Delightful Desty!

Meet Desty.  He arrived on Monday and the changes he has made in this short time are nothing short of amazing.  I met him around Easter where I went to give his owner a lesson.  He was so much pushing in his shoulders that it was impossible to get a good step from him.  His owner very kindly agreed to allowing me to help and I can honestly say we didn’t get very far at all.  Maybe half a circle on the left rein where he didn’t try to bite me or push on me (although to be fair he didn’t connect teeth – just made it clear to me that this was VERY hard).  I broke it down as best I could, just helping him to understand where his weight was going and what I wanted.  On the right rein I got nothing – ZERO – only lots of crossness and lots of push.  We had quite a job on our hands.
His owner decided that perhaps a couple of weeks with me might be optimal so that is why he has come to stay.

Once a visiting horse has settled into its new environment then I bring them into the arena and ask nothing of them other than to go on a circle on each rein. I use this time to make observations – no influence – just observing what the tendencies are. As you can see Desty’s natural asymmetry presents him with some challenges!  Interesting to note that although I am not aiming to influence him my body posture has mirrored his without me realising!
Politely asking Desty to become aware of his centre of mass falling into his right shoulder – he was not impressed to start with!   Again interesting to note how without realising I am mirroring his body posture.

So on Monday – once we had been through the observations then he had his first session and he was still quite cross about being in his shoulders but he wasn’t too long before he remembered the feeling he had at Easter and came out of his shoulder on the left rein and gave me some reasonable work. In the first short session we even managed to get ONE STEP on the right rein where he didn’t have a push into the shoulder.  Stopping as soon as he shifted his weight and finishing the session right there and then.  Second session we came out and he was able to give half a circle on the right rein – and third session he came into the arena and gave lovely blowing out and not falling on the shoulder at all.  He then went from being cross to being very affectionate.

Finding balance on the left rein
And amazingly starting to find balance on the right rein too where he was able to walk without falling massively onto his right shoulder!

By the second day he was really a different horse – no push on the circle and when I took to the straight line no push there either .  Very relaxed, very connected – just an absolute dream! The first session of the day I was then able to also take it to ask him to stand in the haunches in position and get one step on the left rein. That day we had three sessions – very short ones, stopping as soon as I got an improvement and by the end of the day we were able to have 5 strides of haunches in on the left rein with a pretty nice balance and shape.

With his body and mind more balanced even after just 2 days he is now able to give 5 decent strides of haunches in on the left rein! What a horse!

We are now on Day 3.  And the haunches in on the left rein is really developing nicely – along with his LFS on both reins, of course.  Now we are not so much in the teaching phase of the haunches in on the left I am able to come out of the haunches in and see what benefits in quality it brings to the LFS.  On the right rein we now have two steps of haunches in – you can see from the photos the difference in his confidence in working out from his ‘easy’ side to his more ‘difficult’ side!   So on the right rein we are very much still in the teaching phase – rewarding every slight try in the right direction.

Now he has the feeling of the haunches in on his ‘easier’ rein we are able to explore finding his feet and his shape on the right rein. This is quite difficult for him – slowly, slowly rewarding every tiny try.
Day 3 on the left rein and he is pretty confident with how to organise his body and feeling pretty good about himself!


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