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A great weekend of learning

Jo Thompson

Well it's the hardest time of year to achieve much with the horses with every one of the last few weekends being a wash out and only having about 40 minutes of daylight in the weekday mornings. 

Teller has been off for nearly eight weeks with a hoof abscess  so I have been concentrating on Sailor's education. Working with him every day has really made him grow up fast and he has even been calmer out hacker whether alone or with a companion. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have a photographic session which didn't start well as the shoot had just passed through our field! Sailor settled enough to do a little inhand and then ridden work so I look forward to seeing the results. 

Today I had an exciting day planned with my first lesson on the principles of Phillipe Karl's School of Legerete from Dorothy Marks. Unfortunately after a few months without travelling, Sailor was too panicky about being shut in the lorry so I decided to go without him and borrowed a school horse instead... the lesson being held at Overdale Equestrian Centre. I was lent the fabulous Porter who is young and green but was excellent as Dorothy guided me through the inhand flexions. I had seen these done but I had not attempted the lateral flexions... And not understood what they were used for. I have used action-reaction but it was useful to go over the principles again. It doesn't sound a lot in an hour but gave me loads to think about  

Once home I decided to practice loading Sailor into the lorry again as we are due to go for a lesson on Thursday. He was still anxious so I went back to our original lorry training method and used a clicker to positively reinforce his progress. Having used clickers for many years I am still overwhelmed by the effectiveness; within minutes he was standing calmly, allowing me to open and close try partitions without even trying him up!

Back in the yard I practised the Legerete excercises I learnt this morning. Sailor wasn't quite as straightforward as Porter had been but got the hang of it after a few goes. It was interesting to see his reaction as the movements clearly released a huge amount of tension which was not something I was expecting with lots of yawning, rolling eyes and blinking. I'm looking forward to repeating and building on these exercises and to some more Legerete lessons in the future. 

 



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