Sunday, March 5, 2023

Foundations for Becoming the Leader Your Horse Needs (Part Three of ‘The Horse, The Environment, and You’)

By Mary Gallagher

Starting a 2-year old with the Boundary Box
In my last two posts, I discussed you and your horse in relation to the environment (‘out there’),
boundaries (between you and your horse), and most importantly, your ability to ‘observe, observe, observe’ and see your horse experiencing you in the environment, and respecting your boundaries (or not).

With a level of safety established by our increased awareness, we can start talking about communication. Your body language is a big part of setting healthy boundaries, being safe, and becoming the leader your horse needs.

If you have read my previous posts, you already know that I like to start with a boundary box. It’s a simple concept, but deep in terms of how much you can accomplish, and how challenging it really is to do well and grow your practice.

Friday, March 3, 2023

In Memory of Hazelnut (1999-2023)

Rest in Peace, dear Hazelnut. Kathy Schmidt’s beautiful, wise, kind mare Hazelnut left us this week after a brief illness. Hazelnut arrived with Kathy at the old location on Shore Road, a troubled filly. Years of love, acceptance, training and belonging brought out Hazel’s many gifts: she was an all-around partner for Kathy in jumping, cow work, ranch work, trail riding, helping Mary G train young show horses, ponying one and all, and just being with their friends at the Farm and beyond. In her later years, thanks to Kathy’s generosity, Hazelnut became one of our finest lesson horses, patiently teaching students young and old. We miss her deeply already. Thank you, Hazelnut, and thank you, Kathy for sharing her with us.

[originally posted on Facebook Feb. 23, 2023]

Thursday, February 2, 2023

 The Leadership Gauge (Part Two of "The Horse, The Environment, and You")

by Mary Gallagher

Building a language of leadership is our best tool in developing a confident horse.

In last month’s blog post, I introduced a diagram that helps us understand the importance of using boundaries in the proper environment to build a language of leadership. When we are in the ‘sweet spot’—good observation, strong boundaries, balanced emotions—our horse’s confidence enables connection, communication, and cooperation between us.

This month I am taking the diagram further, drawing our attention to how crucial awareness of the horse’s emotions is in keeping us in that sweet spot where optimal learning occurs. Because the diagram helps us see where we are with the horse at any given moment, I am calling it the Leadership Gauge.