Today was the first day of a three day confidence clinic at Walkerston, near Mackay. Run Mark and Anne-Juanita, two experienced horse-people with different, but complementary, methods of horse and rider training, it was a great day.
We did basic things like leading the horse – but we also had to do it on the off side, and get them to trot. This is harder than it sounds, especially around corners. We learnt to lunge in the round yard, with and without a lead rope, and then to lunge outside the yard.
After lunch we played with our horses, bouncing big yoga balls near and at them, and getting them used to all sorts of things like balloons, bubbles and polo cross mallets and balls. We also had to get them to walk across a tarp, which proved a real challenge for little Koda (below), who took an hour work to get him over. After that he did it happily a few times. Persistence and patience.
My new mare doesn't arrive until tomorrow, so my partner was a big grey ex-racehorse called Ghost. I had not so much as patted him before the day, and he had always seemed a bit scary to me. By the end of the day we were good friends, and my confidence had certainly improved!
Tomorrow I get to do it all again with Tiana. Can’t wait!