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Scooting along...

two mares in the field at Pippsway Classical Natural Horsemanship Wellington Somerset near Devon

Pip has been working with me and my horse to bring us to the point where we can safely hack out on our own together. This has been no small endeavour as my horse is a rehabilitation case, that came to Pip some time ago, and he would nap severely if he was asked to go out alone or leave a group of horses. Whilst I was out of action with an old injury, Pip worked with him to build his confidence and worked through his efforts at avoidance such as rearing, shying and jumping around. Once she was happy that he was safe for me to ride around the lanes she has been coming with us, walking alongside. Today Pip announced that, as we were making good progress, she was going to bring her scooter and would at times stay some distance behind and at other times go on ahead to build on mine and Bronson’s confidence to hack alone together.

This worked an absolute treat! I had the experience of being ‘on my own’ whilst all the time having the security of knowing that Pip was close by. Also having her scooting past at times was a great illustration of how cyclists need not be an issue if my horse and I are in clear communication with one another.

We came to a junction, where Pip was waiting with her dogs and scooter, she had told me to turn right before we went out but as we’d gone left in the past I forgot myself and started turning left. “You’re meant to be going right” she said. Well now I had to ask Bronson to turn around and he wasn’t best impressed! He stopped, stood stock still and then tried to turn back around. Pip made it clear I was not to let him turn around under any circumstances but at the same time mustn’t ask him to go forwards as he was thinking backwards and that would just send him even further backwards. Knowing that in the past junctions have been a real issue Pip explained that I needed to wait until he was standing still and then, meaning it with every fibre of my being, ask him to go forwards. The first time I asked he went backwards again so we just stopped once more, waited a moment and then I asked for forwards. We headed off and the rest of the hack passed without event. I was so pleased that this had happened whilst Pip was there to guide me in how to respond knowing that should it ever happen again I will be well equipped to handle it. Without Pip’s guidance I would have no doubt ended up in a right pickle as I would have been asking for forwards whilst he was still going backwards!

The halfway house of being out without other horses but having Pip’s support has been a wonderful way to build my confidence and work on my partnership with Bronson.

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