Our horses can see our full potential.

 

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Recently April came to spend the day here with my horses. Noonoo is a great teacher, first showing us to become more present and slow up. Then many lessons for April the biggest one for me was focus on me 100% if you want my attention.

Maya, after a tea break, was the one waiting with the biggest lesson of all, we shared territory and spoke  again about finding ways to become more present and more aware. We tuned into the sounds of nature, the birds and the breeze.

Maya came over and spent a long time very calmly sniffing our feet. We turned our hands over and could both feel a tingling in our palms, we could feel Maya’s energy. Her lesson for April was that she had forgotten her full potential in how well she can use energy and ‘feel’, I took the whip away and asked her to dance with Maya using her energy. She discovered she could move her away, draw her, change her direction, with very little effort and using her energy.  Here she asks her to move back.

Maya could see April was working too hard, doing too much and not tapping into her full potential, she gifted her with a beautiful lesson. April remembered to use all the gifts she already has.

Peeling back the layers.

I have just spent an amazing weekend with Linda Salinas this was the 5th clinic we have had together. I was very fortunate to spend time before the clinic again with Linda and my horses. Linda has opened my eyes to many things.

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When you get to know someone really well, you have a friendship which includes the things we look to build with our horses. A bond, trust, respect, willingness and focus. These bring about the magnetic connection we feel with our horses. Is this why we are drawn to some people more than others? Maybe our inner guidance kicks in and draws us to those we feel this connection with. Those we can build bonds with those we trust.

I have seen many people and horses attending these clinics, they attract the nicest people and as the three days unfold the thing I have loved to witness is the peeling back of the layers some of us put up, the false person on the outside fades and our true nature appears. As this happens we are more drawn to those who let these false layers dissolve. We become someone who can share the love of life as well as the love of horses . It is our true nature to love, with all the hate being displayed in the world, the terror attack’s and killings it is refreshing to see the message from the horses, peel back the false layers let the true self out and it will be love. My three words at the end of the clinic were I love you. I can say this, and feel this, as I am free to do so, I have peeled back those layers and can just be who I am. There is no need for me to share again what a fantastic clinic Linda delivered as many others will. If you feel drawn to come , you will follow your heart. I followed mine and it lead me to Carolyn Resnick which in turn lead me to Linda I would highly recommend it.

My horses are also in full expression of their true nature and can show me who they are and how they feel. At liberty with freedom to do so, and knowing I will not put up any  layers between us. Our horses see through this they see the reality.

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The way in to our horse.

Finding the way in and the yes from our horse can be different for every partnership.

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When building a relationship with our horse,sometimes we just need to look out for the requests we can make that will have our horse saying YES ! and then build on it. I believe we  need to form a bond, have mutual trust, mutual respect, willingness and focus. We need these things to create harmony in our relationship and in everything we do with our horses. If we can look for the yes and listen to the feedback from our horse we will create a happier partnership.

I was lucky to have a couple of great classical dressage lessons last weekend and to watch others riding as well. I was taught more self discipline and focus were needed on my part, true and fair. I wish to improve and learn so this will be my aim.  When the lessons ended they stopped at the very best moment and the right place, for both horses and humans.

Just like encouraging our horses willingness in this way, and finding that ‘way in’ to a better riding partnership, for me I look for this in the relationship with my horses too, Noo noo likes to be close, Maya likes more distance, by finding the way they like to work with me at liberty I find the YES in my horse, the more I can be focused, fair and progressive in everything the more yes’s I hope to get in everything.  I will work hard on myself to improve after my lessons, I will make requests to my lovely Noo noo sometimes she may think she would rather not comply but I will endeavor to be fair and make requests that she will say yes to, often I just need to have the belief that we can do something more. If I don’t believe we can I am pretty sure we won’t!

Two days of Connection and have a good old sing along.

I have just returned from Surrey and Kent and what a fantastic time, it was really joyful to see the relationships growing and connections becoming stronger. Thank you to all of you, who allowed me to share territory with you and your horses and made me feel so welcome.

Driving home into the setting sun the radio station I was listening to dropped out, I found Radio 2 and Tony Blackburn’s golden hour. My friends of a certain age, in uk might remember him. I was coming across Salisbury Plain with vast open fields around me and found myself, totally out of tune, singing as loud as you like to these words.

Yesterday has just departed, and tomorrow hasn’t started, all that really matters is right now, and you should live a lifetime in each minute, take the sweetness from within it.

This summed up my two days. I was smiling and singing and so happy to be witness to the growing connections being made. Come on ladies sing along!!!!

 

Alois Podhajsky

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This weeks blog is inspired by part of a book.  My horses my teachers by Alois Podhajsky. Here is the part I wish to share.

How do we understand our companions? When riding and training my horses I was forever trying to put myself in the place of the animal and to think from his point of view, especially in order not to demand more than he could perform. Retrospectively I realise that the constant endeavour to understand the creatures entrusted to my care became the reason why, though I was their trainer, I feel as their pupil today. Although they had no faculty of speech, they taught me more than many humans did. Therefore I feel that I should relate my experiences with my horses for the benefit of future generations of horses andmaestosomercuriohalfpasstoright riders.

In 1939, Podhajsky became chief of the Academy of Classical Horsemanship, better known as the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. Founded in 1572, the school’s main focus was the training of Lipizzan horses in the art of Classical dressage. Podhajsky was director of the school throughout World War II and continued in the position until his retirement in 1965.

 

I find it interesting that back in 1967 when this book was written, masters like Podhajsky had a very different regard for their horses than many people have today. I continue to try and share through the Waterhole Rituals and Classical dressage their view that we should remain the student of the horse and our life with him/her should be life enhancing for us both.

” May you live as long as want, and never want as long as you live.”

In last weeks blog we spoke about boundaries and shaping our horses character.

As the Waterhole Rituals have become part of my life and through the time spent with my horses they have not only shaped my horses character but also my own.

One of the biggest dreams I had was to share a deep and mutual trust with my horse. When we started learning from Carolyn Resnick there was no trust between us. I think we liked each other but we didn’t trust each other.

I had expectations and wanted certain things. I have learnt that when we drop our agenda and give up wanting, just be grateful for now and what we have this minute, that’s when we are given the greatest gifts.

Spending time with our horses not wanting is like a magic wand in the development of trust. It goes hand in hand.

Now I have dreams but they are just dreams, I don’t want for anything more than what I am given.

Thanks to my friend and dressage trainer Joyce Mulder who has been open minded in helping me travel the road for us. She was here for this magical moment that I truly could not have imagined when we first met or before starting my journey of discovery with the whr’s and Noo noo.

One day this just felt right and it wasn’t that I had thought about it as a goal, we just worked on our relationship and the trust grew into a deep mutual trust. My wild child of a horse became dependable and trustworthy through our shared experience’s in the Waterhole Rituals.

Boundaries.

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Horses set boundaries, they do this with one another.
The boundaries they use can be flexible, we sometimes need to set a boundary with our horse.

As a mother of 3 and grandmother of 4 I am very used to setting boundaries. As young children my kids would often test those boundaries. Our horses sometimes do the same. It’s not personal it’s in their nature.

The boundaries we set are ours, they may be different for all of us. I don’t mind a horse sniffing and exploring me, as we are always touching them. However if I feel an energy I am not comfortable with or a nibble coming I will set a boundary and ask the horse to respect my space and move.

The dance of connection is just that, sometimes we respect our horse’s boundaries, sometimes he respects ours, a partnership in dance requires two parties entering the discussion.

A foals mother is just like us bringing up our offspring she has to shape her foals character to be polite and fit in with the herd. When our horses are domesticated they learn to fit in with humans as well. We become part of their herd, we can shape our horses character to be polite or to be a hooligan. The Waterhole Rituals assist us with not only having an amazing relationship and connection but also in being able to shape a horses character in a way natural to him. We learn to live in harmony and build relationship and part of that is setting flexible boundaries.

Sometimes we have to set flexible boundaries with one another, while also respecting each others boundaries.  This all helps to build a working bond not only with our horses but with each other as well.

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Warm up for Dressage.

SAM_0683There are as many different ways to warm up your horse for dressage as there are horse and human combinations. Above is how I start. It may seem like a waste of riding time but for us it is time well spent. Sharing territory is the first of the Waterhole Rituals it gives us time to be together wanting nothing, time for me to indulge in being present to the moment and all around me. To connect to myself and nature.

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Next I see how our relationship feels, How does she feel today? At liberty she can give me a very clear answer.

We have a bond and continue to deepen it by sharing territory, she trusts me, I always say hello to her. She respects me and I respect her. She is normally the most willing horse eager to please and be with me. Noonoo also gives me her focus. If at some point one of these 5 things are not present she will not connect with me and companion walk with me.  I can also test at liberty if she is feeling ‘ready to rock!’ as we call it. Do I have the impulsion I need for dressage and is she ready to switch on with the flick of an eye.

When I get on and ride it is with all these things in place, if they were not for some reason I would work on the part that is missing today even if it means not riding.

I always ask permission to get on if ever she didn’t want me to I would know there was something wrong. In the ridden work we are connected and I want her to feel proud and enjoy this part of our relationship, the feedback she gives me says she does, however she will let me know if I make a mistake but she forgives me and knows I will try to get it right.

The fastest way to get where you are going is to take your time. It’s also the route where you can enjoy the ride.

Not allowing our ego to judge.

Over the last two weekends I have been fortunate to meet 16 different horses and theirs Humans. Last weekend the biggest message I took was to remain the student, it was a whirlwind tour of the south east and I did feel it would have been nice to have more time with each partnership. This meant to get the most from each session I had to remain in this open, ‘learning’ way to try to quickly absorb how I could best serve them.

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This weekend was very different, I met new people, old friends and new horses, I had time, as although it was a 3 hour drive, once there, the welcome was so warm and the people so open I  didn’t care how long we took and we had all day for just 4 horses.

It felt indulgent.

Again the horses left me with a strong message to take away, we must never allow our ego into the equation of building relationship and connection with a horse, or human.

Never be tempted to make judgments.

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I could have rushed this handsome chap trying to connect in a physical way too soon, this was the moment when he was ready.  I had never met him or Lynda and if I had allowed my ego in we would not have built the 3way working bond we did. Lynda has given this sensitive chap the chance to be who he is and she is so willing to find the best way for him. It makes me feel very humble to share some time with people lead by good intentions, who realize dropping expectations reaps rewards. That is where Lynda was several times she said to me,”I wasn’t expecting that” and I think that is precisely why she was gifted it.

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Again with no expectations as they had not worked together through the winter. Jacquie was given the performance others seek, just because Beans is connected to her. The relationship they share is one where all the 5 strings of connection were in place, ( at least they were today) the bond, the trust, respect ,willingness and focus. He did everything we suggested and really enjoyed it, no pressure, just a feeling of ok we will give it a go. Lovely energy and done without ego.

Again if you judge this book by its cover you will be missing the enormous personality inside a small cute package and doing these young mares a disservice. Debs was happy to bring both in just to experiment with the best way of working with them. They taught us all a lot about herd dynamics and our role in this. Using the waterhole rituals to shape their behavior within Deb’s herd. They showed us they had very different personalities and also that they noticed every interaction between Debs and their friend.

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Flo and Cocoa are still young only two years old, so again I had no expectations and to come in with ego would not have served any of us. This herd have a bond through sharing territory. We only wanted to learn from them the best way minis comingforward towards a ‘working bond’ .

When we bring an open heart, an open, quiet mind, become 100% present and leave our ego behind. Don’t judge or try to guess what will happen next, our horses know and they are drawn to us like a magnet. They help us to know ourselves better, and the more connected we are to ourselves the more THEY want to know who we are.

Remaining the student.

After an incredible trip and the chance to work with a wonderful group. The thing that I have held to be important with all twelve combinations is that I am the student, I went to help deepen connections, build stronger relationships, create more harmony and simply pass on what I have learnt via the Waterhole Rituals. I was a guide passing on tools and my experiences. I was never NOT the student. Over horsey chats I was eager to to learn about every other experience people were having with their horses.

Marion and I sat up late chatting about trainers she has had and dressage, as well as the working bond with a horse.

I felt honored to have this chance to connect. It felt very special every person wanting a deeper bond, and every horse seeking a deeper connection to their human.

They all taught me many things, I would love to share some of the lessons I took from them.

Our horses are searching for us to bring to them the missing ingredient of the relationship, they will show us the areas where we need to find that way in to the fullest relationship and harmony.

For some it was just be with me, slow down and pause. Find neutral. Or be present and be a proud leader and follower in this dance. Don’t ‘want’ something too much, and forget to build the bond. Others needed to know we would always consider how they feel about any other training we are doing.  For some it was testing leadership, they needed the security that comes with knowing they have a leader they want to choose. For some it was focus. Others were just waiting for the chance to connect and dance. A chance for us to feel with our body and enjoy the connection they give us. This is the first time Briony and Reo have danced at liberty it was the end of a long day, and we were all smiling. We had to address the small matter of his lips here and there but hey! still very touching. They are finding their groove.

 

Our horses are always ready to offer us the lesson we need for the day. It may not be the one we were hoping for, but it will be the one we need. We just have to be present and notice.

These horses all did an amazing job each showing us the area’s where we humans needed to focus. Sometimes even giving us the difficult lesson that we need to focus on us. Unfortunately I didn’t get you all sometimes we were way too involved to take pictures.  Thanks to all though.