Having had a couple of walks out with Pip, with Bronson on a leadrope, whilst my arms recovered, Pip took us out and walked behind us instead. I had been wondering just how much influence Pip had been having on us by being at the end of the leadrope and I was about to find out that the answer was A LOT!
We set off and Bronson was all over the place. He didn’t want to go forwards and kept looking behind at Pip. Pip explained I needed to look ahead to where we were going, as I was looking the wrong way, and that I needed to keep his focus forward. Thanks to having attended a clinic the previous weekend, I had also gained a great deal of knowledge about changes I needed to make to my riding position, energy and intention. I realised that although I was sending Bronson in a general direction, I wasn’t being precise. This wishy, washy approach was causing him to feel insecure, so of course he didn’t want to listen and go forwards!
So, I corrected my position, started being exact about where I wanted him to take each step, got a sense of purpose about where we were going and really focused. I had also learned at the clinic that if we are going to use our legs it is not a kick but rather a flap. When we ‘kick’ our legs tense up, go out of position and as a result we are actually blocking the very impulsion we are asking for! Lifting our leg away, at the hip, is the ask and if the horse doesn’t respond we allow our leg to flap at his side. This way our leg stays in the correct position, is relaxed and when the impulsion comes we are not blocking it. Experiencing this was a real light bulb moment and I could see where, on previous hacks, I had been stopping Bronson from being able to walk out properly.
It was fantastic! I never could have imagined that walking around some lanes could be so thrilling! When you are completely present, totally focused and in harmony with your horse and he is listening to you so intently that his every step is exactly what you have asked for…..well that is truly something.