Taking the wins...
Having taken a big step backward in my riding, having not ridden for a couple of months and having let my fitness levels slide, I arrived at the yard today keen to make strides. As soon as Bronson began walking over to me in the field however, I could see he was a little lame. There was no obvious reason so we headed down to the yard. Pip checked him over for me and I popped him in his stable to have his breakfast. As he couldn’t do any work I spent some time grooming him in the sunshine, which was lovely, and then we headed back up to the field…This may all sound like rather a non event, and certainly wasn’t the day I had planned, however, these peaceful scenes are a far cry from the way we were at the beginning of our partnership!
When Bronson and I first met, he was a neurotic wreck that had just arrived at Pippsway and I had only been coming to Pip for lessons fortnightly for several months. So even though I had begun learning all about how to communicate with horses in the way they naturally understand using my energy, intention and body language, beginning with freeschooling, I was a long way off being able to groom, lead or pass through gates in such a way as to convey my leadership and inspire his trust. Nor did I have the awareness then, to know when I was making mistakes or even know how to correct them.
Thinking back to those days of Bronson flailing his legs around as I groomed him, Pip having to intervene when he reared and broke the bungee he was attached to, the lessons spent learning how to manoeuvre the pair of us through gates keeping myself in the position of leadership at all times, the trips to and from his field that required I walk along the lane with a lunge whip or he didn’t want to walk forwards, the times I would go to bring him in from the field and he would walk away from me and so many other occasions where things went awry. Through all of these Pip watched over us, patiently taught me what to do, stepped in when I couldn’t manage or made a mistake that she needed to correct for Bronson’s sake, she worked with us together and worked with Bronson on his own, day in and day out to bring us to where we are today.
In stark contrast, when I went to bring Bronson in from the field today he walked up to me and then stopped a few paces away and waited for me to pop his headcollar on, perfect manners for a horse in that situation. He followed me to the gate on a slack leadline, passed through both gates perfectly and followed me down the lane on a slack line, through the yard gate and into his stable. Throughout his grooming he stood perfectly still, relaxed in the sunshine, not space invading, moving his feet or anything else!
So yes, today was a non event and non events are good! We had a very eventful start together Bronson and I, and it is testimony to Pippsway and Pip’s patience that we are the peaceful pairing we were today. So I’ll take the wins, we’ve come so very far together he and I and whilst I have certainly taken a step backwards in my riding I know that, as with our groundwork, Pip will soon not only have us back to where we were but will be guiding us further ahead in our partnership, hurrah!