Lexi and I have been implementing what we learned at our clinic. As well, a friend who did the clinic with us lent me a wonderful book. “The Art of Liberty Training for Horses” by Jonathan Field. Thank you Amanda!! It expanded on what we learned at the clinic and explained horse behaviour and how they interpret things. It answered so many of my questions! The light bulbs were all turning on as I gained some understanding of my horse and how to better interact with her. I know that once she understands what I expect, she does try.
I went out this week to groom her and spend time with her. I entered her paddock and talked to her waiting for her to come to me. I know she will as the last time I was out, the spring flood waters had created quite a little stream between the gate and further back into the paddock where she stood. As you can imagine, it was not the most pristine water. I couldn’t tell how deep it was in places and the ground was very soft. I was rather reluctant to risk ending up face down in it, so stood on the dry land and called to her. She came running but had her druthers about crossing the sloppy mess as she approached it. After checking for the route that would require the least amount of time in the most shallow spot, she carefully but quickly crossed to my side. It was wonderful to have her come to me. She gave me a minute to say hello and lowered her head for me to slip her halter on. She can be so sweet. I really want to understand her and learn how to better communicate with her.
She’s still a young horse just six this spring and has been displaying some spring fever. As I brought her out of her paddock she was prancing around, crowding me and paying no attention to my whereabouts as she startled at this sound and that sound. I decided she would need a few minutes to settle and this would be a good opportunity to teach her boundaries and personal space. Between the clinic and the book I’ve learned how important that is and some tips as to how to go about doing it. We worked at it until she was very responsive and respectful of my space. It was very encouraging! I decided to turn her back out and end on a good note, leaving us in a positive position to pick up from next time. It wasn’t how I had planned to spend the time with her, and she didn’t get the grooming I’d have liked, but it was time very well spent. I was very encouraged by her change in behaviour from the time I took her out to the time we ended our session. My years of learning patience and consistency while negotiating with toddlers and later teenagers is going to serve me well while establishing my relationship with Lexi. I’m noticing many similarities and am able to draw on some of the skills I had to develop as a parent, while adapting my methods to something she will understand as a horse. I love the challenges and rewards. I am fortunate to have found her. She will teach me so much, and offer huge rewards as we get there together.
I also had a massage therapy session booked for her last week. Lexi has been displaying some stiffness when cantering to the right. Fortunately, Jackie who hosted our clinic, also does massage therapy for horses. She came to Timberwind work on her last week while she was there for some other appointments. Lexi seemed to really enjoy it! She spent a fair bit of time on her and I’ve booked two more sessions with her. Hopefully she can work that stiffness out so Lexi can comfortably work at a canter under saddle this season.
I also took the opportunity while she was there to talk a bit about her liberty training. It turns out, she offers private lessons as well. As Lexi and I are both inexperienced and could benefit from the groundwork, I decided it would be a great opportunity to work with her at Lexi’s next therapy session.
With additional lessons on groundwork, we will be better able to progress with our riding lessons with Tessa. I’m excited to have opportunity to meet so many great horse people to help me learn and care for my Lexi. With a little village of experienced horse people, I am learning so much! We now have a farrier, a vet, a massage therapist, a liberty trainer, a great barn, and my riding coach Tessa @ Whitewood Equestrian who got us started with it all and whom I count on for so much!
My horse adventure continues to be a wonderful experience. Full of learning, challenges, struggles, awesome people, and amazing rewards! It is truly an experience where I fully enjoy the JOURNEY, realizing the destination only when we arrive.