Spartaca is one of Pip’s ‘babies’....she is a stunning 4 year old mare that Pip bred from her stallion Pifado and mare Zarca. She has had the privilege of a natural conception and spending her early months in a field with her Dam and Sire. She was also weaned naturally and has only ever known ‘Pippsway’ of horsemanship. Suffice to say this fabulous start in life has set her up well. She is so confident and robust. She is intelligent and willing and the bond between her and Pip is really something. Pip lunged her with a saddle and bridle for the first time the other day, stirrups loose at her sides, and she took it all in her stride…..because they have genuine trust.
Having spent some time working on freeschooling I asked Pip if I could spend some more time on ‘close work’. Grooming, catching horses from the field, leading and so forth. This may seem odd as I’ve owned my own horse before and groomed endless horses but of course I have never done these things ‘Pippsway’. Once you appreciate that every interaction with your horse is a conversation it follows that, of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to do each of these things.
When I first started freeschooling it was something I had never done before so I had no expectation of myself or my horse. I learned the hard way the other day that I need to apply this same mentality to all aspects of horsemanship as I am in fact learning from scratch! Bearing in mind that I am not talking merely about the brushing of the horse but also being aware of my body language, the horses body language and both our energies.
Knowing my soft spot for Spartaca, Pip let me groom her. Suffice to say Spartaca took my measure and decided that, of the two of us, she was definitely the more confident and therefore should be in charge! Instead of accepting that this was the first time I had groomed a horse Pippsway and that Spartaca is indeed particularly confident, I found myself wanting. My expectation, having groomed horses before, was that I should be able to do it perfectly straight away. As you will know by now, if you’ve been following my blog, once we fall into these negative states it’s game over with our horses….they will not follow an unbalanced leader.
So instead I need to approach my close work with the same mindset I applied to freeschooling and not worry. I will get there! I dream of having a horse like Spartaca one day...She is spectacular and I love her energy. It’s true to say that whilst being around her highlighted my lack of self confidence she is the kind of horse I wish to work with so I know that is something I really need to work on. With that in mind I’ve decided to put any ideas of buying a horse on hold for now and instead pour all my energy into learning the Art of Horsemanship from Pip. It has become clear to me that before I am ready to start building a relationship with my horse I have much to learn!