SAFE volunteer rider Phoebe worked with Renee during the Groundwork sessions of April’s Joel Conner Horsemanship clinic. Here’s what she had to share about the experience:

This was the first time I really worked with Renee, besides bringing her in and out from turnout. It took most of the first day for us to feel each other out and develop an understanding. She did well. Day 2 was better, and Day 3 was stellar! She wanted to focus on her ‘herd’ out in the paddock, but if I tossed the lead rope over her back, or around her legs, she totally shifted her focus to me and became more and more content. By Day 3, she was yawning. Wow, to see that made me so happy!

My favorite part of the groundwork was learning how to walk in at an angle in order to have the horse back in a circle. Also, breaking down the change of direction exercise into 3 pieces made it easier to ask of the horse when I understood it wasn’t one motion, and it could be done with precision and calm movements.