Another excellent weekend of carriage driving lessons in Cedar Rapids spoils me for choice on blogging material. Not even Mother Nature's attempts at dampening [with a morning of showers] the spirits of the participants could prevail over the wide eyed, beaming smile AHA moments. A couple of seasoned whips attended for some experience with the Michelle Blackler Method of Reinsmanship and left with what looked like inspired to moi.
I used a teaching tool that has become indispensable: driving the clients. I give them the ends of the reins and ground 'drive' them around with and without contact to demonstrate the process from the horse's point of view. Then I turn it around and have them drive me, reacting as a horse would to their cues. If they cross their mid-line with a turning signal, I cross over with my legs, not 'bending'. If they are too heavy on the reins, I pull back. If they loose contact, I rush forward. If they don't support the outside rein through the turn, I slice it.
The exercise really opens the whips' minds to their own responsibility in balancing and supporting the horse and coordinating their cues. Add to that a great deal of hilarity about the 'naughty pony' [me] and the lightness with which their own horses responded and you have the screenplay to Whips Dancing With Equines.
Ahhhhh. I love my job.
Lessons are available during the week at our home barn in Granger and again in Cedar Rapids, hosted by Laurie Renda on September 3rd and 4th. Come add some polish to your reinsmanship for Villa Louis and New Moon Carriage Classic, or just as a gift for your horse.
Serendipity is an Accidental Sagacity Corporation company.