Rings of Fire

Last weekend was the BEST! 7 days later, I’m still gushing.

Jigs and I participated in a two-day De-Spooking Clinic thanks to Fairwinds Farm in Rhode Island. The clinician, Bill Richey, is a national mounted police trainer with 30 years’ experience as a mounted police officer and trainer.

It was two fabulous days filled with lights, sirens, fire, smoke bombs, magnesium flares and a few close lightning strikes (provided free of charge by Mother Nature). The clinic ended with a mock extraction drill. It was so much fun we all pleaded with Bill to let us do it again and again.

It is thrilling be part of a team of riders and horses hurrying toward a car with lights, sirens, and a barking German Shepherd. What a rush to trot alongside a moving “police” car!

Unlike other clinics I have attended, where the focus was on individual obstacles and riders, the structure of this clinic used herd instinct to get our horses through increasingly complex (and scary) obstacles in a way that became “boring” for both horse and rider.

Don’t get me wrong, there was still a lot of “leg, leg, leg,” and “get off his mouth and sit back if you want him to slow down,” but working the horses together allowed even the most nervous horses to become comfortable with each task. I was amazed at how quickly Jigs crossed fire and moved through smoke with this method.

Jigs and I attended a versatility clinic a few months back. The instructor was good but Jigs never went willingly near the fire. I did not expect to be able to do it last weekend, let alone cross THREE rings of fire on our own AND go through a curtain of smoke AT THE SAME TIME. While Jigs wasn’t crazy about it initially, he did it over and over again until it was ho-hum.

There was classroom time too, complete with Science and PowerPoint. Before saddling up we were instructed on how horses perceive and the basics military drills, which is critical for Mounted Police units.  I learned to pay attention to how Jigs reacts to obstacles at different heights so that I know what to expect, allowing me to correct avoidance before it is too late.

My only regret of the weekend is that I did not get many pictures and none of Jigs actually walking through the rings of fire.

If you ever have a chance to attend one of these clinics, go for it!  It is a blast! No really, a blast complete with flares and smoke bombs!




Boring Old Orange Smoke

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: