Lisa and Whiskey – Forging a Friendship
By the time Lisa Beaman discovered Just Equus and Pete Biggs, with his talent for Natural Horsemanship, the bond between horse and rider was non-existent.
“I felt like Whiskey treated me like some lowly stable hand. I served him hand and foot without receiving any appreciation. If that horse had been a person I would have called him rude and arrogant. He was horrible.”
Through Pete’s training, Lisa finally learned to relate to her horse on his level. Little by little, with support from Pete, Lisa gained confidence in her ability to connect with her horse. Every little thing she did was sending a message to Whiskey, Pete wanted to make sure it was the right one and that there was a reward for him when he responded correctly.
Slowly over the months that followed, a bond began to form between Lisa and Whiskey. The message from Pete was always clear and consistent; take your time, do not rush him. Being in a hurry is a human trait, not a horse one. In learning to give Whiskey time to respond to signals, Lisa was taking control over his actions. The horse became more attentive and more in tune with Lisa’s wishes. He began to pay attention and wait for instructions.
“We now had a partnership. Instead of being embarrassed because I felt I had a badly behaved horse I am proud of him.”
The most important part of his re-training was that it was all taking place in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. No rush, no pressure just time to absorb what was needed and time for understanding and trust. There was no reason for Whiskey to be fearful because he was being treated in a way he understood.
“When I first began working with Pete we did so much ground work. Asking the horse to yield to me, to step back and stand still and be handled without pressure or fear. When the time came to get back on him I still felt the old stress and panic set in. I remember carrying my saddle towards him and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Pete told me to relax and was so supportive and patient. I actually had one previous trainer texting on his phone during a lesson, but with Pete I had the focus of his full attention all the time.”
At last Lisa began to feel that the hard yards were over. She was making progress and with it came the reward of a trusting connection between her and her horse. With patience and understanding, Lisa under Pete’s careful guidance had changed the way Whiskey thought and responded. “Same horse, different mindset,” says Lisa.
“We now had a partnership. Instead of being embarrassed because I felt I had a badly behaved horse I am proud of him. I feel calm and relaxed around him; there is no more flinching when I raise my hand near him. He comes to me rather than having to chase him around the paddock and I feel I have improved my communication with him by about 90%.”
Read Part 1: Lisa and Whiskey – In the Beginning
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