6: Shaping on a point of contact


Physical balance has many benefits for your horse. He’ll stay sounder longer. he’ll have smoother, more beautiful gaits. And he’ll be more focused and emotionally settled. How do you bring a horse into physical balance? By shaping on a point of contact so your horse becomes internally body aware and learns how to adjust his own balance. find out what that means and learn the skills to help your own horse achieve physical and emotional balance in this DVD lesson.

On the surface “Shaping on a Point of Contact” is a lesson on standing on a mat – one of the foundation lessons. That’s on the surface. What it is really about is learning how to work on a release to create the balance needed for upper-level performance.
The film features Keri Gorman and her three year old percheron cross, Oliver. Oliver was originally a PMU foal. Keri got him when he was a year old. She’s done a magnificent job with him. He’s a good traveller. He’s emotionally solid. He leads well. He’s a very pleasant youngster, but . . . There’s always a but. He was also three-year-old gangly.
On day 1 Keri brought him into the arena to get him oriented to the new environment. She was going through the foundation exercises, including mat work. Oliver was great. He understood the mat, was willing to stand on it. But he was never square. Whenever he stopped, his legs were always sprawled every which way.
Oliver was also very wiggly. Anytime Keri touched the lead, he would curl around her in a lateral bend. “For every exercise you teach there is an opposite exercise you must teach to keep things in balance.” For those of you with horses that are at this wiggly stage, this will be a very useful video. Keri found the tools she needed to balance the wiggliness. In the process Oliver shifted from being a gangly three year old to a “Fred Astaire” dance partner. Very, very neat!
We filmed him again the next day and the change in him was startling. He stood square – but not just, yeah he’s got his front feet together square – he was lifting through his back and the base of his neck. He was gorgeous! I made some still photos from the video to compare his before and after balance. The change is startling.