So far this year, we’ve hosted students at the Y6 twice— first, for the Cow-Horse Confidence clinic in April, and again for the Y6 Ranch School going on now. Though the focus of each of these schools might differ, students bring similar goals to the table.
Take the Cow-Horse Confidence clinic, for example. On Day One, we gathered around the table and asked each student about his or her goals for the week. Though the explanation of each goal varied, the overall concept remained the same— participants wanted to develop relaxed, willing horses that seek out the right answers. Across the board, no one wanted to “make” their horses do anything anymore.
That’s not to say that their horses will have a free pass anytime they don’t want to work, but rather their horses will be eager to hunt for the right answer and to do the right thing. One clinic participant described this as, “the one thing you can’t win.” Martin explains this as teaching your horses self-discipline, not discipline.
The students spent their week developing the concepts of flight zone and balance point on cattle, refining their transitions while walking, trotting and loping through the high desert, and using natural desert terrain, like sagebrush, to practice pivoting and circling. Using these natural types of exercises, students learned to acknowledge their horses’ subtle responses to their own questions and respond appropriately. Each morning, students regrouped around the table to discuss what they learned the day before.
After five days of long trotting across the desert, chasing cows and soaking up knowledge, the students gathered around the table one last time to talk about what they learned. Exhausted, each of the students agreed they had elevated their level of horsemanship over the course of the week and accomplished their personal goals.
Want a chance to work on your own goals with Martin at the Y6? Check out our line-up of September weeklong clinics here.