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A new path ahead...

When Bronson first came back to Pippsway, he was out of the habit of doing things Pip’s way. So at first, Pip was only asking that he do all his groundwork with good manners and spent months building muscle on him so that he could be ridden. Then she began his canter work, which he loves and that serves him both physically and mentally. He wouldn’t load after a bad experience in the past, so Pip didn’t even go there with him. It was only when she started asking more of Bronson that she realised he was further "gone" than she thought.

I came up to the yard and she explained that they had gone out on a hack and, due to a particular set of circumstances, ones in which she was happy I would never find myself, Bronson had done a big rear. She understood why he had done it and so was happy to continue riding. As she explained to me, if some horses had done that she would get off and not get back on! But in this situation, she was happy that she knew why it had happened. She also explained that once a horse has learned to rear, as Bronson had with his bad loading experience, it becomes part of their repertoire and if they are put under too much pressure they will go there. So whilst she would not expect Bronson to rear with me, providing I was following her guidance, she couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t ever happen. But that’s true of any horse to be fair. My concern in all of this was that I’ve never been on a horse that had reared. I was worried that if he ever did it with me I might lose my balance and pull us over backwards! Also, I knew that being able to respond calmly and confidently would be essential. If I freaked out then we’d be in a much worse predicament.

It played on my mind over the coming days and, as with when I first took Bronson on and he was bucking and rearing in his stable, I knew that I had to sort myself out or I couldn't work with this horse. I did a bit of searching online and found a stunt company that offered experience days where you could experience a rearing horse, as well as learning to fall off so as to minimise any injuries. They trained stunt men for movies, so falling off was all part of the training! I discussed it with Pip and explained that whilst I would never go anywhere else to ride, I would consider going somewhere else to fall off! Pip said that a horse rearing on command would be entirely different to a horse rearing unexpectedly out on a hack but that other than that she couldn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t do it. I considered this and decided that, as with my drills when I was an Air Hostess, it would be an opportunity to create a neural pathway response and also just see how I felt about it.

I booked my day and what fun it was! Most importantly, the rearing element happened in the morning and went really well. Pip has drummed it into me not to use my leg on Bronson or have a strong contact with his mouth so when I discovered that the command to rear was leg on with contact, my body just didn’t want to do it! I got there in the end and was relieved to find that my natural reaction to the horse rearing was to drop the contact. The horse came down immediately. We did about 5 rears altogether with one of them being particularly high and I was delighted to find that I didn’t fall off, jab him in the mouth, pull us over or any of the things I had feared. Happy days! We did the falling off training in the afternoon and then at the end of the day there was a group hypnotherapy session. It was all great fun but I didn’t know at the time if it would translate into anything meaningful with Bronson.

My next day at the yard, it was so windy! In the past I might have been perturbed by that, but I wasn’t. I knew Bronson would be fine as long as I was fine. We had a brilliant session in the menage as the wind howled around us. I found that I had a new confidence that I hadn’t possessed before and Bronson and I have never looked back! So profound was the change, that I decided to look a bit more into hypnosis and having discovered what was possible have now decided to train to become a hypnotherapist myself.

Who could have known that Bronson rearing would be the cause of me finding a new career? As it is, he has never reared with me. Pip is always working with him to bring him on and I follow behind in her wake. By the time I come to do things with Bronson he is already calm and confident in doing those things, thanks to Pip’s careful training. My hypnotherapy training course begins in just a couple of weeks time and I can’t wait. Thanks Bronson!

Pip has always said that Pippsway is about more than horsemanship and she is right. Before I came to Pippsway I would never have had the self confidence to even go on that experience day! Never mind have the drive and self belief to decide to train as a hypnotherapist. Working with Pip has been life changing in so many ways, the future is looking bright!


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