Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses - Jesse Saldana Clinic Part 6

Clinic Part 1

I know after yesterday's brief post More on Life's Interference
you have lots of questions but I'm going to get this last post on this series out of the way so I don't forget it. Then I will proceed to my "accident" yesterday. I am very banged up but don't think I have any broken bones. I haven't been to a doctor but haven't ruled out that maybe I should go. So back to Rachel and the Clinic for now.

I have to say for the afternoon session, I felt like I went to a fun party. The Daffodil Arabian Horse Club president had come over with her horse for a quicky lesson at lunch and she stayed. Also some of my friends from Saturday's session returned to watch. At the little bit of a lunch break that Jesse Saldana did get, he and his wife joined in visiting with everyone. All seemed to gather around the propane heater both for warmth and conversation.

Once the clinic horses started back up with their lessons, the camaraderie around the heater held together. Each horse and rider worked on their lesson while those of us on the rail stayed warm as we asked questions and followed each lesson.

Rachel and Scandalous Hope were the only halter of the afternoon session. Again Jesse was very good with Rachel's dyslexia. A couple of times he took a hold of the horse to illustrate his directions but immediately turned the mare back over for Rachel to give it a try.

Rachel has had halter lessons from a couple of different people. Each on had a different method and now here was Jesse with a third. Usually Rachel doesn't respond to well to the differences. She has trouble figuring out how to make all that information meld into one result for her.

This time it seemed to make more sense to her. It wasn't long at all before Rachel was standing the mare up consistently. I noticed that Jesse spent a lot of time working with Rachel on her body position, not the horse's. While I had been trying to get Rachel to understand the importance of a correct halter stance for herself, I don't think she understood it until Jesse. By the end of the session she was standing square in front of the mare looking like a serious halter trainer instead of a showmanship kid in the halter class.

The top picture shows how relaxed Hope was with this halter training. Arabian halter has such a bad rap. People think the only way you can get a horse to show is by beating them and that just is not so. There is no way that I would allow that to happen to one of my horses. As you can see, Hope isn't the least bit concerned about what's going on out there.

The second picture is Jesse showing Rachel how high the mare needs to get to show off how beautifully her neck is set on. The third is Rachel's attempt to replicate what Jesse has done. She still needs a bit more elevation but she definitely is getting much closer.

The amazing thing to me is the corrections for this system are so easy. Yes, there is shanking but not excessively, only enough to get the horse's attention. Sometimes it's a pull down or a pull off to the side.

The handler raises his/her had up and the horse is supposed to follow the hand up with it's head. If the horse doesn't follow the hand it is corrected with pulling down on the lead. The horse resisting the pressure will lift up.

If the handler doesn't have the horse's attention he/she moves a small move towards the horse. If the horse doesn't respond, the shank is pulled straight down or shanked to the side until the horse responds by looking, Then it's released and the horse praised. It doesn't take long and the horse is standing up there looking like Hope in these last pictures. One thirty minute lesson that just needs to be repeated over and over until the horse clearly understands and set up instantly.

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  1. I, for one, do NOT like the 'hard stance' of today's halter ring. I much prefer the more natural arc and 'slant' to the horse's neck and head.

    Looks like Jesse's way of training is working well for Rachel. Sometimes hearing 'it' from the 'right' person can make all the difference in learning how to do something more correctly than you had been doing it. I hope she keeps up the good lessons she learned at the clinic. :)

  2. I am so glad that Jesse is able to get through to Rachel and is willing to be sensitive and adapt to her special requirements. What a great guy. Some people can talk the talk but not be able to relay it to their listener (that is me for one) and others have the gift of being able to talk and teach and be understood easily.