It is not that long ago that I was writing January’s blog and now we are at the end of February. Last week I was in Perth, Western Australia holding a week long course hosted by Andrew and Maike Turnbull and the weekend before in Eidsvold, Queensland with the Pony Club. It was good to see the improvement in riders in both courses. The town of Eidsvold did experience an earthquake the following morning, hopefully riders will not remember the course because of the earthquake. Many topics were covered in the Perth course from ground work and the use of the round pen to lead changes and trailer loading.
All the young horses have now gone home with the next intake being in May. There are still positions available for those that are interested.In writing these blogs it can at times be thought provoking as to what is going to be of help to everyone. For this month and the next I am going to have a brief Q & A. of the questions or discussions that are asked during courses. [ Please appreciate that this is the abbreviated version of the questions and replies ]
Q In an afternoon session after the course in Perth, the question of cow working was asked in relation to horsemanship.
A In reply I said that I had always felt that I could help a horse more when I was outside an arena than in an arena. As a result of time spent in the Northern Hemisphere I had to learn how to use an arena environment. While there are positives to both, an arena helps you to ride with more accuracy. Riding outside particularly when you have a job helps your horse to become more forward going and confident and gives a purpose and a meaning to the horse, this can often be hidden or neglected in an arena environment. Riding outside shows the holes in your horsemanship and equally riding in an arena will also show the holes in your horsemanship, it is how you fill those holes so that you can do both and not have a change in the way your horse rides.
Q This was more of a discussion than a question and was on relaxation in the horse.
A My view is formed from my own experiences and those of my peers. Often to get a change on the outside of the horse you have to get that change to come from within the horse. Many see the scared horse from the outside and it may be necessary to help the horse gain confidence in the human and themselves by rubbing with a flag or lead rope etc to be able to saddle and then ride. Some riders may need to do more than others. An approach when riding to help the horse let down, is when the rider can move with the horse without blocking, restricting or confining through their body and tack, while directing the horse’s feet and life until they have a rhythm within that gait or movement. As the rhythm of the gait or movement becomes stronger and consistent then this often shows on the outside of the horse in the form of the horse letting down and becoming relaxed. You may only be walking or doing an exercise slowly and in time the understanding and relaxation comes through. This is not just true when riding but also when we are ground working our horses as well. This also an example of where you are allowing the horse to learn the lesson. Many horses will not be made to learn the lesson.
On Thursday of this week I will be travelling to Texas in the U.S. for the Legacy of Legends event. More information can be found on the website www.alegacyoflegends.com
I have also added the 3rd article to the three part series Feel. Timing & Balance it can be viewed on the blog page of the website. My end of year course schedule for Australia and New Zealand is also being updated for the end of the year. If you are wanting to host a course or need more information then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org