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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Leslie Desmond July 2002 Ballston Spa

Leslie Desmond


It’s the inner attitude you’re going to ride.

As long as horse is uptight, you’re just cramming your agenda. Not in a learning frame of mind.

To firm up on him before he knows what you want, will only lead to trouble.

Just go home and change the way you are.

Don’t pull, don’t hit, don’t confront.

It’s not a mystery. First I have a thought, then asking, livening up.

Quoting Ray Hunt: If you like what you see, do what I done.

They need you to be sure. They don’t need you to be right or wrong or kind or anything. They need you to be sure. Sureness about your own space requirements.

The way you hold a horse with you is how you let him go.

In round pen: horse is looking to have that loneliness ended.

Pace of walking with horse is what he’s looking for. Match right and left footfalls. Follow cadence exactly of front footfalls. When horse can’t get with you, then you get with the horse.

Experimental accidents and accidental experiments.

Looking in the eye tells horse that we’re in some sort of mutual communication. Don’t look in face when firm or emotional – don’t confront.

Experiment in new ways to get horse’s attention, to break horse’s expectations.

Sometimes these horses get so used to the range of choices the humans present, that we need to stretch out and do something different.

Livening up and controlling the direction the life is going are distinctly different.

Give the life a place to go.

What is the value of “yes” if “no” isn’t possible?

When “no” is not allowed, the life gets dialed down.

Life up and go after the space.

Horse dies on a turn because float comes out of the rein and horse leans on rein/shoulder/forehand.

Need your belly button to ride the back feet.

Left lead footfall:
RH push off
LH brake leg and balance in combo with RF
LF roll over

Both hind legs serve as brakes when loping downhill.

Belly button on left lead: forward and up, back and down/stability


Groundwork for shoulders:
Leading rein/direct rein/opening rein
Indirect rein/supporting rein
First ask for life/withers up

It’s OK to have a horse that is obedient but not that THAT is all there is. Horse also needs to know he has choices.

What matters is the horse is clear and calm.

Help with straightness in the ride: be able to drive/lead horse from behind with horse understanding going in with straightness – can start by doing this down the side of a fence or arena wall.

We have to think to get this right and shorten the distress in horse/human relationships. What do they need us to do for them in order to give us the ride we want later?

UP! Up under chin with hand or halter knot, then give horse choice to back or not. But back from my energy, my taking the space in front of horse.

Distraction is not necessarily disrespect. But I’m not prepared with a job for horse to make me more interesting than whatever horse might drum up for good ideas.

Dullness is just bottled up courage.

Mounting a green horse: teach them right away about dismounting.

Show horse how to wait for you to get ready.

Fine line between getting stuck and being too free, between standing still and walking off.

Step down and bounce right up again at times when horse is standing still and relaxed.

Cones exercise – go fast around cone then walk casually between cones.

Indirect rein for turn – active but not necessarily against neck.

Asking for readiness when pick up reins.

Sun AM 7/14/02


Put that pushing to work for him. He could teach other timid horses how to go through streams, all sorts of new situations.

Horse get security from contact, confidence from 'I push in, you push away.'

Looking at head, holding him with gaze. (Not a good thing when you are asking a horse to move away.)

Intellectual awareness becomes knowledge through feel after lots of experimenting.

Horse is looking for sureness from RW when it comes out of realm of thought and into realm of knowledge.

Your plan was not clear.

Your body wasn’t telling him what your picture was. Something got lost in presentation of the picture you have.

You’re still looking ahead of shoulder when you drive him away and this leaves him confused.

More sureness about moving him off ground, not moving him. Clear the area, settle for his moving off.

Energy up – have less in your body and more in your presentation.

Turn and look at HQ not face.

Horse says: if you want the space, take the space dammit, don’t pretend about this.

“How do I know that I’m safe if I don’t look at the horse?”

You know he won’t [run you over] because you’re not thinking he will.

Set intent with sureness. The sureness you want from your horse has to come from your own being.

Leslie: I don’t have that sense of possibility around me, in my being.

Horse’s stopping was not an accident, it was response to RW’s turning to look at him.

Intent has to be like surgery.

Running across pen – with sureness – this is work regarding bringing up life.

You do want to work toward light cues, but start with BIG, unlike Parelli where you start with a little and build. That leaves horse certain about how uncertain the human is.

Horse needs to get sure about your sureness.

Changing focus from horse to space.

No sureness about lope. Need feel of your vision to come through to horse.

RW: "[My horse...] is really doing everything I asik, all at the same time.”

You teach him to crowd you, run you down when you drive him and block him at the same time.

Coil up, get lively and suck back with your hips -- this releases him to the lope.

Don’t be on your guard – be clear this is my space.

Need to turn him away in the pen. He already turns in fine.

He’s looking for a place to get right with us. So don’t pull him in then send him away (after he stoped and turned in from the circle.)

Stuck leading forward, stuck leading to right. Knees need to bend more.

Clumsy when he didn’t get weight off shoulders.

When weight is on shoulders, near front leg will go ahead. When weight is on hinds, near front will track behind far front. BACK until horse can turn with weight on hind quarter.

Ideal – front end free to step over because not using front end for balance.

Paradigm shit doesn’t come from change in technique.


Colt: has sureness about his dullness.

Leave curiosity and uncertainty in him – keep him guessing.

Direction of float needs to be something horse can follow when you’re walking in front leading.

Want horse to notice meaning in your life without pulling on him.

'Get firm when nothing else works' = expecting that nothing else will work.

Think about how to get sure so that firmness isn’t required.

Turning hand upward allows breathing to continue.


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