Pauline Beulze Clinic Part 3

(Finally!)

The ‘body’ of my lesson with Pauline was spent working both horses together, with me riding Flurry and leading Aero.  The ultimate goal is to have Aero at liberty, so once we’d done our stuff with him on the lead and identified what areas we need to work on, we decided to take ‘unhook’ him.

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”

I’ve now modified the above quote.

“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, hunt it down from the back of a horse and feed it carrots until it stays with you.”

Like I said in the video subtitles, the biggest takeaway I had from the day with Pauline was the idea of breaking a task down into tiny, tiny steps.  Literally.  Earlier in the day, I was watching someone else’s lesson.  Stephanie has owned Rivaldo for about a year now and has been doing loads of in-hand work with him.  Rivaldo has developed a huge amount of trust in his ‘mum’ (he has quite a history) and they’ve even done a few Equifeel competitions.  With Pauline, they took their first steps towards working at liberty.

Rivaldo follows like a lamb when he’s on the lead, but the minute Stephanie unclipped it he knew he was free, and he wandered off to investigate grass growing under the arena fence.  Once they got him back beside her, Pauline’s advice was:

“Take one step, stop, and reward him.”

This worked.  Rivaldo ate his carrot and absorbed what had just happened.  Staying with mum is good!  Then it was two steps… then three… then a turn, on either side.  And that’s the start of it.

And it’s exactly the same for me and the Boys.  Ask a little; praise a lot; acknowledge every attempt.  I’ve been applying this to the new stuff I’ve been teaching Aero ever since, and it’s working a charm.  There will be a video soon 🙂

Pauline finished our session by showing me how to use two sticks with the horses when doing work on the ground.  This is something I had already done with Aero on his own, but she pointed out that it’s the best way to work two horses together, especially when I have an enthusiastic horse and an unmotivated horse!

The whole day was great, I stayed and watched everyone’s lesson and learned a lot.  Huge thanks to Pauline for her time, expertise and patience; to Alexandrine for organising it; and to our regional board for subsidising it.

Oh lordy, maybe I need to post this in French as well so that the appropriate people will read it…

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