The 5 Day Trainings: After seeing what a difference it was making for Mimi last time Trisha was here and she had several lessons in a row, Trisha suggested that she come for a week to just train horses, and then thought two weeks might be even better! We organised that a clinic followed each week of training which enabled the owners to learn from their horse what they had learned during the previous 5 days.
Personally I think it was a brilliant idea. Trisha found that the first time owners in particular were able to learn much faster because their horse already had a good idea what was being asked of them. Usually new comers have a harder time because neither they or their horse is sure what’s going on, so although confusion and experimentation are part of the learning process, it was interesting to see how much easier it was for both using this format. For those of us who had been before and were able to come to observe Trisha at work, it was a fantastic opportunity to see how to vary the work to suit the horse, weather and other variables at that moment. When to use static work, when to use S Walking and Drawing the Bow, 1 or 2 lining etc, what to be looking for in each session eg how well they can stretch and keep their head down, walk, trot and in transitions. And ideas for helping the horse to work out what was being asked of them. Where it was good to have a pause, when to keep moving.
Each owner had asked Trisha to address specific issues they had with their horse, so it was also a chance to learn some different approaches to picking up feet, grooming, haltering, standing still for mounting etc etc!
Trisha kept notes of what she had done with each horse in each session, and has sent copies of those to the owners with photos we took on Day 1, 3, & 5 of each week.* Of course with Mimi, Trisha came to suspect, as I do, that her extensive need for prolonged “processing” may be her way of filling in time just in case it might get too hard. But it was good to see that she was allowed to have that time, even if we were a bit sceptical. Trisha thinks that some of the difficult behaviour I’ve been getting from Mimi may be a learned response. She was using muscle testing to try and determine if any of the horses were sore, needed feet done, different food etc, and it was a relief to hear that neither Mimi or Will is sore, and for Will in particular that this work is good for him and will help him to heal. I’m looking forward to continue to progress with some of the things we needed help with.
Stewie did very well, participating full time in the first week, and then when Will was so tired in the second week, he did a half session for the last few days. We were quite impressed at how well he took to some things when asked to attempt them for the first time. He learned to trot on line in the first week (although Trisha says he’s very heavy still) and then took to trot poles as if he’d been doing them for years! Did not touch one the very first time he tried! We had Dana, Spencer Bear and Peppy with us the first week, then Clancy, Bradach and Sirooco joined the fun in the second, and Dana and Spencer Bear shared a lesson.
The Clinics: Sept – Myself, Tammy, Amy, Quita, Steve and Sherrin. We all went back to review some basics. I find it fascinating how each time I can learn more subtle nuances that seem to take the work to an even more fulfilling level. Although what we did wasn’t “new”, the way we approached it was, and I’ve been applying this new finesse every day, it makes me feel so much more deeply in tune with my horse. (Come to the Practice Day on Sat 10th November and I will attempt to share this enhanced way of Drawing the Bow and S Walking).
In the afternoon we visited that old, but very useful, exercise of feeling one hip at a time as someone leads your horse with you riding. But then we added the thigh, calf, foot, heel, thigh, in more a Feldenkrais style exploration. It’s such a wonderful way to really be in time with your horse’s feet and body movement. Then Trisha had us leaning forward with our hands approx half way up the neck, keeping sternum and sacrum parallel, and we felt the rhythm of the trot in thighs and calves, and how to follow it we needed to do sort of a double time with our legs, sadly called “Jelly Thighs”, and disconcertingly I did it very well!
Oct.– Myself, Tammy, Amy, Paula, Rosie (and Steve on Sunday pm)
This time I brought Mimi in for the mornings and groundwork and briefly in the afternoon, more to keep her happy- she really is keen to be doing something, but continued the riding work with Pan. I could feel how by keeping some of the focus on the Left-Right in the elbows as I was riding, as well as all the other body parts we had explored before, it helped me give a clearer signal and keep a better connection, which flowed smoothly. I don’t think my Jelly Thighs was quite as good, but it’s something to play with and perfect with practice. So many things to think about and remember!
Dana and Spencer Bear were still going strong, but we were mindful that for them it was the end of two weeks solid work. Clancy and Bradach
really seemed to be doing well too, and Rosie had a smile on her face on Sunday, which was great to see. Steve came and helped on Saturday and was able to bring Lofty on Sunday afternoon. (See photo below!)
At a training with Peggy they had a realisation that for nervous horses riding in a classic school/lesson formation is actually very reassuring for the horses. So Amy, Rosie and Paula had a chance to do some formation riding, turning in sync etc.
I knew I should have written this as it was all happening, there are so many details that I’ve left out. Sorry for the delay its taken to get my article posted! Any of the riders who attended please feel free to add any comments about your experiences.
Needless to say Trisha slept really well by the time she arrived home, as well as our two weeks she’d done a clinic at Myrtleford the previous weekend, and only been home from visiting Peggy Cummings in the USA about ten days before that!
The riders who attended these clinics didn’t want to wait until April or May for Trisha’s next visit and asked if she could come out in January. So we will try this format again. The first week of training and following clinic have been booked out, so Trisha is coming earlier for another clinic January 19 – 20th (4 places left).
If you are interested in having her train your horse for 5 days please contact me by 29th October and we can book another week of training too ( 14 – 18th Jan). I need another three or four horses for that to be viable.
* this was a learning experience in itself for me and the horses, I hope to include practice of standing square in lots of different places in our next Practice Day. ( Sat 10th Nov). Lining the horse up against a suitable background was also important so the photo wasn’t distorted. Doing both together proved quite challenging for most of the horses 🙂