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Rider error...

Close up of horse's eye Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Before I came to Pippsway I didn’t appreciate how often we are responsible for the behaviour in our horses that we find undesirable. Having been in training with Pip for over a year now, and also knowing how able Bronson is when she is working with him, I accept that if our session isn’t going well then it’s most likely down to me and something I am or am not doing!

I’ve been focusing on practising my riding position, being in charge at all times during our session (which requires a tremendous amount of focus and will be a work in progress for some time to come!) and making sure that Bronson is going into the corners; as in the past we’ve been lunging and riding in squares! We set off at a good pace but in no time at all it was clear that we were missing the corners by a mile. In trying to correct this, all I ended up achieving was Bronson going faster and faster around the menage and certainly no deeper into the corners! Eventually having accepted that I couldn’t fix it I called down to Pip. She came up and asked me what was happening.

When I explained, she said to me that clearly my intention wasn’t strong enough. So often I am asking Bronson for more forward motion so he was trying to do as I was asking, but my ask wasn’t clear enough. So we set off again and this time I had a very clear picture in my mind of what I was asking for. As if by magic Bronson went deep into the corner, so deep in fact that I was shocked a horse of his size could manage it with such ease! That’s the thing about Pippsway, it does feel like magic! Pip has always taught me that if something feels difficult then I’m not doing it correctly and it always proves to be true. What can be difficult of course is maintaining the requisite level of focus required for that to be the case, but I’ve improved so much over the last year that I know it will come. For the rest of our session Bronson went into the corners beautifully. So as usual it was rider error!

I came down from the menage just as one of Pip’s other clients was having a similar experience. She had been for a lesson and was loading her horse back into the trailer. Having attached him to the bungee inside she then walked back through the trailer to come out and shut the back door. Next thing we knew her horse had broken his bungee and walked backwards out of the trailer. When I asked Pip what had happened she said it was the very simple matter of the horse thinking that he was still meant to follow because he had not been given a clear instruction to stay in the lorry. He was simply following his owner as he thought he should. Their lesson had been about leading and following and he was very strongly connected to her. He loaded again no problem, his owner instructed him to stay in the lorry and she came out the front door and walked around to shut the back door. They set off for home very happily.

This is why I am so passionate about Pippsway and spreading Pip’s teaching. If Pip hadn’t been there today to explain to us where we were going wrong, we would have thought our horses were being naughty or at best been confused by their behaviour. As it was both of us were able to resolve our issues quickly and easily with Pip acting as the interpreter for our horses. Most importantly, because Pip always explains what is required and why, we are better placed in future to figure things out for ourselves. That is always Pip’s goal, to empower us to be able to understand our horses.

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