A month with Nia!

The lovely Nia has not long finished a stay with me.  She is a Spanish PRE who was lightly backed over a year ago but then had a year off due to a field injury.  She is now ready to come back into education for her delightful owner.  With no Straightness Training education we are starting from the beginning – teaching her how to be more balanced in her body so that she can carry a rider with better biomechanics.

The first day we did some observing – just to see what we had.  Conclusion – a nice, willing mare, Right Brain Introvert and left bended.  Once she had become accustomed to the arena then I introduced her to the cavesson and made a start on the initial exercises – Forward down, Lateral bending at the stand-still then into motion with the Stepping under.  The LFS.  This was not easy for her, especially on the right.  She would shear her legs under her centre of mass (COM) and was a little opposed to the request.  But we carefully helped explain what was required, rewarding every slight try in the right direction and she was soon making some nice efforts.  Short – sweet session.

Later she had her second short session, going over what we had done on the first one and looking for the 2mm improvements.  Now able to take to the fence line in a straight line – bit unsure at first, with a push on the right rein – but not a huge one, taking care of the push on the first session so that she understood what I was asking making all the difference.  We even managed to ask her to come into a haunches in position on the left rein.  She was unsure about walking forward whilst I walked backwards to start with and it took a few goes until we had 3 consecutive halts in a haunches in position at the fence line.  Once that was in place then I asked for one step of haunches in.  A couple of tries and we got it.  The whole session was about 20 mins.

Day Two – started with getting her used to the mounting block.  At first she didn’t understand how to line herself up with me standing on the block, but patiently rewarding the slightest try and it wasn’t long before she was calmly positioning herself at the block and I was able to lie over her from left to right.  Also checked out that she was OK with moving from one eye into another with the ‘rope around’ exercise – all good.


We did some short 20 mins ST – repeating on what we did on Day 1 but looking for those tiny changes of better quality.  All coming along well.

Day 3;  Started off with a short session getting her used to the bareback pad.  She was perfectly fine having it cinched up and moved around at the walk and trot.  She was not overly confident, and would come in to check in with me – I allowed this because I wanted to build her confidence.  Finally she relaxed and we got some nice soft blow outs as she trotted around on the left rein.  Took the pad off and went to the mounting block – lay over her, all good so put my leg over and sat on her.  Nice job.
Later we took a look at the ST exercises again – some really nice LFS now on the circle and straight line.  Also some super steps of haunches in on the left rein – she has nailed this now.  Introduced HI to the right – just setting up with her standing in the haunches in position, once we got that 3 consecutive times I asked for one step of haunches in.  Such a brilliant little mare.

Hard to believe that only 3 days ago this super little mare had no training in Straightness Training! And here she is confidently finding her outside hind. Super Nia.

So in a short space of time – we had some quite definite advancements.

Now let’s fast forward to how things have progressed by Day 13.

By this time Nia is now able to  do a reasonable haunches in on the right and can take the haunches in off the wall on the left.

Ridden built it up to riding solo with my assistant, Helen, close by – then with Helen standing in the middle of the circle and eventually with Helen sitting away from the circle. Bit sticky feet on a few occasions but again we worked through that and got some confident circles with some nice transitions to halt and back to walk again.


   By Day 23 we are getting some better balance and finding a ridden LFS.

Day 35 – Nia and I are getting out and about on solo rides.

Day 36 – All ready to go home after a few days hand-over with her owner.  What a lovely time they are set to have together.

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