This has been a great young horse start clinic! Every horse and rider has come along very well and I feel that everyone is going to go home with a horse that they can work with, understand, and progress with. It has been a very enjoyable group and it has been a pleasure to work with all horses and riders. Each horse has had 16 lessons. Each horse has ridden out calmly, and has progressed well in steering, energy and backing. All the horses have remained kind, and open minded and still have a soft eye. We’ve covered float loading, ponying, picking up feet, finding balance in the reins, understanding energy and becoming confident in all gaits, riding out in the paddocks, riding in a group and solo, and riding through water. It’s been a superb 9 days!
Over the course of working with these horses, I have been trying to emphasise with everybody the importance of our horses being confident with and understanding the basic aids – go; flow; steer; and back. We should stay with these things until they become smooth and accurate before we add too many other ideas and aids to our horses. I have been very happy with everybody’s progress and it has been great to see the changes made in all the horses.
Lucky & Banjo have been yarded together so it was a good opportunity for Lucky to have a job. He did well ponying Banjo, enough so that we got Jackie up on Banjo whilst Lucky was in the yard to sit on and take a few steps. Jackie has been up on Banjo and has been walking him around since then with some general guidance, and then in the bigger round yard she has worked a little bit more on understanding energy from legs. He has been very quiet, and though he lacks a little bit of confidence and understanding he is a little bit wriggly. He is going okay but he hasn’t fully adjusted to the weight of a rider on and around him. I don’t try and make horses go fast until they are a little bit more comfortable and understanding of the energy cue and are more confident and free flowing in the walk. He is doing well though.
Lucky has been improving. He has been getting better at understanding the basic aids and not being so grumpy about them. But there is a still work on maintaining focus; he is the type of horse that feels he needs to be focusing on everything. He has been going quite well riding out; and Jackie has been doing a good job making changes and getting her confidence back on him.
Megan’s Clydesdale x Andalusian has been making good steady progress. He is very quiet to work with, but had a little trouble moving forward with the legs. We have been slowly building his confidence at maintaining gait in the walk before the trot; and doing a lot of transitions so that he understands that legs mean go. Today he finally felt ready to canter and we had a good opportunity. He found it reasonably well, though when it wasn’t his idea it he was a little bit sticky and showed he still had a bit of distaste for the legs. When he is focused, he is soft and free but when he looses his focus to the horses in the paddocks or yards, he shows a bit of resistance. All in all, he is improving well. Megan was able to walk and trot him when I rode out with her today, and felt quite safe.
The Haflinger mare, like the other horses, can go quite freely when it is her idea (or when you combine your idea with hers) and has nice smooth flow. Though when she lacks focus or gets a little bit stuck in direction, she also can be a bit reluctant to go. We have been working on understanding her transition to go through the legs and becoming softer in the reins – softness in back up and steering. Chrissie has been walking, trotting and riding her out and we managed to get her first canter today and Chrissie was also able to canter her outside. She has been coping quite well out and about.
On this Young Horse Start clinic I have been teaching everyone to understand that they don’t need to drive their horses; and how to produce energy without a disconnection. Now, 2 days in, we’ve working on getting a good understanding of feel; the horses feeling comfortable moving past and around us; as well as them finding comfort in their owners, and more confidence in being near and guided by their owners. Two have now been backed (ridden) at a walk. We’ve gone over long reining, understanding the different sides of the brain, and how to build confidence and balance. And worked through the rain!
The Clydesdale is getting more accurate in feel as he was a bit too focused and bendy. He needed to become more confident and accurate with being guided away and on the turns. He coped well being ridden yesterday. We worked on riding, steering and finding a back up under saddle.
Lucky is here for 8 days intensive work, so both of his owners can learn and understand more about him and help him in the future. We’ve brought him back to bare basics and worked on the quality of connection that he has with Jackie. He’s also had some ground work tasks of guidance with purpose. Under saddle we’ve been finding all the areas that he is not comfortable in and teaching him to understand them without tension.
The Haflinger seemed very stiff on one side but through encouraging her to search through her right eye, we started to build nice bend and flow. She is very quiet but I can see that she is still worried about things around her, she just deals with it in quite a passive way. So it’s been important to build up her confidence and understanding of each stage.
Banjo is our QH x ASH palomino gelding. We’ve spent the last 2 days getting him to lead forward with less brace as he was a little bit stuck in the lead. Being the most un-handled horse, Jackie had to work hard on positioning, understanding pressure and managing the rope. But she made some great progress and yesterday he went really well casting around her with some close guidance, looking soft and comfortable.