Look at what the basics can do!!!
The image on the left was taken from a video prepared for a March 26 on-line coaching session. The image on the right was taken a week later for another coaching session.
If you aren't sure what you are looking at, look at the same images below. The red line shows how high behind this 18 year old Morgan mare was. From the root of her tail, there's a downhill slope to her back and the horizontal line is halfway up her neck. You might think this is how she's built. This is how she is, but look at the image taken from video a week later. Her croup is level with her withers! Which horse would you want to ride? It's an easy answer.
These changes are the result of the core foundations lessons done well. Attention to details produces results like this.
Here's another great example.
The comments from everyone in the coaching session were it doesn't even look like the same horse.
Meet Frank. Here's how his person described him at the start of the clinic:
"Frank has been very challenging, by rearing and biting, no boundaries.
At the moment, we need to focus on safety. Safety is my priority."
Frank is learning how to how to be patient, how to wait for his person. And he is learning so much more. Look at the change in his balance! To the left he is on his forehand, falling forward onto his front end with his hocks trailing out behind him. His topline is sagging down. He looks like an old carthorse (sorry Frank).
In the April image he is lifting up from the base of his neck. His weight has shifted off of his front end. He is standing much more square and level. He looks so much more like a handsome riding horse.
In horses physical balance and emotional balance go hand-in-hand.
Sputnik is an 8 year old Icelandic horse. He has been with his current owner, Raven Hickson, for a year. He was a breeding stallion until he was 6, then he had about a month of backing/training just before Raven got him. She was told me he was 'not always compliant' in his training.
Scratch below the surface of many training issues and you will find a physical problem. That was the case with Sputnik. During on-line clinics in 2021, video analysis made me suspect a stifle issue. That was confirmed in January when Raven's vet diagnosed locking stifles and suggested anti-inflammatories and then a gradual increase in exercise.
Raven's training program has included leg lifts and attention to the details of food delivery. When you see a horse every day, it can be hard to appreciate the changes. This is one of the reasons for taking video. Raven pulled these two images from video and sent me this email message:
"I just sent you videos for this weekend's coaching session. Since I took one of leg lifts, I was comparing it to some older leg lift videos. I was pretty surprised at how different Sputnik looks now than he did a few months ago. I took a screenshot from an October video (on the left) and the one from today (on the right). Wwe have made a lot of progress and we still have so much more to explore!"
Raven Hickson May 2022
I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you SO MUCH for the coaching sessions you are offering us! ❤
I have made adjustments to the backing request based on your suggestions and also from viewing Lucy's videos and the results are so awesome. Such small changes yet such huge improvements in communication, willingness and results.
The request via holding the snap correctly and including the shoulder bone rotation is just astounding! Reminding myself to ask and wait for Josie then release and fill the space and follow with the minuet hand just so soft and beautiful! Today was such an amazing session with my Josie girl!
IAABC Certified Animal Behavior Consultant #508
IAABC Shelter Division Affiliate
Honey and I have worked pretty hard at our turning to a mat. And to finally understand what you meant has been instrumental. She owns the process of turning if I just wait and not get ahead of myself. I have been thinking about this a bit. I am thinking that when we ask for a response using fear (avoidance), then the horse reacts a lot faster but when we give them time to think about it and own their decision, it may take longer but I think it goes a lot deeper and stays with them. Unfortunately for most of my horsey life I had been told we must have a quick response when training horses. Never a slow and considered response, allowing a horse to think.
Angela Cook - Australia
Every time I reread a book, take another look a painting, or have another interaction with a living creature, I see something I didn't before. My learning history has changed, even if just ever so slightly, and that gives me new perspective. I think about how great painters use color in ways that are unbelievably new and amazing. I'll look at a painting and think--surely this person is not using the same colors I am!? How do they make me see it like that? It is just the same old colors, but even after thousands of years there are still surprises and new ways to see and look at the world. I feel like the foundation lessons are our "colors". Every piece of art that we create will be built from them. No two pieces will look exactly the same. And there will ALWAYS be more to learn about them; how to use them, how to see them, and how they create and change balance and relationships. I am so excited to delve deeper into our foundations with my horses and see how our artwork changes.
Christa Culbert Washington State
I want my horses to feel like family, and vice versa. When we are together, I want it to feel like we are home.
Christa Culbert Washington State