Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Murphy this week as his health failed him in his old age. He joined mine and Rachel’s herd in 2004 as a rescue, who was due to be put to sleep because of physical and behavioural issues that his owners did not feel able to address. We took him on as part of our plan to rescue, rehab and rehome – we rescued him, rehabilitated him but, of course, he stayed with us!
He was an important pony for me on my own equine journey as he was very anxious and had learned to be aggressive towards people. He was especially difficult around food, so I had a big learning curve as I discovered how to use reward-based training to help horses regulate their behaviour and change their emotions. Of course, Connection Training is centred around the horse’s emotions and building a great relationship together, so it was a great experience as I first learned how to work with abused and aggressive horses in a way which was soft, calm and positive.
I took him to an Alex Kurland clinic in 2006 and she introduced me to the concept of ‘protected contact’ where I learned how to train him with a barrier between us to keep me safe and help him to settle down. This is a technique that I use often now to help both horses and humans move to a better relationship until the barrier is no longer needed.
As he overcame his problems, the most fantastic pony emerged. Murphy was bright, eager and so much fun. He was part of all my crazy projects over the years. Watch the video to see him star in Cinderella, as a zombie, cleaning the kitchen, fetching an umbrella in the rain and as a Christmas pony!
We’ll miss his bright, cheeky self on the yard but we’re so glad he was part of our herd for such a long time.
If you want to watch the full versions of some of the videos I referred to in this film, follow the links below.
Please note that most of these videos are hosted on our 2 previous Youtube Channels from previous incarnations of our business, NaturalHorseCompany and HannahDawsonEquine.
Trick Training for Likit
Cinderella – a Pony Tale
Snow White – a Pony Tale
Creative Ways to Make Loading Fun
Trick Training Photoshoot
Zombie Horses Attack
Merry Christmas Trick Horses
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