Meet Celeste, a 10 year old Warmblood mare.
Celeste has had a big history to date, and now struggles to move in a balanced, relaxed, confident manner.
After one session with Celeste and her owner Kim, the mare has transformed.
Can you spot how she has transformed?
I know it may be a bit hard to gather everything from the pictures as to what has changed so here is a few of the major things:
- Her body has gone from pinched and hard looking to soft and plump looking.
- Her eyes have changed from hard and wary to soft and connected.
- Her body has lengthened and opened instead of tight and held.
- Her muscles are relaxed and full.
- Her back has relaxed.
This has been achieved by applying some fundamental horsemanship principles, namely:
- Claiming personal space, and in turn, being mindful of the horse’s too.
- Setting up the ground rules, or boundaries, so the horse is polite instead of pushy around you. In other words great manners!
- Once these two fundamentals are in place which may only take a few minutes like it did with Celeste, or it may take days or weeks to instil, then and only then can you proceed to some training. Trying to train a horse that is pushy, in your face and disrespectful will never work.
- Attention. In order for your horse to learn, your horse must be able to listen. For a horse to listen it must be paying attention! With Celeste this is a biggie, as she is very disinterested and views humans with disdain. Again it may take a couple of minutes or days to set this up. Fortunately with Celeste she was willing very quickly.
- Self sustaining forward. Once the horse is listening, can the horse go forward circling around you (longeing) without having to be nagged or micro managed? Can the horse go out onto the circle and maintain a nice working pace without constant supervision? Well for Celeste this is another challenge. I showed her the way by promising to never nag her or manage her. Instead, offering my help and support when she was unsure or if she did make a mistake, I would correct her without criticism. As a result of my promise she was very soon going under her own steam!
Now here is the juice. For Celeste to be able to get to going under her own steam, after we put in place all the other steps mentioned above was an absolute revelation for her. I wish you could have seen how pleased she was with herself in the moment! All we have is what it created in her body in the picture. She let herself relax – mind and body. In doing so she felt good, and this is what was the revelation – how GOOD she could feel while moving…
AND… how inspired it made her feel, because she did it herself, and she loved the sense of accomplishment.
Celeste was worried all the time. Resulting in pushy, dominant behaviour. She couldn’t relax because she couldn’t balance, leaning on Kim, the lead, or the rein for support, choosing to go slower rather than faster so she could stay as balanced as possible. Relying on Kim to tell her what to do every step of the way, which meant Kim having to do a lot all the time to maintain the pace. Exhausting for Kim and disconnecting for Celeste.
In one session, this has all changed. Now she is ready to do some training!
If you are looking to change the way things are with your horse, because you want to have a relaxed, calm, responsive horse that moves in balance using correct biomechanics. Join my Private Coaching group where you will receive personal, one on one help with your Foundation Horsemanship. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org