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The best hack ever! Again?

My Husband laughed at me today when I said I’d just got back from the best hack ever. “The best hack ever, again?” he said, to which my answer was a resounding “Yes!”. This is because each time we go out, Pip builds upon what I have already learned and so my partnership with Bronson is going from strength to strength. I’m loving how much happier and more relaxed he is with me, thanks to my horsemanship improving and becoming more consistent. Riding around the lanes, on a loose rein, with complete confidence, on such a fabulous horse is a dream come true!

When I first met Bronson he was way too much horse for me. I’d come back to riding after a 20 year break and the only benefits of my past experience seemed to be a bunch of bad habits! Thankfully I’d found Pip and she had been working with me for a few months, teaching me how to communicate with horses in the way they naturally understand using energy, intention and body language, when Bronson came in as a rehabilitation case. His behaviour had reached a point where if he felt frustrated he would buck, if he was overfaced with a situation he would rear, he wouldn’t load and he was very insecure and stressy. Pip set about bringing sense and order to his world, with her leadership and guidance, giving him everything he needed to find his equilibrium.

I began having goundwork lessons with him and eventually Pip was happy for me to have a riding lesson. Cutting a long story short, in spite of the huge gap between my ability and his needs, I was smitten with this horse. Pip and I talked it through and she explained that I would be able to do far more with a horse that suited my present ability but, if I really wanted to commit to the endeavour required, she was confident that with her working with Bronson on his training and rehabilitation and with me on my horsemanship, if I followed her guidance to the letter, whilst he was too much horse for me now he would be perfect for me in time. I so wanted to work with him that I jumped at the chance. So Pip set to work, rehabilitating him so that he would be safe for me to ride and working with me to improve my horsemanship.

True to her word Bronson and I are now the perfect pairing. I can ride him around the Pippsway canter fields in complete control and with total confidence. We have been enjoying hacks out and Pip has been encouraging me to take turns at leading the hack and setting the pace. Bronson is far happier following behind, so it’s been really good practise for me to lead as I have to be completely decided, determined and full of confidence, which of course I should be whenever I am riding. This is particularly true at junctions. Bronson used to be very nappy and would rear at junctions if he wasn’t happy with the direction of choice, so Pip worked through that with him during his rehabilitation and now, whilst I can still feel his indecision, I am able to commit to our direction and he listens. As we ride out more often, and his confidence in me grows, this too will become a distant memory.

This is the true magic of Pippsway. Even horses that have become dangerous can be brought back to being calm, relaxed and happy. Riders that have lost confidence, or never had confidence, can become able and confident riders and, most amazingly of all, Pip can close the gap between horse and rider at the same time so that you can both be moving towards where you need to be whilst still working together! When I came to Pippsway I said to Pip that I wanted to learn to ride properly and I have, and I have done it whilst riding a horse that in any other circumstance would have been way beyond my ability. I remember all those story books I read as a child at boarding school…..about how a girl would fall in love with a difficult horse and in the end they would achieve a wonderful connection. Here I am at 43 years old living out that story! Pip really has made my childhood dreams come true!

I arrived at the yard today to find it was rather busy and the menage wasn’t going to be free for a while. Bronson was in good form, as was I, so I decided we would go out for a hack around the block. This may not sound like much, but we’ve only been out once before on our own and that was after Pip spent considerable time rehabilitating Bronson from being nappy and then coming out on hacks with me. First of all walking alongside and then with her scooter, building up our confidence both in ourselves and each other until we were ready to go out alone. Having hacked out several times with Pip recently, and the confidence I’ve gained from leading the hack at times, I felt really happy and confident about going out on our own.

At Pippsway you learn how to do every single element of horsemanship from bringing a horse in from the field, leading, grooming, tacking up, mounting, opening and closing gates whilst mounted and how to ride in such a way that at all times you are in conversation with your horse and setting your partnership up for success! In doing all of these things correctly consistently you end up with a horse that is so sensitive and listens so beautifully that you can converse with the most subtle cues. Being with horses in this way is just a joy!

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