Yesterday, I suggested to Fi that she tried join-up (apparently Monty Roberts owns this word) with Hreyfing.
It is something we do if we feel it is appropriate to the horse and its relationship to his/her rider or handler. There are many reasons for join-up, and if you want to know more about it, I recommend you read this – http://www.montyroberts.com/ab_about_monty/ju_about/
Hreyfing is not a “raw horse” but we thought it would be a good thing to try.
“Through body language, the trainer will ask, “Will you pay me the respect due to a herd leader and join and follow me?” The horse will respond with predictable herd behavior: by locking an ear on her, then by licking and chewing and dropping his head in a display of trust. The exchange concludes with the trainer adopting passive body language, turning her back on the horse and without eye contact, invites him to come close. Join-Up occurs when the animal willingly chooses to be with the human and walks toward her accepting her leadership and protection. This process of communication through behavior and body language and mutual concern and respect, can be a valuable tool to strengthen all other work with horses.” – Monty Roberts.
Jo and I guided Fi from the sidelines, telling her what to do and what to look for, ie the signs Hreyfing was giving off and what they meant. It all went like a text-book and worked very well.
Having not really been around Hreyfing and Fi much, even I could see their relationship instantly move up another level. We wanted Hreyfing to stop thinking about Hetja and start listening to Fi.
After that success, Fi tacked up Hreyfing and I asked her to casually walk about the school to see if Hreyfing would follow, ie start to reinforce this relationship whilst being ridden too.
I didn’t take any photos of Fi riding Hreyfing but she remained calm and receptive and they were both communicating much better. That’s the thing about horses, they ask you to learn to listen.
Hetja and Haakon watched on.