Wow what an incredible weekend with so much to learn and do. It started Friday evening we hosted a riding workshop with Parelli Professional Maureen & Todd Owens on Rein Positions for Power, Control and Performance. We had a beautiful night of riding and learnt to finesse our skills of the indirect and direct rein positions as well as some other exercises for back up.
One of the biggest learnings of the night for me was the notion ‘it will only get better if it becomes important to you.’ I thought this was a great way of looking at things. For example if your horse walks off at the mounting, or doesn’t stay on the rail while riding, or any other bad habit your horse develops – it won’t get better unless you make it important to fix and are consistent with the correction.
After the clinic ending around 9pm we then gathered up all the 17 dogs (includes 14 puppies) and took everyone to the vet for their vaccinations and deworming – what gong show that was getting all the dogs together, into the car, and into the building. All the puppies were really great for their needle and we are so thankful Cavan Vets keeps such regular late hours!
The next morning we loaded up and I did double trailer trips of horses to the NHA show at High Spirit Farm. Another beautiful day! The obstacles were fun and I was super proud of our team – someone from PHH took first place in every single class! The highlight of the day for me was my liberty round with Kahleesi – she was so amazing and really getting connected to me.
Tip – when training for liberty, think about using both a carrot and a stick approach. After the horse has done well and stayed with you through a task give them a treat. Likewise if they leave or don’t respect your cues then quickly make a correction and get them focused. Horses need to understand that being with you can be awesome, and that ignoring you is disrespectful.
When doing liberty, don’t hold a treat in front of your horse and have them follow the treat – because then the horse isn't really following you, they are following the treat. Instead use treats as rewards for doing what you want – not a bribe.
Overall the show was a fantastic day and I am very proud of everyone. Check out the video https://youtu.be/0dXluuGluxk
After we got everyone home from the show and unpacked (around 7:30pm) I headed up to Sabrina’s for a lesson. I coached her on Zoey in the western saddle and worked on some centered riding to improve her sitting trot and canter. Then we did a session with her young horse, Valentina, who is just starting under saddle. We did another passenger lesson (where the person up top does nothing). After some passenger riding, Sabrina started to use her body and reins to ask Valentina to go, stop, back up, and turn. They are doing great!!
On Sunday I was up bright and early and loaded up to go to the obstacle course in Uxbridge – but unfortunately Kevin forgot about us so the gate was locked. We made the most of the situation though and went to the Durham Forest in Uxbridge for a trail ride. I learnt that Kahleesi needs more miles leading trails because she can be unsure, but Cupid is a natural and very great at leading. Even though Kahleesi was unsure about leading, she still was responsive and trusting of me and led a large portion of the trail.
After our trail we scooted back to Pontypool, switched over the tack and horses, and then loaded and went to the Sky Haven Jumper show. Wendy & Thetis, Franny & Shania, myself & Quartz and Cailey & Sabio competed in the 2’3/2’6 division. I also did one class with Dreamer just as a warm up for the mini prix and he got 3rd – what a brave western guy taking me to every jump boldly. Wendy rode very speedily and picked up champion. Franny had some great rounds and finished reserve champion. Cailey rode some beautiful turns and placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Myself on Quartz progressed amazing and placed 3rd, 4th and 5th. This was Quartz’s first time doing jumpers since the winter – when she was so scared she couldn’t even complete more than 3 jumps in the ring – now she was actually having clear rounds and placing!
The Mini Prix was a lot of fun and I placed 1st with Thetis, 2nd with Dreamer, 4th with Quartz and 5th with Sabio. Thetis showed me just how much heart she has and whipped around the jump off in a speedy 18 seconds. It really showed me just how much horses will try for you once you win their heart – all of these horses did so well because of natural horsemanship and understanding how horse’s think. We didn’t use ‘force’ to make our horses jump.
Check out the video
We then got home and unloaded everything – wow what a fantastic and busy weekend!!