Horses With Hope was very fortunate to welcome trainer Linda Hoover to our Broadview Farm for a 3-day clinic last week. Our head trainer worked with Linda for several years at her farm in North Carolina, and was hugely influenced by Linda's approach to training and horsemanship. Her training philosophies are particularly helpful when training young horses, or when working with challenging or nervous horses. Linda gave lessons on groundwork and leading, on work with a flag and regular work under saddle, always emphasizing how best to help the horse learn- which leads to a successful partnership.
For those of us who had not worked with Linda before, it was quite an eye-opening experience. She is passionate about teaching and would be happy to answer questions or work on 'just one more thing,' after 10-hour days in the arena. Nothing escaped her eagle eye, and no horse or handler faux pas went uncorrected.
Linda was able to immediately hone in on a horse or rider's weaker areas, and to provide many exercises for strengthening and improvement. One of the key points Linda made was this: that normally a horse's brain is what moves the feet (i.e., something scares them and they gallop off) so that if we learn how to direct the horse's feet, then we will have control of their brain. To this end, she constantly focused on our ability to move our horses' feet, and to have control of the hind end and the front end individually. With her deep understanding and knowledge of horse behavior, Linda was able to explain why a horse might spook or misbehave, and to then give the rider tools for working through the issue.
Throughout the week, we had the chance to experience first-hand how Linda's program gives a rider or trainer the tools to create horses who are calm, trusting and successful partners in any discipline. The clinic was inspiring and incredibly educational for everyone at Horses With Hope, and the lessons learned will shape the way in which we ride and train horses in the future. Many, many thanks to Linda for her patience, commitment and enthusiasm in sharing her knowledge with us.