It was freezing so unfortunately I didn't take a whole lot of pictures. I wish I did now that I'm nice and warm in my comfy office!
I opted out of the obstacle course to focus on lunging for Max. He's generally good with it but we have had some scooting moments. Plus I wanted to make sure I wasn't picking up any wrong habits.
So we started out with talking about the correct position and set up for lunging. She spoke a lot about position and energy. She had me pinch the whip under my armpit and hold it back at first.
Of course, he had to be a good boy that day >.< so I couldn't really recreate the scooting off he sometimes does. But we did work on lunging with a lunge whip and getting him to feel that it's okay to see the lunge whip in my hand - that it doesn't mean I'm going to chase him with it.
She told me that when he is doing what I want him to do, to relax my energy and look at his body and keep my eyes soft. Then when I wanted a canter transition, she had me visualize what I wanted him to do, look right into his eyes and raise the whip slightly. I didn't even have to say anything. Like magic he transitioned nicely. Then as soon as he was cantering, I moved my eyes back to his body and lowered the whip.
Earlier on he'd toss his head and snort when I lifted the whip...she said that he was probably a little offended by it! By asking courteously, quietly and from the heart, we had a nice smooth transition without any of the drama. It was just lovely. She expressed some surprise at how well I was handling the lunging, that I wasn't over-reacting or under-reacting and to not change that when I work with him.
My most favorite part of the clinic? After working with us and seeing how we got a long she came up to me and told me that it was a real treat for a first-time owner, who was also new to horses, to have a horse like Max. She said that my energy was well-matched with his, and that it was rare to find such a sensitive horse with such a good mind. In the wrong hands, it would be a disaster, but my personality was just right for a horse like Max, and that he could teach me to be really smooth with aids which was a real pleasure to see and teach.
It was a fantastic feeling. I admit there have been those days where I have doubted myself... am I the right owner for Max? Will I ruin him with my lack of knowledge, lousy confusing aids and endless worrying?
It was nice to hear from a natural horsemanship professional that we were a good match. Very VERY nice.
And of course, it doesn't hurt that he's cute as a button!! ^.^
Braids were a must!!