Going with the Flow/Learning to Release
This post is for all of you horse people out there who have ever worked with a horse person whose theories you don’t 100% agree with.
The biggest adjustment for me here has been the way of working with the ponies. These little guys are SMALL and very, very smart. Amanda’s background is very British Horse Society but as time has moved ahead, she’s grown to disagree with riding in general, and had taken on a more “Intelligent horsemanship” approach to things- which is great, and I’m learning some very interesting (and hopefully applicable) groundwork skills. She wants her horses moved based off of energy and not pressure so, for example, horses are lead with a carrot stick in the off hand and the entire rope in the near hand with the handler walking in front of the horse, or at the shoulder if the horse is nervous. We also ask the horses to back by standing in front of them and using “rhythmic movement,” not pressure. The ponies are also fully allowed into our personal space- similar to dogs- and we chase them off by “star jumping” if they try to bite or push into us in a “disrespectful way.”
I am a horse person that believes fully that every horse experience presents a new lesson that you can apply and even if you go to a clinic where you only agree with 2% of what the clinician is teaching, at least you gained 2% of knowledge. Still, it’s very challenging. The idea of letting any horse other than my own willingly into my bubble and then standing directly in front of it makes my heart pound faster than it should. But, I’m trying to do as she asks and am searching for the lesson that I’m going to take home with me. I think it’s frustrating though, for her, as the other volunteers have little to no horse experience and are therefore, less “set in their ways” so they are learning the skills faster than I am. I acknowledge completely that it is my slow processing/ background that is making these skills difficult to implement but it’s been quite an experience is pulling out of my comfort zone in an industry that I’ve always been comfortable in.