Friday, May 25, 2012

25th May, 2012 And breathe

I love the little coincidences in life and on Wednesday I was joined for the day by Karen, a healer who works with energy. It was actually a high energy day as we had so much to do and we talked every second imbetween. It was not helped by Rye taking off after two wild ponies in the inclosure when being led and us having to spend an hour and half trying to find him. He was fine after his little adventure.

The very next day I was working with energy levels, as I frequently do, with a lovely New Forest pony called Basil and his owner. Basil has always loaded and travelled well until recently. Unfortunately n the one occasion that he was tied up before the back bar was in place, he pulled back, felt the pressure and panicked, breaking the string and rushing out of the trailer backwards. Since then, he has been reluctant to load and has rushed backwards as a pre-emptory measure whenever he feels someone reach for the back bar.

Understandably this sort of behaviour can make people very anxious - not only because you might not get to the event that you have booked into and paid for - but because the horse or the people around him might get hurt. It's difficult to breathe properly in the circumstances. For Basil we broke the pattern by using a mock back bar (in this case a light plastic pole) to prepare him for the real thing. In his owners case we broke everything down into the smallest of actions so that each one could be followed by a deep out breath. Now neither pony or owner are rushing anywhere.

Karen asked me whether I have any exercises that I use for grounding myself. I didn't think I had. Then I remembered one of my familiar refrains to owners - "that's it, stand like a farmer not a model!" This is something I often say during groundwork and it enable people to solidly plant themselves, engaging their core, when asking their horse to halt, turn or stand still. It stems from the days when I did have a stunning model and her horse as clients. Not only was she beautiful, she was extremely intelligent and very pleasant too. She was also good at standing like a farmer when required.

"Thank you so much - you were really amazing today with Basil. It was so comforting having you take control and help Basil make the right decisions for himself. I feel much more confident in moving forward with our loading issue, I just hope I can keep calm and consistent in my approach!  Also thanks for the report (am very impressed with your efficiency!) and very helpful additional information. Will let you know how we get on. We are very lucky to have someone with your expertise to consult with our problems!"DM

If ever there was an advert for a New Forest Pony, isn't he fantastic?
And two days later:
"All good so far! Didn't manage a training session on Friday as E had a lesson after school and didn't want to practice with a tired pony. However today he was a real star - loaded first time on outward AND return journey. No hesitation on the ramp and no backing out. I was as pleased with him for his loading as I was with his performance (clear 2ft3 coming third and just one stop in 2ft 9 at E's first Hunter trial with him)! I am so happy so thank you so much." DM

I have urged the owners to keep practising between outings as this will help to keep adrenalin levels down and to make sure that it is all old hat when they do go somewhere.