SAFE volunteer Marie Jainga took part in her first Joel Conner clinic last weekend, working with Tasara in the groundwork sessions. Here are her observations about her experience:

First, I want to begin by thanking Bonnie and Terry for hosting these wonderful clinics with Joel Conner. The insights he shares is truly amazing. I have learned so much from these sessions, both watching last fall and now currently participating. Thankfully these clinics exist, since I was not born with natural horsemanship skills. With these clinics I will continue to grow in skill and knowledge. What has become apparent to me isn’t about the steps of 1,2 and 3… you read in a book or on the internet, it is more about understanding and learning the bigger part of horsemanship…the HOW and WHY. As I begin my journey to acquire more horsemanship skills, I realize that there are many components into building trust with a horse. The horse I was able to work with at this past, weekends Joel Conner clinic was Tasara our sweet little Paso Fino.  In working with Tasara, I continued to work on skills that Terry had worked with me on back in October and November. Those skills included: offering a good deal, if change did not happen, apply pressure, and when change occurred, release of that pressure.  Now, this is often easier said than done, since there are also more components involved with this. Having confidence or at times lack thereof, in myself hindered my relationship with Tasara to grow stronger at times. Horses do truly shine when they are led by confidence, and this is a trait that I will continue to strive for as I hope to continue to work with horses at SAFE and hopefully beyond. My current goal is to work on gaining confidence in myself and my ability to implement a better flow of timing to better add that release of pressure, for the horse to understand what I am asking vs. being confused, as I am sure there were moments this past weekend where Tasara was, just that, confused at what I may have been asking. I want to become a more confident leader for any horse to follow and trust. I know this will happen over time and can not be rushed. The clinic has been an eye opening, experience, Joel successfully demonstrated to me the value of being a confident leader, and the conveyance and use of my body language, and what it represents to the horse. I know I will never be perfect, but I will always strive to get better. Thank you again for this wonderful experience.