Spirit – Training Video 7

Spirit and I have been getting our online communication better and better by working on the 3F basics (Familiarisation, Feel, Focus techniques of HorseSavvy) for 3 1/2 months he’s been with us now. I love it when the ABC’s we started with become more sentences and then paragraphs of connection through communication. Today we started getting more of that connection by using the 3F techniques with more fluidity and using obstacles which helps in usingย  the ‘games’ for aย  ‘purpose’.

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Spirit – May/June 2019

Wed 1st

Today was riding session 7 of 7 from our video lesson 6. It was SO worth taking the time to set this 2nd lot of basic techniques down with Spirit. He started off bracy and very stiff on his right, a bit unbalanced and not sure about going forward but he is now getting lighter and lighter every time we ride, his right side is starting to yield nicely as long as I take the time to help him not brace, he’s moving into the open/direct rein from my focus/energy/seat/leg aids and is starting to be softer with the dhq/indirect reins too now. His back up is so light and we have started to think about transitioning up into trot. I’m so pleased with his progress and it’s helping to teach me all over again the understanding of where lightness and connection with riding comes from ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

< Spirit doing well with his Liberty Ground Tying exercise.

 

Riding coming along well and another video lesson coming soon >

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 5th

Lovely online session with Spirit today in the newly set up agility area. I used a 22′ line and he did reply well on this length of rope, his circles were nicer in trot and also some nice canter on both reins which was great to see. He also did some good 1/2 circlesย  over poles, between tight squeezes of a barrel and the fence in trot and over a jump. He also did some nice sidepassing along a fenceline ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 6th

Continuing our NH journey Spirit is doing well with all the ground work and getting used to bitless riding now quite well, he’s certainly turning from my focus/outside leg and weight aids with more clarity now.

 

Tue 14th

Today Spirit and I did some long reining in some bitless bridles. I wanted to see how well he went in them and to see if he’d long rein ok. He did really well ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longreining in bitless bridles:

1) Transcend
2) Light Rider
3) Dr Cooks

 

 

 

Long reined really nicely, rode for a short time trying out the Transcend which has no moving parts and is an easy Sidecue type of bitless bridle ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Wed 15th

Another good play session with some Agility obstacles then riding in slightly bigger, different arena space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly getting more ‘engagement and first time for some canter circles.

Trying out the Transcend Double Bitless Bridle with Spirit, mostly using the Sidecue, upper reins today.

Then someย  more riding with just the rope halter/reins that he’s used to. To ride in a ‘bitless bridle’ needs great lightness of communication through good cues. The ones I use are ‘focus/breathing/seat weight/leg aids’ and he’s getting there but not enough connection to change from rope halter…yet ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Tue 21st

 

Doing so well with placing his feet on things like pedestals, tarps, mats and hula hoops. I extended that with asking for individual feet over and back with a pole ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really listening to my energy/breathing cues to draw and drive over the pole today.

 

 

 

 

Connecting but not bonding as I would like, I feel I’m training someone else’s horse and with that in mind and that he wants to GO and I want to HALT often I have put him up for sale to a genuine home so that I can help him find his forever home with someone that wants to ride him as fast as he wants to go and give him a job to do which he deserves.ย 

I am very sadย  but know this is the best thing for him.

 

 

RIding going better today.

 

 

 

 

Weds 22nd

After really thinking things through and searching my heart I have decided that Spirit should go to a home where he will be ridden out and used more. He really is a lovely boy but our ‘vibes’ don’t match and I realised that what I actually need is an easy-peasy no worries kinda horse that can plod out with Stormy and Mark on a happy hack as I’ve not done that for years and miss it a lot. So, with that decision made I have been searching for a lovely new owner for Spirit to take him further in his education and give him some fun things to do ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today a really nice lady called Gracey came to see/ride Spirit with a view to buying him. All went very well so am waiting to hear if she wants to take him on and work him on her farm and to do some XC and flat hunting with him in the Borders here in Scotland. If she does take him we will hopefully keep in touch and I’ll be able to go and see him when I visit the area when I travel with my teaching clinics. Very excited for Spirit, she looks a much nicer height and weight for him too ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit and Gracey

She easily rode bitless but also took on my instruction as to how I’ve been riding him really well.

 

Spirit did someย  niceย  trotting around the arenas, 20m circles and a lovely back up too.

 

 

 

Thurs 23rd

Today Gracey put a deposit on Spirit and he should be moving on 14th June. I am sad and will miss him but know in my heart that this is the right thing for HIM ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Tues 28th

Even though Spirit is in the process of moving homes I am continuing his ground work because it is good for him mentally, emotionally and physically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trot poles . Narrow gap . Back through gap . Trot over tarpaulin .ย Engaged circling . Jump .

 

 

Friday 14th June

Today wee Spirit went off to his new home with Gracey near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. I teach very close to where he is going so hopefully I’ll see him soon and every time I teach I will make some time to go and see how he’s getting along ๐Ÿ˜‰

We took Stormy to lead and escort Spirit to the road where we met up with the Gillies lorry. Both horses did very well, calm, listening and leading well. Here’s some pics of the walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Spirit – April 2019

April already and Spirit has been with us for 10 weeks now. His mane and tail are growing out and getting longer and he has really settled into our herd beautifully. His training has been coming along and he remembers it all when I’m often away teaching for me to come back and get back into it all without a hiccup which is great news.

 

Fri 5th

Local Equine Osteo ‘Emily Cuthill’ came by to give Spirit a check over today. I wanted to make sure he was ready to be ridden more and giving him a therapy session really helped. He was pretty good but some mild stiffness in his shoulders, sacrum, sacralilliac and diaphragm was worked on and sorted so that I have no worries about getting on with the ridden work now.ย 

 

Sat 7th

Today I decided to put the techniques Spirit and I have already learned to a purpose with some ‘game challenges’ with Mark and Stormy. It’s a lot of fun and helps us start to have longer conversations around the obstacles we use.ย 

Its lovely having Stormy showing Spirit how to do things, it was like he was showing off how clever he is… It also gives Spirit confidence to try everything.ย 

 

 

 

We also practised squaring up and siding to the mounting block which went very well ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 12th

Was away for a week teaching and was worried that Spirit and my relationship was going to suffer but as often happens the break was ok, he had time to rest and think and came into today’s session happy, relaxed and ready to play ๐Ÿ™‚

I decided to do some Agility tasks to again put the games to a real purpose and Spirit did SO well with them all… It was alot of fun and he’s really impressed me with his curiosity, calmness, willingness and connection. Here’s some pics from the session….

 

 

 

Foot in hoop

Trotting circles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk calmly over tarp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start of jumping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touch cone from a distance and then flapping flag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pedestals ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 13th

Mark just put together a fabulous ‘scratching post’ for the herd with a very long post in the ground and some great long brush heads on the sides and top…..today I spent some time familiarising the herd to this new fun piece of equipment and am hoping to see them using it soon ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

Familiarisation with Stormy and the scratching post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara and the scratching post, she likes a rump scratch so hoping she finds this useful ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit was the most curious about the scratch post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 14thย 

Today Mark and I went out to play with Storm and Spirit together in the Agility area. Working on our connection and putting our techniques to a purpose more and more it was a lot of fun. Stormy first worked with Mark online and then with me at liberty but he was constantly there whilst I was playing with Spirit which was lovely.

Spirit did well with:
1) Learn to take some trot energy and put in a jump with a half circle then take that jump half circle and make it a circle and then after that we tried our 2nd circle/jump/change of direction to go back to a circle and do the jump the other way ๐Ÿ™‚ impressed with his understanding of my body language and cues so quickly now.

2) Put just ONE foot on the medium sized tyre pedestal….he got this cue straight away.

3) Weaving through cones and understanding my body cues again so quickly….upright and towards him means forehand move/go away and slumped a bit and turn away means draw towards on the side/forehand towards ๐Ÿ™‚

4) Following behind me slowly through the labyrinth obstacle…he didn’t touch the poles once.

5) Trotting over the trot poles, firstly using a circle game which helped him get into gait easier and then with the half circle game which required him to go up into trot straight away to be able to trot the poles. He did the poles very nicely without touching them and also was stretching nicely with his legs and raising his withers and back more than before. Osteo did a good job ๐Ÿ˜‰

6) Going through the shelter/tunnel at liberty a few times without rushing it, facing it afterwards and also transitioning in it ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs 18th

Lovely weather today so out with the horses and Mark for some fun and filming next lesson with Spirit. We had a nice online training session first which had us practising some techniques and starting new ones. Here’s some pics…

 

 

Placing a foot on something has been learned well as now I can ask him to put his foot in/on most things.

 

Am slowly asking him to think about bringing 3-4 feet onto the big pedestal, he doesn’t understand this cue yet so I helped him learn it by placing a hind foot up on the ped with my hands ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

More circling, this time we’ve got it to 4 laps in trot on both sides and am slowly bringing in a change of direction (COD) to build for our fig 8’s.

 

I put this drain pipe up inside the tyres today to make it a slightly higher jump. He walked over it several times and then when we matched our energy he jumped it nicely ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

First time with focus/sidepassing, using the big deer fence along the field boundary helped a lot.

 

 

 

After a nice play which helped us connect through relaxation and the techniques for each game/task I saddled him and took him to a roundpen for some ridden work. We have started his bitless journey with a halt/lateral flexion (LF) and now I want to expand on that with some disengagement to lateral flexion (DHQ – LF) and some forehand move (FH) to DHQ and LF….this all builds to where I can move all four of his feet in all four directions (forward/back/left/right). He did SO well today, all the basics went well, we moved his forehand with our outside leg and direct rein, we moved his hindquarters with an inside leg and an indirect rein and his LF was light and easy, he’s stopping on a big breath out beautifully in walk and we also added his backup which was a bit sticky at first but his second time was so nice.

 

Mounting from the off side today…his idea.
Standing still whilst mounting and waiting to be asked to move off all in place nicely.

 

 

Walking is better this time after having the equine osteo out, no swishing of his tail and very positive walking off. Working on DHQ and FH moves with COD’s and circles using both forehand and hindquarter moves.

Standing still for dismounting too is fab ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Sun 21st

More practise sessions while the weather is being kind to us.

Familiarisation: the flag is a hard one, he is a bit worried by it by his sides and behind hips but okay at the front or standing on it so more work to be done with flapping things, tarps etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circles: He is doing very well with the amount of circuits he does, up to 4 in walk/trot now and I’m just starting to ask for a draw to finish as well as the disengage, the draw is to set up the Change of Direction (Cod) for more games later on such as fig 8’s. What I need to address soon is his high head/hollow back with the circles, I will first try the game on a longer, 22′, length rope and in our next lesson session I will be asking for leg yields off a circle which I hope will help him get his balance dynamics better for arcing the circles ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Riding: Did very well with squaring up and sidling to the mounting block today and a nice ride. We’re doing more bitless techniques (LF, DHQ, FH, BKup) but his right side is stiffer so we need lots of short sessions to try to unbrace his neck/mind with the DHQ (disengage hindquarters) but as he’s never done anything like this before it will take time and patience to help him get it.

I also put the sidling to the mounting block to a different use today to help him understand this more, I sat on the mounting block and he had to sidle over, both sides,ย  to help me take his saddle off. Always love putting a purpose to the games I teach to help them become more understandable ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 23rd

A bit windy today but out for a bitless riding practise session (this was 3 of 7 since videoing Lesson 6). Some things are moving on nicely, finding lightness with our forehand move (direct rein) and back up but a bit of brace with the hindquarter move (disengage/indirect rein) so we tried using a bitless bridle today as the reins work from the sides rather than underneath as with the rope halter but although regular moves still nice and light the DHQ is still stiff SO back to working slowly through it with the rope halter makes more sense and I know given the time he needs to understand it he will get it okay.

Pics of the four bridles I tried on him today…

 

The Transcend Double bitless bridle. Reins are just on the ‘sidecue’ part of it and the ‘curb’ is free at the moment in this pic,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dr Cook’s bitless bridle (or cross under as some call it). Have used this one regularly with last horse Sollyย  as it hugged him and made him feel safe, but it will be up to Spirit which one he prefers using.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Karen Rohlf Bitless Halter. A lovely bridle that was used by our old horse Holly, she loved this one as it allowed her face to be freer than the others and she stopped on a big breath out, we’ll see how well Spirit goes along as this and/or the Transcend will be the first ones I try as they are the least intrusive and rely on a good relationship connection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light Rider Bitless bridle from Cynthia Cooper in Australia. Nice that all these bridles fit him nicely, once we have a focus/seat/leg connection I will try each bridle out to see which he prefers ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here he is set up to do a bit of riding today. Karen Rohlf bitless halter with reins and rope halter with reins over the top so I can use/try both individually ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Riding with one set of reins and the other set knotted and secured to the saddle with a leather, poppered, strap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thus 25th

Good session with ground work today, started working on circling COD (change of direction) to get more communication with his direction and my body language ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Riding session 4 of 7 (from video lesson 6).
LF going well, finding some lightness but he’s still stiff to the right so just taking it slowly until he ‘gets it’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 28th

Session 5 of 7 (from video lesson 6).

Riding coming along now, we’re finding lightness now with the LF and DHQ on both sides now, allowing him the time to figure things out has really helped him learn and become confident with all the ridden changes. He is turning with the open/direct rein almost from my weight/outside leg aid and I’m only using a light rein if needed. The DHQ is light as long as I take the time to put my weight on the inside and inside leg on before the rein and we had our first trot today, just a few strides but a nice start to transitions. I will work on lowering his head/relaxation with our ground work more to help him do that when ridden ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 29th

 

 

I moved our Agility area from the corner of the field into the middle of the track today, mainly because the old agility area where the scratching post and shelter are has now become Tara’s paddock as she is getting older and needed separating from Spirit who was pushing her around a bit and she was tired and too old for that SO I moved some obstacles into an area where we can play with the boys without disturbing Tara. Spirit watched me doing it all but was still a bit ‘shocked’ to see the obstacles in that area so we went and played with them all to familiarise him to them again in the new environment ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

I then took him into the new 20×40 area I’ve sectioned off for an arena and played/rode him. This ridden session is #6 of 7 from the video lesson #6.

With our ground work I’m looking to help him lower his head/relax when in trot. He’s started to do it when going over poles and when he blows out and lowers his head I dhq/halt him and reward/praise to help him realise this is what I’m looking for. Pic on left shows him lowering his head over the pole, pic on right he has just blown out and lowered his head ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Ground tying is coming along nicely now too ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried a Light Rider rope halter/bridle with rein rings on the side to see if side rings made communication easier at this stage, it didn’t and he’s becoming light from the regular horsemanship rope halter so I’ll stick with that for now. We have plenty of time to see what suits him but for now the basic’s are important to learn for us to connect with our riding ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightness for LF on both the right and the left now ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

 

 

Spirit – February 2019

 

February has been very cold up here with lots of rain and wind so not much playing going on but when I can I’ve been doing little bits of practise with Spirit in the field at liberty, things like asking for backup before putting his feedย  bowl down, moving his hq’s around when he’s eating his hay, drawing him to me to get his apple treat and following me with transitions going to new hay piles. He’s slowly understanding things which is lovely to see.

When we finally get some sunny days they are glorious and the horses take time out to rest together.

 

 

Spirit almost hidden sleeping behind Stormy

 

 

 

 

Another afternoon the boys sleep standing up really close together

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit is always the first to look up with his cheeky face

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 10th

Today was a really lovely sunny day so I took Spirit for a little walk to catch up on some practise on the games we already know. He’s getting easier to connect with but it’s not a deep connection yet. Here’s how the games are going:

Familiarisation: very good with stick/string, rope over his back and today I took the rope around his rump and he did a ‘simple spin’ very nicely.

Feel: Moving his forehand and hindquarters over is getting lighter now and he is starting to step under himself more thereby stretching and flexing his pelvis and hips more. Backing him up off the halter is light and he understands the verbal cue much more now too. Right at the end of the session I tried out some sidepass off a hand cue at the girth and he took a second but got it pretty well on both sides.

Focus: Moving his forehand and hindquarters is very easy now, he will even change sides with the cue of my stick/string moving the energy by his shoulder when he’s behind me, he’s not worried by the stick/string and understands to move over in a calm manner……I think Stormy’s been teachingย  him well ๐Ÿ™‚ He is understanding more about giving me a half circle which is further away from my feet and waiting and going through gateways is really lovely now.

I’ve also asked him again about crossing the small stream on our walks out. Today he figured out that he could do a small jump across a narrow section (the stream is lower than ground level and almost invisible to see in some places), he has not figured out how to step down into the stream to cross it at the place I walk but that will come when he has confidence in me more, jumping it is always an easier choice as it keeps his feet safe.

 

 

He lowers his head to see if the stream is safe to cross….easier to jump than to walk down into it and up the other side at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit looks on the other side of the gap too, this is where he did a wee jump over it and then back again so successful river crossing today

 

 

 

 

To help with me asking Spirit to move into and over things we have a bit of fun with an icy puddle….back feet into it no problem

 

 

 

 

 

 

And front feet into it too after a small conversation about it

 

 

 

 

 

 

It always helps when there is grass to graze for a reward ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 11th

Another good day weather wise so out with Spirit after doing horsey chores. We walked further away from the paddocks and other horses today and we also spent quite a long time at the stream where eventually Spirit managed to not only jump a narrow bit with more confidence but also bravely went down into the stream and jumped out which is a big improvement of his confidence in me today. Hopefully over the next few days he will be able to just follow me down and out of the stream and then go into it on his own with a half circle game like I use for going through gateways. For today I’m very pleased with our progress to connect and communicate.

 

 

Testing the ground for going into the stream rather than jumping it

 

 

 

 

I spent a lot of time just standing and talking to him, walking in and out of the stream the way I wanted him to do it so he could see it was safe and then gently asking him to try walking into/out of it which he eventually did a couple of time but need it done more calmly next time.
We stopped on a good note and played games going back to the field

 

 

 

 

Spirit is really good at waiting for me to open both the paddock gates now on a voice cue before he moves through them on my request with a half circle squeeze and dhq’s halt to face me while I close theย gates safely behind us ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 13th

Well today was a bit hard….we had some sheep wandering around the track but the horses could only see the slightest part of their backs passing their top field AND WIND!!! Spirit was paying more attention to what Stormy was doing than with me so a trying training session.

I had taken him out of the field and did a nice bit of walking to the furthest gateway, around on the long grassy bit and wanted to ask him to try the stream again…so far so good, nice bit of walk out and new bit walkedย ย BUT Stormy decided this was the point the sheep were worrying and was moving Tara about…Spirit spotted it immediately and his head went right up (and that’s a long way up with a Friesian!!) and he got a ewe neck and was SOLID…I tried asking for his head down, for him to acknowledge me and release some tension but he was like a rock….eyes and all SO I asked him to take one step back, crossed the stream and then asked him to gently jump it so that we could go back to where he needed to be…by Stormy and Tara. PHEW…he pushed on me a LOT…not dangerous per se but enough to make me have to connect with his inside shoulder to ask it to move out of my space. The closer we got to S&T the more he realised he was being asked something by me!

Once back in the field I decided to keep working on some relaxation and concentration on me and what I was asking from him. Still a bit high headed and pushing a LOT into my space I stuck with it until he was softer and paying attention to ME. phew, worn out from the concentration myself! lol

I first started asking him to do a nice half circle over a pole, it brought up his pushy shoulder more so we worked on that a bit more, asking him to keep his neck more to the inside and not allowing him to take his head away thereby pushing his shoulder into me. I then asked him to take that half circle into a full circle keeping an eye on what his ‘shape’ was doing, was his head inside, was his shoulder away, was he far enough away from me, was he relaxing or tensing up, was his head high or getting lower?

I then asked him to concentrate on walking over the pole with just his front feet and backing off (draw & drive) which he did nicely so I could tell he was listening to me more.

The obstacle wasn’t the task really, the object was to use the games to help him learn to relax in a stressed situation, to listen to me, to trust me and to know what my ‘ground rules’ are.

My basic ground rules are:
1) Don’t run me over (don’t push into my space from the front or side)
2) Listen when I ask (so at least try if you can for me)
3) Keep an eye on me (keep your shoulder out of my space and circle with an arc in your body around me)
4) Learn to relax and listen when I’m talking to you (concentrate and connect)
5) Learn to trust me (this will take time and for me to keep working at his friendship/trust)ย 

Once he did the pole nicely I let him off and walked down the track moving the sheep out of the way, back to their field (there’s a hole in the stone wall!!). I then went back and caught Spirit and walked him up/down the track as far as he could go, when he stopped with head up I backed him up and approached a bit or turned his hq’s and walked back to the paddock gate, rested then re-approached. We got quite far and I praised him for his effort and popped him back in the field. I then took Tara out and showed the boys how it’s done, calmly, quietly and without hesitation, she and I went past the paddock and had some peaceful grazing, much to the boys annoyance! LOL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 16th

Really loving how the herd is coming together more and more

 

Tuesday 19th –ย Lesson 2 / day 2 of 7

Good session today, Spirit did all the new things we started on the weekend really nicely.

Familiarisation w/flag: not bad at allย 
Half circle over flag: not bad
Lateral Flexion: very good
Circles x 1 in walk: fair
Sidepass with the Feel game: bit sticky
Draw & Drive: getting so much better (and did them through gateway too which was a bit sticky but then he got itย ย )
Half circle through stream: fabulous
Walk out with transitions: pretty darn good (including walk through stream again, moving forehand and hindquarters with the focus game and also a wee jump over the stream too)

Spirit: Connection feels bit better, he’s trusting me moreย 
Me: Happy Bunnyย ย 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 20th

Out for a walk in a slightly different area today, played some games along the way for good measure but mostly just hanging out together while walking out. We also did had some play over a pole asking for halt near it, over it, two feet over it and halt and then backing up off it ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday 21st

2nd hoof trim today, it’s been a month already and although during Winter Spirit could go longer between trims I wanted to get him used to me doing it even more so monthly is good. He was very good at putting his foot on the hoof stand, standing still for me and just munching on his hay and we used some of his new games to move him about and reposition him regularly which was great. It’s good to show your horse that the games have a purpose ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Friday 22ndย 

Lovely little ‘tete a tete’ with Spirit this afternoon. I was busily poo picking the paddocks when he came over to be with me and asked me to rub his head, not once but he did it twice. Found out he LOVES his ears being scratched – inside and outย 

 

 

Sunday 24th –ย Lesson 2 / day 3 of 7

Have taken Spirit out for walks but this is the third proper session we’ve had of lesson 2 and it went really well. Added Familiarisation of the saddle into the mix too and he did all the games but just a little bit better.

Familiarisation: Flag – getting better, not too worried but not fully relaxed with it’s motion. Also familiarisation with the saddle AND asking him to stand still at a man made mounting block (big stone) .

Feel: Moving hq’s and fh full 360* nicely, stretching his hq’s more now. Sidepassing well both ways.

Focus: Half circles everywhere…even through the stream now. Circling 3-4 circles in walk now, having to pivot with him at moment as he tends to push his shoulder into my circle so once that is nicer I’ll ask him to do the circles on his own more and more…he did some nice trot circles too although I didn’t really ask him for those.

Draw and Drive is very good now, mostly on a very light phase and going back the full 12′ from me now….will start using the 22′ for more soon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Training Tips: “Keep the Partnership”

The Partnership between horse/human is delicate and like all good friends you have to take time to really listen to what each other has to say, this way you learn to truly have a conversation and each party of the partnership can learn to enjoy and trust their friend more and more.

In these pics I am having a conversation with Big Storm. There is absolutely no way I am going, nor want, to argue with my friend but I also want to help him to learn to listen and trust me in new situations more (or even situations he’s not recently familiar with).

The saying ‘take his idea, make it your idea, trust together’ is the one that goes around my head all the time when with my horses (also with my husband and friends!

 

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Stormy decided he needed to back off from something it was the noise of the stream going under the road at this point). I took his idea of going backwards and asked him to do it a wee bit faster than he was thereby making it MY idea and he relaxed and when I asked him to move forward he did so nicely.

I’d understood his point of view, took it, worked it and allowed him to change his mind and follow my idea .

 

 

Here I asked him to turn right, he wanted to turn left so I took his idea of going left and asked him to do it faster and a full circle thereby coming back to the starting point of my original request of going right which he did easily.

It’s almost a distraction technique by using their thoughts, allowing them to fulfil that thought and be free to take my request/thought more easily. With horses that have a strong will, which can also be a sense of worry, allowing them to have a say in the interaction you can dispel that worry about something (which would lead to a worry about you and your partnership/leadership).

 

 

The pics below show our 2nd ride from above and us going away from home and his herd mate Tara and we see a huge buzzard flying from post to post along a fence. I acknowledge what he has seen (pic 1) and then turn away from it to release any tension (pic 2). After a bit I turn him purposefully around using a hindquarter yield and go back towards where we turned the first time and the buzzard area and we go further this time and because we have more trust we manage to turn another way, over a stream and jump back all with relaxation, confidence and a good connection :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Training Tip Video’s: “Subtle Ridden Conversations”

The video below shows Solly and I having a very subtle conversation about body dynamics, energy, core strength, foot falls and flexion.

If you look closely you can see how all I do affects all Solly does. It’s a close, almost invisible dance of finding our inner most riding connection. Slowly, using this more, we will flow and dance more.ย We find our balance together and then we find our go and whoa buttons to make sure they’re working through my breathing. Soon we are finding our hips and shoulder connection and then my hands to his nose. Being able to talk to every part of his body allows me to find the softness within the strength of muscles in places I have in my thoughts. Being able to read his muscles too allows me to hear what he is saying back to me so that our dance gets more and more harmonious.

It takes a TON of focus from me so if I’m tired then I am pretty sure Solly is. We dance for short periods but as often as possible. Soon we will weave the dance tapestry to more harmony and fluidity.ย 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

 

Training Tip Video’s: “Turn on the Forehand”

HorseSavvy Teaching Cues are:
1) First teach (slow and steady to allow the horse to ‘get’ what you’re asking.
2) Reinforcing (not force BUT trying to attain lightness and politeness)
3) Refining (invisibility of cues…soft, light and connected)

By continually striving for Refinement of all we teach and learn we will end up with a soft, harmonious connection on the ground and riddenย 

Here Solly and I get better at refining a disengagment of the hindquarters into a turn on the forehand.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

 

Training Tips: “Consistency”

consistency

Being away or bad weather makes it hard to find CONSISTENCY with training yourself and your horse, I know that scenario all too well BUT consistency doesn’t necessarily mean working on something every day, it can also mean working on something in a consistent manner.

Being consistent with your cues, your energy, your focus and your feel of love is still consistent and if you practice that with your horse you will soon find he will give you consistent replies to the questions you ask.

Yesterday Solly and I, apart for 9 days through teaching and weather finally had some US time and this is what happened…..like we’d never been apart.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Training Tips: “Place a Foot”

The ability to place a foot of your horse is a great skill to have. It shows you can have an individual conversation with a foot and also that you and your horse are very well connected.

“You get to his mind when you talk to his feet and you get to his feet when you talk to his mind”

If we take that knowledge from ground work to ridden work it will advance our connect-ability to our horse, not only for refining tasks but for refining the way we have those conversations with our horse.

Place a foot 1

 

Place a foot 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working on placing feet today when riding through using direct or indirect reins at the right time for the horse. Being able to place a foot where you need it to be helps the horse balance up for what you’re asking him to do, it shows you’re partnering up with him for those tasks and that will really help keep the mental, emotional and physical connection to your horse…he will really notice that and be able to offer you more.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

Place a foot 5 Place a foot 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking to the individual feet of the horse is very important.

Can you ask for just one foot over a pole? Does your horse follow a feel off the rope and halter to know which foot you’re talking to?

Also the same when riding….Do you know which rein controls which foot….what a direct rein is? what an indirect rein is? what a support rein is? what a neck rein is? but more importantly do you know where your weight should be to make moving each foot easier for your horse so that you can partner up and have more harmony?

I love finding fun things to do with individual feet, it really gets into the horses mind.

* Shelley – HorseSavvy

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More foot placing fun going on ๐Ÿ™‚

Foot 2 Foot 3 Foot 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foot 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND EVEN MORE….

 

Foot 5 Foot 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Training Tips: “Loose Rein Riding”

Loose rein riding1

 

Loose rein riding really is empowering to the rider and the horse. I find it helps our balance and I love the feel of freedom it gives.

Working from walk, trot and then canter helps you find your inner connection through trust in each other and it feels amazing when all the dots start to connect with your horsemanship techniques and when you look left, turn your body left, put your right leg on and the horse turns beautifully to the left with you…now that IS the CONNECTION I just LOVE havingย 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy