Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Going Forward: No Kicking!

It's no surprise to me when I see people kick their horse to go - after all, that's what most people have been taught to do - in traditional riding lessons, pony club and by most advisors! However, there IS a better way to ask your horse to go forward, and to learn it is quite simple, with patience and focus and sensitivity! When teaching people to ride in a way that doesn't involve kicking (or any contact with your heels at all) I often ask them to take their boots off, to ride in their socks, so they are more fully aware of what their feet are doing. While a horse that is used to being 'kicked or nudged' might take a few times to understand a new (softer) cue, once learned, they will be much lighter and develop a a greater capacity to 'listen' to the rider. Riding with your whole body is the secret here!

Friday, April 9, 2010

S-t-r-e-t-c-h your Comfort Zone!

Stepping outside our comfort zones can reap some wonderful rewards! Stretching yourself to expand your horsemanship skills and understanding is a good thing - just be aware of never compromising a horse's dignity for the sake of your goals. A horse has his/her comfort zones too ... and might be reluctant at first to explore options with you ... so take it slow, as tiny changes in habits can ultimately create big growth. Imagine if you were to take a tiny progressive step for 30 days straight - in a month's time you would probably look back and realise how far you've come! Whether it's with your riding, your ground play, your confidence or your knowledge, a good stretch to expand our comfort zones is healthy and natural! And confidence comes from experience, and experience comes from practice, so practice, Practice, PRACTICE! (Just make sure you're practicing correctly!)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Talk to the Animals!

A day at the Pet Expo means that an assortment of pets show up to be part of the fun and games! Arriba and I did 3 demonstrations for a mixed audience (see sheep at bottom left of photo!) and scarey spider next to her! My sociable arabian met a pig for the first time, along with a goat! He'd already met sheep and llamas at previous pet expos! When we were given directions to our booth, the instruction was: park next to the Big Shark! (Great, I thought!) So there it was, in all its' giant grey glory, waving about in the wind. After a cursory glance, Arriba kept his focus on me as he waited for his cue on what to do next. Brings to mind the importance of Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!