Horse Craft Evenings


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‘Horse Craft’ gets off to a flying start

On Wednesday evening over 30 people gathered at Tullich farm, near Kilmelford, to enjoy the first in a series of ten fortnightly sessions led by Shuna Shaw and other equine specialists.

Shuna began the session by giving a demonstration on working at liberty with her Andalusian gelding Soli; she explained that for her working at liberty was first and foremost about having fun with her horse and was a way to build a language between them, and could potentially be a really useful extra training aid .When the horse is at liberty it’s all about choices for the horse, he can do whatever he likes and by observing his choices you can learn a great deal about how your horse really feels.  At times it was as if there was an invisible elastic band between Shuna and Soli, but if he did choose to leave at any point Shuna merely observed what was happening, and emphasised that there was no ‘right or wrong' reaction for the horse.  Horses are herd animals and by doing this work she aims to build a trust based bond with the horse so he feels safe around her, and chooses to be with her.  She emphasised that anyone can do this with their horse, and that there is no ‘best way’, simply an opportunity to find what’s right for you and your horse and to refine your communication with him, ‘it’s all work in progress and it’s all fun’.

In the second part of the evening Shuna worked with a young horse on ‘despooking’ which she explained was all about helping a horse to get braver.  Again, this is about building trust between horse and person.  She used a variety of  potentially ‘scary’ objects like moving bicycles, umbrellas and big noisy plastic bags to show how she couldn’t ‘make’ a horse be braver but could only set things up in a way which enabled him to ‘find a way to do it’.  She explained how important it is to gauge his response, and to accurately read body language as the objective is to build his confidence not to overface him, and the aim is that each time he is exposed to the ‘scary’ thing’ he gets calmer and calmer; she was looking for the horse’s eyes to be soft and for him to feel soft at the end of the rope; it was fascinating to watch as this young horse’s       curiosity overcame his fear.

The next session is at 6.30 on Wednesday 11th November and will cover ‘psychology of riders’ and ‘leading, driving and pulling’.  The evening sessions are open to anyone and continue into March 2010. 

For further details contact

Shuna Shaw:  079600 14646 / shuna@easyhorse.org.uk
Pam Dumas Ekin: 01838 400384 / p.dumasekin@btinternet.com