Day 1 – Today Was A Big Day!
After making a list of problems and goals, the riders went to get their horses and I watched them play on the ground and then ride. Everyone was nice and ready to take things to the next level!
In the afternoon, I divided the group in two so I could watch each one more carefully which also works great for half the group to watch – it’s a more complete learning experience because you can learn in two different ways.
All problems can be traced to one or more of the Seven Games, so that’s what we did, but in a creative way! We went through each game and I asked them to think of as many ways as they could to play them… and then to decide which of the Seven Games was the most challenging and which was the easiest. They were different for each, as you can imagine, and my goal is to get people to start thinking more categorically to diagnose and solve problems, and then to advance their training.
I also threw in a few challenges to begin more advanced communication, such as Yo-Yo’s along the Wall, Backwards Circles, and Roll Backs!
Looking forward to how everyone wakes up for Day 2, ready for the next steps.
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Day 2… Everyone is doing SUPER!
On Day 2 we focused on riding the Seven Games in the morning, and then had an On Line Canter Workshop, and a Trailerpalooza!
For the Seven Games, the idea was the same as the day before on the ground: go through each game and think of as many ways to play it as possible. We again added backwards circles (Circling Game) and roll backs (Squeeze Game). And then, which was their best and which their weakest game? This will really help you improve your horsemanship, leadership, and your communication skills.
In the afternoon we focused on two big subjects: Cantering on a 22-foot Line, and Trailer Not-Loading! Haha 😉 In the end, we did load, but the whole idea was to do everything you can think of without actually loading the horse in the trailer. Helps so much to not be direct-line, and to get both horses and humans calm. Well, they got creative and figured out how to get seven horses ‘on’ a trailer!
The Cantering workshop is all about getting your horse calm, connected, and responsive… and maintaining gait in the canter on a 22-foot Line. By staying passively persistent in the proper position and reminding your horse “You should be cantering!” rather than ‘re-sending’ when he breaks gait. Everyone got huge results! The better your horse canters On Line, the better prepared the two of you will be to canter together.
I’m sure everyone slept well after today. Me too!
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Today was pretty intense because we really focused on the responsibility of the rider – position, stability, fluidity. It’s always fun doing simulations that reveal how much we allow our horses to push us around, not just on the ground, but when riding as well. Every time the horse can rock our body around, disturb our balance, we lose leadership points and it also affects our safety in the saddle.
After stability simulations on the ground and on my trusty old simulator “Steady Eddy,” the groups took turns riding and experimenting with what they’d learned. One by one, they came by for some specific poking, twisting, and repeated lines like “Keep your dots together!” “Keep the rhythm!” “Turn all your Headlights TOGETHER!” I was really impressed with the progress made by all, especially how much calmer and confident several of the more challenging and emotional horses were.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Steenwijck, so we were all outside and the gallery languished on the verandah!
Tomorrow it’s on to Day 4…