Elsa 2018 – Update

Having struggled to write the remaining days chronologically as a result of having too much to say, I have decided to change tactics, and write about topics separately.

For now: Supportive Leadership…

Supportive leadership for me is all about making strategic choices.

Any time I’m with a horse, of course I’m always trying to make good choices.

When I’m in passive leadership, particularly towards the beginning of a session or with a new horse, it’s inevitable that when being experimental; asking questions about the feel of different areas around the horse, I will at some point make a decision that might not be the worst, but isn’t quite the best either.

I might stay too long somewhere, leave not quite at the best moment, or pick a new place to be that doesn’t work for my horse.

And this is ok, all of these situations can be resolved or improved upon, usually by returning to that conversation with the intention of a more positive feeling or association for the horse. This is where I see supportive leadership coming in.

Rather than simply reacting to the movements and decisions of my horse, I transition into actively choosing my decisions with an outcome in mind. I am supporting my horse and his actions by choosing to put myself in a position that might influence him to make a positive decision or a decision I might like him to make. Not quite assertive, still only affecting my own body, but strategic.

I had definitely missed the subtlety of supportive leadership at last year’s clinics, so I was keen to incorporate it this time!

On day 2 of Elsa’s 2nd clinic, I headed out to the round pen and after warming both myself and Lawrence both up with some passive leadership and lots of flow I started to focus on distance.

Longer distance is an area that is less comfortable for us both, so I began to incorporate supportive leadership into our session. When he was frozen on one focus I would increase the distance, when he made focus changes quickly or ones I liked I would decrease the distance. It was a little less linear than that, sometimes I got my timing wrong and would need to take it slow and try again, sometimes it’s good to mix it up, especially after a good feeling, and do something enjoyable, or just stop strategising and go back to passive.

As I worked on this, the amount of time I was able to be at a further distance for longer and return on a good feeling.

What a monumental shift.

It has taken me longer than I had anticipated to post this, I do apologise,

As always,

Peace out and pony love,


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