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Who's leading who?

grey pony at Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

It would seem that Bronson and I are very similar, in that time off doesn’t agree with us much. Coming back to work, after his period of not being well and lame, has seen us both go backwards.

I’ve said before, there’s no way I would have taken on a horse of my own were it not under Pip’s watchful eye and I’m always so glad for both Bronson and myself that Pip is there to correct my mistakes. I can see how people could easily get in trouble with their horses because there is simply so very much to learn and there are so many variables. With me being a beginner and Bronson being a rehabilitation horse, we are never short of new things to discover and having Pip close by ensures that we have positive outcomes.

Today I had a lunging lesson. I had commented to Pip that Bronson was being heavier on the lunge line than usual; I had never lunged a horse before I came to Pippsway and Pip doesn’t do it in the way I had seen. Rather than just standing in the centre of a circle with the horse circling around, Pip lunges using the entire menage. Now, I would have sworn that when I lunge Bronson I have been in charge of where we are going. Imagine my surprise then when she pointed out that I was actually letting him lead me around.

To correct this, I was to maintain my line, walk three steps and then not move from my spot for that rotation, then take another three steps and so on. It was immediately clear that I had indeed been letting Bronson lead me about and Pip said it would also explain some of the other issues I’d been having on the ground with him not listening to me.

Again, it was wonderful to have Pip there to point out such a simple correction that would prove to be transformative in my relationship with Bronson. Pippsway is not a training method. It’s not about teaching our horses a routine or way of doing things. Pippsway is the language of the horse. Learning to understand his natural communication and also learning how to communicate with our horse in his own language, not some ‘method’ we want to train him in. Pippsway does not create robots, or shut horses down. It awakens the mind of both horse and rider, allows two way conversation, understanding and a genuine relationship of trust to flourish.

There is no question that learning this way of being with horses takes times and dedication. The principles are so very simple and yet they are not easy. Especially given that awareness is the currency of horsemanship and we live in a world that does not encourage us to have awareness. That said, what is possible between horse and rider when you are truly in communication with one another is a connection I had only dreamed of as a child. Once you have experienced what it is to be truly together as one with your horse no other path could be of interest.

I’m just so glad I found Pip and that I have this opportunity to learn the true art of classical natural horsemanship. It has changed my life in so many positive ways!

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