Thursday, 11 June 2015

Day 162: There are straightforward horses and there are horses that teach you...

Emma and Shabby at his unusual moment of relaxation. Something is definitely changing in this little horse but a long way still to go. 

So many things can change for the better in a horse. It's incredible how trainable they are in a relatively short period of time.
How much you can condition them both to perform desirable and undesirable actions. It's so easy to think how clever we are to teach them this and that. The thing is, that might not be the case at all. Perhaps it's them who learn how to learn...

How to survive in situations where plenty of odd stimuli is thrown at them sprinkled with pointless (to them) demands. As I watch Shabby in our session today I am amazed at how much some of the things we are trying to teach him seemed to have resonated with him. How well he takes to the challenges that 10 days ago were impossible. Yet, some aspects of his training are still very much undone.
And we can't tip toe around them or pretend they are not there. It's hard to peel that onion because you have to go back and back and back to the very foundations of training that got missed out or were simply different for different demands.
Explaining to a horse whose flight instincts were once his best asset and made him run fast that now this is no longer needed and redundant isn't easy. It can be logically trained though, it just takes repetition and time. Horses like Shabby are like a time machine. You look at them and you can see where you need to do better with another horse to prevent anxiety and stress.

He is a trier and wants to do the job but it costs him a lot of nerves. What I learn from Shabby is to never, ever compromise on relaxation/calmness when training any horse from scratch. When training anything new, no matter how basic [it seems to us].

It might be boring, it might be time consuming, it might seem pointless but damn it's so much harder later on.

What I learn from Shabby is that horses are very good at telling us what needs training and that it's up to us to learn to see/listen and act upon it.
That's why, when all other horses and riders come for the lessons the first thing I look for is how calm and how confident they are. Do they really understand what is demanded from them.

Some things seem so obvious yet need constant review and reminder or they get skipped on and brushed over.
I am currently very curious about this young mare... Rising four and with some top dressage blood in her veins she is a raw material that can go either way...It's fascinating to watch these youngsters develop and I am very much looking forward to seeing her and her rider next week.

Now, it's time to catch some rest!
Wx

NO DOGS WERE HARMED DURING THE ABOVE PICTURED EXERCISE ;) 


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