Chester and finding Grace.

I have been struggling lately with the horrid wet weather we have been having sometimes it is not so easy to feel grateful, finding grace in small things helps.

Chester decided after having some cuts on a hind leg when he challenged Maya for leadership, that he could not and would not pick that foot up. His cuts have healed and he is fine however he is very sensitive and had a big bee in his bonnet over that foot.

I have been grateful for small tries and at last this week I managed to pick out the whole foot. I had to be grateful and ‘Find Grace’ in a mere moment of attempting to give me it  and be grateful for every step forward.

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Our relationship grows all the time and he has become more confident in this, confident enough to surprise me by becoming more demanding over food, we had a chat about it and I explained I was not up for bad manners, this has been resolved by working with food even more, I am so very grateful for the lessons my horses bring and for the Waterhole Rituals giving me the answers. Many people I meet shy away from using food with a pony who starts to nibble or becomes more pushy, if we sweep things under the carpet however, one day we will trip and find them still there underneath.

Here is the reformed Chester, it was a very minor mistake on his part, and all part of strengthening the bonds. I had to let him know I noticed that’s all! and find the grace in what actually was a step in the right direction, when we look at what ever happens and see it this way everything makes sense. So we played around a bucket of carrots with grace and ease.

I wish you all as much grace and ease as you can find. We simply have to notice it.

Love Jayne x

Chester.

All the horses that I meet teach me something. The new addition to our little herd, Chester has come with lots of lessons I am sure. While we all miss Tarquin we welcome Chester, after 12 days here he starts to show who he really is!

 

He seemed to want to bond with me when we first met at World horse Welfare. The approach I have is very different to what he has known and sharing territory with him gave him the chance to start to investigate me and find out how this human who behaved a bit differently really is. He was interested! I have taken time to ask permission to enter his personal space, he is not so sure about being touched in some places, he has had to accept lots of new things, pigs, dogs, sheep, cows,  coming in and out of the field and seeing the girls leave him to go to the arena also doing the same himself. The first time he heard music in the arena he wondered what it was!

Chester has learnt that I will be consistent, fair and I am sure he has noticed that when I am with the horses I am listened to by the girls and he follows along with this. He is learning to fit in. Noonoo and Maya are also learning to fit in with him.

Horses don’t always experience harmony when there are changes going on, however I see them getting closer to it all the time, disputes are not always sorted out without some form of physical communication. Chester has been clear in his intentions and so have the girls. It can be hard for us humans to be as clear as the horses, however I feel they are far happier when we are. We have to balance how do we strive for harmony? How do we make sure our intentions are clear, fair and understood.

I look forward to the relationship Chester and I will share as we start our journey with the Waterhole Rituals and form a working bond together.

For now all I can say is it feels very good to be granted the moments of connection he offers so early on.

Love Jayne x

Who am I to you?

We as humans form opinions all the time about our horses, we judge them and how they are behaving.

What if we stop all that and ask ourselves , who does my horse see when she looks at me, how do I make her feel? How can I find a way to encourage her to follow my lead and feel safe and calm, even joyful in my company. We have spent, for the most part,  the first 3 years of our relationship enjoying the Waterhole Rituals and working at liberty, sharing territory, getting to know each other deeper and deeper and building the most important part for her Trust, she has come to see me as dependable and now she seeks my company. It has lead to taking that into riding together.

 

The relationship I share with Maya has taken a long time to develop she was mistrusting and spooky. When she looked at me she saw another human and they were something she was not fond of. She didn’t feel like bonding with humans, I have had to ask myself the question how do you see me? often. Her opinion has slowly changed, although she tests out my worthiness of connection with her, I have to show up as someone she can trust and respect, this helps her feel safer with me. I was always aware that riding for her was the biggest step in trust and like everything we have done together, it matters how she see’s me. It matters that she has a choice to let me ride or not, it matters that she has found she can let go in her mind and body. This is still not dependable however it seems more so every day.  She now trusts that she can change direction which always gave her something she felt she could say no to, a big thing has been for her to trust my hand, she lets me pick up the reins without tension now at first it caused a lot of stress.

It didn’t matter to me if we didn’t manage riding, it does matter how she see’s me and this has changed how she see’s all humans, she is more comfortable with some than others, I think all who have met her and been granted connection with her feel that it is a big thing! She has the knack of making you feel extremely grateful for her company.

Ask yourself what would your horse say if you asked him” who am I to you?”

At Liberty you can see the truth.

Love Jayne x

Tarquin

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Tarquin was part of our family for 22 years, he was well known in Cobham pony club, possibly more for his cuddly nature, love of sandwiches and ability to drink through a straw, more than his jumping talents.

On 26th July he had colic and was put to sleep, it has taken time to be able to put it down in words. I feel it is time now to say something as it has been hard having the two girls on their own, the empty stable keeps calling for a new herd member.

Our new herd member has found us and his name is Chester, he is a 14.1 cross breed pony from World Horse Welfare. I will be charting his progress here in my blog as we start our journey into the Waterhole Rituals together. Tarquin was a wonderful pony at the intro days here and formed a connection with many people, often he chose them.

I felt very much that Chester chose me and that we instantly liked each other. Please don’t feel sorry for us at our loss, it was his time and Tarquin would be pleased for Noonoo to have another ‘boy next door’ We all miss him but are so grateful for having him in our lives. Please simply wish Chester well for his new future. I will introduce him soon.

Love Jayne x

Feeling into connection.

So many things that I see through connecting with horses at liberty using the Waterhole Rituals follow over to riding, ground work and my whole life with and without my horses. I was recently lucky enough to have three days of lessons with a lady who has experienced so much with so many horses. Her patients was never ending and watching her teach as well as in my own lessons she was connecting with the horse, and the rider, she was FEELING everything that was going on and riding the horse with us. Guiding us in how to use our bodies in a way that makes riding in balance easy for our horse.

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When I guide people through The Carolyn Resnick method and we find ways in to connection with the horse it is the same I have to FEEL my way into connection on the ground at liberty. I have to give that partnership my entire focus and Ross Lewis did that for all of us who came to learn from her. The subtle use of nuances within requests learning to whisper instead of shouting is what I wish to create on the ground and someone showed me how to FEEL it in riding. I share a deep connection with my horse Noonoo and she tries so hard for me, she really liked that a penny dropped for me on her back, I could ride her at liberty before but what Ross taught me was how to make life more comfortable for her and bring out the maximum of balance and connection that we could could find at the moment in riding. She also understood Maya and I could see that horses want to trust her and connect with her. She is passing on important lessons learned with all the horses she has worked with and all the teachers she herself has learnt from. These are lessons that serve us and our horses well, we all look to the future and love our technology, I think we can still return to lessons learnt in the past when dressage was for the horse not the prize. It was for the art of riding and there were true masters of this art.

Thank you Ross Lewis for lessons that come from the heart and from the desire to really help horses and riders.

Here’s wishing everyone harmony and balance in everything we do with our horses,

Love Jayne x

 

A Waterhole gathering in Surrey.

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I arrived at Woodstock Lane South liveries where my clinics in Surrey are held with the aircon blasting out in my car, when I stepped out Wow! 9.45 am and it felt like the tropics. (April and Shamus pictured) always give me a bed for the night and she  welcomes me into her home, so very grateful.

Day one we started sharing territory with a lovely arab mare Amira, I have known her some time and have never seen her as settled and relaxed as she was this day, the Waterhole Rituals and her human Elaine’s approach have had a very positive effect on this lovely lady.  After talking with all the participants, explaining the Rituals,  a little about Carolyn Resnick and also her buisness partner and certified instructor Nancy Zintsmaster. (Who I think we would all love to visit for a retreat after seeing her incredible home and horses.) I asked everyone in turn what they were hoping to gain from the day and we closed our eyes and started to enter the world of our horses, becoming present to moment and all around.

Every clinic is different and I never know what will feel right at any given moment, untill it happens, finding the entry point of connection with our horse can involve many different things, in this clinic we played the carrot game with three different horses and humans, which I have not done for some time, there was a reason for this and it was different for each of the horses, there are many benefits from all of Carolyns Method.

We also explored team work between humans with a horse and different ways we come to influence them. this came into the carrot game as well.

When to lead and when to follow was the message from one sensitive mare. We helped a horse become more settled by behaving as a herd of horses would when approaching and retreating and approaching further towards an area of suspicion keeping awareness of all around us, and keeping the flow between us, entering into how does it feel for them and how to find that entry point of connection.

My thanks to all involved and the horses and humans who took part.

Elaine and Amira, Fiona and Tara, Louisa and Popeye, Kate and Megan, Pascale and Pearl, Debbie and Oscar, Rachel and Prince, April and Shamus, Daria, and thanks to Nina for hosting and all her work putting things together of course as always we love a dance together with Fred ( her horse).

I wish you all connection and a fabulous journey searching for it.

Love Jayne x

 

 

The path of no or least resistance.

I always learn something from every horse and human I meet, today a very clever mare showed us that she could be very clear in her opinions about taking a path of no resistance. When she was given something to resist against she showed us, not really by resisting but showing she wasn’t keen. When we took the path where there was flow, harmony, gentle requests that she liked and in moments gave over leadership to her, she offered everything.

She also showed us that if we drop the connection and our focus for one second, again she feels offended, she will learn to enjoy moments where we break the connection and did indeed start to,  when it is done in the right way with clear intention not by accident. She communicates clearly her feelings and when we let her know we understood them she was ready to offer more and more connection. Her lovely human also felt such a strong connection from her and how there can be moments of give and take, like any fair 50/50 relationship. She really is an amazing teacher! also ready to be the student, as we should be, ready to guide and lead also ready to follow and learn.

Elle

When we walk down this path things become effortless and easy, we have to be ready to drop agendas feel the moment and leave our ego elsewhere, or at least start to quieten it! That is when the magic happens like today with Elle exploring The Waterhole Rituals At Liberty. Here she is coming out of the woods at home.

Love Jayne x

 

A Week with my horses.

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I thought it would be fun to share a little video each day this week, I have a pretty free week so I am hoping we will have lots of time together. There will be some stuff that is work in progress, I always start with our connection and if it feels like I might get a no I change the question, if there is one string of connection that needs to be stronger we always work on that, Our Bond, Trust, Respect, Willingness and Focus, then when we start something new that the girls don’t understand I know they will give me their best try. Here is Sunday this is the day I try to work both girls together, it’s my Sunday morning treat. I also get to see the faces Maya pulls when I am not looking!

 

 

Here is Monday, and here is the secret to why we don’t do ‘training’ as such, it feels more like making a request to a friend in the moment when it is something they would like to do. Sharing territory and waiting for what feels right today, Maya offered the game of touching the barrel. We did lots more, hard to fit in to 90 secs. We also ended sharing territory and never have a problem putting on fly masks etc.

 

 

 

TUESDAY. so today Noonoo was in a performing mood, she gets these days, with dressage in mind I have been asking her to lift her hind legs ( Much needed for piaffe) well you never know! We started with the easier leg (left) she seemed to remember and today I pointed with my cane from the greenhouse, hopefully the tomatoes won’t mind,and she lifted. Then we worked at liberty crossing the left hind under and then crossing over, all fun requests that also help her become more supple. Then as I was thinking she has got this on the easy side, she showed me she could be ready to try the other side! They always seem to be ahead of me! The saying be careful what you think for your thoughts could become your reality applies with her.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, today I asked Noons if we could do some riding, yes was the answer but hurry up and trot there are horse flies! I have been riding in the bareback pad to help with coming back down from canter to walk, and checking that I am sitting straight, we are getting somewhere as her canter has become more balanced, this clip shows how hard it is for a horse not to fall out of canter, which she still does a bit my fault I let her get downhill so next time I will try to do better for her. Also you can see after 2 or 3 strides she starts to head down hill in her canter so we have done lots of transitions, then when we come back to trot she again starts to dive down but now I am more aware of it I ask her “can we stay a bit more up in the trot please?” when I ask because I notice often she will give me her best try. Before we entered the world of the Waterhole Rituals riding was a bit scary for both of us! Now we love seeing what our bodies can manage together, I have become a dependable partner and so has she #bitlessbarebackdressage

 

 

THURSDAY. Wow what a beautiful day it is today, the sun was out even at 7am with a cool breeze to keep the horses from getting too hot, I rode Noons in her saddle as I don’t like to ride bareback all the time we had fun with trotting poles. Of course I always start with connection from the ground and permission to ride.

Maya seemed very soft and gentle this morning, very willing with picking her feet up from a glance and knowing which one was to be lifted next to pick out. She has been more willing and connected as the week has gone on, having more time with her is paying off. So today I put the tack on, she was fine with this, sometimes I work her at liberty in tack as she found the thought of tack stressful and would become spooky, a very different horse with and without tack, she has never had a saddle or bit, I have a saddle I have borrowed and have put it on a couple of times, however the saddler, came to check it and said it was fine but also said Maya had suffered pressure from stirrup bars in the past,so I have been thinking a soft bareback pad with no stirrups or pressure might be better for now. I decided any thoughts of riding were to be put aside about a month ago and that I would work on her willingness to allow me to shape her body more, this was also too stressful in the past, she is starting to think it’s not so bad now, she is also responding nicely to the breath. When she lets me know it is ok to have a sit on her that is all I need to make my day, when it is stressful we stand still when she relaxes I will ask for a step, I stopped the riding a month ago as she only took about 12 steps and felt the need to bury her head down and show the stress in her mouth.
My horses can be very different from one day to another, our relationship can look different at any given moment, my relationship with Noons looks nothing like my relationship with Maya and if Maya choose’s a ridden relationship that is a bonus it will be the relationship we are meant to share and so long as we are both happy and we very much are, that is all that matters. I am always striving to find the right vibration between us that is mutually beneficial. Today we were in agreement, alignment,and connected, we stood at the mounting block and I felt her back tense so I tried to kind of massage her with my seat and she did seem to be ok with that. Unfortunately I forgot to move the camera closer so the part with her showing me it was ok to get on and then even asking me back on after I got off is a bit hard to see. My heart has been joyful all day. Not because I feel the ‘need’ to ride, but because she showed me more trust and calmness.Waiting for todays video to upload it is really slow!

 

 

FRIDAY. Today Maya has had a day off we spent a nice time brushing and hanging out in the stable, too hot now and too many nasty horse flies. First thing Noons really didn’t want to get out of bed, we did get motivated and her attitude changed with some liberty dancing and getting her little brown bottom into gear. We finished with some stuff she likes as she knows she is very clever, she is at liberty and if she walked away I would listen to her feelings. She likes to figure things out and I sometimes think/know she is a step ahead, this week I had asked her to pick up one hind leg at a time I was going to work towards picking one up then the other, so today she made a start on that!

 

 

SATURDAY, another lovely hot day so we were up early, 7am here today was all about the second Waterhole Ritual and something that I feel we all wish to develop. TRUST. How deep can our mutual trust go? Here is Noo noo and we were having a little liberty dance to this music so I kept it playing. Had to end the week of videos with music! Using the Waterhole Rituals has given us a deep mutual trust. I couldn’t end the week without Maya too so I had to do two videos today.

 

 

 

 

 SATURDAY, last day of sharing my week, Maya and I sharing TRUST, she was always stressful going through doorways, always rushing, didn’t like poles and any feeling of being ‘trapped’ of course liberty and the Waterhole Rituals were her calling!. Now she can let me influence her body forwards backwards , through poles etc even backwards around corners ( which is a big one for her) we take baby steps and enjoy the ride! She has to trust me, then I have to trust her.

This was the first time I decided to try the rein around her neck, it is a form of ‘control’ to her.  She is ok with lunging and wearing the bitless bridle so this was an experiment into how does she feel with this? We will always dance at liberty we love it, however we will keep an open mind about other options too and all done with love. Thanks for watching.

 

 

 

Of course next week will look different, our relationships will look different we are always evolving, nothing stands still, even if you ‘do’ nothing you cannot avoid change. Change for good, when we approach things with kindness , a sense of self, gratitude, and I always find a little bit of humor and a smile helps too.

Have a great week,

Love Jayne x

Expanding the Waterhole Ritual community.

I have always said the Waterhole Rituals bring together the nicest people, it is always a group who come together and over the weekend bond and support one another.

Last weekend was no exception I met 6 wonderful horses and their humans and some non horse participants who were also very much part of the group, we had interesting discussions over lunch and learnt from every persons questions.

Whoever was in the arena with a horse was supported and not judged by all watching instead thanked for allowing us all to learn from them and their horse.

 

It is always such a pleasure to share ideas and come together to build a community like this for the weekend. We explored how little we might need to do for our horse to feel our influence. Also how easy is it for our horse to understand our intentions and body language. New questions came up about the type of leadership and energy our horse wishes us to provide and how building trust can be paramount to any other pursuits we share.

The question of wrapping our horse in cotton wool and like our children when they are ready for more independence, helping them have the confidence not to rely on us too much. We worked on connection and relationship and these things are of course all part of that. The horses were allowed to express how they felt and we listened to their feedback and it shows in the beautiful pictures how they offered connection from our approach.

Thank you to Nina brooks for putting it all together, even the chickens wanted to take part.

 

Love Jayne.

You are enough.

There are many lessons we can learn from horses, they bond with us more than we know sometimes, they are mostly under our control to some degree, we don’t all have acres of land and the environment where our horses can roam freely in a herd.

If a horse has an injury or impairment of some kind often they don’t like to show this, other horses will know about it, however often they don’t acknowledge it, it is like us meeting someone with a scar or disability they may not be looking for sympathy, sympathy is not always kind, empathy and acceptance are different. One can empower the other can encourage self pity even.

I am very much looking forward to working with this amazing mare next weekend, she showed me she did not want sympathy, in fact she only wished to know we felt ” You are more than enough, exactly as you are” after all she already knew that.

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Pearl is a little rescue pony who is lame, but she won’t mention it, she suffered a fractured shoulder and was found very neglected. She doesn’t dwell on it or ask for sympathy. She has moved on.

When our horses don’t or can’t perform in a way we would wish if we show them empathy and gently encourage asking small steps that are possible and letting them know. ” You are enough” I am here for you. How does that feel ! if everyone you met could say the same to you and you could say the same to them wow! You are enough.  Acceptance of what is, truly is a great lesson from our horses, I don’t mean you cannot create your own fate in some ways, in life and in the choices we make with horses. the great part about the choices we make with our horses is that they are always there with feedback for us. In fact in life when we take the wrong fork in the road we can also learn from the feedback we receive. If we take it as a lesson we choose more wisely next time.

Lessons from Pearl.

What lessons has your horse given you.?

YOU are enough, thank you for reading.

Jayne x