Thank you very much, Barbara, both for the interesting conversations and also for all the inspiration I got from watching you train with Impie. Please do bring Beau next time if Bianca says it's okay, this would be so interesting. First, I would love to see you two interact again, but also I would like to see how Beau reacts to other people's actions. As he seemed not to be very fond of my way of training back then when I was visiting you, I think I can learn a lot from this in terms of giving a horse more comfort.
Seeing Bianca play with Evita was a big inspiration again too, as always. These two bouncing balls are so happy together. Observing that once in a while helps me a lot to make my own training more fun for my horses too, which they really seem to appreciate. So Bianca, you get a big hug from Titum, Summy and Pia as well.
I also got the chance to practise a lot with the horses myself, mostly with Impie and Unico. With Impie I didn't do anything new in terms of exercises, but still I made a very new and special experience with her while I was trying to show Unico that he needn't be afraid of Impie and can still train with me when she is around. Impie was such an angel, and although she would have been more than happy to chase him off, she didn't do anything. Still Unico was afraid, so I had to focus on him completely - and my darling Impie went on autopilot, just doing her things next to me (for example sideways movements) and only informing me when it was time to reward. She has become such a grown-up young lady.
Unico was a sweetheart, being very sensitive and stallion-like at the same time - what a fantastic mix, so much fun to be with! I was able to work on my bodylanguage with his help. What makes it a bit harder for me with him than with Impie is that often he doesn't give an instant reaction but just stands still and does nothing for a while. So I never know for sure whether my signal wasn't good or whether he is just standing there for his own reasons. But as I know that behaviour from Summy, I didn't just wait or ask until he does react, but simply walked on for a few steps, and after only a few moments he was joining me again most of the time. When we were playing a bit more wildly, he threw in some gorgeous trot and trot-shoulder-in and canter departs on the circle. I would have liked to make our games even more wild an playful, but then I always need to know for sure that the horse is reacting to my body language very well so that I can feel safe. So between all the bodylanguage-focused training and being joined by other horses and also doing non-horse things, we somehow didn't do it. Well, next time!
The SUPen was great indeed. However, for next year I wish that we can find a way to make sure the meeting is a bit more about horses, both in terms of the conversations and the activities. I don't mean that I want to train more with horses than I did this time because actually I did this for several hours, but I would also like to learn more from other people, or simply hear about their training, or watch them interact with the horses. Bianca and I have already generated some ideas for how we could make that happen, so I am looking forward to the next meeting.
Oh, and by the way, this is what we are doing to poor, innocent, young horses - making them drunk.