SAFE horsemanship volunteer Kaya M rode Lacey in the October Joel Conner clinic:

Honestly, I was a bit nervous about riding Lacey in the clinic, since I had only recently started working with her, and we were still feeling each other out. I am now so glad that I had this opportunity to improve my horsemanship and have fun with her! This weekend really helped improve not only our communication, but also our partnership. Lacey even nickered to me when I came to take her out of her paddock one day!

While we are now a more solid team, we still have a lot of work to do! Joel helped us learn how to be safe about picking up the hind feet of a horse that likes to kick, and this will be incredibly helpful for me and Lacey. We also worked on improving my cues so that Lacey would be more responsive to them. Lacey can be a bit dull, so I need to now how to escalate my ask in a timely manner. This improved quite a bit over the weekend. By the end of the clinic, Lacey was even moving into a canter off of my feel alone!

Her left lead, however, is going to be a continual challenge for me. Prior to the clinic, I had never been able to get Lacey to pick up the left lead. Joel helped me with this a lot and we got it once on Saturday. On Sunday we managed to pick it up once on our own and three or four times with Joel’s help. I’m hoping that as I work on creating more life in Lacey, this will be easier. I also need to work on being able to feel the difference between trotting on the correct vs. incorrect lead. Overall, Lacey is so much fun and I am so glad I got over my nerves and rode her this weekend! I can’t wait to keep working on getting changes and developing our partnership.