Yesterday I had a jump on Gueaero. He was his usual honest self, although a little spooky of the fences initially. To my delight Sylvia mentioned that she thought it would be fun to take Gueaero to some local jumping competitions in the summer. He is a horse that needs a challenge and needs lots to interest him and this will be perfect! On Monday I am booked in for a jumping lesson, which I'm really excited about! I have show jumped and evented, attended clinics and taught jumping for years, but the opportunity for a lesson on Gueaero is fantastic. Updates on how it goes next week!! When I jumped yesterday, Sylvia was filming and Bill was taking pictures!! A wee bit scary.... but here's the results!!

As I said, today is crazy busy, with loads of extra jobs, but the horses are the priority and I've got them all worked this morning and they are currently lazing in the sun!! While we had snow and ice, I obviously couldn't drive Kenny and this week has been so busy that today was my first opportunity. He was top of my list! Kenny started out well, without any idea of the stress that was laying in wait for him. We met a car and the lady driving was so kind and stopped and switched off her engine while I passed. From there things went down hill!! First we met a young boy, driving a tractor who seemed to find it fairly amusing to speed up to the front of us and refuse to reverse back. Kenny tried so hard and turned on a sixpence to allow the tractor to come through. I tried to hold my tongue, but when a van driver sped up to us, I really struggled!!! I politely asked him if he would reverse back to allow us through, as the lane was so narrow and didn't want to make Kenny try to turn, after he'd been so good with the last idiot. The driver argued at me, while I stood holding Kenny squashed in the gap he'd left me, between a ditch and the front of his van. I tried to explain why it was so important for him to reverse, a distance of about 25 yards I might add. He was determined that I was in the wrong and that he was not going to move, he said I was on the road and the road is there for cars. Clearly he was unaware of the forms of transport that were used before cars were actually available!!! Eventually he shouted at me again and sped through the tiny gap. Poor Kenny leapt up with fright and was clearly distressed and once again I was fuming!!!! Kenny settled a little more on the drive home. More than anything I wanted this trip out to be a positive experience and unfortunately it was far from it. Next week we will try again, fingers crossed for a positive outcome!!!
 



31-01-31 One of my top aims and greatest highlights

One of my top aims and greatest highlights, working with horses is the feeling of being able to refine the way in which I ask something from the horse. There is something incredibly special about sitting on a horse in canter, lightening my seat slightly and without any other aids, the horse understands to walk. This was my experience of Gueaero today. I schooled him in the round pen yesterday and there were sparks of brilliance along with lots of areas that need work! Today I contemplated whether I should school him again or whether it would blow his mind. I'm so pleased I decided to go with my gut instinct and I knew I was right the moment I asked him to trot in the sand school. The feeling that he instantly gave me was one of relaxation!! Exactly what we all want!!! His ears flopped beautifully out and instead of racing into trot, desperate to get it right, he quietly moved off, light in my hands and responsive to my leg. The little star!! The trick with Gueaero is to keep variety, to have an ultimate aim like 'harmony', instead of focusing on a single area such as lateral work or transitions. The basics with Gueaero really aren't secure, however he has a knowledge of changes and most lateral movements. So today we touched on progressive and direct transitions, various sized circles, varying the length of step initially in canter and then in trot, leg yield, shoulder in, travers and canter pirouettes to name just a few. These all sound like fairly advanced movements, but I use them with Gueaero in a very straightforward way. Canter pirouettes would be a good example of this. Gueaero's canter is now strong enough that he can manage to stay balanced, when the circle he is on is reduced to 10 metres. I only keep him on the small circle for one circuit and then I increase it again. I have started to introduce quarter canter pirouettes, as I reduce the circle and it has helped enormously. Like I said I keep variety with Gueaero to encourage him to wait for me instead of trying to preempt what I want, so today, at most I did 1 or 2 of these quarter turns on each rein and merged that with the other movements such as moving the canter on towards a medium canter or bringing the canter together showing steps towards a collected canter.

I was thrilled with the whole ride today, but for me it's the little things that I happen to think are BIG things that really matter! Today, when I was doing a good job of the canter, I could lighten my seat and ask him to walk or trot, with my seat being the only aid applied. At most I schooled for about 35 minutes and felt so proud of how fantastic he had responded, especially as this time last week he was stuck in the middle of an awful 10 days of doing 'not a lot' because of the snow and ice. After the ride I took him for a stroll up the road and a long stretch and then home to his stable for some sneaky pony cubes from my coat pocket.

Communicating subtly with our horses is an incredible important part of our work on the ground, as well as our work on the horse's back. I took Quarrel to the round pen in a head collar and let him loose. As I moved to the centre of the round pen Quarrel kept his an ear flicked towards me, aware of my every movement. Quarrel walked around the edge of the round pen and with a turn of my shoulder he instantly turned in and circled onto the other rein. I took one step towards Quarrel and said 'and teeeerot' and he instantly moved of into trot. With another turn of my shoulder he changed the rein again. Once he had warmed up and had worked in walk, trot and canter on both reins. I asked him to trot around the edge of the round pen. I turned my shoulder, waited for him to turn in and walked a few steps towards him. With that, he trotted a perfect 10 metre circle and with a couple more turns of my shoulders he trotted a perfect figure of 8. He recognized the most subtle of body movements and changes in the tone of my voice and reacted quickly. With a whistle, Quarrel walked up to my shoulder and waited for his fuss and attention.

One of my main focuses, when I teach, is help people understand the level of intelligence and awareness that the horses have and how to become refined in the way in which you work with them. If anybody would like to come and learn more about horse behaviour then get Emailing me!! 



28-01-13 Hurray!!! The snow has been replaced with wind and rain!!!

I have just finished exercising the horses and am very relieved to be inside, with sleeping dogs, snoring all around me! My initial thoughts of my last ride are that downing a cup of tea and eating 4 chocolate bourbons and then riding Gueaero is a very bad idea!! Actually when I'm riding there is so much more going through my head. I have been riding for 23 years and teaching 12 years which has, luckily, given me a fair amount of awareness, as to where the strengths and weaknesses are, when I ride and how to correct them.

I rode Gueaero in the round pen, the rain hammered down and wind blew so hard that I briefly wondered if I could actually be blown off. When I ride I try to create a bubble around me that keeps me focused entirely on what I'm doing. I have a vivid imagination, so today my bubble kept the wind and rain, along with all other distractions out. Also just outside my bubble (in my head) there was Islay Auty, who was one of my trainers for my stage exams and competing, a brilliant instructor who knew my capabilities and would accept nothing less than all I had to give. Stood next to Islay was my parents and stood next to them was an old instructor who I didn't get along with. That was the perfect combination of imaginary people to make me really ride. I would not let my inside shoulder drop, I made sure my leg remained still and there was not a chance that I would let my hands lower. This is a technique that I try to pass on when I teach and I use it all the time! I also try and keep some focus words in my head. When I ride Gueaero, my word is normally 'harmony'. He is a real thinker and wants to get it right! In trying to get it right, he desperately tries to predict what I want instead of waiting and remaining relaxed. 

I have similar aims to most riders. Impulsion is the horses desire to want to move horses. But really, we need more than that. Gueaero has natural impulsion. He always travels forwards with lots of energy, but is not always in front of the leg. This means that if I give him a clear and refined aid with my leg, his response isn't necessarily immediate and will need reminding from time to time that he should respond to my initial aid. Rhythm and balance are also incredibly important. Rhythm is the beat of the pace and should be consistent, while balance refers to the horse's ability to carry it's own and the rider's weight, most efficiently, with a greater portion of the weight on the hind legs. For Gueaerro, Rhythm and balance is a problem, that I work on during every ride. If you were to observe me ride, you would notice that his steps tend to begin a little quick and short, until I gradually encourage him to become bigger, softer and then more rhythmical. Straightness and bend tend to cause a degree of confusion for most riders. Straightness refers to the horse's hind legs directly following the fore legs, while bend refers to the horses body, head and neck follow the line that is being ridden. Sounds obvious, but horses don't naturally move in straight lines, this is made more of a problem by us riders and our weight distribution. I'm always intently focused on my position. When I took my stage 4 exam my position was very secure, but having a break from riding has made me lose some depth of seat and length of leg and everyday I'm working very hard to get my position back. Riding bareback and without stirrups is a massive help! My aim is to deepen my seat and gain further security in my lower leg.

The feeling of harmony between horse and rider, when it's right, is incredible!! The ride feels light and uphill. As a rider you feel as though you are an extension of the horse. It's an incredible feeling that I strive for daily and feel glimpses of from time to time.

Getting the basics is absolutely essential in any ride!!! There is a simple test to discover weaknesses in these areas. If a rider makes a basic upwards transition from walk to trot and then a downwards transition from trot to walk they can test the problems. This needs to be done away from the edge of an arena. Does the horse move forward with a light squeeze from the leg? Does the horse move off the line it was initially on, with the entire body, front or back legs? Is the quality of the pace strong throughout or do you have to work to bring the quality back? As a rider, do you lose any security in the position, something as basic as tipping back as the horse speeds up or tipping forwards as the horse slow? Is there any tension through the transition? Does the transition feel like you are being carried uphill or being being pulled downhill? I could keep listing the questions that I am constantly asking myself!

I hope that I haven't blasted you all with too many of the technical elements of riding. In reality what I have described is the real basics and something that I am passionate about and could talk about all day and all night!! I have in fact left myself 20 minutes to do 45 minutes work, so I'm off to battle the rain!!



26-01-13 I'm supposed to use this blog....

Awwwwww
I'm supposed to use this blog to share news about the horses, but with the snow, there really isn't much news. Also I'm supposed to be doing health checks right now, with some beautiful rescue dogs. But I appear to be breaking all the rules today, as I have to share this amazing little video. Nothing to do with horses, but I'm pretty sure everyone who reads this is an animal lover, so I hope you love this as much as I do... Promise there wil be more horsey updates next week!!

 



23-01-13 Today I was complaining about the snow.

Today I was complaining about the snow. I took the muck trailer to be dumped and became so cold I felt ill and my fingers turned white, with my Raynards flairing up. When I got back I realised that I needed to move my car, from the carpark, closer to the dual carriageway to give me a chance of getting home at the end of the day. Sylvia taught me a little about the computer systems and how to update the dogs. Although I enjoyed the work it annoyed me that I was slow! All these little, everyday things that irritated me were put immediately into perspective when I recieved an email from Miriam, who came to me for a weekend recently. She messaged me about Red Lion Abattoir near Nantwich in Chesire.  Hillside Animal Sanctuary have secretly filmed the treatment of the horses being slaughtered in this abattoir. I have been sat in the office, holding back the tears about how horrific the video footage is and am disgusted that this is not only happening, but it's happening in the UK.  It's probably not appropriate to give details of what was witnessed on here, but I urge you to visit the Hillside Animal Santuary website and even if you cannot bring yourself to watch the video, please try and read what they found. PLEASE, PLEASE sign the petition which calls upon the Food Standards Agency to fully review the footage taken at the Red Lion Abattoir, with a view to prosecuting those responsible.
 
Food standard agency statistics were given to Sky News and showed a devastating increase in the number of horses slaughtered each year.

3,859 horses were slaughtered in 2007
 
This rose to -
 
8,426 horses being slaughtered in 2012.

The horses come from all sorts of backgrounds, from pets to showjumpers and racehorses.
 
I think I'm normally a pretty positive person, but after watching that all I want to do is go home and have a serious cry.  In fact all it's going to take is someone to say something nice to me and i'm pretty sure I will start sobbing!!!
 
I recently chatted to someone who was considering buying a new horse. They did not want a horse to ride, they just wanted horses in their life. It made me smile to think that someone felt that way and wanted to educate themselves to enable this horse to have a good life. This was until I was told that they thought it would be nice to buy a mare to breed from. When I hear people say this it actually makes me feel sick. There are so many unwanted horses in the UK, more being bred every spring and thousands are being slaughtered every year. The lack of understanding of potential and current breeders is devastating. I urge anyone who is considering buying a horse or breeding to really understand the facts. Please pass it on that I'm here to teach and help anyone that needs it!!
 
Beneath is the website to Hillside Animal Rescue, so PLEASE have a look and get signing!!! 
http://www.hillside.org.uk/
 



21-01-13 Today's mission is not to complain about the weather!!

So Friday morning I was snowed in! For someone like me with hints of OCD, for needing to be on time for EVERYTHING, that was enough to make me mad! I snapped out of it when I walked my dogs in our fields. On seeing the snow, which was at least a foot deep, I dived in and to the delight of my three boys, made snow angels, as they leapt all over me!! Good mood instantly reinstated!!
 
Today is Monday and I've made it to work. The hard thing for any of us with horses is to know what to do with them, when you can't risk getting them out of their stable. This morning has been full of clicker training and grooming. Obie is still the one from the herd who desperately wants to learn! He still tries to smile in my face whenever he thinks I wil take notice and has become far more relaxed with his bowing. Gueaero is also very quick to pick up new ideas. I have started raising my arm and asking him to place his nose on my hand, which he found easy!! I've been teaching him the basics of bowing aswell. Gueaero seems to show a little stiffness through different stretches, but expressed a few elegant bows, where he had one front leg infront of the other and he stretched his head and neck down between his legs. This clicker training should help our bond and also help his general suppleness I hope. Quarrel is still very wary of new clicker training ideas and takes his time a little more. I think in the long run, the training will really improve his ability to trust me. Molly is a food fiend!! If I asked her to stand on her back legs and dance to Gangnam Style she would do it... for a carrot!!! I struggle to clicker train Kenny, the shetland. He is such a clever little man that if I have I drop a quarter of a pony nut, in a thick shavings bed he will completely ignore me and start the search!!!
 
Wendy donkey is such a sweety! I'm fairly sure that she currently has her dream life. She lazes in her EXTRA thick bed, spends the whole day munching on her haynet and has the freedom to go for a wander whenever she fancies. She may be old, but her hearing is still incredible!! She can hear me lift the feed off the feed bin at 3.50pm and will instantly start calling me!! Her tone of voice is a fantastic whine at me for being slow!! When I try and catch her in her stable and clean her eyes, she shows how super strong she is and to my embarrasment can drag me out of the stable and wander towards the yard, at a walk, with me clinging on!! This donkey has attitude and we love her!!!!



16-01-13 Just a quick one today!

An old work colleague shared a lovely little video with me and I wanted to share it with you. Recently I was talking about trust in a blog and this little video brought a tear to my eye (a good tear!!!) because it shows the amazing trust and bond that can be created between a horse and handler! I think it's so important for people to understand how intelligent these creatures are and how quickly they develop relationships. The bond between this horse and rider in this little video is really touching. If you fancy a watch, then watch out for the writing that appears, because it really shows the degree of trust which has been created.

 



14-01-13 I'm supposed to be cleaning tack!!


I actually like tack cleaning, but again I just wanted to share my day.... another great day today... I was thinking earlier that one best things about my job is that is that spending time loving the horses is allowed! I've never had a horse job where it's been ok to stop half way through mucking out because Obie puts his head over my shoulder and wants a cwtch or Molly wanders up and needs a scratch behind the ears. I see it with all the staff. No matter how busy anyone is, there is always time to love and fuss the dogs!! 
 
Molly and Kenny have been for a walk and were relaxed and happy. I've been getting Kenny back into driving again. He has done a fair bit with Sylvia,but had a long break. I have been driving him in the roundpen and today took him out, onto the lane for the first time. I have only driven once before starting work here, so there has been a lot for me to learn! Kenny was a star and we only met two cars, the first of which was so kind and stopped completely while we passed.
 
Obie has had great fun again in the roundpen. He is now allowed time on his own in the pen to play with his ball. I always keep him in view while he's playing (I pretend that it's to keep an eye on him, but really it's because watching him is such a fantastic sight!!) I worked on some clicker training, when he had finished playing. I would like to reach a point where, when I ask him to bow, he then waits for me to ask him to stand back up. Also, for a bit of fun, I've been teaching him to smile!! The pictures have made my day. I hope they make you smile too! (note how he's covered in sand? He was spotless when I put him out. That definately equals a very happy horse!!) Also I have been taking him for a walk down the lane everyday. My aim is just keep it a very positive stroll out. We are only out for 5-10 minutes and we will often stop and have a graze on the verge, by the carpark. The only sad part was an impatient driver, who came out of our carpark and drove speedily up behind us, as we walked back to the yard. They stayed very close behind us and loudly revved the engine as they met the juntion and sped off!! I was furious, but even though Obie was tense and worried, he did me proud and listened when I asked him to stay calm.
 
Today I gave Quarrel and Gueaero some time roundpenning. They are brilliant and really secure at their inside turns now!! I wanted them to have a fun chill out day, as they have had a couple of very busy days! Yesterday I jumped them both and they worked really hard. Gueaero was very strong and very enthusiastic!! We worked with the canter rhythm as our main focus and I could be heard from boarding counting days of the week out loud to help! Quarrel jumped with such enthusiasm. I struggled with finding the right seat. Initially I remained in a balanced seat, but found the corners too dificult to ride. I tried keeping a deep seat, which meant I did a much better job of the corners, but to my amusement managed to get left behind as I jumped fence two and nearly got jumped off!! With a quick glance around I was relieved that nobody was watching!! I opted for a light seat and we had a fantastic round! So today they both had a lovely, chill out time!
 
Right now the horses are very chilled out in their yards.



11-01-13 Horse courses and summer plans!!



The horse programs are seeming to be very successful so far. My latest student was a lovely lady called Miriam, who travelled all the way to me from Birmingham. Miriam is studying for her 'horse owners certificate level 2' and has very little, recent, practical experience. She is thinking of looking for a rescue pony in the future and wants to make sure that she is confident and ready when she finds the right one.  She had never driven on a motorway before and managed to make it here without getting lost! She arrived on a Friday lunch time, spent the afternoon with me, stayed in a B&B and then spent the whole of Saturday with me. We covered mucking out, grooming, lunging, lunge tack, round penning, rugging and types of rugs, worming, a bit on feeding, bandaging, preparing a horse to travel and Miriam gained a lot of practical experience of being around the horses. She was fantastic to work with!! It is a wonderful feeling to teach someone who is enthusiastic, wants to learn and gets a buzz from learning more about something that she is passionate about. Miriam was so kind and donated cash which goes directly to keeping the centre running and saving the lives of so many dogs. Miriam also bought some things of the the dog wish list, carrots for horses and biscuits for me!!! As Miriam left she gave me a big hug and said she had had a fantastic time.... put me on a high for the rest of the weekend!! I also received a lovely Email from her that I would love to share with you (she gave me permission).

Dear Katy,
I just wanted to thank you once again for two absolutely amazing days! I really enjoyed everything we did, and my confidence has improved immensely! You are a natural and excellent teacher, and on Saturday evening I wrote lots of notes of the things you told me. The round pen work was inspirational, it was something I never would have expected myself to be doing. Now however I just want to learn more!!

As I said before, if you ever travel to Birmingham you will be very welcome to stay in our house! I will definitely stay in touch, and might just pop by again in Summer, before I get my own for legged friend.

Thanks again for everything and for an unforgettable experience.
All the best, Miriam

The programs are still quiet and I regularly have lots of spaces. If anyone is interested in learning more about horses then don't hesistate, get in touch. The courses are made to suit each individual at whatever level they are. All we ask for in return is that you consider making a donation to the centre.

I am buzzing with ideas for the summer and I would really like to know what you think. I was thinking it would be fab to try and organise some events here that may inspire and educate horse lovers and raise funds to go towards the dog rescue.

We have so many options...   like setting up a ridden demonstration like an afternoon workshop on establishing the basics or preparing for a preliminary dressage test. Perhaps to start with me on the ground and a rider on Quarrel and then maybe I could sit on Gueaero to continue the theme. Both horses are currently working around prelim level. There is such a huge amount that you can learn from watching the horse from the ground. This might appeal to horse owners or riders who attend lessons on a weekly basis. We have limited space around the sand school, but could probably fit 20-30 people I would guess.

... or perhaps 'an introduction to jumping courses and grids' demonstration.\

... or perhaps you don't know anything about horses or know very little and would be interested in a 2 hour workshop on basic communication with horses and basic horse care. This could suit anyone who has little experience, but fancies spending a little time around the horses as a taster.

... maybe some of you would be interested in in shorter workshops, perhaps an hour group session on foot care or feeding.

I would really like to know if anyone out there would be interested in something like this? Please share your thoughts with me. If you email Many Tears at info@manytearsrescue.org and in the subject heading put 'horse courses' then it will be forwarded to my personal account. It would be so helpful to me to hear from you about these ideas or anything else that may interest you.

Katy



07-01-13 Forget being a pop star... today I have the best job in the world!!

I wasn't going to write a blog today, but I have to share how lovely it has been on the yard. I am currently typing with a beautiful, little, fluff ball of a puppy sat on my lap!!! Now that's a good start!! Before I tell you about how my day has gone, I must tell you about my unique ability to make a fool of myself!! I walked into Quarrel's yard this afternoon and in my best, I'm talking to a baby voice, said "Oooooh helllooo my gorgeous little boy" only to see the male electrician stood just behind his fence with a bemused look on his face, wondering if I was talking to him! A little later I had forgotten that he was working on the stable lights and as I started skipping out the stables I heard the donkey make her incredible 'eeeyorre' noise. Only when Wendy donkey makes her noise it sounds like very stroppy teenager saying "awwwwwww" because they haven't got their own way. So while skipping out and Wendy loudly called "awwwwwww" I loudly called "awwwwww" back!!! Then she called again and I called again. Yeah obviously the electrician was stood watching while I was oblivious and chatting out loud in donkey language!!!!

So back to this morning....      When I arrived at the yard I discovered Obie laying down, comfortably in his stable. I crept in quietly and crouched beside him. He stayed relaxed and I gave him a scratch. Then he let me cwtch in and it was a glorious way to start the morning. Before mucking out I groomed Obie and turned him out into the roundpen with his ball, to play. Throughout mucking out, haying and tidyng time I could see him trotting around and having a fantastic morning. When I had finished I worked Obie briefly in the roundpen, not enough to tire him, but enough to confirm our bond. Then we went for a walk down the lane. It was a massive achievement, as we walked further than normal and made it passed the carpark, where he was settled enough to have a graze. On the way back to the yard a big black van drove up. The driver was kind enough to stop and wait and Obie was a gem and walked passed with me, even though he was nervous. It's the little things like that, that put me on a real high!

Next I worked Gueaero. After giving him a quick bath, we walked to the sand school and started our work. Gueaero is great fun to ride. There is a lot to work on with him. He can show off with a bit of lateral work and has a canter which is elevated and impressive to watch. However most of the basics are not yet secure. He has natural impulsion, but is not always in front of the leg. He lacks rhythm, balance and straightness. He worked hard on the basics, through progressive transitions, circles, leg yield in and out of circles and very basic steps towards counter canter. But this is the kind of riding I love. I love the thrill of the perfect transition. I may have 5 canter to trot transitions which are downhill and where he runs and fusses. Then a fantastic uphill transition that makes me fit to burst.

After Gueaero I rode Quarrel bare back. He is wonderful to ride bareback. It's brilliant for me to use the work to deepen my seat and lengthen my leg, it also helps me so much with feel. He has been so full of life and enthusiasm recently. We worked all three paces, various school figures, transitions and leg yield. The weakness with Quarrel's work, currently, is that he tends to become over bent and tighten through the neck as opposed to really travelling forward and lengthening. He has improved so much recently and again it is an amazing feeling when something works, whether it's a balanced circle or an uphill and straight transition.

After I worked Quarrel, I gobbled down an egg roll and took Molly and Kenny for a stroll down to the stream. Kenny had a little paddle, but Molly really couldn't see the point in getting her feet wet if it wasn't necessary!

I have had lots of other little jobs, around doing the horses, but it's been lovely. I have the radio in the background and can make a cup of tea as I'm passing the tack room and know that when I come back from raking the yard, it will be cool enough to drink. Happy days....

I have lots I want to share about how the horse courses are going and some ideas I have for the summer. So keep an eye open here for more updates soon...
 



02-01-13 I can't resist writing more about Obie


I can't resist writing more about Obie, as over the last few weeks he seems to be growing in confidence and giving me a lot of laughs through the days. Sylvia had mentioned to me that she had seen a big blow up ball that she was thinking of getting for the horses. When the ball arrived I was sceptical about how successful it would be. I led Obie to the round pen where the the ball was lying in wait. He spotted the ball from a distance and was immediately on his toes, very spooked and very excited. We made it through the gate of the pen and I let him loose. I truly wish that I had a video camera at the time!! He trotted over to it and leapt away, then trotted over again and leapt away and this continued for a while, as I watched, amused. He was terrified of the ball, but drawn to it and couldn't leave it alone. After a while he discovered he could move the ball. He started by knocking it with his face and chasing after it. Gradually he discovered that he could knee it forward in walk. Then he got brave and discovered that he could knee it while trotting. He learnt how to turn and stop the ball. He stopped the ball and tried biting it and leaning over it. He obviously had a massive desire to roll over the ball and tried several times to slowly lower his body over the ball so that his neck and chest was resting over it. Over the next week his love for the ball grew!! Every day I watched him play and learn. He discovered that he could kick the ball in trot and then learnt that if he was careful he could canter and kick the ball. The first time he tried it in canter he kicked it with his hoof, lost balance and did a modern day Bambi and bounced up, chest first, off the ball. That certainly wasn't enough to put him off and he was quickly trying again. He taught himself that if he bends his knees more, as he canters, that he can kick the ball and keep his balance....and go very fast!

Obie has had some behavioural issues in the past where his excitement for life or fear of something scary may make him leap in the air as he was being led. He has had many moments where he has decided that it is not necessary to stand and be groomed or have his feet done and may express this through a double barrel of the back legs! Through work, these occasions are occurring less and less, however throughout my time working with Obie, he has never actually scared me. Two days ago in the round pen he did scare me! He had discovered lots of new games with his new ball. The newest of which involved cantering as fast as he could at the ball, without a decision on what he would do on reaching it! He did this repeatedly! Sometimes he contemplated jumping it. I held my breath, then relaxed as I saw him on a good stride to find a take off point and let out a little gasp as he changed his mind last minute, put on the brakes and bounced the ball off his front legs. Sometimes he cantered at it as fast as he could and then skimmed past it as close as he could without hitting it. I'm not lucky enough to be a mum, but I think this is what it must be like watching your children play a new game. DON'T INTERFERE!!! After all he was safe, having a fantastic time and learning! For me the best bit about the ball is seeing Obie having fun and loving life. I love that moment that I let him loose and immediately he's off to find the ball! Watching him, I can see actions that I have seen in older horses at work. When he ends up with both front legs kneeling on the ball and then he carefully finds his balance and steps down I can see an eventer who just had a bad shot at a fence. When he's chasing the ball I can see the skills of a games pony. He is learning how to learn, gaining confidence, learning about spatial awareness, he's discovering that something moving in the corner of his eye is not necessarily scary and something that unexpectedly touches his legs isn't going to eat him!!

We took some pictures for you to get an idea of the fun. The picture of Obie leaning over the ball was taken just after he wandered up to the ball in walk and just decided he wanted to try and roll on it! The others are just some serious playing!!



27-12-12 My last blog talked a bit about the bond between horse and human

 
......
My last blog talked a bit about the bond between horse and human and the amount of trust that is required. I am so excited about my relationship with Obie at the moment. Everyday we work together grooming, picking up feet and round penning. Whenever there is a bit of excitement on the yard I wander off to get Obie, so he can come and experience it and hopefully I can make it a positive experience. More than anything I try to be very consistent with him. I expect him to walk by me with a head collar and leadrope. If I stop I want him to notice and also stop, without me having to pull or tug on the rope. If I turn I want him to know to stay close, but not to enter my personal space. Most of the time he is fantastic. Sometimes things will catch his attention and he may express his enthusiasm for life!!!
......The biggest leap forwards in our relationship has been over the last couple of weeks. I had been playing about with some clicker training and teaching the horses to bow. They all picked up the basics pretty quickly. Obie however was fantastic. Do you remember his story? Mum died giving birth to him, his body was dumped over the fence of a rescue centre in Ireland, he was badly bullied 24/7 in his new home and finally was brought here, as a very distressed foal. He has been a difficult charater, but is quickly gaining confidence, trust and respect. In the space of about three days he was bowing beautifully. I was ready to burst with pride at his reaction!! We took some photos for you to see!! Notice that in the photo Obie is wearing a headcollar, but there is no rope attached to it. He is completely loose. If Obie wanted to walk away he could. It was Obie's choice to bow for me when I asked and that is really why I am bursting with pride at this gorgeous little man.



26-12-12 Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!! Hope that you all have a had a fantastic and restful time! Although if you are an animal person, then I suspect that your's has been as busy as mine!! Life at the yard has been very busy, but inspiring!  Everyone who owns or rides horses will know the way in which things always progress... a few days where things are fantastic and you are on top of the world by how well the horse is responding to you, then things tend to plataue out, before it all seems to fall apart!! Finally out of the blue things suddenly become fantastic again and you realise that your bond with your horse is stronger than ever!! I have seen it with teaching my riders security in the position. I may spend a year training a new rider to keep their heels down, after a year they've got it!!!... but then they begin to push the heel down too far and the lower leg goes forward. The next year is spent teaching them to bring the heel up. This process continues and can be so frustrating for the rider, but then without realising the lower leg is ten times more secure than when they started and the frustration was unnecesary.
 
The bond between me and the horses is really starting to develop. I truly believe it takes a minimum of a year of time and hard work for a bond to truly begin to establish, but I think we are getting the basics. I'm lucky with the horses that I work with, as generally there is always one relationship that is going incredibly well and keeping me on a high! There are many elements needed to create this bond. Some of the most important for me are trust and respect. Trust and respect effect every aspect of your work with the horse. I was in the office one day and Sylvia showed me a short video of some western dressage. The girl rode her horse without a saddle or bridle and I was shocked by the incredible relationship and commincation!! Among other things she took the horse from a gallop to a sliding halt...no saddle, no bridle! Awesome!!!!!!!!!! I had already ridden Quarrel bareback, in a bridle, in an attempt to improve my feel and depth of seat. But after watching the video I was so inspired I decided to see what Gueaero thought of bareback.

I slipped head collar on him and took him to the round pen. He reacted beautfully! As I closed the leg and asked him to canter I had to have absolute trust in him that he would do as I asked and behave calmly. He also had to completely trust me... trust that I would ask him for sensible, achievable things and that I would be calm in my riding... among a lot more! He responded so well being ridden in a headcollar that I decided to remove the headcollar and have a go with just a rope around his neck. He was instantly nervous and my reaction to these nerves would make or break our bond for that day and possibly for the future. Luckily I held my cool and put all my trust in him and my abilities. We caught the fun on camera!!!

I don't advise anyone to ride without a bridle unless they feel absolutely confident that this is appropriate for the partnership and it is in the perfect and safe environment.  But do get inspired.... get online, watch videos, learn about how to develop a greater trust and bond with your horse!! I am very inspired and very excited for the future with these horses!!



20-12-12 I wanted to share a link to a petition

I wanted to share a link to a petition that I would like everyone who cares even a little for horses should sign online. I watched the video along with the petition last night and was sickened and cried and cried!!! A slaughter house in Austrailia was secrectly filmed and their findings were horrific! They slaughter ex race horses in a brutal and devastating way. I will not go into the details of the devastating happenings at this yard, but give you the option to watch and read for yourselves. I would like to warn anyone considering watching this video that it is brutal and should only be watched if you feel that you can deal with what you see. If you choose not to watch then please trust me that if you love animals and love horses or even just feel a horse deserves a respectful and pain free end to their life then sign. Please, please, please sign.... so far they are up to 19349 signatures and there is 71 days left...
 
Please help...
 
http://www.horseracingkills.com/undercover-knackery-investigation/

http://www.horseracingkills.com/resources/videos/



19-12-12 The ice has gone!!!!

The ice has gone!!!! The ice made the mornings look like a perfect Christmas card, but all of us horse lovers know the nightmares it causes!! My morning routine was extended by half an hour, each day, of breaking and lifting ice out of water troughs and carrying water buckets through the assault course from the back office, through the dogs, over the lap top cable, through the gate, 2 doors and busy staff! The extra bit of work was fine, but finding a way to amuse the horses was frustrating. We are very lucky with the set up here, as each horse has a large stable and their own yard. They can also reach over the gate to their neighbors for grooming. But all these horses wanted was to go for a good gallop!! I spent time with them grooming and also worked each day clicker training them, but they really struggled to maintain concentration.

The extra time I had gave me an opportunity to help with the dogs. I was overjoyed at how power walking 3 very excited terriers brought full circulation back into my feet. I learnt how to do the checks on the dogs and hold them for vaccinations, although luckily I was working with an expert who was very willing to double check when I doubted myself. I was relieved to have lots of help from the girls in learning how to get the dogs in and out of the kennels, which I found very daunting!! One of my jobs was to help a female dog out of the van and through the routine of health checks and vaccinations. I had a lump in my throat throughout the time I spent with her. When I picked her up she wrapped her paws around me, when I placed her on the table she clung on to it, as though she was holding her breath. She seemed to have no spirit, only an acceptance that something bad would happen. We supported her through her checks and carried her to a kennel. As I placed her down she saw another dog who had come in the same van and she wagged her tail.

I am a massive dog lover and have 5 at home, but my reaction to this dog surprised me. I once had a horse die in my arms. She suffered a serious and unexpected heart attack and without any warning collapsed. I held her head in my arms and talked to her as her tongue turn blue and she died. Immediately after without shedding a tear I talked to all the kids and staff working on the yard, set up barriers, moved horses and did what a yard manager should do. Once I got into my car 9 hours later I wept.

After I had worked with the female dog I headed back to the stables, opened the tack room and had a seriously good cry. After I did stables I climbed in my car and had another serious cry! This place is called 'Many Tears' for a reason...I'm not sure I was really prepared for that! The dog I worked with will be re-homed in a forever home with her friend i'm sure....and i'm going to have toughen up a little with the dogs as I have with the horses and hold it in till home time! I am proud to work here.



08-12-12 Today is a beautiful day to work with horses!

There is frost on the ground and I can feel the heat of the sun on my back! It's such a relief! Yesterday I wore johdpurs, two pairs of ski trousers and 8 jumpers!! When I came back from my hack, I looked in the mirror and had blue and red patches on my cheeks! So unbelievably cold and next week it's getting colder! But today is glorious and that's what matters now! We have been getting more interest for the programmes that I am setting up. A couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from a local paper who wanted to send a photographer to me to take pictures, so that they could cover the story. I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so in my head it wasn't a photographer from a local paper visiting, it was a photographer from 'Hello' magazine who was doing a 6 page spread!!!! The horses looked beautiful, I brought separate clean clothes in for the 'shoot' and the yard was spotless!!! I had actually worked myself up enough to be nervous!
 
Later that week I had a phonecall from BBC radio Wales!! You can imagine my reaction!!! All systems go!!! Hours of grooming horses, raking the yard and revising things that I knew inside out and had been teaching for years!! Just before the radio presenter arrived I walked to my car to put clean ski trousers and a clean fleece on. I nervously walked back towards the yard to await the presenters arrival. Luckily I glanced down at my arm to notice a clean, tumble dried thong! Thank God!! I grabbed the thong and stuffed it in my pocket before anyone noticed! Back at the yard, 3 cans of energy drink and a Yorkie bar later, I was on a sugar high and was ready!! The presenter who arrived was lovely! We spent over an hour recording to make a 5 minute package for BBC radio Wales and with relief we were done and I carried on my day.
 
Today, on this beautiful winter's morning, after mucking out, I had my 3rd session with a mother and daughter who I have been teaching. They are lovely, enthusiastic people! Teaching is a fantastic job when you are teaching someone who really wants to learn! It puts me on a high for the rest of the day! Today we did lots of practical work and looked more at tacking up, preparing a horse to travel, bandaging and lungeing. Leah wrote a little about her situation and about her attendance here at Many Tears to share with you. I read what she had written this morning and it brought a tear to my eye! So a big thank you to Leah and her daughter Chloe for being brave enough to say that they needed help, for being so enthusiastic about trying to give their horse the best life possible and also a big thank you to them for continuing to donate every time they attend.
 
My 15 year old daughter recently started working at some stables shortly after our move up to Wales from Birmingham. She is working on a volunteering basis every Saturday so that she could gain some experience. During her time there she had the opportunity to buy a horse, she was ecstatic. After serious thought about it and asking around as many people as we could about keeping a horse, as we know absolutely nothing when it comes to them, seeing her face made it worth it, we agreed. Her name is Beauty and she's a welsh cob pony 13.2hh with some growing to do, 5 years old and so so stubborn. I've had many dogs we have 3 now and I have had many cats we have 6 at the minute, all with their very own unique personalities, some of the time thinking i'd never get through to them, but I did. So I thought how hard could it be to own a horse, how wrong was I. She is a beautiful horse with the sweetest nature, she's fantastic with all our children, but can be a bit spooky, which can be frightening. She doesn't like her legs washed or groomed, nor her face and ears, she spooks at hay bales and doesn't like the lights or her shadow in the riding school. These were all little problems that I felt we needed to tackle. As soon as she was ours I knew I was out of my depths, I didn't understand anything, the amount of food they should eat, what food they she eat, how to groom her, all I knew was how to talk around her and to her. I'd ask questions at the yard and everybody has been so lovely and answered the best way they can, but you start to feel like a pain, like your always pestering. I had looked into horse courses at nearby colleges but couldn't find anything and had almost given up thinking we'll just have to learn as we go.

I had gone to the Many Tears Website looking for a puppy and noticed the link courses for horse lovers, I clicked it wondering what it was all about and read all the lovely stories Katy had already uploaded and what wonderful stories they are. I thought this could be just what we need, I'll email and see if we get a reply, the very next day I had a reply from Katy. I was so happy to hear that she was more than willing to give us some lessons. Within one week our outlook on horses had changed.

Within one week we knew how to act around any horse not just ours, how best to tackle the things she was spooking with, what food was best for her and the amount and how to get the best out of her. It's our third week tomorrow and we can't wait to get there and see Katy and those beautiful amazing horses. Katy is absolutely amazing with the horses at Many Tears, I would swear she could get them to bow for her, they have that much trust in her. She is so confident in everything she does and what she does and passes on to you during the course really does work. Already our horse will now let my daughter groom her legs, face and ears and is realising she has a routine and you can see she looks forward to it and she knows whats coming next. Her whole personality has changed already, because of what we've been taught our confidence has grown and you can see because we are more confident with our horse, she is more confident with us, its such a fantastic feeling to know that we've done this and we wouldn't have been able to without Katy at Many Tears. So thank you Katy, thank you for taking the time to educate and empower us to be able take care of our horse and give her the best life we could possibly give her.
Leah & Chloe



29-11-12 Yesterday was one of those days

......Yesterday was one of those days where it was very hard to feel positive! You know the days, when the bad seems worse and it's hard to see the good, even though there is a lot of good!! It was one of those days where you want to wrap up in a very big coat and walk along the beach, to blow the cobwebs away! Then it hit me that I could do one better than that!! I didn't have any teaching or any jobs planned that couldn't be moved! When I finished mucking out I found Sylvia and told her I was going to disappear for the day on horses!
...... I took Quarrel for a power walk and trot around the block and he was a gem!! Not a single spook! The weather was very cold and beautiful, a perfect winter morning! When I returned and had un tacked and rugged Quarrel, I prepared Gueaero for his ride. Earlier when I had spoken to Sylvia, she had drawn me a map. Sylvia is an inspirational and intelligent woman, she has so many skills.....little did I know that map drawing was not one of them!!
......I disappeared out of the gate with Gueaero and started my trek! We trotted down roads, climbed the sides of mountains, walked down streams and ducked under branches, the whole time, map in hand!! I got lost time after time! The map said follow the bridle path up the mountain, it didn't say that the bridle path would fork into 3 routes! The ladies working in the office got used to my regular phone calls for extra directions and Sylvia was very patient!
......Gueaero was in a perfect mood. He was excited and full of spring! While making our way up the last bridle path Gueaero accelerated a little. He wasn't misbehaving, he was just thrilled by his adventure! I closed my leg to his side and asked him to lope into a canter. I closed the leg again and he broke into a gallop. There is no feeling like it!! We galloped up the slope and he quietened to a walk with ease.
......After a final phone call for directions, we strolled along the roads towards home and nearly four hours after we left, we arrived back at the yard very tired, but happy!   



27-11-12 A snippet of my morning...

5.30am and the alarm brings me into Monday morning. Outside I can hear heavy rain, the noise that makes all horse owners sigh. I drag myself out of bed and into my gym kit, press play on the DVD player and blast some tunes, which just about motivate me to work out. A little over an hour later I'm showered, have devoured some porridge and an extra large cup of tea and am a little smug that I cleaned the kitchen in record time! 2 of my dogs sleep quietly, while max my gorgeous black lab cross, can't contain his excitement for the walk he's about to get. He knows the tennis balls are hiding in the boot of my car and he knows he can easily fit two in his mouth. He is infact an expert!! The rain has stopped just in time and while walking my boys I'm aware of how little sleep I've had, worrying about our other poor dog Bruno. He was very poorly and was rushed to the vets with the expectation that they would put him straight to sleep. Thankfully he is alive and has spent his second night, full of medication, in the vets. So many of us know that dark feeling you get when one of your animals is ill. Heart Breaking!

Time is knocking one, so I take my 3 boys and we feed my horses and straw their barn. The horses are annoyed with me. As far as they are concerned it is entirely my fault that the rain hasn't stopped for days and that the fields are too poor for them. I settle the dogs in the house and they are delighted to spray mud everywhere, as they make there way upstairs to their beds. Isn't it a satisfying feeling to do something as simple as walking a dog and seeing how happy it makes them?

I pack the car with 4 spare jumpers to replace the 4 I'm wearing now, when the rain smashes through them later. As I drive to work, again I get lost in thoughts of Bruno. The last we heard they were trying to rehydrate him, his legs weren't working properly and he was generally unresponsive and very ill. It's hard not to worry and it won't take much to make me cry today! I need to think about now, because right now he's alive.

At the yard, at Many Tears, the rain is still holding off and the horses wander out of their stables to greet me. I work on my own so I tend to get fairly lost in my own thoughts, so as I approach the stables I am not Katy, I am superman and today I will muck out quicker than ever before! An hour and a half later, the normal time and I've finished stables, haying, feeding and tidying! Tomorrow I will be wonder woman, she'll muck out far quicker than superman anyway!! Yeah I know i'm weird!!

The rain is supposed to attack again this afternoon so the mission is to get Quarrel and Gueaero worked before dinner and to give them something interesting to do. I set out some fences, which was a mission in itself! I worked through a warm up, single fences and doubles with Quarrel, before working up to a grid of three fences. He was a little taken aback, but didn't refuse a single fence! The grid did it's job well and gave him the chance for perfect take off points to enable him to have a comfortable, confident jumps. When Gueauro's turn came I upped the game. I worked up to a bounce into a one stride grid. This is a challenging exercise, but he took it on beautifully and bravely!! By the time I had finished and we had walked back to the yard, Quarrel was sleeping quietly outside his stable. Gueaero followed his normal routine and once he'd been rugged he had a serious roll and a good scratch! I love that i'm learning about their individual characters and personalities.

I try and keep on top of skipping out the stables regularly and normally manage it at least 5 times a day. Before dinner I whistle to the horses and they join me in their yards, interested in what's about to happen!! I wander through the yards and hide treats in each of their horse balls and the chaos begins!! Playing with the horse balls is one of their favourite games and people can't help but stop and watch the fun!! So it's time to eat some food, hope to hear news of Bruno and plan an afternoon in the rain!

There are so many badly treated animals out there, who are suffering very difficult lives and I'm so grateful to be a part of something like Many Tears who are desperately trying to help. But i'm also so  thankful that there are also many people who work very hard to give their animals wonderful lives too. So if you are a 5.30 riser because you cannot leave your house without walking your dogs, or you do an extra trip to your horses in the freezing weather, to make sure the ice is broken on their trough, or you know what it's like to have a hole in your welly at this time of year, but you can't afford new ones, because the farrier is due next week, I'd like to say keep up the good work and maybe we'll be rewarded with a beautiful spring and summer 2013 or maybe knowing our animals are happy is enough.



23-11-12 Quarrel...

  

I think with every horse it's really important to recognize the small achievements. I have already spoken about the little that we know about Quarrel's history in that he was saved from Spain. Sylvia was contacted and raised the funds to bring him home. 

Quarrel is a quiet horse who seems to be full of thoughts!! He is very affectionate and if i'm feeling low he's the horse to see. I have been working with Quarrel in the round pen and he has been so very quick to learn. We started with basic transitions, with me on the ground and him loose working around me. He found outside turns very easy and then we progressed to inside turns. The inside turn requires a great degree of trust between the horse and whomever is working on the ground. When the person on the ground uses their body language to ask, the horse turns into them and into a half circle to change direction. Quarrel worried when our signals got confused, but over a few weeks, I tightened my skills and he quickly learnt what I was after. Now we can manage figures of eight in trot and sometimes in canter with flying changes over the centre. This super little horse responds to me, learns from me and teaches me. He astounds me!!

Sylvia mentioned to me this morning that Quarrel has very little experience with ground poles and jumping. So today I set up a couple of very small cross poles and some single trot poles. I have lots of experience with jumping youngsters or horses who have never jumped before and it's never straight forward!! So I warmed Quarrel up and trotted over the poles....no problem!! So I set him up and trotted towards a cross pole...again no problem!!  I worked the fences in trot and canter and then gradually put them up. By the end of the session he was popping small uprights with scary, blue jump wing blocks hidden underneath. The only difficulty was maintaining balance through the corner before the fences, this meant that on occasions we lost the quality and rhythm of the canter, resulting quite a variety of take off points!!! Every time we lost the quality of the canter I blamed myself, but Quarrel wasn't bothered, found a fifth leg and jumped!! What a little star!!!

Quarrel has a reputation for standing in the rain!! He has access to his own large stable, his own yard and can chat to his friends over the fence. When people see him choosing to stand in the rain, they feel sorry for him. I have my own thoughts!! I think that when you feel the rain on your face that it's a moment where, whoever you are, you can feel completely free. I think that's what Quarrel is thinking when he is stood in the rain...



21-11-2012 Kenny's The Man!

 

    
Kenny's the man!!
 
When I had my induction at Many Tears I was shown around, given the rules, signed official paperwork and was given a lanyard with a whistle and my name badge. Bill explained that the whistle was to be blown in emergencies, like if I got a bad kick or a horse escaped. He also explained that I could use it if I got stuck or locked in anywhere! I laughed out loud and joked that if there was a chance of getting locked in anywhere then I would manage it!! I am the kind of person who knocks my drink over at fancy meal or chokes loudly on my water in a quiet meeting. However Bill was unamused. I cursed myself for thinking I would be daft enough to get locked in anywhere. The following week I was working with Molly in her stable, with the door shut and Kenny was in the yard outside loose and pottering around. I finished the clicker training with Molly and tried to open the stable door. After a few minutes struggling, I peeked over the door to see Kenny, who was sporting rather smug look!! Kenny had cleverly bolted the bottom bolt on the outside of the stable!! I looked at my whistle and looked at the extra high stable door. The climb was far more appealing. 5 weeks later and Kenny still loves this game and does it most days!! I have perfected my technique of hanging over the stable door, reaching down and flicking the bolt before laying over the door as it swings open!!
 
Kenny takes every opportunity to show off his personality!! I groom him beautuifully and then take him to the roundpen to work. I am fairly sure that instead of me training him, he is infact training me!! He knows very well that if he sees me stand still for a moment he can quickly come in to me and stands directly infront of me. Once he is in front of me the real skill is shown. He knows that I can only move him back around the roundpen if I can get to his side. He turns to keep his head to face me and as I turn to get to his side he turns too! Then all it takes is a cheeky grin from him and he's won me over!! When I'm finally moving him around the round pen again he is very quick to spot if I lose concentration! Within seconds he can move from an expressive canter to taking his nose to the ground, to a stand still and into a fantastic roll!! I watch while I see my time grooming being wasted! On a good day it's enough to make me laugh, on a bad day I strop off to the other side of the pen and wait. Luckily he's clever enough to know that if he follows me when I storm across the pen (annoyed at myself for losing concentration!) that he's won me over again!!
 
Kenny and Molly live together and have access to their own big stable and their own yard. Every day I fill a horse ball with treats and let them play. At first they worked together, rolling the ball and collecting the treats. After a few days Molly became irritated and would only let Kenny play occasionally. Again this clever pony discovered he didn't need to play, all he needed to do was follow Molly and the treats were just waiting for him!!! Kenny is a stunning little Shetland pony, he is cheeky, full of confidence and loves life!
 
 



13-11-12 I have talked a little about Obie and his terrible start in life


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I have talked a little about Obie and his terrible start in life. He experienced the death of his mother as he was born, did not have a foster mum, was dumped over the fence of a rescue centre in Ireland and was bullied badly by an older colt. Sylvia rescued him and brought him home. She worked to bring him back into good health, but he has proven to be a very challenging horse to work with! Horses have fantastic memories, so when he sees his hay, he is expecting the colt from when he was a baby to suddenly appear and steal it away! When he sees something move quickly and unexpectedly he expects he is about to be attacked. When we see Obie 'misbehaving' we instantly recognize that 99% of the time it is related to insecurities from his difficult start. It is scary to think that if Obie, like so many other horse, got passed onto another home without a truthful, full history his behaviour could result in punishment, instead of understanding and consistency.
......Sylvia has given me a 6 week period to develop a relationship with the horses before the new horse education programme begins. During this time I have had a huge amount of fun working with him. I use a basic pressure halter with him which I have had special training to use. The pressure from the halter increases if the horse moves away and loosens as soon as the horse moves in. When used correctly it seems to give the horse fantastic consistency! It helps with so many areas of handling the horse from the ground. I have continued the work that Sylvia has done in picking up feet and being able to groom and touch every area of his body. We work together in the round pen, where Obie is loose and moving around me. He confidently walks, trots and canters when asked although he's a little lazy at times!! He is quick in responding when I ask him for an outside turn and we are working on the inside turns. The most exciting development was when Obie learnt that when I whistle and pat my side he should come to me. At first he came because he was intrigued that I was doing something different, but then discovered the pattern that when I whistle, he comes and then he gets a big pat and scratch by his withers. This has developed beautifully and now Obie can be cantering around the edge of the round pen and the moment I whistle he canters straight in and stops, careful not to touch me. I was so excited the first time he did it and gave him a huge fuss!!!
......I have started working with him in his yard and stable with towels and old feed bags!! It started with me standing with Obie and shaking the towel. He was utterly shocked to start! After a while he realized the game was quite fun! He quickly accepted the towels shaking all over his body and be wrapped around his legs like stable bandages. Then we started playing with an old feed bag. We followed the same process, starting with me shaking the bag, which made a very scary noise!! By the second day he stood, very relaxed, while I shook the bag, on the end of a stick over his back, under his belly and around his legs. I made such a noise with the bag, but he just stood, relaxed and waited. Sylvia suggested I worked with Obie in the round pen with a black plastic sheet on the ground. Fantastic fun!! I worked with the pressure halter and led him around while he snorted at the sheet. I asked him to step over the sheet. He was very nervous and very unsure!! The first few time he leapt in the air and landed on the sheet and then cantered off the other side. I spent about an hour just playing. I didn't have to put pressure on him, we just took our time and played. By the end of the session he was happily walking over the sheet with me, stopping on and walking off. We caught some of the fun on camera!!



13-11-12 I had my first cry in front of Sylvia!


 ......I wanted to share a little more about Gueaero. He is about 16.2hh, grey, Andalucian gelding. Sylvia had him rescued from Spain, without any knowledge of his history. She could not find out if he had ever had a saddle on his back or even if he had been handled. When Gueaero finally arrived he was very stressed from the journey!!! Over time Sylvia built up his condition and brought him back into good health. She gradually introduced him to wearing tack and he accepted this willingly. Since I have been working with Gueaero he has shown me complete trust and honesty! When I ride him out on the roads and he spots something he isn't keen on, all I need do is give the smallest of squeezes with my legs and he trusts me and walks on. When I jump him in the sand school and I set out an upright at the top of the jump wings, he soars over it.... because I asked. Having such an honest horse to work with is such an enormous privilege, but also it is a great responsibility.
 ......In my 3rd week at Many Tears I took Gueaero for a hack. We had been out for about 2 hours and were quietly walking back towards home. I was riding down a straight piece of road and could hear a motorbike ahead. I continued walking, confident that there was enough space for us and the bike. Before I knew it a massive tractor, pulling a large, full trailer flew around a corner towards me. It took my breath away how quickly he was travelling. As he spotted me he jammed on the brakes and the wheels locked up without the tractor slowing at all. The tractor took up the full width of the road and was still travelling at speed towards us with the wheels locked up. Gueaero's body had tensed, but because I hadn't asked him to move, he just stood and waited. At that moment I knew the only option was to run!! I turned Gueaero on his haunches and cantered at speed down the road away from the on coming tractor. We pulled into a layby just as the tractor flew past us. Gueaero was clearly upset and I was absolutely gutted that this beautiful horse had trusted me to make the decision that the tractor was not something to worry about and that trust was broken.
 ......A week later I was riding out again. We were walking down the lane and were both relaxed. The lanes were narrow, but quiet. Out of the blue I heard the loud revs of a car racing towards us. I had no time to find a lay-by and no way of signalling to the car to slow down. Within seconds the car was racing around the corner towards us and I knew that there was not enough space for a car and a horse. When the driver caught sight of me he hit the breaks, but the car seemed to barely slow. I held my breath and the car mounted the hedge line and skimmed passed us at speed, as the driver shouted 'sorry' over his blasting music. As soon as the driver had gone I couldn't stop myself and burst into tears. If that car had hit us, I suspect I would have been ok. Gueaero would have taken the impact and would have without a doubt been killed. Once again this horse had trusted me and been proven that he shouldn't. When I returned to the yard, Sylvia saw my red face and I hiccuped tears and blurted out my story at her. I guess I was lucky as I was getting to tell her the story while Gueaero stood quietly in his stable and not with his body in the road.



09-11-12 Hi I'm Katy, the newest member of the Many Tears team!

Hi I'm Katy, the newest member of the Many Tears team! I may be the newest, but I most definitely have the best job!! My role at Many Tears is to care for Sylvia's horses. After only 5 weeks here I already feel like I've been here forever! I can be found on the yard wearing my body weight in thick winter clothes and a fairly ridiculous wooly hat. You can normally hear me before you see me, chatting away to the horses, telling them my life story and trying to find out theirs.... or worse, singing out of tune!!
 
I started riding when I was 7. By the time I was 10, I was dreaming of horses 24/7 and was a nightmare to live with, as I could only talk horse. When I was 13 my parents had finally saved enough money for my first horse and the reality of owning a horse hit!! Horses were however already in my blood and when I was 17 I got my first job with horses, as an event groom and then there was definitely no turning back. By the time my 20's hit I was working full time in an Equestrian Centre. I worked up from yard girl to yard manager and ran the riding school, livery yard and was competition groom for my boss. While working at the Equestrian Centre I spent every spare second studying for my BHS exams. When a ridden exam was approaching I was riding up to 8 horses a day, before and after work. When a theory exam came a up I became a hermit after work, studying every second and I wouldn't go anywhere without my revision cards, tucked in my back pocket. The BHS exams were exhausting and never ending, but I kept ploughing through, until I eventually was awarded my Stage 4 Riding, Intermediate Teach and Stable Managers Certificate. Somewhere in between working and studying I competed my own horse 'Holy Hit'. We started unaffiliated competitions in all 3 disciplines and worked up to jumping Newcomers BSJA and Pre Novice Eventing. My time competing and training for competitions gave me the best education I could have asked for.
 
So I have lots of certificates and lots of experience, but a never ending thirst to learn more. Here at Many Tears I have 4 horses, a Shetland pony and a donkey to care for. The last horse I muck out in a morning is Quarrel. He is a gorgeous palomino who Sylvia rescued from Spain. He is a thinker and although we don't know much about his past, it's clear as you get to know him that he has a very sad story to tell. When I reach Quarrels stable in a morning and I'm soaked through from rain and my back aches from pushing a wheel barrow that's nearly the size of my car, he makes it all better. I stand in the yard and gently blow into his nose and he responds by pushing his lips and the front of his teeth against my neck. The best cwtch ever!
 
Next to Quarrel, lives Obe. Obe is the baby of the family at only 18 months old. During his birth his mother bled out and died. The owners, who lived in Ireland, took him to a local rescue centre. Unfortunately the centre had no space and turned them away. Obe's owners then picked up his weak body and threw it over the rescue centre fence. The rescue centre kept Obe, but stabled him with a 6 month old colt. When Sylvia rescued Obe from Ireland he was used to a life of 24/7 beatings from his new stable mate. Somehow Sylvia and her daughter managed to rescue Obe and bring him home. From a distance, Obe looks like he has had normal happy early years. The reality is that even though he is happy and healthy now, he will always have those deep set memories of his start in life and will have missed out on the important early lessons learnt from mum. I really hope to build on the foundation that Sylvia has given him.
 
Gueaero is the king of the castle!! This horse astounds me daily with his intelligence and honesty. Gueaero was rescued by Sylvia from Spain. This intelligent, gentle, giant puts his trust into me everyday and I feel a huge obligation to him to prove that he is right to trust people again after the horrific start he's had.
 
Molly and Kenny will probably be the first 2 beautiful beasts you see as you arrive at the yard. Molly was rescued from North Carolina as a shell of horse with just skin and bone. Molly is now a beautiful and happy horse. Recently Sylvia has been nursing Molly through a serious case of laminitis.  She has had lots of vets visits, specialist shoeing and feed supplements, along with normal daily care. During my first week here I assisted the vet in x raying Molly. The vet got Molly to stand on 3 inch wooden blocks and Molly stood perfectly. She didn't even flinch a muscle! Again it amazed me seeing this horse trusting people, when it was 'people' who let her nearly stave to death. Kenny is Molly's room mate. He is a Shetland pony. He is gorgeous and he knows it!! Kenny expresses his cheeky character at every opportunity that he can and makes me laugh on a daily basis!
 
Wendy is our donkey. She was well in her 30's when she was rescued last year. She has very stiff and sore joints and is on daily medication and feed supplements to help her with this. She has a deep bedded stable and constant access to her field, in case she fancies a stroll. You can normally hear her calling me at feed time, telling me to get a shifty on!!!
 
So that's my team of horses!! I will keep you updated with all the stories of these gorgeous horses and yard goings on.
 
Very soon my days will become a lot busier as we are taking on a new project!!!! Soon we will be offering equestrian courses and only ask for a donation to keep the centre running, in return!! The courses will cover different aspects of horse care including horse behaviour, general horse management, round penning and lots more. We will be able to adjust courses to suit individual needs, which may be one afternoon a week for a month or an individual two hour block. The course may need to be run at a level where an individual is just working on developing confidence around the horse or may be more indepth looking at behaviour and instincts. The courses may cover theory, observation and practical. No riding will be available, but aspects of the observation may certainly help an individual's understanding of riding. The courses would be ideal for anyone who is considering buying or loaning a horse and wants to find out what it's really like or anyone interested in learning more about these magnificent creatures. For those interested in buying a horse in the future, I hope these courses will offer a snippet of a true reflection of owning a horse. This may help people make a good decision about how they want horses to play a part in their future.
 
I will try and keep my updates coming about life on the yard and the progression with our new project.



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