"To a rider, a horse is not a 'pet' and not a friend. Your horse is a best friend, a partner, a team mate. Horses do not care how many time you may come off, how covered in dirt you are, and at the end of they day: It doesn't matter what colour ribbon you got. Because it's your horse who will be there for you, to love you, and cherish every moment with you, to talk to you, and to listen to you."
Ever since starting training with AF one of the main things that I've learnt is the power of being positive, and how by focusing on being positive can really effect your horse.
The biggest difference in Vallu is his self-confidence. He's less spooky in nearly every situation, because I think that he believes in himself more. If you've been following the blog for a while, then you may have noticed how our hacking out has changed quite a bit... Already hacking out in 2015 we've been confronted with several situations where last year it would have been the end of the world, but now even though the situation might be scary, we can cope with it and move on. Last Sunday we even managed a sane trot up the hill on the way back from our hack, which has definitely gone to the list of my favourite moments with Vallu. To get to this stage, we've had a lot of positive hacks out, and every time Vallu relaxes on a hack he gets a big pat and lots of 'good boys'.
Having a positive mind as a rider can also improve your horse's confidence in his ability to do his work - both the movements that they already know and are established well with, as well as work that is being introduced to them such as new movements. For us, it's the 'simple' things that Vallu often overthinks and then gets worried about getting it wrong. You'll often catch me giving him a big pat when we get a nice walk to canter transition, or a good halt and rein-back. Giving him positive vibes to help him figure out that he has been good, and makes us both happy :)
When struggling with the awful cycle of tense horse = tense rider, doing an easy exercise and doing a lot of patting and praising helps. With my own personal fear of riding in the scary outdoor, I've been trying to do this a lot. On a good day, we can now do a short, easy, sweet ride outdoors with no problems. And even on a bad day we can now do walk outdoors with long reins and even do some trot, because when we do plenty of walk-trot transitions and every time it's successful Vallu gets a pat and I try to breathe, and focus on the positive victories no matter how small.
"Don't let anyone make you pressure him." AF has often said this to me, and it has had the effect on our training sessions. With Vallu being quite 'different'/mareish/'quirky', I've heard plenty of people telling me that I don't work him hard enough, that I don't get the best out of him because I'm too kind to him because I let him take the piss out of me etc. Those maybe true but, but I will put my horse's happiness and wellbeing ahead of me looking good, or forcing him to work when he doesn't feel right. There is a reason why my brother didn't sell him to be a junior/YR horse, and that's because he knew that the horse needed someone to love him before he could perform. When Vallu he is happy, he sparkles and I'm not gonna let anyone change that.
|I have a horse now that trust me, and knows that he is loved|