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November 8, 2017
Thinking laterally
I recently spectated a clinic with Silke Vallentin in North Devon. The things this inspiration lady can teach about training horses on the ground to develop healthy movement is exceptional. That she does it from a wheelchair, is a testament to what anyone can achieve if they are determined enough. I have attended her clinics before but was interested to see that this time, she spent a fair amount of time teaching the horses the steps to 'sitting' on the hindquarters, leading to a school halt, school walk and so on. This is all done on the gorund, 'in-hand' but the cues are specific and subtle. I have spent a fair amount of time recently exploring shoulder-in on the ground with Shaun especially and have found it intriguing to see how quickly he has started to offer it ridden - his idea - without me even picking up the reins. I find it interesting how Silke talked about the shoulder-in and exactly how the horse needed to have it's weight to bring the inside hind into the centre of balance. Shaun has recently started offereing even more - he blows me away with his try - since Hugo turned up, his attitude has completely changed and he is keen to play/work again. When I ask him for 'sitting' on the hindquarters, he immediately offers vertical flexion. We constantly play with walking forwards in frame with softness - something that we have both struggled because my feel was not got enough at the start of his ridden career. Hugo has already started offering frame at halt, backup and forwards - he's just like a big sponge. It's exciting times and I continue to read and learn to find better ways to teach not only my own horses but my clients and their horses too.

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