Our calendar turns to the second half of the year and this month we are going to celebrate the STory of Alison Hudd and her lovely boy, Rob. Straightness training is for all breeds, shapes, sizes and ages. I hope you enjoy reading about their journey towards Mastery.
A warm welcome to Alison Hudd and her equine partner, Rob.
First of all would you please tell me a little about your horse – breed, age, size?
Rob is a Norwegian Fjord 13.3hh about 18 years old. I was lucky enough to take him on when his previous owner sadly developed terminal cancer and was unable to care for him.
And a bit about your own experience with horses?
I come from a non-horsey background, but from a very early age had a burning desire to have a horse. From making my own “hobby horse”, having a stable full of plastic horses , to finding a riding school and cycling 7 miles each way at 11 years old, I managed to satisfy my love of horses.
Eventually I fulfilled my ambition. At 22 years old I bought my first horse. I wanted a 4 year old as I thought I could ride and wanted to bring one on. I went with a “knowledgeable” friend to an Irish dealer. He had a field full of 4 year olds, all broken to ride and drive. I picked one that looked like one of my plastic horses. So I just tacked him up and rode him. As you can imagine I had some challenges. It turned out he was an untouched 2 year old. Naive as I was, my intentions were good and I had him for 27 years til his death. We had many adventures.
Over the years I have had many other ponies and horses for me and my children.
Why did you start Straightness Training with him?
After a serious riding accident in December 2014 I did not think I would ever be able to ride again. I had Rob in September 2014 and having done some Parelli previously thought I would continue with this; and then I found Straightness Training. It was the perfect answer; so many pillars to do without riding. At first I thought it would keep me occupied with my horse. My family were relieved, as they did not want me to risk riding again. When I saw the ST videos I never thought I would be able to do any of those fancy dressage movements. That was for proper dressage riders, not for the likes of me. However I needed to do something so I thought I might just as well give it a go. Once in the course I realised this was not just “something to do with a horse without riding”.
Rob is the kindest pony. He had been given too much responsibility to look after humans and was emotionally shut down. He had so much push and was on his forehand. He ignored my aids as he had just been taught to go forward, be pulled to turn and be pulled even harder to stop. In trot he could not stop and frequently tripped. When he was being led he was constantly leaning in and stepping on my toes. Rob was physically incapable of bending and mentally unable to change. I was not much help as I had lost my strength and energy. I was fortunate enough to have Elaine regularly and with her help and patience both Rob and I have come a long way. We have attended the ST clinics at Sands Farm. Elaine’s horseless workshops have really helped the theory sink in.
My most emotional moment was riding Rob at Sands Farm ST clinic. The support, encouragement and help I have received from all the other Students is fantastic; as is the support from other STudents on facebook. It was, and still is, a bit of a challenge getting to grips with the technology though.
What do you think has been the biggest benefit of being a Mastery student?
Being a MaSTery Student has taken my horsemanship to another dimension. The depth of knowledge is phenomenal. I have surprised myself as to how far both Rob and I have come. Rob has been transformed into a proud noble steed. He knows he can express himself and work out the answers. My whole life’s journey has been enhanced and enriched by this wonderful course.
My next major challenge is submitting a touchstone.
Anything else you would like to say?
Thank you all for your continued help, support and inspiration.
Big congratulations to Alison and Rob on the achievements they are making together and good luck in submitting your Touchstones!