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Leslie Desmond Demonstration Aug. 2003

“So many horses are pushed, pulled and forced into a frame, that they don’t even KNOW how to move their feet independently around a human anymore!”She managed to free his feet by putting more energy into her body, which caused the gelding to jump around a bit. This brought him back to his basic instincts, brought more life into his body and thus removed the dullness in his body when working with humans. “To be able to think and make decisive slow movements he needs to be alive and make fast movements!”  She then brought him back into a learning frame by asking him to lower his head. Just asking by mentally asking him to lower his head, and visualizing him lowering his head. We all held our breaths in anticipation, until Leslie reminded us once again to BREATH and to not look into the space below his head otherwise there’d be no room left for him to lower his head into! We all started to breath again, looked above his head, and there he went with his nose all the way to the ground, and started chewing in relaxation. What a relief – to all of us!!

Then about a half an hour later, with other excersises performed in between, the gelding actually managed to move his shoulder over to both the left and the right, stepping over forward and also stepping behind backwards. Wow.

VISUALISATION AND PATIENCE

“All you need to do is ask!”As mentioned in the last paragraph, Leslie asks a lot of things by just mentally asking a horse and using visualisation. Pretty powerful stuff and hard to comprehend, but it did work/happen. Leslie would tell us to visualise the horse looking to his left, and he would go and take a look to his left! Sometimes not straight away, but always within half a minute or something. “He needs to think it over, and if he feels it’s OK, then sure, he’ll look over to his left.” She only asks after all. And she also lets the horse know it’s OK to say no. If he says no, she tries again like, “really no?”. After all horses are very willing and to say no, really means he’s not comfortable about the situation just yet to comply. And by giving the horse the CHOICE to say no, you give him the freedom to say yes.

“What’s the fastest way to teach a horse something? By teaching him SLOWLY.”After Leslie had been working with the mare for about 3 hours (with a break of 30 mins in between for the mare to be able to think things over) Leslie felt she could try and “tie” the mare to a trailer standing in the arena. Now she didn’t actually tie the mare as such, but just loosely pulled the rope through an eye on the side of the trailer. This meant that if the mare at any time couldn’t handle being “tied” she could easily walk off and the rope would just slide through the eye, without the need for a brace. Leslie left plenty of slack in the rope in between the mares halter and the eye on the trailer, leaving the mare with plenty of room. But the mare just cocked her hind foot and stood totally relaxed! This was the same horse which 3 hours ago couldn’t be lead, tied or cross-tied! Leslie slowly tried moving away from the mare, who just remained standing. Then she moved the mares hind quarters over and the mare kept concentrating on leaving a slack in the rope without a brace! It was very enlightening to watch…

PARTNERSHIP

The gelding was the second horse Leslie worked with. He didn’t have many peoples problems, he just had a clippers-problem. And who can blame him? “Most people tie a horse up and approach the horse with these evil clippers with a look on their face as if ready to attack the horse with these things! Yikes!! Enough to make us all afraid of these damn things!” And that’s exactly what she told the horse too! After going through the basics of leaving the slack in the rope and being able to move all four feet they both approached the evil clippers someone was holding. Leslie asked the person to turn on the clippers and before the gelding had a chance to jump and run off, Leslie was already running! She basically told the gelding that she was all the way with him on this one and just as afraid of those damn clippers as he was! So there they went with the two of them running to the far end of the arena. Both blowing and scared of the clippers. The person left the clippers on the ground and left the arena to Leslie and the gelding again. Leslie and the gelding approached the clippers lying on the ground, and Leslie started running again. Except this time the gelding didn’t think it was that much to worry about? He actually stood between Leslie and the evil clippers. Leslie kept on pretending she HATED those things and the gelding started to show her that the clippers are not that bad at all, actually.. The gelding started to feel pretty heroic and decided to show Leslie that they’re partners now and that she can trust him. Before we knew it he didn’t mind the thing at all!

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