The last two months have passed me by in a blur. I apologize for not writing more and will post videos as soon as I’m home (in Germany) again.
This past week has been filled with lovely trail rides. Ty has become wonderfully responsive, on the trail and in the arena. We had a lovely moment of lightness the other day when I asked him to trot a circle around a cone. I gave him the reins so that they hung loose and only picked them up to redirect him on the circle when he drifted off of it. Very quickly, he was trotting circles without me having to pick up the reins, because he was focusing on my body, instead. This exercise, among others, teaches the horse about responsibility and shows that I am not here to micromanage him. I want our partnership to be as light as possible, and that means that he should be paying attention to my body language and not my reins.
“The more we use the reins, the less they use their brains.”
– Pat Parelli
Yesterday was a fairly hot day, with quite a bit of humidity in the air. All of the horses had sweated much more than usual from being ridden, so I took them to the pond with a long line and let them take a dip in the cool water. Both Ty and Lace splashed right in (videos coming soon) and I loved how they looked amongst the water lilies so much that I had to take my camera out to show you all…
This last week here in Tasmania was focused on starting the little plucky pony, Clara, under saddle as a last minute project. You don’t come across sweet ponies like Clara very often… she doesn’t tend to buck at all, even after wearing a back cinch for the first time (on a mini western saddle for kids – so cute!). Starting her and getting her used to a rider, consisted of simply sitting on her and relaxing for the first ride. She was so tense under my weight and the new situation, that she needed to relax before we moved on. Otherwise, everything we would have done during her stressed state would have been backwards progress. Soon after that she was backing up and giving me lateral flexion very lightly on both sides.
On the second day she was walking all around the paddock with me. Clara is definitely a “Porsche Pony” – so light and sensitive! Asking her to move forwards consists of raising my energy just the tiniest bit (really tiny) and making a “tst tst” sound. A cluck is too much for her and she starts trotting or getting bunched up, so I make the smallest “Tst” and she takes confident strides and stops at the drop of a hat when I merely sink my seat.
In the picture above, Clara got a bit tense again after we had walked around for about 5 minutes, so I took a moment to exaggerate relaxation in my own body. I gave her all the reins and rubbed along her crest (a friendly friendship zone amongst horses), and leaned back, smiled, and let my legs swing forward and back. I filmed my last ride of her and took this snapshot to show you. A moment later, she put her head down and grazed a bit and then cocked her hip. That was the time I chose to hop off, so that we were ending a session with relaxation, instead of tension.
Thank you for following my little journey and stay tuned for videos.