I bought Murphy in July 2015, but for 2 ½ years prior to this I had been sharing him with his previous owner. From the very first time I rode him I knew he was going to be a challenge! He was quirky and incredibly sensitive – just a slight brush of the leg or gathering up of the reins and he’d tense up and shoot off! Due to being hunted a lot in the past and never properly schooled, he had it drilled into his mind that work = run really fast, jump everything and hold your head up like a giraffe! As a result of all of this he had a lot of “upside down” muscle, especially noticeable on his neck. This allowed him to be very strong and resistant to my aids, making it incredibly difficult for me to form any sort of contact with him or do any proper schooling. It was frustrating, but I was determined to make a change and turn things around.
When I bought him in 2015, I decided to find an instructor. A friend at my yard suggested I have a lesson with Sharon, so I booked in with her and that’s where our little transformation journey began!
I was pretty nervous about the first lesson – I hadn’t had one for a good few years, and was a little apprehensive about how things would go. Murphy was of course on top form, showing Sharon his best giraffe impressions whilst cantering at 90mph and threatening to jump out of the school…not our finest moment. I really expected Sharon to leave afterwards and never return, but for some reason she came back (mad woman) and since then has changed both Murphy and myself so much more than I ever expected!
Over the past year and a half, we’ve taken him right back to basics, encouraging him to relax and remind him that he is in fact a horse (whether he likes it or not). We’ve had many tricky moments and his stubbornness has often resulted in temper tantrums lasting up to 20 minutes, but thanks to Sharon’s support and positivity we’ve worked through those moments and finally it’s paid off. I now have a horse who respects my aids and is balanced and happy in his work. His muscles have completely redeveloped in the correct places and while we do have the odd giraffe moment now and then, he’s a completely different horse to the one I rode in my first lesson!
Since starting with Sharon we’ve had so many breakthroughs, and have also attended our very first dressage competition where we came fifth which I was thrilled about! Whilst we still have a little way to go with him, I’m very excited for the future – at 18 years old it’s a tough job trying to get him to forget those 16 years of doing things his own way, but slowly and surely he’s starting to realise that this new way of going isn’t half bad after all! Thank you Sharon ????