Farah DeJohnette HorsemanshipThis weekend past was our annual Confident trail and obstacle class. In the Photo above, you see the Log drag challenge. This is a great class where we welcome and come up with all kinds of obstacles to navigate with our horses. The first half of the day is for Agility and obstacle challenges and the second half of the day we go out to the park to hit the trails!

One of the most important points I make in this class is, It’s not about getting or making your horse do or go over anything. It is about the questions that come up when an obstacle is presented to you and your horse. I instruct everyone that the most trust and partnership is built when you listen to your horses “Nos” and hear them when they are anxious about something. It is also important to listen to your own Nos. Your Nos become the horses Nos. When we learn to recognize when we are actually mirroring the No to our horse, we can start there and work on that. Everyone was instructed to only do obstacles they felt comfortable with and to work with their horse on the ground first to be safe.

This year we made a home made Teeter Totter with tires and scrap wood. It worked beautifully and every horse handled it well with minimal concern. We also added a Garrocha challenge (working with a long pole in one hand) which was fun and challenging. Believe it or not, one of the toughest challenges was the turn on the forehand with the front feet staying completely in the Hula Hoop. We had a Kiddie pool with water that posed a a challenge for some. I also incorporated a some step up and down obstacles. Having an Eventing background gives me and eye for many natural obstacles we had right on the property.

One of the important lessons we learn as riders when having to negotiate things with our horse is, we learn to ride in the moment, stay out of our heads and focus together on a task. It takes us OUT OF OUR HEADS. It forces us to be mindful and not overthink or analyze position or technique. It other words we ride instinctively and intuitively. This is something I have learned from doing performance events with my horses. You don’t think. You just See, Feel, and Ride.

In addition to that, as always, i saw a lot of people reach beyond their fear and grow in confidence. They realized that they could actually do some really cool things with their horses! I witnessed it knowing full well that they could if I just gave them the encouragement.

Our next event is our annual Beach ride in Rhode Island at Blue Shutters Beach. There is still some spaces left click here for info Beach Ride

 

Building Connection through Challenges

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