Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rider's Wednesday -- Dance Lessons

Yesterday, I spent a little bit of time playing with Theo. We didn't do any concentrated training. I just worked with him a little bit, encouraging him to pay attention to me and not be distracted by Spring Things.

He's a joy to work with, and he loves "school." He was perfectly happy to work at liberty in the round pen, and to practice rollbacks online.

Theo has been handled since the day he was born. He has no idea how big he is (about 18 hands, and still growing), or how much he weighs (close to 1800 pounds -- my weight tape doesn't go that high). I'd like to keep it that way.

I've used a lot of Clinton's techniques when working with Theo. I am continually impressed with how light, agile, and responsive they encourage horses to be. I've also used some of Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling's methods (but I'm less familiar with them, and thus, less sure of myself using them).

I highly recommend both trainers. Their emphasis on groundwork quickly produces a horse that is attuned to the handler. An added benefit is a handler that's more attuned to the horse. Both develop an awareness of each other, and understand each other's body language. When one moves, the other knows what it means, and moves accordingly. It's a phenomenal feeling.

Some people turn their horse handler noses up at doing groundwork exercises. I would argue that they're missing out. I don't think of it as Ground Work. To me, it's Dance Lessons.