Monday, 29 June 2015

We get some help

This week we had some coaching from a Parelli instructor Niki Hardwick, who came over to France to stay with a friend, who also does Parelli. As there were only the two of us as students, it was virtually private lessons which was brilliant. We did one day with my friend Claire's horses, then on Friday they came here. In the morning Claire played with Lucie and I played with Fina. It was the first time, apart from the RWYM clinic, that I have had been able to partner Fina under instruction.

I had several ideas of things I needed help with, in the end most of my items were resolved by improving my phases and timing and reading of the horse and getting her in a place where she started offering more. Niki asked to see my short range yields and driving, my yoyo (backing and draw towards) and circling, and sideways. Each of these Fina knows how to do, so we were not teaching, but when applying the criteria we'd discussed, you could see that she was going through the motions, not really offering or enjoying. Sometimes I needed to be more assertive, sometimes I was too critical and asking too much too soon. I need to be careful to release when she offers what I want, to recognise and reward the thought. This might not be that obvious, might be just the flicker of an ear or when she looked at me and asked a question, when she offered a flexion, etc. I found that the sideways game gave me most reward in this way which then carried over into other areas. By the end of the day we had a wonderful softness and connection, I had learned to invite her in a much softer way, my phase 1 became very subtle and as long as necessary, which Fina was obviously much happier to respond to, and she was attentive and involved and asking questions. I hope we can keep this going and I will be videoing my next sessions and hopefully have something to show and move on from there to the same level of connection at greater distances and when riding.

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