Isn’t the year going quickly !!!! I can’t believe we are halfway through Feb already. I have had three really great courses this year already. Firstly up at Maleny in the luxury of an indoor arena to keep us cool in the heat. It was a fabulous course. Met some lovely new ladies and men who rode in the Intro group and had 3 young girls (one teenager and the others not quite) who did fantastically – it is so great to see the next generation learning such great horsemanship at a young age.
One of the highlights of that course was working with Kelly the property owner with one of her new Friesians a very highly trained dressage horse (around Grand Prix level) and teaching some subtlies of higher level collection like collected canter, then collecting the walk and creating and building the energy and releasing the energy into a collected canter, all with absolute softness and relaxation. Pictured is one of the beautiful Friesians (this one is a stallion) that we worked with to develop his posture, self carriage and collection.
As always there was a focus on fine tuning and bringing more awareness to the straigthness and alignment of both the horse and rider as these are the magical keys to balance and self carriage. Things like helping the riders to bring awareness to the horse’s ribcage and noticing if the ribs are swinging equally on a straight line, checking that the hips and shoulders are in alignment and the whole spine from poll to tail is absolutely on the line of the circle, arc or straight line. We have a saying in Aikido in regards to being in alignment and exactly on the right line, which totally applies to riding. “If you are 1millimetre out you might as well be 100 kilometres out” that is how precise we need to get with straightness and alignment. We also did quite a bit of learning on understanding equine biomechanics and how to develop the horse’s posture on the ground as well as riding, using ground work as physical therapy. Everyone was very keen to do more so we are looking to do another course there in July.
I received some very lovely feedback from Kelly when she next rode under the watchful eye of a dressage master. He could really notice a very postive difference in her horse’s balance and self carriage and she also said that the horse was feeling so good that he was offering flying lead changes and piaffe!!!!! It is exciting to work with higher level horses and apply all these principles and see the changes.
The next course was at Bathurst where we reuited with a lot of students who have now become very special friends. Like many of the groups of students that I teach they are an incredibly supportive, caring and encouraging group of people to each other, creating such a great learning and teaching environment. Their dedication as students and committment to learning was really evident and seen in the depth of understanding and feel that they had developed over our time of working together and it was very gratifying to see. The softnes in them and their horses has led them to have some very calm, confident and expressive horses who are developing beautiful and correct movement. Liberty was one of the big focus areas at this course.
One of the standout sessions at this course was working with a young horse who had a pretty bad bucking problem. So we worked with getting him to accept and follow a deeper physical feel in his body and to better accept and relax with a feeling of containment around his body. He made some pretty big changes in the session.
The diversity of the horses from high level performance, to problematic bucking horses, to shut down school horses and everything inbetween and the wide range of experience of riders, from kids just starting out to very seasoned riders keeps things very interesting but most importantly of all, getting results with this diverse range proves the truth of the principles and philosophies that I am working with.
Currently I am in Bannockburn (near Geelong VIC) midway through an Introductory course, teaching yet another lovely group of people. The most important aspects taught so far were centering, calming the mind and emotions and then connecting to the horses mentally, emotionally, energetically and physically. Getting to know who the horses really are (their spirit and their personality) and how they are really feeling. Pictured is one of the students and their horses and the smiles on their faces and the yawn from the horse ( a sign of relaxation, contentment and a release of tension) says it all.
I will look forward to meeting you or seeing you again at upcoming courses. My next trip is to WA (Albany and Margaret River) and then we have the special 3 week course in March/April “Realise the Magic of Horses” which I am thinking we could rename or equally name “Realise the Magic of Yourself” (read below to see why) at “Alchemy Place” and the Horseman’s Easter Retreat. We still have places open for both the March course and Easter Retreat. You don’t need to do the full 3 weeks and these courses will accelerate the learning and development of both you and your horse beyond measure. As time is drawing close, if you would like one of the available spots I am open to discussing a payment plan with you to make the opportunity a possibility for you. Do something special and great for yourself as well as your horse. This could be one of the last opportunites to do one of these courses.
Til next time,
Happy days and happy horsing,