Last Wednesday we were very excited to host Gillian and Shirley Higgins of Horses Inside Out, who presented their Painted Horse Demonstration. Stretcholt Equestrian Centre provided the perfect venue as we needed somewhere with enough room and an indoor arena as the recent weather could definitely not be relied upon. It worked very well, a lot of organisation behind the scenes had already taken place to advertise and sell tickets for the event. We had some amazing 'helpers' which meant the day ran like clockwork. Firstly Claire Trott and her horses Jimmy and Venus: a big ask to find 2 such horses that don't mind being painted and performing in front of crowds! These 2 fitted the bill perfectly, I could not actually believe how patient they were. We arrived at 10am and had a little rehearsal. Gillian was very good at picking out their strengths and setting exercises to enhance these. The arena party then had to be trained - this consisted of me, Sally and Claire - and it seemed to take us considerably longer than the horses to grasp what we would have to do that evening!
Then the painting could be begin... and it actually did take 5 people 5 hours to paint 2 horses! Really, really good fun, and the horses seemed to enjoy it, being topped up with treats for the horses and snacks for the painters throughout the afternoon. This is where our helpers really came into their own - Lynda Ayre stayed all day to keep the horses calm and placed beautiful plaits in both horses, Miles took lots of photos and Linda, Sally, Claire and myself, under instruction from Gillian, painted and painted!
Finally by about 6pm we could grab a quick sandwich and coffee and get ready for people arriving. Richard Ayre came along to be Jimmy's lunger for the evening, and Jo Roberts came back to put Venus through her paces - but not before bravely dressing herself in a very fetching (and strangely flattering!) Skeleton Outfit.
I had not seen Horses Inside Out before and I can safely say it exceeded my expectations! It is a fascinating approach to training horses - whether you are an owner, trainer, vet or physio there is something everyone can come away with. Gillian is an engaging and euthusiastic speaker who really knows her subject and has a great affinity with the horses. I hope everyone who came enjoyed it as much as I did.
So a big thank you to Venus, Jimmy, Claire, Jo, Lynda and Richard. We also had some very generous sponsorship and would like to give a special thank you to our main sponsors, Nimrod Veterinary Products Ltd who, amongst other things, provided the very attractive and useful bags with which were presented to all who came along. Thank you also to Cannington Equestrian Centre and Protexin, both of whom took the time to support us by bringing along a stand.
A slightly different approach from our previous Evolution Equine events - I hope you enjoyed it. Pictures are online now.... Click here to see them.