Comfort Zone Training – 2nd Unit – Session 7

WOW…the last session of Unit 2, the time has gone quickly and because the weather has been dry and not too cold I’ve been able to get out with Solly regularly. It’s really helping to keep our progress moving along nicely. Here is today’s session 😉



There were some new CZ area’s  pushed today…

(1) being on our own
(2) walking whole lower field
(3) ride on own
(4) ride up hill back to main field

…oh golly gosh BUT have visualised this in my head since yesterday and know my strategies and my path SO….off we go. Image00022Image00019Into the flat lower field okay and walked around the periphery using some circling, cods, half circles on the move and also with Solly just following me or walking along side at a distance.

We even found some ‘rubbish’ that he was brave enough to ‘touch’ and which I put aside to collect later when going home.



Things went very well so at the gateway I asked Solly to sidle to the gate and I got on. We had a moment where we lost communication and he started going backwards but I just breathed out, sat deeper and asked for forward and all was well.  We worked on the same things as yesterday, approach/retreat to the gate using fig 8’s and making sure each time out from the gate we made the fig 8 circles wider and this time to make them wider we put in a few nice leg yields. This helped prove to me that we were connected, Solly was listening and that I was calm enough to think too.

I was in two mind as to whether to get off and walk back to the horses field but had visualised riding up the hill back to the field so I stayed determined and went over the  bridge (wood/slippery…eek) which went okay and asked Sol to climb the hill. He decided it would be easier to trot (hard ground/slippery…eek) so I said to him out loud, ‘thank you for that but walk is okay here’ and as I breathed out he obliged by going down into walk.

As we got to the tImage00027op of the hill we saw Stormy and Tara waiting by the gate for our return and both Solly and I breathed out and relaxed more. We got to the gate and I thought about doing a bit more but in the back of my brain was the niggle that I must always stop on a good note and don’t try ‘just one more’ because often that is when something silly or a breakdown in connection happens….just stop where you visualised and said you were going to stop…SO we did and I dismounted.

I didn’t realised how much this was going to affect me because it’s something we just haven’t done for ages and as I stood and hugged Solly I was shaking through relief of doing it. Trauma is a worrying thing and it felt good later on to know I’d done it but I still need to do it consistently so that it doesn’t affect me like this again, so onwards I continue with our consistency CZT.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

Comfort Zone Training – 2nd Unit – Session 6

Sixth Session:

Sixth session of this week and overall the 13th session from the start of my CZT blog posts. Last session had the first riding outside the field and today I visualised a ride in the lower field, mainly because it’s nice and flat and I thought it might be easier taking away ‘going downhill’ off my ‘out of CZ’ list AND because the horses lived in this field a few years ago so we remember riding in it quite a lot.

SO…what did we do today? Here’s some pics and a write up of the days fun.




Started off with a nice walk in-hand with Solly accompanied by Mark and Stormy on the walk we did a while back…to the log piles.

In the first, lower field, we played around with circles, COD’s and half circles on the move. He was listening, willing and relaxed and I was checking his body language to make sure it stayed that way.



He then spooked, spun and ran across my walk line and stared at the high bank to our right….I couldn’t see anything BUT then saw movement…..a fallow deer buck was up there and when it Image00045 moved it spooked Solly. This is why I do the in-hand games and I was SO glad I wasn’t riding, not sure I could have kept my seat to that…he doesn’t often go FAR but by golly gosh he’s SO FAST!!!

SO…after that we played a bit more with circles and side passing to regain our composure and relaxation and then we moved on, out of the field, up a steep hill and back to the ‘log piles’. We decided to walk the other side of the log piles today and had to walk along a very narrow piece between logs and stream to get back onto the track, Mark went first with Stormy which went well and then when Solly and I were just about to go over it about 6 sheep skitter around the pile from the other side and in front of us making both Solly and I jump!!! My heart went to my mouth but then we breathe out quickly, Solly, after initial jump just stands and watches as I do the same, the sheep stop coming and we slowly go around the logs and carry on our walk.



Today we walk one field further towards home. Horses were high headed checking out all the sheep moving a round and when we get to the next gateway we stop, relax and allow the horses to graze a bit. Going back the same way was good, we went exactly the same way back SO we stretched our CZ two ways….once walking the ‘other’ side of the logs and secondly walking further along the track…progress feels good 🙂




Image00079Just like I visualised Image00077yesterday and this morning, I rode in the lower, flat field. I got on at the gate and rode some circles, fig 8’s and moved forehand and hq’s regularly.




The fig 8 circles became wider and covering a nice amount of space and we used the pattern as an approach/retreat strategy for our CZ, which was by the gateway.

Image00099 Image00102 Image00103 Image00106



A very nice ride, calm and with purpose. Solly and I were connected and working harmoniously.




A very happy rider and horse today 🙂

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

Comfort Zone Training – 2nd Unit – Session 5

Fifth Session: 


The key of CZT is having realistic goals to progress through. My goal is to ride Solly out of our normal CZ of the main field. I can ride Stormy and Tara out but not so comfortable with Solly regularly as when away working I don’t get the time to be consistent with this sort of training with him. So. We’ve taken a LOT of time getting a really good liberty/online/ridden connection in the field but it’s time to stretch it now. If you’ve been following this CZT blog then you’ll see the consistency of walking out in-hand to the same place for a bit, then in-hand to other places and what I’m trying to gain is a consistent connection to Solly wherever we go, using repeated exercises to create a familiar walk and then expanding on that BUT never doing something SO different that we loose the path to what we’re aiming for….a calm, relaxed, harmonious connection.



Image00016Today’s aim was to go over and over the once place that has spooked both horses…up and down the hill between two fields SO…we did just that, over and over few times until there was complete relaxation and calmness walking up and down that hill, even stopping and backing up the hill which proved to me we were connected.




Image00069We even checked out the ‘spooky’ blue bag (of rubbish) up on the side of the hill too AND we did some things on our own without Mark and Stormy’s company which again proved to me that Solly and I were connected because if we weren’t Solly would have been looking for and worrying about where Stormy was.



Video of us coming down the big hill showing how connected we are as I ask for stops and backups along the way



First part of the challenge went well, walk over with and the hill challenge tackled to where it wasn’t scary any longer. The next challenge was on the return of the walk was for me and Solly to do some walking about in the field next to our horses one to get familiar with the area a bit more with the thought of riding a bit of it.




So, after walking and checking there was nothing out there to worry us such as deer or pheasants running out in front of us and knowing where the slippery pathways were I knew we were nicely connected and I felt confident to mount up.







We got on at the fence, rode around a bit then came back towards the fence, relaxed then went out again. I did a few approach the gate and go away again to keep my confidence and to allow Solly to see the herd which keeps his confidence.







I made sure I could move his hq’s and his forehand then transitions of walk/halt/backup and we even went down a hill and trotted back up…felt really good to be doing this after all our CZT preparation.


I didn’t overdo it but stopped on a very good note and praised Solly big time for being a good boy 😉

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy