This is another seminar that has such a big application to our work that I’ve brought it through to Fast Track to make sure you don’t miss it. There’s three BIIIGGG concepts in here, so keep your eye out for them. Helping your horse to heal while you’re riding is one of them.
This video and the discussion we’ll have about it on the audio and on the forum, is about turning effectively, how NOT to disconnect from your horse physically while turning and another example of what I call OVER-RIDING – which disconnects us from our horse and confuses communication AND about a beautiful opportunity to help your horse to heal while you are riding.
This video was taken very early in Kristina’s stay with us, before she developed the kind of body awareness that she has now and before she healed her childhood arthritis.
Fast forward to 28 mins 30 seconds if you want to skip the individual work we did before this video lesson.
Our Own lesson
Then we had our own lesson on feeling that perfectly connected turn, finding the meet and melt place, releasing trying too hard and HOW we can heal our horse when we’re riding.
I think our chat this morning was so excellent, with such a wide range of issues that we talked about, that I have specially made it available on recording this month. 🙂
If you can’t play the media player, click here for another listening option Live Sem March 2017 chatting before the recording
You’ll find the video that we’re watching in this lesson, further down the page.
Click here to go to the forum for more chat and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with your own horse with the lesson.
And here’s that link for Trish’s get fit for horse riders aquatics program
I have a happy / sad announcement to make. I retired Bobby this week.
At the very moment that I realized that Bobby’s back at rising 25 years old couldn’t cope with my “on again / off again” training regime (even though I have been very careful to build his back up slowly each time) – at the VERY moment that I realized that Bobby needed to retire – Rapunzel stepped up to be my new partner – literally stepped up to the mounting block.
So my tears of sadness that yesterday was the last time I would sit on this amazing, forgiving, open hearted and courageous being that Bobby is – and the tears of happiness at the beautiful first real ride together that Rapunzel and I have had, were all kind of tangled up together. I found myself crying buckets on and off for days – the end of an era.
I am filled with a huge amount of appreciation for everything that Bobby has brought to me and to all of us too. It sounds mawkish though to go on and on and Bobby wouldn’t appreciate that. Lightness of spirit is the order of the day – he’s not dead yet and it feels like he still has a LOT to say. Perhaps he’ll step into the active teaching role that he had way back at the beginning of me doing clinics. I’ll keep my eye out for that. 🙂
16/3/17 First real ride together after doing a small amount of getting happy with the saddle (which she has never worn before and she hasn’t had a saddle on in err… at least 7 years, only a bareback pad) – we had a stunningly beautiful connection that made me happy cry.
My first ask for sidepass back to the mounting block she shook her head sternly. Hmmm… I brought myself more Present and sat and thought for a few seconds – then just opened MY ribs to the left, sitting fractionally on the right seat bone and whoosh … she sidepassed back to the mounting block. OMG she is sensitive and responsive!
20/3/17. Hmmm I had assumed that incredible softness and connection would be there all the time. Derr… only if it IS! lol!
Had to go back to the mounting block and change the leather halter I was riding in, back to the rope halter she was used to. I found myself too tense and far too much in the Not Too Sure Zone.
Rapunzel is a down hill horse in her conformation, but OMG when she sits back on her butt (which she does in her Comfort Zone) , she moves like a cat and isn’t downhill at all. So… even though she is a Caretaker Horse, there is a tendency to move faster and faster if she’s on the forehand out of her Comfort Zone – interesting combination. 🙂
After the halter change, we did some lovely work together doing a combination of a kind of grazing game with a pile of hay and riding a small pattern away from that – using the pull between the hands power position to lift her head up from the hay. Jeez I’m glad I knew that technique – there was a bit of a head shake and an “I don’t think so” from her when I asked her to move away from the hay. I’d better do a bit more of that kind of thing on the ground too methinks!
22/3/17 Beautiful ride again. A tiny bit of happy saddle before I mounted up. Quite a bit of manoeuvring around the mounting block in a communicative way until we had a happy, comfort zone with me standing on the mounting block.
I had the realization that most riders would think “hey Jen knows what she’s doing when she’s riding a horse and Rapunzel knows what she’s doing being ridden – she’s been well trained by both Cat and Michelle, so they should just get together and ride.”
Oh no it doesn’t work like that with me anyway! We have a whole new level of communication to work out together. We need to notice and Feel each other’s way of connecting, discover our strengths and our weaknesses and generously fill in for each other with those. This is definitely a slow down to go faster situation!
So today was spent in the hay shed yard, with the gate open ready to go out into the paddock, but we didn’t get that far. Just meeting and melting on the turns on the forehand today – OMG that just felt divine. Whooooshhh – the feel of feet just flowing into the movement.
Just imagine the possibilities of building on that to a pirouette – just putting it out there I would like to ride a pirouette one day… 🙂
Feeling my way into stops, because what I was doing was NOT working! 🙂 Drawn to widen my hands and soften my back as the first signal to start slowing down – exploring how to communicate a stop without me bracing and Rapunzel bracing too??? In the end I used the old square hay bale to walk her into, to help communicate the idea. This is the “take advantage of what’s here” JP version of “ride the horse into the wall”.
Have you ever come across that technique? It’s often used by reining riders to get “good” slide stops, although I question calling them good. 🙂 They gallop towards the wall and ask for a stop with only enough room left for a REALLY fast stop.
In OUR case we were walking sedately and I asked her to stop when we were a long way away from the hay bale and when the stop didn’t happen, I used the hay bale for her to HAVE to stop and then appreciated the stop, to help her get the idea that my previous signal meant stop.
Rapunzel improved her stop but was still a bit braced because I was bracing. It’s very important to my Comfort Zone to stop when I want to, so I think that’s what was bringing the brace in!
Gorgeous back-up from a halt – completely diagonal, even legs flowing backwards whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. (Did you know if the back up isn’t in soft legged diagonal pairs, it’s not really a back-up but merely moving backwards?)
Maybe if I just work on the back up, the stop will improve by itself? because stop is what happens on the way to a back up. 🙂
Heaven on four legs, bless her!
Wanted to take her out to the paddock to do some grazing game, because it doesn’t feel like she’s lifted up enough in the back, although her conformation is different and she’s not going to feel the same as Bobby. She looks and feels good every time I ride and after I get off her muscles feel great. Grazing Game will stretch her over the back while I’m on and help develop some Comfort Zone on a different horse for me too.
Well THAT was a great idea, but actually getting out the gate in our Comfort Zone was a bit of a problem. First of all it’s my leg position that has her trotting off before she or I are ready – because she’s so sensitive I expect, she’s always been ridden with legs off her sides. Sorry sweetie that’s non-negotiable – I NEED that riding position for a great riding seat! And after all, my legs are only resting there not gripping. So I just have to ask for a walk every time she trots. There’s some exercises that we can do later to help that.
Because we don’t have our stop and back-up communication happening well enough, I found myself tensing my jaw and my lower back when she wasn’t stopping on an instant ask and then of course she was bracing for a stop too. I found that lifting my hands higher and wider as I pushed them forwards, stopped that bracing in me and after a few goes, her stop was stupendously beautiful and flowing into a whoooshhh backup. There was no brace in my body and no brace in hers and we’ll clean up my hand position later when the stop is being communicated on smaller signals.
A major woohoo! ride again…