Saturday, May 30, 2015

Me as a Clinician

More on the Bar SZ Experience

Okay, so you have to know that I thought the event I would attend this year would be similar to the very same event as last year.  We were meeting with the Downunder Brumbies, a meet up group to practice techniques and exercises we learn from Downunder Horsemanship.  Some of us know a few things better than others and the reason we meet up is to help each other.  Last year several members held 60-90 minute sessions on subjects in which they felt confident.  There were about 14-16 participants last year.  This year, I volunteered to show people how to get their horses to move toward a mounting block, a nifty little aid for all you trail riders.

This year there were nearly 40 participants and the main draw was a Certified Downunder Horsemanship Clinician, Jeff Davis.  Our sessions were scheduled to run concurrently on Sunday. Okay, you've got a choice:  amateur John with his mounting block exercise or, Ta-Daaa, Certified Clinician.  Heck, even I wanted to watch and learn from Jeff.

As time nears for my demo, Jeff, being the classy guy he is, encourages people to walk out to the big arena to watch me do my thing.  As I was walking out there I heard him over the PA and I got a little boost of confidence.

I had taught this exercise to my horses.  I had never taught it to people.  I had never taught it to horses I had just met.  Not sure if this was going to work, I wasn't really sure I wanted a whole bunch of people out there.

The first gal brought her horse into the pen we had used for the team penning.  It had a good fence.  I started talking to the group and explained the exercise was easy and the real benefit would be learning how to refine your timing and feel with pressure and release.

I started working on the horse and nothing.  A little more...nothing.  Come on buddy, work with me here.  Finally, I got the ever so slightest of tries and gave a good release.  I am sure many didn't even see it.  "What?  That little step?"

I started over and on the second try I got a little bigger effort.  Some people saw it, others were skeptical.

The third try, the horse took a huge step toward me.  Ah, now I knew why I loved this exercise so much.  We went on and I mounted from the fence.  Then, the owner worked the horse.  I moved to the next horse and tried to get his owner to do it.  My teaching-to-people technique needs to be improved.  I had to help her.  All in all, about 6 horses learned the exercise in an hour and many came up to me afterward and told me how much fun it was to have their horse work for them like that.  I must say it was a pretty good feeling....and I got to work with six strange horses.
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