Developing Self-Carriage & Confidence Thru Sideways Movements
Here we are…mid-way through the summer of 2002, and just yesterday I put away my longjohns for hopefully the next few months! We had a very successful month-long Colt Development Course in May working with Carol Marrington of Ukiah, California and Sandy Beal of Alfalfa, Oregon. The colts, furnished by the Mackennzie Ranches had never been touched, and their honesty and awareness were great teachers.
One of the aspects that came so true to us in working with these truly non-domesticated horses, was the importance of gaining their respect through their eyes, to the feet, in accomplishing the four basic movements - going forward, disengagement of the hindquarters, going backwards, and moving sideways.
In the last issue of Partnership Journey we discussed the importance of sideways movements, along with some basic ground exercises to help our horses develop “self-carriage” by carrying the energy diagonally through their body. (See Winter 2002…Moving Sideways Newsletter) Now, lets apply our “work-in-hand” maneuvers in some different patterns.
To review, we started with working the horse’s feet sideways in a circular pattern, both at the end of the 12-ft. lead rope, and then close in with the snaffle bit set-up. Our goal was to see and feel the horse moving his energy from the inside hind foot, towards the outside shoulder or rein. This should be accomplished with the lightest of caress in the active/inside rein, and a slight down pressure on the outside/support rein, while you move your feet & body into the horse with rhythm. Now lets take the direction of the horse off the circle onto the diagonal line.
1) From your sideways on a circle posture, pick a point on the outside track which is slightly ahead of your horse’s shoulders and a straight line to the wall.
2) Move your intentions, toes, and body energy more through the shoulder or even under the neck, placing your toes on the diagonal line to the wall. Remember, keep your hand consistent – soft, in a line out from the point of the shoulder, and parallel to the ground. While the shoulders lead slightly, make sure the hindquarter is reaching underneath, also following the angle and direction of the diagonal line.
3) Before reaching the wall, try speeding up your toes to walk the shoulders more in front of the hips. You should now be prepared to stop your horse on the wall in a slightly “haunches-in” posture, and you should be facing the horse’s tail with your belly button and eyes facing down the track.
4) Carry this shape backwards a few steps, preparing to set your body up so that you can step through and pivot your weight on the leg most close to the center of the arena. As you pivot your weight, also change your eyes forward, towards the horse’s ears, with belly button down the track.
5) Last, ask the horse forward, pushing off of his outside hind, by bringing his inside hind foot forward with your suggestion. You will be amazed…if you get your pivot correct, then the horse will ride the inside hind forward every time!
Now that you are on the track, set up for a few steps of shoulder-in by using the corners to send your horse sideways on a circle, then change your toes to a straight line under his neck and parallel to the wall, for a few steps of shoulder-in
THINK about the movement requested before your start, and SEE the pattern on the ground first.
FEEL for a softness and a confidence in the horses’ carriage, moving his energy from the inside hind to the outside rein.
ALLOW the horse and yourself time to find the balance and rhythm.
REWARD the movement and the effort by going forward on the track softly, and with verbal and internal “At-a Boy”’s!
What’s on the Horizon
Away from Home
There are still limited openings in several of Alice’s clinics outside of Haines. Please help us out by encouraging your horse friends in these neighborhoods to come at least audit, and hopefully ride!
Round Pen to Riding Retreat
I am really excited about this 6-day class. We will start each day with work in the round pen to better understand positioning, how to draw the eyes and the feet, and how get a proper, balanced rollback. For the human, we will work on our riding skills by getting rid of the reins and learning how focus and feel are what truly influence our ability to ride WITH the horse. SIX days to just play with your horse in a beautiful, safe environment, with great food to boot! It doesn’t get any better.
August 11th – 16th
Deadline July 22nd
August Saturday Cow Work
Giving your horse a job is very important, and one of the best is letting him play with cattle. Saturdays in August will gather together to apply our horsemanship skills to following cattle, sorting, ranch penning, ranch cutting, and maybe even a little roping. Everything done slow, right, and soft, but with a HUGE fun factor!
Class will be either mornings or evenings, depending on the will of the participants.
August 10th, 17th, 24th, & 31st
Deadline: August 1st
8-Week Horse Courses
Still the best bargain around…The 8-Week Horse Course allows you time to practice in between sessions, plus the fun and comradery of riding with a group once a week. Classes are generally 2 ½ hours long, and subject matter is always about going deeper with our understanding of the horse! As example…The Monday Haines class completed their course with a day of sideways movements work-in-hand, then on to ground driving, hopped on board to drag around the ‘ol inner tube, and completed the day with some column of two’s riding to the music of the old western movies! Sound fun? Well it is and your horses love it too!
September & October
Mondays in Haines
Wednesdays in La Grande
Cost: $225 + arena fee in
La Grande; Deadline: August 19th
Driving & Work-in-Hand Workshop
I have been very fortunate to study with Bettina Drumund for the past year, and as you can see by the content of my newsletters, she is having a big influence on my understanding of movement, balance, rhythm, and timing. Coupling the principles of dressage with my life-long background of working with draft horses, makes for a great combination that ultimately helps all types of horse/human partnerships.
Join me for the weekend of October 5th & 6th as we apply the basics of going forward, backwards, & sideways with long-lines, and driving our horse up into engagement and collection. It will be the best riding you will ever do!
October 5th & 6th
Deadline: September 30th
OK…Here’s the BIG Question????
Over the past year and one half I have truly enjoyed sharing my thoughts & ideas with you via this quarterly newsletter. However, with a mailing list of over 400 & the cost of postage continuing to increase, we need to make another suggestion.
The Partnership Journey is available on line at: www.tnthorsemanship.com
We will continue to send out postcards reminding you of our schedule & to check the website. For those of you who would like to receive a copy in the mail, please let us know by calling 541-856-3356 or write to us at: 15477 Sky Ranch Lane, Haines, OR 97833 THANKS!
Please visit our past Newsletter Archives: