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Jen Kennedy


    Just wanted to share my story as this marks a pretty important time in my horsemanship journey. 

My name is Jen and my equine partner is Chexy. I bought Chexy as a 4 year old and consistently would say I ride her 4 days a week. I couldn't understand after 5 years, we out of the blue developed a right lead issue. This HAD become the most frustrating issue to date as I thought we had pretty good communication. 

    I would consider myself an over achiever and I was DETERMINED to get help with this issue. In the past 9 months now I have seen over 11 clinicians in Southern Alberta and BC. I would read like crazy, watch videos but the reality was, I am a hands on learner. 

    Feb18/2016 marks a huge milestone in my horsemanship journey. It was my second session with Marty and I didn't dare tell him how many clinicians I had already seen in such a short while but I tried to keep it simple and express my lead issue. 

    No word of a lie he took one look at my horse, had me circle around him a few times and confirmed from my first lesson that my horse was left handed and we were very unsymmetrical on the right side. He tested his theory on the ground with a simple haunches in exercise which my horse had a very hard time doing at first. 

He then gave me a haunches in exercise by the name of a guy named Roy Yates. (Hoping I spelled it correctly)  

    The exercise was leg yield over to the wall and then ask for haunches in on the right side maintaining a slight bend to the inside and forward motion. 

    I was familiar with leg yield but haunches in I was having a hell of a time. After about 5 times around Martry's Quonset, he asked me to step off my horse for a second. I knew he had a theory but I wasn't sure what it was yet. He gets on my mare and does 7 out of 7 haunches in and right lead departures. I couldn't believe my eyes. Do you know how many clinicians asked if they could get on my horse and couldn't get a right lead on my mare correctly?

All of them that got on😳

    Marty had my attention at this point. What I learned immediately was that my horse had no idea what I was actually asking and my weight in the saddle sucked!!

After a 5 min demo on the ground walking like a drunken sailor I approached this method in the saddle focusing on my weight to obtain that haunches in. By Golly, I was able to receive 5 haunches in on the wall and on the 6th time I kissed to my mare and she picked up the correct lead. 

I ended it there that day! 

    I was so excited but yet reluctant as I had to test this theory myself without Marty there. How could he help me so much in such little time? 

Today marks day 7 with 5 rides and 15 correct lead departures in a row. I can't explain the feeling as I am so overjoyed but at the same time so disappointed in the fact that I was kicking on and getting after my mare thinking she was just being cheeky. I forgot to mention, the best part is that we accomplished this all in the hour in a half of my second lesson and in a halter. 

    Moral of my story.... I spent thousands of unanswered dollars, I learned that horses don't need the metal in the mouth, you can't lift a shoulder, first time any clinician has showed me a haunches in was Marty, do as little as you need to in communicating with your equine and if you are breaching the threshold, something has to change. Don't get angry and frustrated, research for credible success stories so you don't waste your time on clinicians who actually don't understand the theory behind the maneuvers. 

Lastly, Marty Gardner is the most knowledgeable horseman I know. In just 2 lessons I have learned the actual definitions, AIDS and theory behind turn on the forehand, turn on the haunches, leg yield and half pass. ( Not a side pass;) and he has shown me how to correct an issue I have been struggling with for months. 

    I apologize if this is too long but I just wanted to take the time and say thank you Jesus for letting me find Flattop Horsemanship. I look forward to learning so much as I also know I have just scratched the scratch of the surface ;)

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