The stuff that dreams are made of...
It’s been the most extraordinary month! I’ve been away on my hypnotherapy training course, off to seminars and conventions and it’s been busy. I was determined that, having made up ground in my partnership with Bronson, we would not be going backwards regardless! I am totally committed to our relationship and seeing to it that I make the time to be with him. Boy oh boy have I reaped the rewards!
Our last hack was a real turning point. Realising that my positive energy and a slack rein are prerequisites for a successful session and making sure that whatever is happening I am constantly checking in with myself to ensure that I am not holding tension or putting pressure on the rein has made the most enormous change. When I do send a communication down the rein Bronson listens so much more! And no wonder, given that he can now tell exactly what I’m asking for, as it isn’t being lost in a barrage of ‘noise’ down the rein. Of course the rein is the ‘last ask’. I use my energy, intention, body language and breath first and very often that is sufficient. When I do give a signal down the rein it is the very smallest ask. What a difference! Far from losing control with this approach I have a far happier, more sensitive horse who can hear what I’m saying and is listening!
Of course Pip has been teaching me these things all along. I’ve learned that it takes time sometimes, even when I have understood logically what she is saying, for me to really embody that knowledge, to live it and breathe it and be able to apply it in the moment. As it happens, everything seems to be coming together, our success is becoming more consistent and I am far more confident in what I am asking and how I am asking it.
So, the first delight of the month was our first ever canter in the massive Pippsway canter field. We’ve been around the top grass menage and one of the smaller fields (a long time ago) but this time we were in the huge field. Pip came with us on her bike to oversee what I was doing and to make sure we were in a good place. Most importantly, until my legs are stronger, we had to maintain a slower pace with very short stirrups to make sure I wasn’t bumping on his back at any time and of course I was to maintain my slack rein. Now, Bronson is an ex-racehorse, the field is enormous and one might expect that we would be flying around with me barely in control, if at all! Not so! We did a lovely gentle canter 3 times round on each rein, which is about 3 miles I think, on one of the steeper slopes I asked for a trot each loop as my balance isn’t quite ready for downhill canter to that degree, each time he slowed to a trot beautifully. It reached a point where my legs were jelly so Pip said to continue but do extended trot instead of canter. So we did! 2 laps each way. It was the most amazing experience! To be sharing such a vast space with my horse, to be relaxed, happy and feel completely assured that he was listening to my every ask was just joyful. In the end Pip was so happy with our progress she left us to it. I’ve dreamed of being ready to ride in the canter fields for a long time and have videoed Pip doing it many times, to have reached the point where I can take Bronson there and go round safely, happily and with complete confidence is a dream come true!
The next dream come true was to unfold over two hacks out with Pip and her ‘girls’; two mares that Pip bred who are extraordinary and seeing her working with them is really something. Anyway, Bronson and I followed along behind them maintaining safe distance with ease, totally connected to one another and for the first time we were truly together as one for most of the hack. It was sublime! When you experience riding in this way it truly is a gift. It was such fun I asked Pip if we could join her again next time.
Alongside all of this, it’s worth mentioning that we are now at a point where I can just walk onto the mounting block and Bronson positions himself perfectly. If he’s a step off I can ask him to take one step and he will. He stands still beautifully whilst I mount and then as I ride he is listening to my every instruction. He is my perfect horse!
Today we went out for another hack and our partnership took another great leap forwards. We were going along a busier road than usual and Pip asked me to go in front so that she could go behind and make sure the dogs were staying in lane. Bronson wasn’t sure about going in front and, whilst I was willing, I obviously wasn’t convinced on an energetic level so it was all rather a cock up. Pip explained that she really needed me in front and it was like a switch flicked. I became decided and determined and we were off! Bronson really engaged his back end and we led the rest of the hack. It was the most together we have ever been and I absolutely loved it!
When you consider that when I arrived at Pippsway I was overweight, unfit and switched off mentally, that Bronson came back because he was out of control with his former owner and he was bucking, rearing and napping, the achievements of this month are even greater still. He’s gone from being a fruit loop to being the kind of horse people would pay a lot of money for! He’s just so beautifully behaved! Bronson and I are living proof that if you put your faith in Pip, follow her guidance and put in the work then your dreams really will come true. Mine certainly have! And even better? I get to do it all again tomorrow, hurrah!