Beginning to understand


After several Freeschooling lessons I was beginning to understand that really connecting with a horse needs to happen on the ground first. Every single interaction, from entering the stable to leading the horse in the right way. It all matters.

I was feeling good about what I had achieved in my session with Amber and so when I came to my next lesson I was feeling quite confident in my abilities. It’s true to say that I was still stunned at how exhausting Freeschooling is! After just a short time I would be so tired physically and mentally! But I was happy with my progress and really thought I had my posture and focus in a good place.

I started schooling Amber and all was well. She was listening to me and following my cues. I had trouble getting her off the line to circle when I changed direction but soon remembered what Pip had said about my hips being underneath me and sure enough as soon as I corrected my posture she began to respond beautifully.

Next thing I knew Pip had led the other horses up to the grass beside the menage. I had an audience and as far as Amber was concerned they were far more interesting than I was! I lost her attention entirely. This little exercise highlighted all too clearly that it is all well and good having success in the most perfect of conditions. Achieving anything at all was nigh on impossible in my current circumstance.

Pip saw I was struggling and reminded me to focus. I took a deep breath, brought my attention back to the moment and got Amber’s attention. Having learned my lesson the week before, as soon as I successfully got her to circle the entire circumference of the menage in both directions and then stop on my cue I called it a day. By this point I was utterly exhausted and somewhat humbled. I wasn’t quite as effective as I had thought! I also realised that if I couldn’t maintain control from the ground when something like that happened I couldn’t expect to achieve it from the saddle!

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