On Friday evening I went out to see a demonstration by Emma Massingale. I have been a fan of hers for several years now but had never managed to see a demo so I was very much looking forward to it – I bought the ticket way back in May!
I had wanted to get a hot chocolate to keep myself warm but I only had five minutes to spare when I arrived and didn’t want to miss the beginning. It was so cold though – it took me ages to warm up when I got home.
The demo was brilliant. The bond Emma has with her ponies is wonderful to see and something I would love to achieve with my own ponies. Not that Galahad and I don’t have a bond but it could be so much more.
Emma worked with several ponies individually to show us their various stages of experience. She reinforced something which really I already knew but which is easy to forget sometimes – it is much better to stop working on something once it has been successful than to keep repeating it because the first time might have been a fluke. I can certainly be guilt of doing that sometimes.
She also said something which I found very interesting – she doesn’t want to be the herd leader because, although the other ponies do what the leader tells them, they don’t actually like him very much. She had left her leader at home and the ponies she had brought didn’t really care. Emma said she wants to be the ponies’ friend and that seems like a much better attitude to me.
The work with the liberty team was great to watch too. The way she can get the ponies to work together and then send one off to do something by himself is just incredible.
I had such an enjoyable evening (despite the cold!) – if you get the chance to see one of Emma’s demos I would highly recommend it.
At the weekend I went to a talk given by Emma Massingale of the Island Project. She has a liberty team of Connemara ponies and took four of them to live alone with her on an island for a month so she could try training two new ponies with no equipment at all.
Her talk was really inspiring and if anyone gets the chance to hear it I would definitely recommend going. If not, have a look at her youtube videos here.
The bond she has with her ponies is incredible and I would love for Galahad to have that much trust in me. We are still working at some liberty work and make small improvements every time. I just need to more consistent and make sure we do a little every day.
Yesterday was the best day. I mentioned before that I have been doing some liberty training with Galahad but that he still has some trust issues so some things are hard for him. I will hopefully be trying more now I can’t ride him every day – I’ll have a go at some tricks on the days he doesn’t get ridden.
Yesterday as I was bringing him in from the field we had a quick play and he actually did a proper bow. He had one knee on the floor and he didn’t immediately jump up in a panic but stayed down for a few moments. It was the best feeling and felt like a real breakthrough.
Of course, when I tried with someone watching, camera at the ready, he couldn’t bring himself to do it again.
He trusted me enough to go down when it was just us though and I am so incredibly proud of him for that. It’s the little things (which are really big things)!
Things have been a bit quiet pony wise this week. My riding time was severely limited but we did manage a couple of nice lazy hacks.
We have been having a bit of a play with liberty training which I love doing. We are not very advanced – things like bowing are difficult for Galahad as they require a lot of trust. We have fun playing though.
I moonlight selling vintage books at the odd book fair. I spent today at a fair and was very excited to pick up a couple of new pony books which I am so looking forward to reading! I read a LOT and obviously I love horses so I am always looking for more pony books, especially vintage ones.