The Art of Hacking Intensive Training course has been developed in response to the needs of many of my clients. The course runs over two days either here at Higher Langdon Barn or at your own yard. Prices can be found here and below is a description of what you can expect...
"A friend and client just got in touch to ask what the purpose of the Art of Hacking intensive courses is - which is a very good question! How often do you really check out what the purpose of any training event might be...?
I am going to share some of my response, which I hope might be of interest to other people. So, the point of this intensive course is not to 'just' hack on Dartmoor...In it's most basic sense it's purpose is to check:
1. Does your horse refer to you in any situation? 2. Does he understand the aids in any situation?
It's actually that simple, but of course, really not that easy! Let me give you some examples. You saw Des and I open a gate and said one day you would like to be able to open a gate that nicely. The reason he does that is because he understands very light aids - they are in fact the same aids as needed for shoulder in on a circle and travers on a circle. And he understands that they always apply, even when there is a gate involved!
Due to Des injuring himself (of course!) baby Fuego had to step in unexpectedly at recent horse camp. Fuego and I always hack by ourselves as we have no one to go out with (tiny violin) so suddenly he had to go out with 4 horses he'd never met, and as no one wanted to go at the back he was put in the, 'You'll be eaten be a lion slot' and he didn't feel great about that. This shows me where my work is! I want to get to the stage that wherever he is in relation to other horses he doesn't need to worry as I have his back. And this is why I walked with him when his cup of anxiety started to run over, as I know he is super confident with me on the ground, so from there I can help him. I don't want him to agree to go behind, but be jogging and anxious the whole way, I want him to be totally OK with it.
And building from that, I would want to know that if I ever have to get off and lead (which can happen for a variety of reasons out hacking) that my horse will happily and safely go behind me, alongside me, or in front of me and that they are totally OK with this too.
If my horse is 'trained' (because thats what it is) BUT this is accompanied by an understanding from me of what a horse needs to 'feel' good, thats when things start to take you both into the super league! (I recently posted an article on the optimum level of arousal a horse needs to happily learn - its our job to find this sweet spot.) In my experience, you can practice walking over a tarp as many times as you like in the safety of an indoor school with experienced horses around, but this doesn't always translate to walking through a very peculiar looking puddle while other horses are also saying they won't go through. I want my horse to be the one who will lead others as he believes it's something he can do with me - its taken YEARS for this to be the case with Des and I. He really is not a naturally brave kind of guy for all his posturing and willy waving! I am very proud of how far we have come on this front.
And it starts at the very start. If you get on, and your horse kind of wanders around while you're doing your girth or adjusting your jacket, you know that from the outset he's not really waiting for you. So when the shit hits the fan, he won't wait for you then either! Therefore the point of these intensives is to get really picky with you both as a partnership, and the context of going hacking gives us a purpose. If you want to open a gate with real quality, what does that entail and how can we help our horse to understand that? email@example.com or 07398 139463
I can help with most issues of riding and horsemanship, and enjoy giving people the skills and knowledge they need to become their horse’s best teacher. I believe anyone has the ability to become a great horse-person, and teach in a way which is accessible to everyone.
"What a fella needs to be aware of is that horsemanship through feel is handed down from one friend to another. It isn't for sale, no it isn't for sale. And I'd rather think that any fella, before he gets too far along on the training end of things where horses are concerned, should know about this from the start." Bill Dorrance, True Horsemanship Through Feel.
I hope you enjoy this site.
Thank you to Dee Bee Photography and Deborah Haynes for the photos.