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Max was asked to help with a big horse who would not accept saddle and/or rider:
We know the horses' history and "why" he has a fear of the saddle but having had him fully checked and scanned to confirm he is no longer in any pain, it was time to convince him that he could accept a saddle without pain or fear. In the past any attempt to girth up would result in an extreme reaction. After working with the horse to release neurological tension through hands-on bodywork, he then worked with him through groundwork to instil trust. The results have been amazing. This lovely big horse has a long way to go but at we are now on the path to helping him accept a saddle stress free!

The clinic was also a great success again and Max very kindly accepted an "over subscribed" number of riders as we'd had such interest! Given the number of riders, I limited the number of Auditors so that everyone felt "involved" and all were able to ask questions, share experiences etc as we went.

The Scottish weather was kind to us, albeit a little windy on the Thursday, but by Friday we were enjoying blue skies and basking in the knowledge and wisdom being given!

On the first day we concentrated on groundwork. Max showed us how to work our horses using a 12ft rope to move all feet and work on changes of direction on circles. This creates lightness, balance and responsiveness in your horse. Max explained that even "quite" horses can benefit from these exercises as quite often they can be "unavailable" which can make them heavy in your hands and unresponsive to aids.

A perfect example of this is my Highland, Murdo. He is bomb proof, lovely to ride and very soft but I have problems getting a canter in the school when I ask. In the past, Instructors have told me he's just a stubborn pony and I need to whip him to "make" him move! This I was not happy about but had tried and it didn't work at all, he would just stop and "shut down” completely so I gave up this idea quickly! Max explained that he was so chilled but he was "unavailable" and that we needed to show him that he could do it with easy by lightening his movement through the groundwork first. The results were both instant and amazing! Once I was on board, he was as light as a feather in my hands and through the use of a "wip wop" initially, Murdo was offering canter with the slightest aids. What amazed me most though is that his "mental" attitude changed completely and instantly. In the words of Max, he went from a "can't , shan't, won't" horse to a "whats next!" horse. In the past if I prepared for a canter, I could almost feel him go into "reverse mode" both mentally and physically but now he feels willing, happy  to comply and relaxed with no fear or resentment at being "made" to work.

Day two was spent working on riding problems / any issues individuals were experiencing and all felt huge improvements were made and that they now had the knowledge to improve and keep going.

Some other comments from participants:

"Fantastic clinic! Max is very informative, informal and funny - pure brilliance!"
"I've learned so much and it was so easy to understand what he was teaching"
"He explains everything in simple terms and the results are there for everyone to see. I know I can carry on this work with my horse easily"
"He's so down to earth, approachable and helpful."
"A life changing experience! I feel I've gained so much more confidence in myself not just in my horse - I feel empowered to face new challenges with confidence!"
"He explains things in simple terms that you can understand".

I am delighted to confirm that Max has agreed to return in September 2013 for the next clinic. If you would like to attend, either to ride or watch, please contact me as many spaces have already been pre-booked!

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