About Lara Beth
From a young age Lara’s horse obsession inspired her to a life of connecting people and horses. Lara learned the hard way, working for an old school breaker. A dramatic accident led to a 12 month recovery with a broken back. This turning point enlightened Lara to put safety first.
With so much time away from horses, and so much to reflect on, it was the beginning of a new method and a new way. Now Lara has set her sights high, taking on the responsibility of changing the standards of horse management around the world. Lara questions everything. In her enthusiastic push to help people, Lara has ruffled feathers and defied contemporary ways of thinking. She consistently achieves ten times the results in a tenth of the time, and is now sharing her passion with the world.
“Stay true to your principles, take responsibility, and everything in the world of horses becomes possible.”
Lara is now a qualified senior instructor. She trains and competes full time and owns the business, Peninsula Equine Development. She is building an online community via multiple platforms in order to help as many people, worldwide, as possible. She competes in a wide range of sports from dressage to endurance believing that a strong foundation applies to any discipline. Lara starts young horses under saddle, re-trains rogue racehorses, from early in the morning to late into the night and has endless energy teaching people how to better educate their horses
Advance a little, refine a lot, refine a little, advance a lot.
Advancement and refinement go hand in hand, this week I have been using refinement to advance Sansas balance in trot and canter with me on board.
Sansa’s first canter in week 6 was everything I could have hoped for, relaxed and easy. Over the subsequent weeks I have been progressively improving different components of the canter. The most difficult part of refining an exercise, is choosing the component that I wish to improve and not getting caught up on the overall exercise itself.
This week Sansa and played in the round yard I worked on refining the components of our Canter, which included engagement, suppleness, balance and contact.
Monday Component – Canter transition. Engage forward, I don’t mind which lead Sansa takes, I don’t mind which bend she prefers, I want to make sure Sansa understands that when I give a canter cue in my seat there is nothing to worry about. If Sansa was happy to canter when I asked that was enough for Monday.
Tuesday Head and neck bend- Being able to place Sansa’s head and neck on the line that I want to ride is super important if I want her to bend around a circle. I always want to be able to use my elbows softly to bend Sansa’s head left and right even at canter.
On the ground I hold a short rein, bend my elbow and when Sansa’s head and neck follow the feel and contact on the rein I give her release. This is the first thing I do when I get on, before I softly bent her head and neck in walk, then in trot. Head and neck bends have been an awesome exercise this week to improve Sansas suppleness in canter.
Wednesday – Rib control (Balance). From week one Sansa has been very good at moving her ribs on the ground. Side step in the halter is something she learnt as soon as she was caught. (Clever Brumby).If Sansa made the mistake of taking her shoulders and ribs in on the circle, then this becomes the focus of the lesson.
First I make sure she understands how to move her rib away from my inside leg. I have found a great way to do this is to side step around objects such as soft safe covered hay bales, or even blue plastic barrels.
Once Sansa understands a rib cue, I allow her to make the mistake of falling all the way into the circle, before doing the opposite and moving her ribs all the way back to the line that we were riding. The key was to make sure I rewarded each side step with release until we got there.
Thursday- “Find the contact” I like to make sure Sansa has soft contact on the ground before I climb on board. I like to pick up and hold the bit, if Sansa pushes forward through my hand, I let her make the mistake before doing the opposite and moving her feet backwards. If Sansa lags backwards, I allow her to make the mistake before doing the opposite and motivating her forwards.
Once she was super confident at finding the contact at stand still on the ground, I could then use a soft outside contact (and my seat) in walk trot and canter to lengthen and shorten Sansas strides.
Friday we began to put things together, if Sansa made a mistake it was good because I had the opportunity to work on the individual component that she didn’t understand. By the end of the week not only could Sansa walk trot canter off my seat confidently in the round yard, but she had improved greatly in the arena and outdoor as well.
In the mix of working on balance, impulsion, and bend Sansa and I have taken advantage of every moment of fine weather, to get out of the arena and into the sunshine. Thursday we rode out to the Tubbarubba orchard, no apples yet but a sunny spot and some spring grass was perfect.
Being out of the arena has been good for the brumby soul, however it is important to be consistent no matter the scenery. There have been a few times this week when Sansa decided we were off on our adventures before I had given a cue. I let her make the mistake of engaging a few steps forward, before doing the opposite, and asking her to disengage, until she returned to stand still.
Sansa is getting so much better at waiting for the cue to begin our adventures. She is only half as good at waiting for her Low GI cubes…. Consistency will be the key here too. This week Nigel and I have been overwhelmed by the support of our new book “The System”, we are so grateful to everyone who has downloaded their instant copy. It is only by sharing what we learn that everything in the world of horses becomes possible.
Ramping up to EQUITANA. Many of our breakers have gone home with a copy of our new book “The System”. Our endurance horses are on an early morning beach program and are fit and ready. Which has allowed my daily Sansa sessions to quadruple.
“End of session” is one of the most valuable tools when educating or refining cues, as it is the ultimate form of release.
Week 17 we set ourselves a monster goal of riding obstacles bridleless. Translating last week’s invisible leading cues into ridden cues has been so much fun. Refining each direction and movement requires multiple, simple, short sessions. It is when we choose to “End the session” that makes all the difference. I have found that by getting off every time Sansa shows the slightest improvement, that she learns the fastest.
onday I rewarded a single correct step with an end of session. On Tuesday I would end the session every time Sansa responded well to a soft cue. Some of my sessions lasted all of 30 seconds.
By Friday we took on the rocking ramp, Sansa was so fantastic first time over. She sussed out the ramp, placed each foot forward step by step until she was safely on the other side. I love how clever our brumbies are. Monster goals are best achieved one step at time.
“The System” that Nigel and I use to train all of our horses is based around three simple principles, that help us break down monster goals into the what, how and why. The system builds trust between horse and rider by establishing the rider as a good leader. Good leadership is everything.
Monday of Week 15 we picked up some awesome blue barrels from Hastings Produce. Blue barrels are great because they don’t rust and there are no rusty sharp edges. We can jump them, sidestep them, push them… they are great.
Sansa has a unique jumping style, she is incredibly good at jumping from a stand still. In week 2 I let Sansa go for a roll in the indoor arena. She didn’t roll, instead she walked straight to the gate, poked her nose over, had a good look at the concrete on the other side and bunny hopped right over. I couldn’t believe how effortless the 1.15m jump was.
After this little stunt I had no doubt that Sansa could handle the barrels. I led her forward toward and asked her to follow me over. She looked at me oddly and walked straight around. I am sure she was thinking “silly human”.
It was great that she made this mistake because it gave me the opportunity to demonstrate how we allowed horses to make mistakes before correcting them with the opposite. This is Nigel and my favorite principles from our training System. We find that it teaches horse to keep trying until they find a solution.
After letting Sansa make the mistake of side stepping the barrel… I turned her sidestep into a backup and started the exercise again.This time she led straight to the barrel, poked her nose over, and bunny hopped the barrel.
We will have to work on tempo and rhythm before jumping at EQUITANA. At least I know I will have a willing Brumby ready to follow me to the end of the world and take on anything. We finished the week with an exciting open training session at Tubbarubba Arabians. Big thankyou to all of Sansa and Daisy’s supporters and too the new faces who have jumped on board the brumby journey.
Next week we have even more toys to play with can’t wait to share how she masters each one
Cross training, and Sansa second set of shoes. It has been really good to get out of the arena and break up Sansas free style training, with some trails, hills and down time.
I love taking Sansa around the hills on the farm. Usually we spend time training young horses to bring their hindquaters under, for balance down hills. Not brumbies Sansa and Daisy knows hills better than I do. They have a natural ability to find their feet.
Sansa has also found some down been playing babysitter to young racehorses. I am grateful for her calm sensible nature as it makes her a reliable leader both around the stables and in the paddock.
With EQUITANA fast approaching we are beginning to concentrate more and more on our freestyle. I have been using the end of sessions as ultimate release. Usually when Sansa does something particularly well, I end the session.
This week I have been purposely finishing all of our sessions with a lie down. Hopefully this will cement Sansa’s response to my lie down cue.