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 🙂

 

 

< 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 circles  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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 😉

 

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 some  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 😉

 

 

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 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

I am very sad  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 😉

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 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 some  nice  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 🙂

 

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 . 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 😉

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

 

 

Picture Quote 7 – ‘To find lightness…’

7

The main aim of everything we do with our horses should be Relaxation and Lightness. To have so good a connection that our thoughts are our cues…how light and fabulous would that be.

This is why practising everything with consistency and always offering that LIGHT CUE is how the horse will get to see it and take it. If we forget to offer it how can he take it?

So, if  when riding we always use our focus (thought) first, then our energy and body cue (bring our life up and look where we want to go), then our weight aid and leg aid and only the rein when needed we’ll find that we start using our reins less and riding our horse becomes lighter and more intuitive.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Training Tips: Practice makes perfect

Storm and me practicing leading from behind123

 

The best tip I can give anyone doing anything is that ‘Practice makes Perfect’, that the hard work of learning something you’ve been taught well is to go over and over and over it until you get the muscle memory of it in your body and your mind.

It’s like when you learned to drive, or use a computer. To start with you were unsure and unused to what to do to make things work, how to start, stop, turn in the car, how to download, upload, find search engines, keep files for photographs BUT you learned one thing and did that for a while, then another question came up and you learned how to do that and did that for a while. Soon you were doing those first few things without thinking about it but you kept on asking questions and learning more about your car or computer until the first things were easy, light and you didn’t think about it and the new things integrated easier and faster.

It’s the same with Horsemanship. Learn your ABC’s, practice until you don’t have to think about it and then as questions about where you stand, what the horses feet should be doing, what kind of energy you need keep cropping up find out what you need, listen to your horses feedback and practice the right thing when you figure it out.

It’s the muscle memories of the practice that make everything happen when you need it to in circumstances such as in a lesson or in an emergency.  When you need to do something new in a lesson all the homework you’ve practiced doesn’t need your mind to think about it so practice opens up the door to progress. Progress for learning, for lightness, for relaxation, for ease of cues, for your thoughts being in tune with your horse, for everything you do with your horse.

SO, practice, practice, practice and if you are not sure you’re doing something right or you need more information to progress then have a lesson or watch the dvd and upload more data to your biggest muscle, your brain.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy