These are great fun, an excellent way to bring a group together, and a fascinating look into the theory behind what we do.
When you are going around on your horse, there is a lot to do and focus on – how your body feels; how the horse feels; the connection between you and your horse; maintaining communication and control; your position in the arena; outside distractions etc. Sitting in a class room / someone’s living room, under the tree in a garden, there is a lot less to think about, and so awareness can be focused more easily.
Among the options available are finding your seat bones, developing bear down (using your core), point of reference learning, how we learn, how our horses learn and how to read their body language. How do our horses keep their balance? And what is meant by getting the horse on the bit? Head down, or back up? Breathing, moving, balancing. Mental rehearsal. The list goes on, and can be directed in several different routes, depending on the group.
Ground work / Gymnastic training of the horse / Work in hand / Lunging / Long reining
Different to the un-mounted workshop, in that this is carried out in and arena with a horse or two present.
There are so many ways and means of improving a horse’s way of going, beyond just riding.
In these workshops, we will unravel the mystery of many of these methods, beginning with simple steps, such as making sure the horse understands stop and go. If the same riders are having un-mounted lessons over a series of several days, clear improvement can be seen. Lateral work can be introduced, suppling and loosening the horse.
Work on the lunge can effectively change the way in which the horse works, and this is addressed both by using two reins, and by lunging in a simple rope halter. Handlers will see how they can become more or less effective by changing their own body language and positioning in relation to the horse. Learn to read the horse’s body language and see the signs that show a horse is working more correctly. A comparison can be made, lunging a horse using tradition side reins and then changing to a rope halter.
The long reining is taken a step further, to where the horse is driven around the arena, the handler walking behind. In this way, the strain of working in a circle is eliminated, straightness can be improved and the trainer gets a different view of how the horse is working. If the horse is advanced enough, lateral work can be introduced.
At any level, all the participants should go home with various ideas of what they can be doing with their horse at home.