Papoose (Paps) - 16.1hh ISH x Welsh Cob
Paps joined us here at Exmoor Riding at the age of 5years as an unbroken, unridden youngster ....... I can honestly say that as a result of the trauma, anxiety, and problems that he demonstrated in the first two years here, he has changed our lives completely! In my former life before Paps arrived, I, like many other owners and riders, was a 'happy hacker'. Horses were made for riding! My previous few horses we had backed and ridden out, with no particular problems, but Paps was trying to show us that 'there must be another way'!
After many attempts at dumping his riders anywhere, and dragging me along the driveway, leaving us both severely traumatised and in pain, we decided to call in some help...... physiotherapist; McTimoney chiropractor; a vet to check his teeth, and our barefoot trimmer, from Progressive Hoofcare. Paps had all along been trying to tell us something - toothache; his poll was mis-aligned; his shoulder showed signs of serious atrophy and potential previous injury; and he was scared of a lunge whip! We had a long journey ahead of us..... so we embarked on a life-long journey of 'listening to the horse'. For this we are eternally grateful to Dawn Westcott, who set up the Exmoor Pony Project and 'Wild Pony Whispering', who herself had been through the journey of gently training her very challenging stallion 'Bear', introducing us to the techniques of the Horse Agility Club run by Vanessa Bee, in Devon.
After six months at Horse Agility Paps had risen up the league tables to Intermediate Level and became the European Champion in the summer of 2012. He had gained my trust again, and I his, and we were riding out gently and quietly over the moors shortly afterwards, both pain free, shoeless, and at times bitless too!
The years inbetween have been wonderful training years for Paps, me and many of our other horses, staff, students and visitors alike. We learn about building up a better relationship, making a 'connection', free-schooling, dressage, leading a ride out with confidence, arena close contact in-hand work and holistic horse care, herbal therapies, breath-heart-energy training, natural self selection of herbs and other 'alternative' approaches.
A wonderful journey of enlightenment, discovery and self-discovery resulting in a special collection of calm and happy healthy horses! ..... and we are all still learning, meeting some amazing dedicated, inspirational and professional people ...... Now people come for all corners of the world to discover, explore and experience our way of working with our horses. Some clients have jumped for joy when getting a connection with the horse, others have been in tears for the emotional release they experience, for 'finding' a connection with another being... the amazing understandng horses have of us, their human counterparts. Thank you Paps for sharing this enlightening journey with us all. We love you.