On Saturday, 20 March 2021, five riders, six horses and a couple of spectators were introduced to the techniques of softness, elegance and accuracy, as taught by the amazing Fusion Horsemanship team: Paul Parker and Joshua Menhinick. Challenging tasks such as opening a gate, English mounted games and learning to work with a Garrocha were broken down into simpler steps that were then easily mastered by horse and rider teams.
The morning session was spent on simple yet critical movements needed to master the tasks. Reigning back, moving shoulders and hindquarters separately, crossing a bridge, and transitions – all done with loose reins – were the building blocks for the afternoon session. The riders learnt how to communicate with seat cues and the importance of teaching a horse to yield to pressure. Once these steps were combined, the afternoon session dealt with the daunting tasks of manipulating a lunge line (acting as our gate) in excessive winds and or picking up a small ring with a 3m long Garrocha. The riders focused on what was required of each task, which took the focus off of overthinking and thus micromanaging the horse. Under the supportive guidance and leadership of Paul and Joshua, and with a few good laughs along the way, the horses and riders flourished as each conquered small challenges and worked on becoming a better team as horse and rider.
Author: Lizelle Mouton, ESC Rider
(Photos provided by Fusion Horsemanship)