There's a young horse here named Goldie. She's 1/2 Morgan and 1/2 quarter horse I believe. When I came here last summer she was out on pasture and I didn't have too much chance to get to know her. When she arrived in the fall with another mare I was not sure I liked her at all. She was rude, pushy, dominant and not too trustworthy.
I've worked with her all winter long, at liberty only (no halter/rope) on very basic things like respecting my space, backing up before receiving mash/treats and of course, giving her LOTS of love and letting her know I"m trying to understand her perspective and respect her feelings as well.
Goldie is EXTREMELY sensitive, very quick in body and mind and PLAYFUL
She's had some t-touch training with a lovely local woman which is great. The only thing I saw missing was her exuberance and respect (she was still pushy after that training and non too happy - which it turns out was because she was probably at a level 2 founder already and in a LOT of discomfort).
The first couple of times I put a halter and lead on her (natural horsemanship quality equipment) she was very unconfident and reactive, but she did keep checking in wondering what was expected of her - a very good sign.
Tonight I played with her on a 12 ft line. We've worked just a couple of times with figure 8 around mini barrels and tonight she NAILED IT. Not a totally smooth fluid motion yet, but she's really understanding following my lead, my path, and my energy.
She was having a hard time feeling confident further away from me, so last time I asked her to move in a circle with me (both of us walking in the same direction, my left shoulder connected energetically to her right shoulder/belly, and with the horseman stick resting on her back with a really loving feel and gently rubbing it on her back as she's walking. I really like this exercise and I kind of 'play' the horses back, like playing a violin or cello.
During our play session tonight, she was SO MUCH better at staying connected with me out on the circle. We had one little misunderstanding about my stick and string but she quickly collected herself (after starting to leave and pull away) and checked in with me to see if everything is ok. She's quicker to draw in and be with me, which is fabulous.
In one very sweet moment I had her going track left on the circle and we were both walking together. I asked her to trot, mostly with just a more upright posture and forward feeling energy from me, just for a few steps, and then dropped my energy down again and she went down to the walk. BRILLIANT GIRL!! I'm so proud of her and she's come a long way already.
I think in a few weeks she'll be ready, and we'll have enough language/trust established that I can begin to teach her Karen Rolhf's Basic Alignment Exercise. Here is just a VERY short video about how this looks and is done. Please check out Karen's youtube channel for more free videos. I highly recommend subscribing to her video classroom. I've learned so much from her virtually over these past few years. Even if you don't do dressage (which I don't) you can learn how to influence your horse's body, both on the ground, and riding, to help them be 'Happy, Healthy Athletes'.
Until next time,
My HORSE is my GURU...
I'm Jai Sequoia. I live in the spectacular mountains of the West Kootenays in beautiful British Columbia. Read more