Connected Horsemanship – Kids Club

The first stage of the Connected Horsemanship kids club got off to a flying start with the Cavan Pony club. They event was held 7th April on at Beach Lane Equestrian Centre just outside Cavan.

 The first group of the Cavan Pony club with Connected Horsemanship founder Laura Domenica and associate trainee Dawn ward
The first group of the Cavan Pony club with Connected Horsemanship founder Laura Domenica and associate trainee Dawn Ward

The Connected Horsemanship โ€œKids Clubโ€ allows children to glimpse the world through their ponies eyes and helps them better understand their ponies. We show the children how horses communicate with their bodies and help them understand his language and respond to it in an appropriate horse friendly manner. We aim to teach the children how to do the things that we see parents doing for the children, saddling, bridling, pickling out the feet and even eventually putting their horses in the trailer themselves.

Part one of the course covers theory and handling skills, part two, ground work and riding and part three, theory and riding. We would like to help the children become aware of the whys and wherefores of what they are being asked to do.

In particular we would like them to be aware how they use their hands and their โ€œcoreโ€ energy on the ground and when they ride. This we feel should be taught from the start as they handle their ponies on the ground. We want to replace the kick to go, pull to turn, pull to stop syndrome with something that is more friendly for the pony.

The first group of the Cavan Pony club with Connected Horsemanship founder Laura Domenica

Laura Domenica shows a participant how to ask for her pony to bring her head around

The pony responds by bringing her head around to her young handler

Being prey animals, horses dislike invasive energy aimed at their head area. This happens when we pull on the head of a horse with rope or reins to ask the horse forward or to stop them or simply when we send energy directly to the head area. We encourage the children to stay by the shoulder and if they need the head (as in haltering or bridling ) to teach the horse to turn its head to them rather than grabbing the head. Also in leading we want to teach the children not to be up by the head, pull the head and walk off, but to be by the shoulder and initiate the horses movement from behind.

Our first Kids Club in Cavan was attended by two groups of participants ageing from 10 to 16. The session started with an interactive talk exploring the world as seen through the eyes of their ponies and horses. Participants learned how the evolution of horse has shaped his behaviour today. By looking at the social organization of horses living in a herd in the wild, the children were able to gain a better understanding of their own horses behaviour. The children looked at the characteristics that have helped the horse survive throughout millions of years of evolution. They looked at the importance of social organization within the herd and how horses use their body language to communicate and maintain harmony within the herd. The children were taught to understand how the horse uses the different parts of his body to communicate his feelings and his emotions. Even the way the horse holds his tail can mean six different things!

They then looked at the behaviour of our own species and they discovered how the way we use our energy, our bodies and our emotions can lead to miscommunication with the horse.

A participant learns to use focus and energy to back her pony when he invades her personal space

On a practical level, the children learnt to deal with the things the pony did that were a little troublesome. One participants horse would walk off and drag her around, while another would barge in to her space. Another pony constantly tried to bite when being girthed or brushed, while another tried to kick when his back legs were lifted. These things are very challenging for small people to deal with and very often their parents are not horsey people and therefore not able to help.

Once they learned to deal with the initial problems the children were taught how to get their ponies attention back when it was diverted to other things, they taught their ponies to lead up correctly, turn and give their heads, move their hindquarters and to back up.

All the children made great progress and said they wanted to come back for the next installment.

Here is a the testamonial from one of the children.

Hello Laura + Dawn..!
Its Katie Otoole here.. I Was At The 10.00 Workshop On Tuesday In Beechlane.. ๐Ÿ˜›
I Really Enjoyed The Day.. I Learnt Loads And Now My pony Leah Doesnt Bite AnyThing When Your Putting On The Girth or Even Jus Grooming Her..!! Its Soo Cool.. Shes Way More Relaxed Now.. That Day Helped Alot With Me And My Mam.. Now Shes Out With The In- Your face Pony Called Nelson.. ๐Ÿ˜€ Hes So Funny..! Im Definately Going To Do The Next Lesson With Yous..!! Thank You Both so Much.. Cant Wait to See Youz Again..! What Is Your Name On Facebook ..? I Cant Seem To Find You… ๐Ÿ™‚
Katie O’Toole And Leah xoox

why not book your session of the Connected Horsemanship kids club by calling Laura on 086 823 9679 or dawn on 086 822 3872