When you watch someone train a horse to do something, you understand more of what goes into the end result.
That’s true of any skill or sport. But sometimes it all looks so effortless! It’s that Fred Astaire Syndrome, where it looks so easy that it’s also hard if not impossible to understand that any work is required at all.
Leah and Audrey were working with Dusty, Audrey’s horse, to teacher her the piaffe. Having watched one Dressage show on TV, I totally admit to not getting it. The horse does stuff but I can’t see what (if anything)the rider is doing to make the horse do stuff. At least logic dictates that a horse picking up its feet in place requires some effort, hence the big contest, the rounds of enthusiastic applause afterwords, the prize at the end.
Turns out there’s lots of “anything” that’s going on. Leah ran long lines from Dusty’s bridle, through the stirrups. Leah took one line and Audry took the other. They both stood behind the horse and encouraged her and soon enough, Dusty was prancing sideways and getting plenty of encouragement. Then it was time for Audry to ride after teaching Dusty the new skill and hew presto! (except not — lots of work invovled), Dusty, with lightness in her step, trotted in place about 4 or 5 steps, and was praised for being a very good girl indeed!