I’ll bet you’ve seen them – horses who are dead in the eye, kind of glassy looking. There’s nobody home anymore – what’s there is down deep. Seeing a horse who has had to retreat from reality just to stay sane – seeing ANYONE who has had to retreat from reality to stay sane – is one of the saddest sights in the world.
Let’s call a spade a spade. I don’t like to make people wrong, God knows I’ve stuffed up often enough myself in the past – but facts are facts.
When you see a horse with dead eyes, they’ve been bullied – probably by a very skilled trainer who could make them do whatever they wanted them to do. And what you’re seeing is trauma – systematic trauma that was most likely caused by that training. And the dead eyes tell us that the horse has had to retreat from reality in order to cope with that trauma.
But THIS story is a celebration of a horse who was brought back to joyful life.
A dressage horse who wouldn’t go forward properly any more.
Tracey so wanted to be in the clinic with me that she organized a week off just in case – and when there was a drop out, she came with her NEW horse Sassy.
Sassy is a Warmblood who had been taken to medium level dressage by the time she was 6 years old and had completely shut down with work that for her was too high pressured. This happens way too often with Warmbloods, where there can be a lot of money involved at turning them out for sale with a lot of “training” and “experience.”
Sassy had gone dead in the eye and she wasn’t moving forward properly any more. She was becoming less and less responsive in all kinds of circumstances. Tracey was a good rider but this new horse was so different from her previous experience that she was searching for a different solution.
One of the joyful highlights of this week in New Zealand was watching and feeling Sassy burst into joyous play with Tracey. It puts a different perspective on that bucking horse picture now doesn’t it? I captured the moment she let loose in sheer joy.
As Tracey said, her job now is to take that joy into the saddle work and use the energy of that play and joy for her riding. Wow, what a beautiful journey they have started on.
So how did Tracey make that breakthrough?
She learned to communicate with her horse on a different and much deeper level and acted on that communication to take the pressure off and to eliminate confusion and anxiety. Tracey reached out and Sassy responded to that deep listening and came out of her shell.
If you same into this article through googling “horse won’t go forwards” and all you want is to get your horse moving forwards again and then go on with the same old same old way of doing things, then I doubt we’re right for you.
If you’re ready for something different, something gentle and effective and deeply bonding with you and your horse as you solve the problem, if you’re prepared to really listen to your horse and communicate on a whole new level, then Fast Track to Brilliant Riding will show you the way.
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