It was only a small group this month. Since last time we mainly did Connected Riding this time the emphasis was on TTEAM.
I brought my youngster, Will, in to be the horse to look at for assessment. He’s managed to injure himself while away being started (through no fault of the trainer, it possibly happened in the float on the long trip over there), and came home early because he wasn’t doing well. Everyone was quite shocked but also intrigued because they’d seen him last month, and it is such a weird looking injury, but he was actually starting to look a little better. Will was quite interested to be back in his familiar arena and seemed to enjoy being the centre of attention and doing the obstacle course that was out.
We then practiced on each other doing the Homing Pigeon position. This looks simple but its such a challenge to keep in front of the horse and not to either get left behind or too close together. I felt it was important for everyone to have a turn at being the horse and feeling how – when the leaders get behind- you just wanted to barge forward and let them “waterski” behind you. Also how inviting and “comforting” as Steve put it, it is to have the people in front. And how if they were too close to each other that it actually started to block the horse. After everyone had a turn we started working in pairs with the real horses. With Steve’s more volatile horses (and I seem to be missing my green TTEAM lead -anyone seen it?) we used the unfixed rope through the halter side ring, holding it asymmetrically, short end towards the back. This enables the second leader to let go of the horse and pull the rope through from the front without flicking the horse in the face if anything goes “pear-shaped”.
Simone and Barb worked first with Jess and then Sirocco. Steve and I took Skye, then his Smudge and then my Mimi through the Playground for Higher Learning. (I had planned to use young Stewie for this, but Mimi cantered up first and was gently headbutting me to put the halter on “Quick, before the others get here!” 🙂 ) I find it fascinating how this gentle stop/start/slowly build up the complexitiy of the obstacles seems to intrigue the horses’ interest and how they quickly settle and start to take an interest in what we are doing together.
Jenny popped in and I asked if she could share the “Soft Eyes – Mental Meet and Melt” that she has evolved, I’ve been finding it a really valuable asset to have while working with my horses. Kindly she agreed and as she needed some film footage for the on-line course she is doing we became models of the postural work in a chair. For her initial lesson she’s used the footage of Barb and I, the footage of Steve had too much wind noise, but she is hoping to use it for a future lesson with voice over. The wind was bitterly cold, not too bad in the sun, but when the clouds came past brrrr!
After lunch I brought Pan in and we all rode, such bliss. Jenny was still filming and commented “The atmosphere in here is just Magic!” and it was.
Barb had a new saddle she was trying on Jess, and both seemed really happy. Steve rode Skye and then Smudge (which I think is the first time I’ve seen him ridden). Simone appeared to be enjoying her ride on Sirocco. We even went out on the drive and as Barb had to leave early we trotted behind her float as it was leaving to help Pan with his work we have been doing getting used to traffic.
I’ll add some photos later, time to go feed horses. Sue