This is day 1 of my next ‘7 session unit’ of CZT with Solly. Knowing to make progress from the first week’s sessions I now have to take what we did and learned there to another area so we pushed out of the CZ of the field in the company of husband Mark and his horse Stormy and decided to do a circular walk across a few fields and onto a track back home.
Walking out in-hand allows you to control going into an unfamiliar area without the worry of riding, you can check out the track, make sure the ground is safe and that there is nothing going to make you or your horse jump and if it does then you have time to think about things and only carry on when you and/or your horse are relaxed and happy to continue.
Being with Mark and Stormy helps both Solly and I to be in good company in a situation that may worry us. It also helps from the perspective that I will walk further with Mark beside me on that first outing than I would do on my own so I can really stretch the CZ for me to then be able to do the same walk on my own with Solly and know it’s a safe walk.
At the end of the first two fields we had to go through a new gateway, which I’ve never been through before. There was some ‘blue’ plastic rubbish up on our left, the river really close off the right of the track and an incline up a hill. I ask Solly to follow Storm through the gateway, turn so that I can close the gate and then we walk up the incline together. A little bit of raised ‘energy’ as it’s all new to me but we get through okay.
At the top of the small hill I am faced with a sharp left turn and a similar hill down to the next field. We are now higher up looking down a sharp edge to the river on our right, Solly next to this with me on his left facing going down the hill. I get a little unconfident and have to stop and just stand and wait while I get my focus and energy back on track. Mark stops too and waits patiently for me. If I was alone I would retreat back to the familiar place of the previous field as the energy in my mind and body could easily affect my horse, from there I could either (a) approach again and go forward or (b) retreat and try again in a bit, the next day, or when I can…today I re-focus and carry on.
The picture on the right shows Solly down the hill looking at the field, checking out the sheep, seeing if there is anything to worry about before carrying on.
All goes well and about half way through Solly raises his head and looks to the left, we see a couple of people coming down the track outside the field and then he looks to the right where a couple of kids and adult are playing ‘poo sticks’ at the bridge there. He was a bit high headed for a bit but we carried on and I think he soon realised that the track they were on was familiar to him as we’ve walked and ridden down this track to the village in the past.
Once on the track we were okay again, familiar terrain felt easy and comfortable and we all strode out heading back for home.
Nearly home and Solly started to look out for our other horse Tara who we’d left in the field, he also started just checking the track side grazing and herbage out which was good to see, his curiosity back. I was also very chilled out and happy to just walk along in Solly’s company. Soon we were back through the gate into the field and Tara was right there to greet us back home
- Shelley – HorseSavvy