Training

We’ll be leaving for the Championnat de France on Wednesday evening, so we’ve been practising our Equifeel skills for the last two weeks, trying to brush up on the shaky bits so that we’ll have the option of going for a few 15 or 20 point contracts along the way.

There are two versions of ‘Le Van.’

Van 1.

10 points – lead the horse into the trailer.

15 points – load the horse into the trailer while remaining outside, either beside or on the ramp.

20 points – load the horse into the trailer while staying within a circle which is set at some distance from the trailer.

In all cases, the horse must stand in the trailer for ten seconds and then back out when he’s asked.  That’s the hard part.  In theory, I should be able to go for the 15 point contract; I’m just not sure he’ll stay there for 10 seconds.  MC has a different problem – she is able to load Quieto from a distance (20 points), but he is frequently reluctant to leave the trailer!  And if you exceed the time allowed, it’s Nul Points!

Van 2.

10 points – lead the horse into the trailer.

15 points – lead the horse into the trailer with lead rope attached via a light elastic.

20 points – lead the horse into the trailer at liberty.

Again, in all cases, the horse must stand in the trailer for 10 seconds before backing out on request.

This form of Le Van is easier, as you can keep the horse’s attention when you’re inside the trailer.  You’re allowed to stroke or scratch him, but you’re not allowed to give him treats to bribe him!  All going well, we should be capable of going for 20 points if this version of ‘Le Van’ comes up in the Championnat.

We dressed up the trailer to make it interesting for our practice session.  Ali Gator volunteered to help, and we used one of my Munster flags in a way in which no Munster flag has been used before!

I was pleased with Aero.  He’s not afraid of crocodiles.  He’s still not 100% sure about flags, but he does his best.

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We’ve also been working on turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand and slalom.  I think (and hope) that the penny dropped with Aero today.  All of a sudden, he seemed to understand how to do the slalom at liberty.  It’s always been a problem for us.  It’s fine when the lead rope is attached, he followed the lead rope without me ever having to put tension on it but, up to today, he just hasn’t grasped what I’m asking when we do it at liberty.  Fingers Crossed.

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