LESSONS: WHAT TO EXPECT
A lesson can be whatever you want it to be.
Some people have specific problems they would like to fix, like standing at the mounting block, being caught in the field, loading, clipping etc and you do not have to want to 'do horsemanship' for me to help with these things. I am happy to work with the horse, but I prefer to empower the owner to learn how to fix the problems themselves so that should it come up again, they will know how to resolve the issue themselves. In these situations, I will ask questions to ascertain the exact issue and then assess the horse to see what's happening. I will then try a number of different things to see what works best for that horse - as each horse is different and the cause of the problem will often dictate the best solution. I never use force and always listen to the horse. I cannot promise to fix every problem or that it will only take one session as it depends on the cause (e.g. if a horse is not standing at the block because they have a sore back, the problem is only going to be resolved once the horse's back is no longer sore. I can then work through the memory of pain with the horse/owner). However, I will always do my very best to help every horse and human partnership and my help doesn't stop at the end of a session, I am always available for advice and support.
This can be anything from building confidence through using obstacles (tarps, blocks, poles etc) to in-hand dressage work, liberty, trick-training, walking out in-hand, preparing for riding and anything else you feel you'd like to work on. The focus is always on the connection between horse and human. I usually start sessions by asking for a history of the horse and of the relationship (how long you've had the horse, what they're like, what you usually do together and what you would like to get out of the session). I then help you to 'tune in' to you horse using body language, energy and breathing. From there, the choice is yours. A lot of people want to be introduced to the basics and this is usually working on finding 'energy' and how to use it. It is effectively using your core muscles to communicate with your horse and it is a very quiet way to work with them. There is no escalating pressure or force. It is all about harmony and softness. If you would like to use treats you can, but it's up to you. It works better to use scratches and praise with some horses (generally the greedy ones who can become fixated on and distracted by the food) but I find treats a useful tool for confidence building and better engagement/effort with other horses. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Horsemanship isn't just about groundwork and fixing problems, it can all be applied to riding too! I teach people who want to improve their showjumping, dressage and even hacking as well as those who want to work towards bitless and bridleless work. My focus is on helping people to become more in harmony with their horses and often clients notice a huge change in their horses in just one session. They are more relaxed, more responsive and willing when they are ridden with energy and core muscles. My own horse, Tao has taught me so much about true softness. When I got him, he would just spin in circles and wouldn't even walk around the outside of the school, much less trot! When I pushed for a trot, he would just tank off or even bolt. He could run through any bit. He has taught me how to ride in a way that is acceptable to him and now will always be willing.