Once you have a good connection with your horse can you try connecting in different ways?
Why not try sitting down the whole session or standing up on something (stay safe or at liberty for this one) or get longer and longer ropes for distance work. If you are only used to using a 12′ line then try a 22′ one and if you use a 22′ line then maybe try finding a longer one. I know that once my own connection got better on longer ropes my Liberty work was better too.
Testing things is a great way to bring in variety to your play sessions and a great imagination is good too.
Having a great connection with Mr Solly has been something we have worked on for a long time, it wasn’t always easy, it wasn’t always smooth and it wasn’t overnight.
The connection we have through that training has brought us trust, lightness, focus, flexibility, harmony and confidence together.
We use all the training we have together daily without even thinking about it, it is now a good muscle memory for us both (brain and body), safety through gateways, confidence and relaxation with ground work, liberty, agilty, riding and much more.
In this blog category I am going to go through the steps of how I approach, retreat and re-approach with a sceptical horse into an unfamiliar environment. I call this ‘going out of our Comfort Zone’ and by doing that carefully we can retreat back into our normal safe haven and re-approach the scary place as often as we need to until it then becomes a part of our now bigger comfort zone.
I hope to show how I help my horse find relaxation and thereby confidence when we go to a place he, or I, am worried about. Everything will be done through ground work first, then a combo of ground and ridden work and hopefully more and more ridden work to show the progression of opening up our comfort zone.
Today was our first day and we worked on getting back our ‘ground work connection’ – which we had lost a bit because of me being away and not training for a while – through moving feet, mentally and physically being in the moment and trying to become harmonious in our movements together. Here is the video of the ground work.
What did I learn from this session?
Well, our connection was not bad at all really. he was pretty willing but his impulsion was low and he tried to avoid doing some things by putting in his own ‘fun bow’ move which he often uses to try to distract me from asking him to move more. Funnily enough the riding session that I didn’t manage to film due to the camera battery running low, was similar!! funny that!
What will I try in the next session?
From this first session I will now use consistency to do the same training techniques in the same area 3-7 times in a row. Each time, if all goes well, I will progress in some way, either by extending the CZ area a bit or upping the energy levels or working for a longer time….whatever it is will depend on how the horse OR I am feeling can be extended at that time. If things are a bit sticky or unconfident then I will do what I did the day before and always end on a good note. I take each day as a new opportunity to progress and prepare myself for that but I am not going to progress out of our CZ if things aren’t going well. On that note, if I feel unconfident with the riding side I may press through with gaining more CZ progress with ground work to at least not stagnate.