I attended a clinic by Sylvia Zerbini organised by Paulette Evans of Ribbleton Warmbloods over the weekend.  I have attended many natural-type workshops and clinics; this was something quite different!  The techniques Sylvia showed us spoke to me like no other training technique has.  It was really very simple!

I have spent some time this morning working with my ‘difficult’ horse Banjo Mcgregor.  I am going to need a LOT of practice with my timing and cues, but the change in this horse is immediate.

He has a very high energy and won’t balk at stomping you into the ground if he wants.  This is very scary and daunting to me, so I did take a whip in with me, to have on the ground in case.  Sylvia uses no whips or aids at all, just her body language and a few verbal cues.

I had a little trouble getting Banjo’s attention at first as Mojo was running up and down the lane like crazy.  Banjo wanted to pay attention it was just impossible, so I had to move Mojo farther away.  It was simple to get Banjo to move out.  I was able to gain and mostly keep his attention, and he even followed my finger around just like Sylvia taught us!  I had a fair bit of trouble bringing him back in to me, as I have been very afraid of him.  The trick today was to lower his energy, with, “Gggoood boy.”  I found if I was too forceful in my asking him to move, his energy went up like crazy.  In the end I walked to him, and his face was so soft as I stroked his neck. WOW! This from a horse that would eat your face off!

I did become lost when he would turn to face me and I wanted him to keep going around.  I found I was walking too much to try and face his barrel.  Perhaps in these early days I should have asked him to come in.  He was not too sure I wanted him in with me as he is just learning (as am I).

I will give him a second session later today, even in the rain before I try my hand at my scaredy cat boy, Mojo.