A meerkat kind of day…

I’m really lucky to do a job I love, something I’m really passionate about. I’m even luckier when we get a beautiful day like we did today. I think Northern Ireland really looks its best when we have blue skies with big dramatic clouds. I’m on the road a lot, mostly in and around my home in Co. Down, right on the edge of the Mournes, area of outstanding natural beauty. This was the view behind me as I headed home from my last client of the day.But the day began with a rather different sighting:I think one of the best things about horsey people is that they rarely just have horses! But today certainly had to be one of my more unusual encounters. I was with a friend while she was having a pony vetted and the yard was full of a happy gang of cats and dogs…. except one of them was a meerkat named Stevie. The good news is the pony passed the vet, and we all started our days with big smiles after watching Stevie’s antics.Next up was a series of regular clients, two ridden sessions, one preparing for a dressage test on Saturday and the other who has spent the last two years working with me on classical in hand work as a way of rehabilitating a horse with straightness issues, alongside some lameness. We have now got to the stage of getting her back in the saddle and it’s amazing the change in straightness, suppleness and balance.Just as I was leaving the second yard, the EDT was arriving to treat one of the horses. It’s really important for me to have a good working relationship with all the other professionals involved with the horses. A team approach means that we can be quick to spot problems and nip them in the bud. Good communication is key, so it’s always nice to have a bit of ‘real’ ‘face time’ and catch up on progress of shared clients.On to the next client, this time a gorgeous mule who is learning to drive and pull a cart. She had apparently given herself a bit of a fright a few days ago so it was a timely visit. We have already taught her to target and used that as a way of establishing positive reinforcement and the use of a marker signal. This meant that we were able to work on using the target to build up positive associations around the cart and help her to feel more relaxed.Back home and a quick catch up on emails, then out to work with the two three year olds. I sat up on Kaikoura for the first time, and fully lay over Blue Bayou. Then finished off with a nice ride on my lusitano cross, Star, who is coming back into work after time off with sore feet.I’m loving the stretch in the evenings and the feeling of spring in the air. Here’s to more meerkat days. Simples.

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