Christmas Greetings to you. I love this photo of the dogs, Dallas and Solly, looks like they are singing Hark the Herald Angels sing so I thought it was appropriate for the Christmas newsletter. Christmas always feels like a completion for the year for me and I always like that feeling of completion. The end of a cycle and a sense of achievement in my own growth and evolution and the evolution and growth of my work. A time to stop and relax, enjoy family and friends and this time of the year also is a great time for reflection so we can have clarity in setting new intentions for the New Year.
It has been a while since I have had time to do a newsletter as I have been very busy travelling and teaching courses since I last wrote during the September 6 week course. I have just returned from WA, my 2nd last clinic for the year with one more teaching commitment after Christmas as I am volunteering to teach for Pony Club in Uralla (between Moonbi and Armidale). It will be a great opportunity to share this way of being and working with horses with more of the younger generation.
This newsletter is a bit of a long one as there is a lot that I want to share and it is a little bit like the years review. I have listed the main headings below so you have an overview and then you can scroll through and read about what are you interested in if you prefer not to read it all.
2016 has been another full year of horsemanship, learning and growth for me. Here are a few highlights that I thought would be good to share:-
- Progress with Arumi and Matriarch
- Aikido training and progress
- Personal Development for Mind, Body & Spirit
- 6 week course at “Alchemy Place”
- “You will only find it in the movies.”
- Goodbye and thank you to Chris Watson
- Opportunity for Live In / Learning Experience and possible Apprenticeship
- Ideas, Insights and Inspiration
- Course dates for next year
- Video lessons – distance coaching
Progression with my horses Arumi and Matriarch
This year I felt there was a huge break through with Arumi. For those that don’t know Arumi, he was a horse I took on a couple of years ago as a ten year old warmblood stallion that had not been started under saddle. Basically quiet in nature, he could still be difficult to handle when he became interested in mares. He initially very easily accepted being ridden, I was actually extremely surprised how easy he was in the initial rides. He had no fear or unconfidence about having a human on his back or accepting a saddle and girth or even being directed and guided while riding. Incredible I thought for a 10 year old stallion…… to read more
Aikido training and progress
Continuing to learn Aikido has been an important component of my year. Aikido challenges me mentally, emotionally and physically, it puts me in the student’s shoes which helps me to be more compassionate and understanding of both my horse and human students. It teaches me about energy and body awareness and is good for my mind, health and fitness. I feel very fortunate and grateful to have this Dojo and Sensei in my home town, it is a Dojo of the Shin Sen School (soft Aikido – meaning it is based on using energy – our true power – as opposed to physical force). This year I was persuaded to do my 3rd Kyu grading. I wasn’t interested in gradings and I felt like I wasn’t ready, as in not competent enough, however Sensei really wanted me to do it, so I decided to do it and got more focused, studied the techniques more and did some extra training. I passed and received my hakama (flowing black pants that look like a dress that you where over your white gee). I learnt a lot from that experience and it was a lot about learning. One of the big lessons was how hard it is to learn under pressure and when things are rushed, thus emphasizing the importance of slow and right, repetition, breaking things down into bite sized pieces and then putting them together. Interesting I have just realised in writing this, that it is a similar lesson to the Arumi story. It actually was really important and empowering to stretch myself and get to another level of competence and I realised how things can stagnate and easily become sluggish in their progression and maybe the implementation of a step ladder via gradings in my horsemanship teaching could be good and something for the future ? Like everything it is all about balance, the balance of no time lines but at the same time working towards goals.
Personal Development for Mind, Body & Spirit
For me personally, there is always the gaining of more clarity about riding dynamics and biomechanics mainly via feedback from the horses and more and more confirmation about the importance of connection and that our way of BEING is definitely the most important aspect of horsemanship. My new learning seems to be always about consolidating, reinforcing and going more deeply in the direction I am already going and following the principles that I already teach, but even more so. That is how the horses are guiding me with the feedback and results that I receive through working with them. When we get ourselves better mentally, emotionally and physically everything gets better, our horses respond differently to us and we can use our bodies and ride in a much more fluid, balanced and harmonious way which then in turn empowers the horse to use their body in a more balanced, engaged and athletic way. To read more …
6 week course at “Alchemy Place”
The annual 6 week course was once again very successful. I think the best ever. These courses continue to always get better. One lady brought her horse all the way from WA to participate. A huge commitment! We had several young students this time, not for the whole 6 weeks but doing from one to four weeks of the course. They were aged between twelve and fourteen. It was great to have their young energy in the group and to be able to be influencing the future of horsemanship. As always there were amazing transformations in horses and people during that time. Six weeks profoundly changes patterns and habits for horses and people.
“You will only find it in the movies.”
This was a quote from one of the students at a recent Introductory Course. On about the third day of a course one of the ladies said something which I can’t remember exactly word for word but it was definitely to this effect “My friends and family have been telling me that what I am looking for with horses (as in a calm, soft harmonious relationship with horses where you can ride effortlessly and as one) could only be found in the movies.” Meaning it is not real, not possible and does not exist in reality. She then went on to say “But I have found it here. It is real, it is true and it is possible” It really made me smile to hear this. Our horse dreams can come true. That is why I called the 6 week course ” Realize your Dreams with Horses” because this way of horsemanship will help you turn your dreams into reality.
Goodbye and thank you to Chris Watson
My assistant and apprentice Chris Watson who some of you will know and remember well for leading movement and exercise sessions in the clinics and assisting with some teaching particularly in the six week courses at “Alchemy Place” has decided to have a change and embark on a new adventure hoping to do some more travelling in Australia. Chris has been a great help and made HUGE progress in his horsemanship over the last almost 2 years. He progressed from a beginner rider with limited horse experience and knowledge to someone with a lot of feel and awareness for horses and riding. It was a hugely accelerated learning journey for him and many of you were able to witness his progress and improvement. This huge improvement was a result of his big commitment to learning and being fully immersed in the environment at ‘Alchemy Place” with the right facilities, no distractions, having the time and several horses to work with each day and usually daily coaching from me when I was home. It has been a huge opportunity for learning for him. Thank you Chris for all your great efforts and help with everything. We all enjoyed your company and wish you well in all your future endeavours. Your learning over the last 2 years will serve you well.
Opportunity for Live In / Learning Experience or local person to help out with caretaking.
I will be needing some help with caretaking for when I am away teaching. This could be in the form of a local person who can come in when I am away to look after animals and help out with grounds maintenance or in the form of a live-in learning position. There is an opportunity currently open for people to work closely with me and accelerate their learning and or develop themselves to become professionals with horses. If you are interested in a live in learning position at “Alchemy Place” and have skills or interest in some or many of the following, caretaking, horse care, filming, video editing, grounds keeping, gardening, property maintenance, help with office admin, this might suit you. Ideally I think I would take on two people as the learning experience is more fun with a friend. As well as caretaking I am especially looking for someone with an interest and skills in videoing, photography and editing. Get in touch with me to find out more if you think any of these opportunities might suit you.
Ideas, Insights and Inspiration
DO WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVE WHAT YOU DO – I recently had a great reminder about this. I had the opportunity to go to see a live band Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier. I loved Deborah’s voice but was even more inspired by Willy playing the guitar. He seemed to just LOVE playing the guitar. It was like his whole heart, body and soul where in it and he was playing from no place of ego or to impress anybody else but just for the sheer joy of playing. It was so inspiring to see. A real reminder to us all about DOING WHAT YOU LOVE AND LOVING WHAT YOU DO 🙂
It is important that we do follow our heart and follow our passion, that is do what we love. Sometimes to be able to follow our passion we have to do other things to support our passion like work in another job or even when we are following our passion there are still aspects that can be menial, boring or hard work and we need to learn to LOVE those aspects and have acceptance for them find enjoyment in them, do them mindfully rather than have resistance to them – that is the love what you do.
So just keep remembering that THERE IS POWER IN SOFTNESS, ANSWERS WILL BE FOUND IN STILLNESS, GO SLOW TO HURRY UP, LESS IS MORE, PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL, its QUALITY NOT QUANTITY that counts and NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP.
Course dates for next year
Here is the link for some of the courses next year – there will be more courses added soon. At the moment all the details for the courses are not available but they will be very soon within the next couple of weeks. I just wanted to get the dates out as soon as possible so people can make plans and mark their calendars.
Video/Webinar lessons – distance coaching
A great idea especially for the summer break when there are not so many courses on. You can ride in the pleasantness of the mornings or late evenings on hot summer days and get a friend to video you. Ideally get a study buddy and video each other. Webinar lessons are the closest you can get to a live private lesson. The students that use this great learning tool are truly reaping the benefits by keeping their horsemanship progressing in between courses. You can find more details via the link below.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year. Enjoy your holidays, dream big and set great intentions for next year and I will look forward to connecting with you again in the New Year to continuing supporting you on your path.
So here is cheers to Happy, Healthy, Horses and Humans and to all the animals on the planet.
Go well and enjoy,
Love Mel XXX