It’s been a while since Ive taken the opportunity to post here. Silly, really, since I’m the guy who keeps the virtual places virtually intact :=) I had some really nice observations the other day as Dolly and I were working in the round pen… and later in the arena… with Kirsten. I’m not so certain I can give voice to everything I observed, nor communicate it clearly enough to create an accurate, concise picture. But hey, for all you beginners out there… hopefully strike a chord.
Dolly and I have been working on our teamwork for about a year now, off and on. Obviously, I don’t have as much time at the end of the day as I would like to groom, prep, and ride. So we generally go once a week, better some weeks, worse others. Last week was the tail end of several missed opportunities to ride, and Kirsten and I, perhaps a month ago, had decided that we needed some time doing a more formal lesson in the round pen and the arena rather than my typical clean, tack, check brakes, and try stuff. Boy, did my eyes get opened to the bad positioning and misunderstanding of the basic forms of cues I had accrued through early lessons dimly past. Its not that I was way off. I could move the horse off all points succesfully, get on, and in a general way, communicate my intentions, and barring any major desire for grain, barn, or grass, she was generally cooperative. Sometimes, she was less so. It’s not that she didn’t like me, it was an issue of respect.
After correcting my little mistakes… body angle here, clearer cues there… on the ground… I was back to having a full, crisp response. Almost soldierly. Which is amazing with an 1800 pound draft horse. After a trip around the round pen bareback and getting a new feel for her motion and biomechanics with a little bit more exposure under my belt, we put the saddle on and worked in the arena. What a remarkable difference 20 minutes can make when used wisely, and with a competent teacher! To anyone who wishes to really learn horsemanship and thinks they might not be able to afford a trainer… the rapid results, the clear and effective lessons, and the return on your investment is well worth the reasonable price of admission.