Blair did an amazing job with Kat in our Spring Joel Conner clinic. It was great to see this mare out with all the other horses looking pretty darn good in her senior years. We are glad she is back at SAFE and getting a chance to find a suitable forever home with someone who will enjoy her for whatever she has to offer. Here is what Blair had to say about her time with Kat:
“Terry paired me with Kat, a horse alumni of SAFE who has found her way back to our barn. From what I knew of her past groundwork experiences, Kat was introduced to the natural horsemanship style training when SAFE was transitioning into this type of training. I stopped by the barn the day before the clinic to introduce myself to and beautify Kat for our debut at the clinic. I spent over an hour grooming her in her stall, she was so relaxed and trusting of my movements. In that hour I knew how sweet her demeanor was and thought wow Terry really paired me up with a special mare.
“I was looking forward to Saturday morning and ready to show Joel how much I’ve been working on my presence and confidence over the winter. Kat and I made our way out to the arena. She tested me right out of the barn, quickly walking a step or two in front on me. With my knowledge toolbox, Joel and SAFE has given me, I quickly asserted myself in a manner that was just right. Kat and I immediately clicked on our groundwork. We caught each other’s feel and were speed walking, stopping, figure 8’ing and deliberately changing pace to stay in touch. Our unified circle improved over the two days. Kat is a very aware horse. She would pick up on my routine and expectations with moving her hind quarters, and begin to anticipate my next move. I felt like we as a team were getting hung up with that. From my previous clinic experiences with Joel, I knew to chime in and ask for help. Joel is so methodical and naturally sees where the issue/hiccups are. He was able to give me guidance by demonstrating how to work together. He then turns over the lead rope, smiles and watches as you try and improve upon where you felt stuck. Kat and I went about our footsteps and flag work, where I was able to pick up subtle changes. I really like that no matter how lost or focused you are, Joel will acknowledge positive changes he sees in you and your horse throughout the day.
“One compliment he gave to me, that struck a heart chord for me was when Joel said, “your horse really likes you, she doesn’t want to leave you,” as he went to demonstrate how to trailer a horse properly. I built on our trust, Kat improved even more with flag work and adjusting to the tarp. I introduced the tarp slowly, she was relaxed enough to wear it like a sheet and walk a figure 8 pattern around it and then walking completely over the top of it.
“My most memorable moment of the clinic was when Joel gave me an extra challenge. It was for me to suggest to Kat to go over to the wooden pedestal, and pause on it with all four feet on the box as if it were her idea instead of mine. I’d never done this before so I doubted my ability. But given that Kat had trusted in me all clinic, with such great improvements, I figured It was my turn to put my trust in her. We practiced quietly, and after about 20 minutes, Kat stood with all four feet on that wooden pedestal. I was so happy and elated by what we accomplished together. But even more so in Kat’s try! I literally hollered out to Joel, “We did it!” At that very moment I knew we had accomplished a goal without pushing each other. It came natural and that’s what I love about our horsemanship program. I’m totally in love with this horse!”