Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Solo had this work week off, which gave him the chance to process what we covered last weekend and me the chance to catch up with friends and family I haven't had the opportunity to see since the challenge started.
He was rested and fresh on Saturday and when I did a test run of what we covered last Sunday, he nailed it. He was just as responsive on the rope as at liberty, and we achieved a level of relaxation in him that we haven't seen before which had me smiling from ear to ear!
He got his first body wash and a new rug, and once I could stick my fingers in his mouth without him trying to evade, I wormed him as well. Unlike some domestic horses, he handled this like a champ, and after giving him half the paste to start with, he was just as willing for me to give him the rest, although didn't like the taste any more than any of my other horses and pulled some charming faces at me!
On Sunday Solo and I went for a training session with Tony Haines at Balanced Equine Performance Training Centre.
Tony practices similar principles and techniques to those I do, but with more experience behind him and I went to see him with the aim of refining the work I have done to date.
We discussed many things and focused on the fundamental principle of breaking each cue down as much as the horse needs. A perfect example being Solo's send off on line which has gone from being non existent last week, to there but with brace yesterday, to soft and smooth from a simple point today thanks to Tony breaking things down for us even further than I had.
One of the smallest yet biggest things I took from Sunday's session is that even when I was removing pressure, I wasn't mentally disengaging from him, so the pressure was still there to a small degree. By totally disengaging, by literally turning my back on Solo, his relaxation levels were by far the best yet.
After we finished our training session Tony tidied up Solo's front feet and Solo showed how brave he can be with a stranger touching him and putting him in such a vulnerable position by holding his leg up!
It was a great day and I have come home with a lot of information to process and just quietly, I think Solo might have won himself another follower with his sensitive, smart and spunky personality!