So this past weekend I attended the Mane Event in Chilliwack- mostly because George Morris was going to be teaching a clinic, and you do NOT miss a George clinic if he comes to your area (or near you at all, as it were).
Was it worth it? SO much!
I’ll probably break this down over a few days, as I do have some Youtube videos I want to upload to add to my posts.
Because I don’t have them uploaded yet, I will start with the one that I didn’t video- the Trainer’s Challenge session that I watched with Brandi Lyons, the daughter of famed horseman John Lyons.
The Trainer’s Challenge gives the trainers a young, mostly unhandled and unbroke colt, and gives them three days to work their magic for the audience in 1-hour sessions each day. At the end of the three days, the judges watch their demonstration of what the colt can do, and tallies up the points awarded to them throughout the weekend to determine the winner.
This was day 2 (I didn’t watch day 1 or day 3- have to work) and I was pretty impressed. She did some basic groundwork, leading, slapping around the saddle, hopped up and worked on getting bend and response. The colt was definitely one of the fussy ‘make me’ types.
She said something that really resonated with me- shared a story she heard:
One woman who was having a baby said ”I really hope my child and I can be friends. I hope they like me when they grow up.”
The other woman said, “When my baby grows up, I hope I like THEM.”
And it’s true, so true for horses. Train the horse you want to ride, want to see, want to be around. Don’t train in hopes the horse will ‘trust’ you and ‘like’ you. If you are very clear with what you want, the horse will like AND respect you more.
Horses like boundaries. Keep a horse around that does what YOU want. Goes when you want it to. Stops when you want it to. Bends when you want it to. Is nice, friendly, doesn’t bite, doesn’t say ‘no’ to you.
After all, you’re nicer to someone that is nice to you. You’re not nicer to your husband, friend, or parent after you’ve had a fight with them, are you? Horses are like that too- you’re not nice to one that you’re fighting with.
I really liked what she was saying and as an owner of a sassy pony that definitely has a big NO button and knows how to use it, it only reminds me more that I have to work on developing him as a pony I WANT to ride, enjoy and have fun around. And that means consistent handling, fair treatment and fair expectations. He works when I say he works, he is done when I say he’s done–not when HE says he’s done.
So even from the most basic colt-handling lessons, I’m learning from them. It was a looong day but man, did it fly by!
More tomorrow! Maybe George Morris or Jan Ebeling?