I promise not to keep boring you with lots of foal pictures, but I just couldn't help myself today!
He's strong and inquisitive, although quite small. Marlene has finally taken him into the next paddock to show him to Sandpiper and Bethan. (She hid him away for the first week, despite Sandpiper's desperate calling, demanding to know what had happened, and wanting to see.)
We seem to have finally got on top of the sweetitch with Bethan, and she is looking great. No rubbing, shiny coat, relaxed face with no pinched worry lines, - I think she is healthy and well, and happy at last. It is not all good news though - there are some major riding problems :(
She bucks when asked to canter - a big buck, not just a little excited ping. She has done it twice with my daughter, who is a novice, and dumped her, which has understandably frightened her. Since then, I have let a competent child ride her a couple of times, who didn't mind sitting the initial bucks, rode her on through, and then she was fine. In every other way she is beautifully behaved, but the buck is a major issue. It makes her unsafe for a small child. I managed to track down her previous owners, and as far as I can see she has only ever been ridden by a competent rider since she was broken in at 11. So, though she has apparently been a fantastic competition pony - 13th at the NPS dressage championships last year, and jumping 80 cm tracks ( which I didn't know when I bought her) I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that she is not a first pony. My feeling is that without a confident rider, giving her clear instructions, and effectively taking responsibility, that she loses all confidence and has a panic.
We have of course eliminated all possible physical reasons for the bucking. So I'm having rather a gloomy five minutes about it all:(
She quite happily stood tied up in the yard for three hours to be bathed, trimmed, plaited and generally primped and preened. This is why I love her so much - she is SO kind and good. It's just that d****d bucking. I just can't expect a nervous child to want to ride her.