Speaking of TurdHenry...
I've had some great moments but there have been a few things I seem to get stuck on. I've had some trouble with the shape of Mystic's lunging circles (they're a bit...oval). And Henry doesn't really respect my personal space as much as he should. I feel like Henry and I get into a cycle of me shoo-ing him away and him creeping back in.
I decided to book a session with the coach who I mentioned here yesterday. Her training focuses on classical dressage and some principles of natural horsemanship. I e-mailed her specifically asking for help with Mystic's lunging and for a little help with Henry on the ground. I was hoping a second pairs of eyes and hands would really help un-stick us.
We worked with Mystic for about an hour and half. I was really proud of my little mare. The trainer threw a lot of weird exercises at us and she really rose to the occasion. We worked on yielding the shoulders and hindquarters. We worked on using driving aids in-hand and going through/over obstacles. I definitely put a lot of tools in my toolbox. I felt like an hour and half was a bit long for Mystic (and me, to be honest).
Mystic wearing her pink and sparkly slinky I bought for her a while ago #bestpony
When Henry's turn arrived I was feeling a bit mentally fried. I find in-hand work and groundwork is a lot more difficult for my brain to absorb. He's the more challenging horse of the two so I suggested that we shorten his session as I was feeling a bit overloaded. She offered to work with him to show me a few things I could practice on my own (I opted to video this as my brain was at capacity).
She really liked Henry. She actually expressed interest in purchasing him if he was ever for sale. But she agreed that he was the more difficult of the two. She recommended keeping him busy and mixing up his activities/exercise often. She actually decided to bridle him (first time ever) and work with him in that rather than the halter. It was pretty cool to see him looking all grown up. He thought it was pretty weird.
What do think Henry?
I always find myself feeling the same way after I take any lessons that have a "natural horsemanship" feel....
It's really hard for me and I don't enjoy it.
I don't. I hate the extra long lead ropes. I hate the dressage whip with a string or a bag on it. I can't handle all that extra crap. I also really suck at it. It doesn't come "naturally" to me. At all. I am truly terrible at it.
I also don't give two shits about making my horse stand on a pedestal or playing the fucking friendly game with me.* Sometimes I wish I did.
There's part of that feels like some natural horsemanship techniques offer a more horse-friendly approach to training. I think I actually feel guilty for not liking it more. I feel like I should...but I don't. I have no judgement for people who enjoy NH-type training and find success with it. I wish I was one of you - but it just doesn't grab me.
*I understand there is a lot more to it than that. I also understand that there are many types of training that vary a great deal but fall under the very large "natural horsemanship" umbrella.
I genuinely feel like I added some good tools into my toolbox during my lesson. But I didn't accomplish the number one goal that I mentioned twice during our e-mail exchange when booked the lesson (I WANT MYSTIC TO LUNGE PERFECTLY AT THE W/T/C). I don't have a lot of extra room in my budget for lessons so I'm a bit disappointed. But maybe she was pulling the old Mr. Miyagi and next time I try to lunge Mystic it will be a harmonious and beautiful event. I can certainly see how yielding the shoulder and hindquarter will be helpful for lunging in future.
I can't really decide if I want to continue with the odd in-hand/on the ground lesson or not. I was thinking of doing a monthly or bi-monthly session with Henry over the winter. She has a lot to teach me. I just don't know that I'm the right student.