Monday, March 21, 2011

Peggy Cummings Clinic

Sunday I had the great priviledge of auditing the Peggy Cummings clinic. Sarah had told me about it in advance with the option of participating with Milo. While I really wanted to jump on that opportunity, I knew that clinic fee would need to be put towards my saddle. Hopefuly it isnt too long before Peggy comes back for another clinic and I can participate in that one then.

But I still was able to audit, which was informational in and of itself. I got to watch three one-hour long individual lessons, one with Melissa and Grace, before getting hungry and cold.

I visually was able to see many changes in the horses, but seemed to see the biggest changes in Melissa and Grace's lesson. Could be because Im slightly biased and know their histroy a bit more, but nevertheless large changes did occur. Dont believe me? Check out her blog and the photos I took for you, the changes are far too phenomenal to ignore!

While Im still green to Peggy and her methods and havent received my copy of her newly released book yet, Connect with your Horse from the Ground Up, I was able to already recognize some of the methods she was using with all of the horses, and how greatly body positioning is, both on the ground and under saddle.

I couldnt help but notice all of the horse's halters where removed and switched into the Peggy halters. These nylon halters didnt secure up behind the cheek, but rather, in front of the cheek, snugly fixed down near the noseband underside. They all also had fleece slipped over the noseband and some with it behind the ears as well. I was also able to observe Peggy as she ran her rope (leadline) through the halter, crossed over the nose, and tied up on the rear metal ring.

I asked Sarah the benefits of the halter affixed this way, to which she gave me the same demonstration that Peggy does. Hands claspsed in front of me, Sarah ran the lead rope around my wrists loosely in a crossed fashion, then tugged lightely on the rope. I was able to feel the insecure and "bobbly" feeling being between those ropes. Then she snugged them all down and tugged again. This time, my hands were centered between the rope and felt much more secure. This is the same effect with the halter on the horse, when snugged down it allows the horse to be more balanced in himself and in the halter, instead of "bobbing around" in an insecure halter. It was really cool to feel the difference for myself.

I got lucky and in the third lesson Peggy further explained this, demonstrating on the horse's owner with the same closed hands and rope exercise. She went one step further and demonstrated the difference between the lead placement. In the center, like we all fasten the lead to the base of the halter, not only can it tip the nose away or towards you, but it also increases pressure on the poll of the horse. This particular horse in the lesson had an extremely abusive background with a lot of snesitivity to all regions of his face but particularly the poll area. She showed on the owner how switching the lead to the side in the same manner that she attaches her lead rope through, gives the horse again a closer balance in itself, but also takes almost all pressure off of the poll. I found this change fasinating and was pondering the benefits of putting Milo's nylon halter back on with the lead on the side.

Im looking forward to receiving her book however, its supposed to come out the end of the month. And at least I can consult with Sarah and Melissa to get be on the beginning track. I encourage everyone to check out her website and if shes holding a clinic near you, to attend. If not for her methods, but her graet insight to connecting with your horse.


An Image of Grace said...

Years ago Penny Jones had Sarah and I change our lead rope placement to the side of the halter instead of underneath. This was the way she lead all of her horses. I cannot lead a horse with he clip at the bottom of the halter, the feel is just not the same and it drives me crazy.

I am so glad you came to the clinic! I know I got a ton more out of staying and auditing. We are so lucky to get access to Peggy like that. The pictures you took are AWESOME! My husband even commented on how good they turned out!

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like it was an interesting clinic. I love going to those things. It has been my primary source of learning new concepts. Sometimes I just can't visual from words on a page. Getting to see them in person is very helpful to me.

in2paints said...

Clinics are wonderful! I used to audit at quite a few of them back in the day, but there aren't a lot of them around anymore. At least not in this area...

Glad you had fun!