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Where do I stand?

Riding on the Quantocks with Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Since arriving at Pippsway, I have learned time and time again how every single thing we do with our horse, and how we do it, matters enormously. I’ve been making a concerted effort to ensure my focus is always on Bronson, from the moment I go into his field. This has resulted in great improvements, so I was perplexed as to why putting his bridle on was becoming a bit of an issue. Far from improving over time, it seemed to be getting worse.

I was starting to think there must be something wrong and began imagining all sorts of explanations. Maybe he didn’t want to be ridden, or had toothache or something? Given that he was fine when he was being ridden and Pip wasn’t having any problems on the days she was riding him, this didn’t make any sense at all! But you know how your mind can create! I mentioned it to Pip and she said his teeth were fine so she’d come and have a look to see what was going on.

I began putting his bridle on and he did this lovely wonky giraffe impression and Pip immediately spotted the problem. “You’re standing right under his neck which means you’re putting yourself into a submissive position. He’s lifting his head and then bringing it round into your space to dominate you. You should be standing to the side.” The relief I felt was enormous! This was not some big issue, but merely a situation of my own making because I have been consistently standing in the wrong place. I do love an easy fix!

Pip proceeded to stand next to Bronson, in the right place, and put his bridle on with ease. She also showed me a way to hold the bridle so that if he did try to invade my space, which he very well might given I’ve been causing him to do exactly that, I can ensure he isn’t able to succeed.

Having Pip there to solve problems with such ease is a gift. Every time I come to the yard I learn something new, usually many things! So the lesson from today was that where you stand with your horse will have a lot to do with where you stand when you’re with your horse!!!

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