Scarlett is a pure bred Andalusian horse. She is stunningly beautiful and she knows it!. She originally came to us on livery, owned by a friend, but as she turned out to be too feisty for the friend to ride we were given the ultimatum – either we could keep her or she would be sold. We couldn’t bear to see her torn away from the herd so we agreed to keep her, even though she really wasn’t an ideal horse for us, not being suitable for clients to ride.
Over the years we have spent time with her trying to calm her exuberant behaviour . In her past life she was encouraged to be prancy and dancy, offering Spanish walk without being asked and never wanting to stand still.
Thank goodness for positive reinforcement.
With the use of clicker training we were gradually able to improve her behaviour so that she could be ridden in walk at least, though anything faster and she would get much too excited.
In the spring of 2017 we took the decision to have her ovaries removed as she was becoming so hormonal she was very unhappy and stressed. Luckily for us we have a great vet , and once home from the operation Scarlett’s behaviour very quickly calmed down. She is now so much happier and relaxed and seems to have finally settled into herd life . One unexpected but very happy side effect of the operation is that she is now so much calmer when ridden and has actually just become my new lead horse. Scarlett was really thrown in at the deep end with her new job but has surprised us all with her confidence and enthusiastic attitude towards going out. She makes me smile every day though, as I tend to take a clicker and treats out with me on rides, to focus her if she does get a bit excited. I have been phasing the clicker out gradually but it is so great to be able to ask her to lower her head to relax if she occasionally gets stressed , or ask her to stand and wait for the others. After all the years of clicker training in the arena, she really is spot on with voice cues but she is very very intelligent and if we go too long without reinforcement (in her mind) , she will start to give me things without being asked – head down, halt , you can almost feel her brain ticking over thinking, what can I do to get a treat? . It is so sweet, she really is the kindnest, sweetest, most sensitive horse . I never thought I would see the day , but am so happy to be able to say that finally, at the age of 18, Scarlett seems to have grown up :)