Author - Olivia L'Estrange-Bell

1
Sky Dancer in Training

Sky Dancer in Training

It’s been a busy summer, and hitting this incredibly autumny month¬†has made me realise I haven’t written an update on Sky Dancer.

Sky Dancer is – a 5yr old, Thoroughbred x Irish Draft mare, which we bought as a youngster, so we could take her from scratch, and train her all the way up to whatever level we wanted.

For those who don’t know much about our horse-side – we spend a huge amount of time training horses, many of which are or have been youngsters, which we have trained from babies, using the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Training Method.

Sky Dancer was originally for my father, but with all his work commitments, he’s short on time, which leaves me with her training and part-ownership! Hooray for me! ūüėÄ

Sky Dancer’s Update

image1

Over the summer months we worked quite hard together, to get in as much training and work as possible, before the dreadful rain hit and mud – so much mud!

Sky Dancer has flourished quite beyond belief – so here is a summary of what’s been going on…!

In Video

Here we’re riding out early one morning — surprisingly warm, even though it was foggy! We love these small country roads – they’re always full of surprises, from speedy tractors on a mission, to dogs, other horses and country-road traffic. Needless to say Sky Dancer takes it all calmly in her stride and is very steady.

A short video of us hacking out.

What I’ve done with Sky Dancer throughout her training is to take¬†things slowly — this doesn’t mean she hasn’t progressed, but it means when we reach a certain level of training, the foundation is solidly built, which means she has¬†all the right attributes you want in a horse which will go far.

Sky Dancer is, and continues to be¬†steady, straight, safe, responsive to aids, subtle, light off the leg, and in the hands¬†and is showing huge potential to be a remarkable competition horse from the training we’ve done with her to date.

In my opinion, Sky Dancer, is now quite a remarkable horse, not only with her natural abilities, but the additional natural horsemanship training side, has given her a finish that most would long for…

Take a look at the video below to see how her training has advanced to riding her in the school; walk, trot and canter, without a bridle.

Hopefully you can see from the video how responsive she is — it is always hard to demonstrate what a horse feels like through a video – and this type of work is far more difficult than it may look, as here, I am asking for the¬†same amount of control¬†Sky Dancer gives me when she has a bridle & reins.

So here you can see that she responds to my breath when I ask her to stop – turns when I twist / look, and goes up & down gaits without any bridle or rein pressure.

This training means she is incredibly responsive, something that is invaluable in competition, particularly a fast paced sport such as show jumping, where the accuracy of a horse is vital.

So….. a lengthy blog post, but I wanted to share with you how Sky Dancer has progressed with my rather borrowed time – she is coming on beautifully, and¬†I know she will¬†continue to progress and I can’t wait to share the next blog post with you all!

2 Videos of us on Exercise

Lastly — to give you just an idea of what we expect from our horses¬†–¬†here in these two videos where we are exercising the horses (most of which are between the ages of 3-5 years old). As you can see I am actually centering, whilst videoing the others in front of me.

To be able to do this I have to be able to trust my horse that it will maintain the pace, with 10684130_1462581080674062_422289375_nvirtually no contact as one hand is holding the camera, and more importantly, we generally only exercise them in rope-halters, which is what I’m using in the video in this case.

The horses are trained to respond to light pressure of a rope halter – far lighter than a bitless bridle, and there is no comparison to any form of bit, hackamore etc etc etc….

I hope this gives many of you an insight into a part of our lives that mostly goes unseen… and if you’re wanting to get into training, I urge you to check out Parelli – they are phenomenal!

Copyright © L'Estrange-Bell 2014.