Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Horse Whisperer

Have had a fascinating weekend here with Adam Shereston, the horse whisperer. The main thing we have learned is we have a hell of a lot more to learn!!! Adam's method of horse training is in many ways the opposite of the usual method; he doesn't advocate any pulling on the horse or kicking to get it to move but rather teaching them to move towards a rein as it is lifted away from their neck or a leg away from their side.........

First up was Maverick. The first thing Adam does is to use the horse's own body language to get them to trust him as they would the alpha horse in the herd. Adam spent a lot of time getting him to expand his comfort zone so that he was willing to go with him away from the area by the gate back to the other horses which is all he wanted to do at first. Then the weather intervened, it started chucking it down and Mav didn't like the umbrellas so we had a lesson on getting him closer to them without dragging him along unwillingly, it's all about getting them to trust you enough to protect them from scary stuff......basically he didn't try to lead him towards the brolly, but past it and away from it and every time the horse retreated from something scary Adam went with him. this involved quite a bit of running around, if I do this, I could be in danger of getting a bit fitter........!

Then my French friend Audrey arrived on her French Trotter, Althlete, with her little fieldmate Polly in tow!

Athlete seemed to accept Adam as leader a lot more readily than Mav did, he soon went with him to the far side of the field with no problems, Polly was more bothered in the end!

Then after a brief stint with Buffalo, my friend's 35 year old Appaloosa, it was Gandalf's turn and he really wanted to let off steam having been standing in the box all day!!! Adam spent a lot of time saddling him without him being tied up in any way, he said you have to get them to do that before even considering getting on them, at first Gandalf just wandered off to the fence to go back to Mav, but eventually, he stood still for saddling next to Adam without being constrained at all. This was something that had never occured to me, usually Gandalf is saddled tied up in the box with no opportunity to move. Adam said he's a nice horse who would be easy to dominate rather than have a partnership with, so I must be careful not to bully him.......I felt awful after he said that, I don't think I do bully him, but maybe he does everything I ask because he feels he has to, not because he wants to so I need to change our relationship from "master and servant" to "partners".

Lots to think about........

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