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Spanish mare freeschooling Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

I’ve been training with Pip for some months now and it is hard to convey just how wonderful it has been. I have learned so much in such a short time and have come to experience horses in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. I’ve decided I need to stop telling people I’m having ‘riding lessons’ because what Pip is actually teaching me is The Art of Horsemanship!

For my lesson this week I worked with Pizarra for the first time. She is a beautiful, grey Spanish mare and I was very much looking forward to seeing how we worked together. Having groomed her I led her up to the menage, took off her head collar and asked her to move away from me. Immediately it was clear that I had not been successful in conveying my leadership during our grooming session! She barely moved!!! After some coercion I managed to get her to trot lazily around the menage….to say she was not engaged with me would be the understatement of the year!

Pip had gone to get her jacket and when she came back she was not impressed! She told me that Pizarra was dragging her feet "and she never does that!" she said. So we stopped and Pip had a quick chat with me. She told me how Pizarra is the dominant mare in the herd and how she needs strong leadership so my energy would have to be at full volume. She then told me how to get Pizarra to engage her hindquarters with my body language.

I went back to the centre of the menage and took a moment. I found the most assertive energy I could muster, channeled my ‘inner Matador’ and off we went! What a transformation!! Pizarra was utterly magnificent! She was striding around the menage in full Bullfighting stance! It was hard to believe she was the same horse!

What I find most astounding in all of this is that the only difference between Pizarra being barely responsive and Pizarra working so beautifully was ME! My body language….My energy…..I didn’t have to ‘do’ anything to Pizarra, I simply had to change what I myself was doing. This transformation occurred without any physical contact, any tack or ‘aids’, simply energy and body language. This to me is the very essence of Pippsway.

Learning to work with horses using only energy, intention and body language means that when you want a horse to work with you, and you have taken away the control of using pressure or pain as a means of coercion, you have to be somebody a horse wants to be with! I’ve had to tackle ditching my ego, healing deep rooted feelings of worthlessness, building self confidence and so much more. I’m loving it! It is the biggest personal challenge I have set myself in a very long time….possibly ever. Learning to ‘speak horse’ is not easy…..It’s a whole new language and, when things are not going to plan, the solution always involves changing something within myself, not changing the horse. The horse changes in response to the change within me!

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