I cannot lie, this horse is my favorite to ride and work with at Safe Harbor. She is very smart, sensitive and loyal. We continue to progress every week with more consistent riding, light aids and very soft contact in her mouth. We have restarted Karma using the style of groundwork and riding taught by Buck Brannaman and I can in all honesty say this was a perfect way to help this very abused and afraid horse find peace and happiness as a riding partner. She is really good at the work too! At the Michael Sparling clinic, Karma participated in both the groundwork and riding workshops with SAFE Volunteers and on Monday she was used in the groundwork session with a SAFE supporter who did not have her own horse to bring to the clinic but wanted to participate. I can’t begin to express how impressed I was with Karma! She was handled by 3 different people throughout the clinic, one of them being a complete stranger until the morning of the clinic, and she participated like a pro.
Here is what Sydney had to say about working with Karma in the Michael Sparling Clinic: “Every time Michael visits I learn something new, or an improved way to carry out a specific task. His most recent trip was the first time I got to work with horses other than my own in quite a while. SAFE horses Ben and Karma both reinforced the fact that all horses seek is peace. Ben is quite an interesting horse—at times calm and friendly, but can also be unconfident and unaware of his surroundings. Working with Ben, I learned to give him space, and reward him for any hint of connection. Ben is so keen on doing what I ask, that I had to be careful to reward him, because if I missed a chance, he would lose his try. By the end of the workshop, Ben improved on using his body properly, allowing him to relax and connect even more.
Working with Karma was a similar story, however I found Karma less motivated to connect with me, and more concerned about her own survival. I learned how to show her where the peace was: with me, doing what I asked. I had a really great time with Karma. The united circles really helped her to connect and relax. When it came to riding, Karma is very sensitive, but also very unbalanced. I learned that to help her balance, connecting my inside leg to her inside hind would help her balance and get herself straight. Connecting the reins to her feet, also helps her to balance and relax as well, but I had to be careful that it didn’t put her out of balance, which is when connecting the hind foot helped a lot. As she improved her balance, she also became more relaxed and willing. Finally with Karma, practicing soft feel with her really helps her to relax. It’s a really easy way to help her feel at peace and that she’s done a good job. By the end of the workshop her head came down and we had a responsive balanced walk.
Overall, working with Ben and Karma at Michael’s clinics taught me patience, but also gave me some key insights on helping these horses find peace.”