Amber is beautiful pony that Pip rescued. She was bred for meat and found, with far too many other horses, in a barn protecting her newborn foal in a corner. She kicked any horse or person that came near. She has been with Pip for two years now and is slowly learning that she can trust people.
For my next lesson I was going to freeschool Amber. Pip explained that because she was unbroken and still pure wild, working with Amber would be different. Easier in fact as she would react more sensitively to my energy, intention and body language. Sure enough I was able to work with her really well.
When I came for another lesson Pip said “I thought we would freeschool Amber again’. I was a bit disappointed at first….surely soon I would actually get to ride? Then Pip explained that it was going to be a bit different. She had placed various objects around the school and once again I was to see what I could get Amber to do.
We went up to the menage and there were barrels, cones, trotting poles and a jump. There was also a tarpaulin on the floor with cones holding it in place. My first thought was ‘I want to get Amber to walk over the tarp!’. Nothing like setting myself a goal! It is important to point out that these obstacles were not around the edge of the menage. They were at various angles around the school.
We began and didn’t get off to a very good start. Try as I might I just couldn’t get Amber to do my bidding. I realised that perhaps I had set the bar too high and moved a couple of cones. Instead of trying to get her to walk over the tarp I decided to ask her to go in between the cones, as opposed to either side of them. They were off the line of the menage so it was still quite an ask. She did it! I was so excited but did wonder was it just a fluke. I asked her again. She went between the cones!
After that we were really on a roll. I asked her to walk between the barrels every which way, to come off the line and across the school over some trotting poles and she did it beautifully! Then came the big one…..I asked her to walk across the tarp. It took several attempts. First of all she sniffed it then she walked over the corner of it. Eventually she walked straight across it! I cheered and jumped in the air such was my delight. It’s hard to convey what an amazing feeling it was to have achieved the goal I had set. If I hadn’t been seeing it with my own eyes I would never have believed that you could get a horse to walk a certain way between barrels and over tarps just with energy, intention and body language. It was really something!
Instead of ending on that happy note I wanted to get her to walk over the tarp lengthways. I persisted for some time. We never did get there. I was getting very tired and in the end I had to ask for her to do some other things and call it a day when she acquiesced.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. When you set yourself a goal and achieve it call it a day!