Thankyou so much for all your comments on the last post! The response was overwhelmingly in favour of keeping pony posts on here, so I thought I'd start by giving you an update on Squeak's progress. I'd been putting this off, as things haven't been running too smoothly, but at last I feel like I'm beginning to get to the root of it. She has been as good as gold to handle, and hack out but we have had a couple of incidents in the school where she has suddenly reared up , followed by an almighty buck, for no apparent reason. I've been unable to come up with any past history for her, but my overwhelming feeling is that she has been very restricted, possibly having spent a lot of time on the lunge line, working in draw reins or similar. I suspect that she has also spent large amounts of time stabled, as she is not too comfortable turned out, always keen to go back in the stable. I've also had a nagging feeling that she is not quite well either, as she has seemed quite dull and depressed. My vet came to rasp her teeth and give her the once- over, and couldn't see any problems with her, but I'm not satisfied. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we are working on a slow programme of allowing her to find some natural instincts again, many of which appeared to be missing. She is turned out 24 hours a day, in a herd environment, and is starting to find her feet. I've taken her off all hay, as she appeared to have a dust allergy. My daughter is hacking her quietly, and together they are starting to build some trust in each other by learning to do groundwork games. There will be no school work until they are confident with each other. It's going to be a slow process, but I finally feel we are making progress.
To mark this new start, we decided to change her name back to the one she was given at birth, not the name she came with. So she is now Bethan, as her passport says, and it feels so much more fitting than Squeak! In honour of this my daughter made her a sash with her name sewn on to it, which she gave her as a gift.
Bethan is looking perkier already, although there is still no sign of her loosing her winter coat, and her strange clip. She is still on the nettle and goosegrass tea, and today we picked a huge bag of dandelions to add to her detoxing mix. I had intended to chop some of these up and add to her feed, but while I was preparing the feed she took matters into her own hooves and tipped out the bag of dandelions herself, eating the whole lot, roots and all. I am a firm believer in the theory that most ponies can self- medicate, given the opportunity, and therefore assume that dandelions were definitely something she needed. Out of curiosity I picked a couple more, and offered them to Piper and Marley, but they weren't particularly interested.