Sunday, 24 January 2016

Do you trust your horse?

Thought provoking quote from Ben Hart on Facebook this morning:

"In general, we want our animal to trust us, and developing the animal’s trust becomes the goal and focus of our work. Often however, when I ask how much an owner trusts their equine, it is clear that the development of trust has been accidentally one sided. We have to learn to trust our equines as much as we want them to trust us."

So do you trust your horse? Do you trust him enough to let go of his head? Ride him without a bit/tight noseband/martingale? Ride him bareback?

Do you trust him enough to be allowed out in a field with other horses? Or enough to take him out of the school for a hack? Have you ever ridden without a bridle at all?


We decided to try spending time with our horses just doing nothing. Not bringing them in, turning them out, grooming them, feeding them, tacking them up, schooling them, but just doing nothing much. Just letting them sniff us, giving them scratches, sitting in their field watching them graze.  We especially love spending time watching them interact with each other and their mates......

We take them for walks. Let them have a graze on the side of the track. Hang out with them whilst they're being horses. Makes the relationship a bit more even sided......
I can highly recommend it!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

New Ambitions!

Haven't posted for a while because we haven't done much recently, apart from slog up the hill through the mud in the rain to see the horses every day, thanks to the Great British Winter this year being not very cold but very, very wet. Not that it has bothered the horses at all.......

The only place we've been able to escape the weather is in an indoor school. Sadly not one anywhere near here, but in Berkshire, at the Ambitions Equestrian Centre, where a friend is a regular and where they decided they'd like a little go at horseback archery.

So in the Christmas holidays we wandered over with our kit and got some of the kids on the pony club camp to have a go. Some of them were a bit reluctant, largely because they were scared the bow would break so we had a session on foot first to get them used to the bow and how to shoot it.

A further complication was that none of the horses had so much as seen a bow before, so we spent a fair bit of time introducing them to new sights and sounds too.....

Then there was the biggest hurdle, getting the kids to let go of the reins........distraction is the best way to do this, I find.....

Most of the ponies were great about the whole thing, any of them that were a bit unsure I got Ali to ride as some of the anxiety was coming from the riders....but as the session progressed, they got more confident :-)

A week later, we were back and by the end of this day's work, we had some of the kids shooting from a canter....

And a couple of weeks later, we did a Friday night session for the adults.
Apparently they want us to do more at half term. Better get on with doing my BHAA Coaching qualification then!