By Club Founder Vanessa Bee
What a diverse and interesting week I’ve had.
It started with a fascinating meeting with Shaun Ellis (The Man Who Lives With Wolves). Shaun and I want to work together to investigate the incredible jigsaw of the prey/predator relationship. In particular, of course, wolves and horses, as they naturally coexist in parts of the world.
Even in the few hours I spent with Shaun my eyes were opened to how intricately the lives of predators and prey have so cleverly evolved to be advantageous to both parties. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out as I’ll keep you posted in this column.
The weekend was spent at The Game Fair in Shepton Mallet, demonstrating Horse Agility. Contour Events, which runs many shows across the country and is most supportive of our work.
Dawn Westcott and Bear gave a wonderful demonstration on Saturday. Those of you who follow this column will remember that Bear has “had his moments” in demos, but the last two have been really exciting, even resulting in Dawn turning him loose on Saturday to complete the agility course at liberty! To work a stallion loose over obstacles amid the hustle and bustle of a Game Fair, and shooting going on all around us, was a challenge, but Bear rose to it.
Dawn has three more stallions working together at home, so watch this space!
We returned home to hundreds of e-mails. The problem with running an International Club is that e-mails come in night and day so even when you think you’ve got to the end of a day’s work you suddenly see mail coming in from the places where people are just getting up! It takes discipline to say “That’s enough! I have horses to play with.”
The horses are all having a spring service at the moment with teeth on the shopping list. My good friend Julie Brand, from Newton Abbot, has just qualified as an equine dentist and we spent a busy morning rasping teeth. Some of the ponies really needed help, despite looking fat and uncompromised in the eating department.
It’s all fun and hard work at the same time, if that makes sense, but that’s how it is when you’re building a hobby into a business. However, there are pools of joy…
At the Game Fair two ladies, in their middle years, came on to the stand to ask about horse agility. Having discussed with Philip what we were doing, they announced that they would like to run a training day. Philip told them the ridiculously low fee per head for two trainers to turn up for a full day’s training with all equipment and run a competition with rosettes, including full insurance and VAT.
“How much?” one of them shrieked. “I thought you were a club, not a business. You’ll never be successful if you charge!”
So listen up all you farriers, riding teachers, equine dentists and vets, now you know why you’re not successful. It’s because you’re charging people!