When Claire rang me last week and asked me to pop down on Friday because she was going to long rein a youngster, I was intrigued. The youngster in question was a lovely big 2 year old by Native Ruler who was sent to Fern Farm by Sue Sharratt – on behalf of Alan Rowe – to be broken. He was coming along nicely and Claire wanted to move onto the next stage.
‘Roger’, as he is affectionately known, was wide eyed with wonder as he stepped out of the barn into the big wide world. Claire explained that this was all about teaching him to go forward and get used to being steered, plus, it was also a confidence building exercise.
Roger’s first big test came when he spotted a bloke lying on the grass at the side of the lane pointing a camera at him – I’m pleased to say that he passed with flying colours!
The adventure continued when Claire took Roger around the huge shed, although on the way he did briefly mistake the sprinkler for a very scary monster that was about to attack him!
Claire is very patient and it was fascinating for me to have this insight into the education of a young horse, the first time I had witnessed it at close quarters.
The next big test was a log and Roger seemed pretty determined to give it a VERY wide berth, however, Claire’s gentle manner and endless patience won the day and Roger eventually passed the log, not once, not twice but three times – getting closer every time until he was almost on top of it!
Roger was visibly growing in confidence and he was almost strutting as we headed towards the woods!
There were plenty of distractions in the woods (including some big scary trees) but Roger was in good hands and he took it all in his stride.
With plenty of encouragement from Claire (and of course, patience) the woods were safely negotiated and we headed back to the barn.
Roger was looking very pleased with himself as he stepped back into the barn, and Claire was pretty chuffed too! Rightly so, she’s passionate about what she does and that shines through – she loves the horses and she loves the job.
Visitors are always welcome at Fern Farm so if you have a horse that needs breaking or pre-training, why not pop in for a chat and a guided tour? (Contact details: Claire Hardwick – 07808 511705 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Fern Farm, Adlestrop, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YL).