Partner up with your Horse
Partnering up with your horse is an essential part of Mt. Lyford Horse Treks' philosophy of Natural Horsemanship.
"Natural" simply means using the horses own natural language (equus) to communicate with. It is a style of being around horses that is very old, and widely used throughout the World, particularly by indigenous peoples. Natural Horsemanship has more recently been brought to the public eye throughout the Western World by the successful marketing of Natural Horsemanship by Horseman such as Monte Roberts, and Pat Parelli whose Clinics, and Demonstrations have been very popular making Natural Horsemanship accessible to everyone wanting to learn more. Horsemanship is a term used to describe the art of relating to your horse.
Partnering up is a term used to describe the process, techniques, and ways of being with your horse to maximise cooperation, trust, and connection between you and your horse. Both horses and humans have many qualities required for full and sensitive connection. It becomes deeply satisfying to expand on these qualities, and watch how "at one" you can become with your huge prey animal.
Kate has written an article about how horses think: From Prey Animal to Partner Download a pdf file.
In this picture of Cathy with Angel you can see the high level of cooperation, and trust developing between them. Angel is willingly, and respectfully coming up to Cathy with her head down, exposing her vulnerable neck with its vital blood vessels to cathy in a submissive quiet manner. Cathy has been "playing games" with Angel before we introduce her to her trekker for this ride we are preparing for. The "games we play with our horses emulate the games they play with each other naturally while in their herd together. They are played to establish dominance, gain respect, and cooperation between horses, so we play them with our horses for the same reasons. Our aim is to include ourselves in the Horse's World with ourselves above them in the pecking order in a way that makes the horse want to be part of our herd just like Angel is doing with Cathy. In addition to this the Games encourage the horse to use the left side of their brain where they can think, let go of their defences, become curious and learn new things. This is the best head space to encourage the horse into while you are doing anything with your horse.
Following a short talk on how horses think we introduce you to your horse for your ride. Once mounted from the mounting block you have the opportunity to become acquainted in the "Round Pen".
The round pen is 50' in diameter, and it is the safest space you work in with a horse. It is a space with just the right dimensions to make a horse think about what he/she is doing.Here we see some trekkers doing this, while Kate explains ways of riding, which helps the horse want to understand and follow the human's lead. This is Angel and Freya. Once everyone feels confident enough with the partnership they have with their horse we ride out on our ride in an order suitable for the horses and riders, so all the friends are together.
Partnering up with your horse is age and experience independent. We have seen small children gain cooperation from huge horses, and new riders inspire confidence in a shy horse.
On return we help you dismount and take that last photo of you and your horse. Don't forget to sign our visitor's book, and take a brochure, and a Mt Lyford Horse Treks cap ($25.00) with you if you want to.