Leslie Desmond Clinic Notes

~By Peggy Martin

Do not indulge myself in frustration. Never let my horse see the limit of my patience. No anger!

Change the horses' expectation of the human. If bridling/haltering, take away from the horse so horse comes to it. Do something the horse is not expecting. Expectations build brace. Example: Play in the dirt. Smack the "snake". Claim your space.

It's not about the horse. Variety of actions around the horse that are not his concern.

Go with the horse then make it your idea, redirect.

Don't look into your horse's eyes. It's confrontive energy. Confusing and conflicting when we are asking something from our horse.

I want my horse to come with me, help me. I don't want to "do" things to my horse any more. I don't want to follow his head with my hand to touch him. When I reach out my hand to stroke my horse's head, I want him to reach out to be stroked. I want to help him put on his leg wraps/ bridle/halter.

Leslie will lift and use the energy in the rope to indicate her intent for the horse to move. She'll rap the rope on the withers or saddle to bring up the life in the horse.

Working from the right, working from the left. How are they different? How does the horse shape up differently? How are their responses different?

Straight is the absence of right or left. Work on right, work on left to get straight.

Be observant, notice carefully everything. What is the horse feeling? Build your powers of observation.

Adjust halter to clear the cheek so as to not impinge on facial nerves.

Set the foot, clearly, each foot. Release the hind, send that rope out to that foot, set the inside hind foot down. Backing one diagonal foot at a time. Set each foot down.

Feel the feet. Walk and listen to the feet. Identify which foot (left/right) by swing of rope/ sound. Get your feet with the horse's feet. Slow them down, stop. . .

Horse is to move TO a feel, keep the float in the rope/rein. How to get the horse to follow the feel? Be creative. Make a change to get some understanding. Horse not ready. Ask again.

Don't ask the horse to do something twice. Ask again a different way. Illustration: to move the hindquarters over: follow the feel of the rope (nothing), move myself around horse's body to hind (nothing), go around the back of the horse (nothing), swing the rope softly along his body (moves the hind).

Direct with a low leading hand, drive with hand raised with only as much energy as needed.

Prepare the horse. Do no more than is needed, do no less than is required. Wait, give horse a chance. Slow down. Be present.

If something doesn't work the first time, do something else. Illustration: asking horse to move over hinds: walk with energy toward the hinds, shuffle the dirt, take the line along body and swing into body, active release to the foot.

Shape the Body

Communicate clearly with my body. Exercises to clarify intent. Prepare your horse for what direction he is to go. Lean my body in the direction I'd like the horse to move., front/ back/right/left/away. Dark allies. Keep chin in front of chest and shoulders to walk purposefully into horse (move away from me, this is my space).

Don't talk with my hands: noise to the horse. What is he supposed to pay attention to?

Inside leg back in the turn (clear to horse). Look where you want to go, turn shoulders, let hip follow. Open the inside toe (space to go).

Thought (intent), shape the body, leg, hand (always last)

Ask head to follow a feel around (like the breast stroke) to the side, send the give back down the rein.

One rein stop from the ground. Ask horse to move in circle around me, take loop in rein and place hand at my hip (with line crossing over my belly), other hand on cantle (back of flap on English saddle), ask hind to step over, release, wait for softening in rein, release. Example: circle to the right, loop to left hand on hip, right hand on saddle, hind moves to the left.

One rein stop: Thought (intent), look over tail head, apply the inside leg back, take a feel of the rein to the thigh (stable, consistent place), first release the leg when hind moves over, then wait for softening in rein, then second release of rein, direct with other rein back to center. If horse moves then, to with. Build light front by lightening the front(first) and then moving the shoulders across.

Keep front light by scrolling in and out on circle

Backing: Lift the front end (withers, neck, head) to pick up (not drag) the front feet in the back by raising up my pelvis to give horse space to move into, then set each foot down

Stopping: Get with the shoulders by "dealing cards" in time with each foot. Get in time with the rear feet in my butt. Stop the rear feet, set the front feet down, stop riding.

Whap line on the saddle or withers if necessary. Do not tag the horse with the end of the rope, builds brace and attention goes to that part (not where we want the attention).

Do not pulse with line/ rein/ leg. Releases built within, become meaningless, focuses horse's attention not on where we want it.

Energy goes down the line, rein. Not a hold and release. It's an active, clear, give back the energy. Set that foot. Release to that try. Clearly.

To move, speed up: Lift energy and body up, bring legs off the side of horse, go with the horse. If nothing, lift and just drop leg, again if needed, if more then kick. Don't lean forward.

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