Are you experiencing your horse ?

It may seem a strange question, I have given much thought to how I can help to guide others to the level of relationship I share with my horses and how I can share the experience of truly experiencing our horse. Not training, not doing something, sharing a presence with our horse.

I can look back to the experience I shared today with my lovely Noonoo riding her. I can look forward to the next experience we may share. However there is nothing like the moment when I am not thinking about it but ‘feeling’ it, the moment when it is not a thought, it is not about judging how good the canter transition was or planning on how to improve the next one. It is ‘feeling’ this one right now. Come on play with this, then play with feeling the next moment.

It may be easier to start to experience your horse while sitting sharing territory, it can be difficult to be present to the moment, however if we stop our mental chatter, well that’s not easy! maybe more allow thoughts to come and go and start to feel the experience of being with our horse, not dwelling in our thoughts, instead allowing the experience to happen. Letting our senses perceive without a mental comment. Even for a moment. While we put into words what happened we are not observing with our presence what is being experienced now.

Oh my it is something to experience, don’t miss it, it could be your horse is the ride of your life. enter their world, the world of feeling and experiencing now. We can even ask our horse how is the world for you now, how does it feel to be you, right now. Wait and feel. How does it feel to be me with you right now. I hope you have a great experience with it.

 

No pictures this week, it is all about feeling. I would love to know your experience of this. Of course then it will be a thought, a memory of what was an experience in the moment felt by you and your horse.

Love Jayne x

Being Grateful.

A big lesson from my recent clinics and something my teacher Carolyn Resnick has always guided  me towards is to practice gratitude. Being grateful really is life enhancing and when it comes to building a relationship with horses when we can be grateful for what  they are ready to offer we tend see the positives.

 

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Having expectations can leave us not feeling so grateful when they do not come to fruition. Sometimes we need to see the bigger picture even if our horse is tiny.

Feeling gratitude for our horse with no expectations feels good for us and our horses.         We are only human and can loose sight of this so if we make it a practice to find something we are grateful for each day this may help us to get used to feeling grateful and seeing the good in almost anything. Generally when something makes us feel good we tend to want more of that feeling.

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Sid here at our clinic in Wales looks like he is feeling good in this moment.

Recently I held an introduction to the Waterhole Rituals day here with my horses, we had no expectations of them and I thank the ladies who came and entered into this exploration with me. In fact in the morning we practiced only the first two rituals, it was so rich with Noonoo showing how she sought connection with each and every one of us while sharing territory, she blessed us with sharing her breath and companionship with us, she had hay and could go where ever she wished.  Also in greeting her there was much to consider and observe in our approach. Before we knew it we had spent the entire morning being very grateful for her, for the sunshine and for the chance to enjoy meeting one another. After lunch we worked with Maya who also had many lessons for us and again left us feeling humble and grateful.

 

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I am always so proud of my girls they always have the lessons that are needed ready for us. They loved this small group of women and offered a great deal of connection. I felt they knew you all came open minded and with open hearts ready to feel the connection they could share.

Tarquin watched on for this one however he came to share territory with me the following day and we were both grateful to share a wonderful hour together. Hopefully he will take part next time.

Gratefully,

Jayne x

 

Wonderful Wales.

Wow what a start to the year,  My second clinic and I am so grateful for the experiences I am given by all the people and horses who allow me to connect with them. Very special, the horses, the people and the setting. Surrounded by hills, birds singing and sheep  with their new born lambs. Brandy house farm was a wonderful setting for a whr’s clinic.  No wonder people take their horses there for holidays staying on site.

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What I really loved about this clinic was the way at least for me, it felt like we became a little herd for the weekend, a wonderfully supportive group of talented horsewomen all wanting the best for their beloved horses, all full of fun, all open to new experiences, and all learning from each other and the horses. It felt like we were all fully engaged and present to what the horses would offer.

 

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The horses were in full expression of themselves, truly at liberty in the large arena we had to work in. We witnessed them honing our skills at using energy and how little we might need as well as,  how much when needed. We experienced when to lead, when grow our leadership and when to follow.

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We searched for an entry point of connection. We looked at how our communications might feel for our horse’s.

30118346_1842509912466024_823270388_n We refined our hello, and watched how graceful it could be. Learnt how we could match the energy of our horse and how our approach was all important to our horse offering an invitation to say hello.

I love it when the horses are allowed the freedom of expression and when the humans are in awe of that expression and aware that we can create connection which will allow our horse to offer a performance from that connection and their expression of who they are. They truly did that this weekend. In fact some of the humans did too, even falling off their chair !!!

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Thank you all so much ladies,

Loving my journey with you all.

Jayne x

Another lesson from Cornwall.

I felt this lesson from the horses and the observations Shelley and I shared through the weekend was worthy of a blog all of it’s own.

As we introduced the Waterhole Rituals to some horses for the first time and took others a little deeper into the practice of them we saw very similar reactions in the horses eyes and expressions.

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Tayo started either not looking at Shelley or with a somewhat skeptical expression, her body posture also communicated how she felt. We noticed the biggest change in her expression and softness of her eyes, also where she was looking with her eyes changed as we worked with her at liberty. The saying ” The eyes are the windows to the soul” couldn’t have been more true with the horses in Cornwall as they all to some degree changed how and where they chose to look.

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Here you can see her posture has changed to very relaxed,  Shelley and Tayo are in sync their legs matching perfectly, this is something our horses offer. Her eyes became soft as did her expression.

When I connect with people at clinics, which is always my aim, I never wear sunglasses I like to be able to look someone in the eye, have you ever noticed how someone who can’t look at you , who shifts their gaze,  can make you feel they are not interested in what you have to say or it can even make you feel uncomfortable and less trusting of them. Maybe we have an in built ability to communicate with our eyes,  horses have not lost this it can be very subtle, if you watch you may spot it. Let your eyes be the window to your soul if you feel the urge to seek connection.

I have noticed that my grandchildren have not dulled this down, they smile with their eyes when they become animated.

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Even Oscar who only has one eye changed his expression and became softer despite the heavy rain and fading light. His human Dawn has been helping him cope with life with only one eye using the Waterhole Rituals he has to know he can trust her and we could see the bond between them. I feel this will get stronger and stronger and they will have a very special partnership.

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Looking forward…… with both eyes as an open window, to meeting and connecting with more horses and humans this year.

Jayne x

Lessons from Cornwall.

After a long drive west, I arrived at The Peep out, a training yard way down into Cornwall. It is also the home of  The Cornwall swimming horses, Thanks to Shelley for inviting me and Chris for being open minded enough to join in and to allow his horses and their handlers to take part. Shelley showed me the area of field she had prepared for us to work in and here you can see the stunning backdrop we had of St Michael’s Mount.

 

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One of the lessons from this clinic was for us to keep our focus if we wish for the focus of our horse. Another was to give up wanting an end goal and instead grow the strings of connection using the first 5 Waterhole Rituals, Develop a bond by spending time sharing territory, evolve a deep mutual trust, encourage willingness and stay focused on our horse to keep his focus. Often when a person’s focus wandered so did the horses. The horses also showed us when our focus drifts and we have a connection, that connection will drift also if we don’t nurture it we can be the one who breaks the connection our horses are offering.

Here the first 5 rituals were in place and the connection was a two way energetic and mutually beneficial  feeling,  Tayo offered companion walking with Shelley.

 

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On Sunday the sun came out and the horses enjoyed some warmth on their backs, some decided sunbathing was the order of the day. It was lovely to work with horses who had been well introduced to the area we would work in they were all very happy here and could even see their field mates. However if we wish to further our relationship and move on from sunbathing together sometimes we need to wake up a bit. This was the case with Juju, once woken up she was very happy to join the party and I felt she was pleased she didn’t miss it.

 

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Hannah and James were our first combination and speaking to Hannah beforehand she expressed that she felt she lacked leadership skills, I think James must have known as he was very happy to follow her lead and her leadership shone through, it was so flowing and easy because she had no end goal and worked on building the relationship with him. He offered to choose her calm, gentle but clear leadership.

 

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He was the perfect gentleman for her to work with and he seemed to know what was needed. When our horse shows us they resonate with our style of leadership and feel we are a trustworthy, fair and reliable leader to choose we have no need of lessons about leadership other than the one given by the horse. I am looking forward to keeping in touch and hearing were it goes for everyone involved.

Thanks for having me Cornwall.

Jayne x

 

 

 

 

Finding the Fun.

My first horse was Jasper a 5 year old cob who was the most caring and fabulous horse, we were together for over 20 years. We explored the countryside together entered some little competitions and he let me hug him loads.

When Jasper slowed up I had a wonderful horse called Stanley, he was a big Irish sport horse he knew how to go forward!!! and he knew how to jump. He didn’t do it slowly I had to trust that he would sort it out much of the time. The dealer who sold him to me had recently shipped him over from Ireland, he told me he had hunted but he was only around 5 years old he had a ‘Look at me’ look about him, he looked right at you.

I was never as brave as him and although I clung on cross country ( which was his favorite thing ) we didn’t tackle anything too big. I enjoyed doing this with him and taking him out jumping as this was the thing he enjoyed most. Apart from when I would take him alone to the forest and gallop up a path we both loved, it was always better alone as no one else could keep up. It was perfect as it was uphill so I knew we would stop at the top.

Jasper and Stanley they were the best of friends.

After Stanley I rode Millie who loved the arena, taught me to ask a mare politely and didn’t like galloping up hills much but taught me loads about dressage. Then came Mitch a beautiful dark brown ex race horse, he taught me about turning a horse into a friend and family pet. Finding the thing my horses enjoy has always lead into whatever we have done, I tend to go with what they like to offer.

Now after all this along came Noo noo a fireball four year old Lusitano she was to give me the greatest lesson of all.

She has taught me I knew nothing and she has taught me about me.

As a young horse I thought she should experience a little of everything to find out what she liked. She was much like Millie in that she really didn’t get excited about running across fields. She went to training evenings going over poles and trying out jumping again she didn’t really go for it in an animated way. We did some dressage but it was either wonderful or she spooked at everything.

It has turned out what she is good at and enjoys is interacting with people, having a close relationship with me,  loving the grandchildren’s attention,  liberty dancing and riding.

This week I put some poles out and making this part of our time together at liberty has turned it into something she is really enjoying now, so long as we enjoy it together. As she has discovered this new fun thing done in companionship she now does it with me on her back with the same enthusiasm. She has been the best teacher of relationship.

This has also helped us with picking our feet up. After one of my conversations with Carolyn Resnick where we discuss the Waterhole Rituals but also dressage, often Carolyn will remind me about having “Pick and Push” in equal amounts. So having a connection and enjoying companionship and fun at liberty can actually help with dressage! or indeed anything your horse and you wish to enjoy together.

Finding the fun for both of you and accommodating each other while enjoying each other’s company. What could be better. I am now learning from Maya as well and discovering what she likes.

Wishing you fun and companionship with your horses.

Jayne x

 

Balance & Harmony.

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The Yin Yang symbol a symbol of balance? It seems that way the dark part the Yin has a part of the white part the Yang and vice versa . It is a symbol from Daoism/Taoism  ancient Chinese religion. So the fact that both parts contain some of each other conveys the message that everything contains the seed of it’s opposite. Daoism teaches that the universe is made up of energies, vibrations and matter. Something can be Yin or Yang the two are both sides of the same coin.

If the universe is made up of energies vibrations and matter how do we experience this? and you might be asking now “What has it to do a blog about horses?”

Horses are far more tuned into this than us. They can be our guides to feeling energy, vibration and matter, Like Yin and Yang these are all interlinked is a wave yin or yang? is it energy, vibration or matter? It can be all of these.

When we start to see our horses in this way as a creature who is capable of being far more finely tuned into these things than us we can start to appreciate how she can feel us coming before we arrive, as do our dogs. Our horse can seem to read our mind and know what mood we are in.

Someone came to visit our farm, he was a farmer, he walked through where the horses were in their stables and told me he didn’t like horses “One end bites and the other end kicks!” and “They can smell fear” I agreed and added they fear your fear and can defend themselves or ( and here is the lesson about you from the horse) they could be sending you a message about how you make them feel.

If you are afraid you are out of balance with the harmony of nature. Your horse may not smell it but they feel it. So if you find yourself in this place take a moment to know that balance contains dark and light, acknowledge your fear, feel how it makes your body feel, no point trying to disguise it from a horse this creates more imbalance within us. What ever we wish to do with our horse, Balance and Harmony between us makes it a pleasurable experience for both of us.

To accept that we don’t need to be perfect or tough or ‘a great horseman’ or a great rider or anything other than ourselves, knowing who we are and being authentic with horses opens up a wonderful conversation and creates more…..Balance & Harmony.

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Wishing you Balance and Harmony.

Jayne x

Who needs grooming anyway!

Today I planned to get both girls in the arena and get back to our joint sessions, Maya is looking much better, not 100% but ok after her accident.

The weather had other ideas, as I walked to the stables it started to snow, well they are all hairy and shedding their coats so maybe today would be for grooming instead, Noons was feeling frisky and trying to get my attention.

I went in with all the grooming gear, said hello let her sniff the brush, scratched her. We always start with some form of greeting. To march in and just help myself to contact on her body would feel rude now.

Despite my polite approach she was not in the mood, sometimes it is just because she wants to get on and work but today was different she clearly didn’t want grooming. At least not on her body. I changed my mind, I asked could we simply have a moment together? as she stopped and sniffed me stood still and our breathing started to get deeper, we both enjoyed finding a deeper connection than before. I could feel her ask for me to touch her ears or her nose, I tuned in to how she would like this ‘grooming’ session to go.

I remembered I had my camera to put on the fence to film both the girls together. This could be the most boring video I have ever made and you really can’t ‘feel’ what we felt. It is a snapshot but I urge you lovingly ‘groom’ or not your horse.

 

Instead of a clean horse I was given the gift of what at times felt like a meditation together and my horse showed me our friendship is more important than how we look. She gave me such a feeling of pure contentment and love. She really wanted her head near me and we spent around 40 minutes slowly brushing her face, rubbing her ears and enjoying being alive and together. She was very interested in licking me and my gloves.

My horses can escape my influence anytime even in the stable as they have an opening to a pen, they are always loose and if they leave me I will not pursue them, I simply go to another horse. Often this causes them to want me to come back!

I do hope you can search for the special moments with your horse,  in the uk and other colder climates it is hard through the winter and many of you are really wanting spring to come, don’t hurry though, enjoy what your horses can offer you to make your winter less bleak. Noonoo made mine positively warm today. I did have many layers of clothing too!

Please share the things your horses do to warm your heart.

Jayne x

When my horse chooses what I need.

Recently Noonoo has chosen to show me things at liberty. Sometimes these are things I have dreamt of , thought of, or we have tried and left alone for now. Sometimes not.

It depends on how it feels when she shows me these things as to my approach. If it feels good and is something I would desire for us to do then I follow her lead. If however it feels like her trying to lead in an undesirable way, I will change the subject and ignore the unwanted display. I have found that mostly when I listen and see what she wants to do in the moment it works out for the best. I can still influence HOW we do what she chooses, so it goes with a partnership!

Our focus and fun at liberty recently has been cantering together, today Noonoo didn’t want to carry on at liberty too long, we were instantly connected walking around together for a bit. Every time we went past the Bareback pad on the fence she stopped and touched it, she does this to say come on I would like to do the riding bit. So my idea of cantering at liberty together today was not her idea. I went with her and got on.

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She reads my mind and I had been remembering a dressage lesson about  the quality of the transition into canter being more important than the amount of canter, the better the transition the better the canter. This was in my mind  while I was mucking out her stable I was thinking about how I could time my aids to get the best response and make it easier for her . I think she heard.

I do know she is a step ahead of me and after warming up in walk she decided today was for those canter transitions and for her to help her human try to get it right.

We must have done around 30 or more transitions to canter, she kept going! It was enough for me in a bareback pad! Hot bath night. Sometimes I got it a bit better and sometimes not, she kept going untill she felt she had given me a good schooling session!  Often the horses are waiting for us to stop thinking we can improve them as they know it is all about them assisting us to be the most self aware person we can be. She knows I am grateful for these lessons and we both end feeling proud and enjoying our ever evolving partnership.

Without taking the time to be with her, simply to enjoy her company and to take the time to tune in to her and all around me and without the lessons from the Waterhole Rituals,  Carolyn Resnick and Linda Salinas we would be missing the feel, the silent communication and the friendship we share in riding.

My beautiful tolerant teacher helping me try my best to get it right.

Have a great weekend and I hope you enjoy the lessons from your horse. Please do share them.

Jayne x

One of those days!

Ever had ‘One of those days’.

Sometimes we have plans and a time frame to work within and no matter what! Things just don’t go to plan. Our emotions can take over and we get frustrated, upset, angry?

Our Horses feel this.

When we have ‘One of those days’ our horses can send us messages to let us know they know! Maybe they try to slow us up, Maya and Noonoo are very good at this, if I go in and start grooming them with my mind else where they will sometimes just accept this, or they turn to face me and put their nose right up to me and breath, I believe they are telling me to slow up take a breath and come back to the present and them. I stand soaking up the wonderfulness of a horse and hey presto I am back.

Sometimes our horses need to shout to be heard, if your horse is displaying an unwanted behavior make sure you are not missing a message about you! There was a time when my horses needed to be louder and now I look back and marvel at how they wait patiently for us to wake up!

When we do and we enter into their world it is a place where emotions can be replaced with feelings, senses, and a new awareness. More like a horse!

When it comes to my horses there really is no limit to what I know I can learn from them.

Jayne x