Testimonials

 

It has been a week since completing 3 back-to-back clinics with Mel Fleming at Woody Pear Park. I have been studying with Mel now for 5 years, and every time I repeat her Introductory, Intermediate and Advanced clinics I am impressed by how continuously progressive she is with her horsemanship, personal development and teaching to demonstrate a way for humans and horses to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship.

 

Over the course of 11 days, I was able to make some profound transitions in my thinking, feeling and being. Mel often uses the saying, ‘Be the change you want to see in your horse’, and every clinic I walk away with a deeper understanding of this concept. Through riding simulations, feldenkrais exercises, ‘connecting in’ with horses and some additional assistance from Tony Robinson the Wanderer, participants were able to make significant physical and emotional shifts, which were immediately reflected in their horses and validated through harmonious groundwork and riding sessions.

 

During the course, I was able to play with 4 of my horses, who all flourished with Mel’s support. Gryffyn, my main riding horse, found straightness, alignment and impulsion, then effortlessly began to engage his hindquarters and lift through his withers. It felt amazing to ride, and is a feeling I will now strive for. Aspen, whom I have been strengthening after an injury, continuously defies what we first through would be physically possible for him, showing the therapeutic benefits of Mel’s approach. Bandit, a green stock horse, mirrored the calm, centered energy of the group showing great confidence with new experiences. Finally, Phoenix, my four-legged partner for 15 years, gave me the biggest lesson of all, an insight into the deeper connection possible with horses.

Thank you Mel for opening up a world of possibilities. I look forward to seeing you again in April. – Paisley Walker

 

Hi Mel & Tony,
I have just had a ride on Beau, first ride since the Clinic and it’s the best ride I’ve ever had with him.
So I felt that I needed to share it with you.
He was so soft and willing and your words Mel kept going over in my head- the next most important thing after feeling safe is that with every step he has his body in alignment!
Beau was so supple and compliant that I know from his feedback that we are on the right path.
We went for a trail ride {just the two of us} and had some beautiful canters with all the energy coming through from his hind out through his neck and head. He was so animated and willing! Doesn’t get much better.

I am also feeling the ongoing affects with the sessions with Tony in such a positive way and have had the opportunity to make up the “Healing Brew” for Mystic as he was on the verge of abscessing.
He is great after a couple of days with it, also soaking his feet and doing distance healing at night going into his hoof!
The Clinic has left me with such a deep assurance that this is
exactly where I need to be not only for my horses but also for myself and my environment.
Heartfelt Thanks
Vicki & “Herd”

 

 

 

Tony is amazing and he has now done 2 treatments on Jacob since we were told by our vet on Sept 1 that Jacob would probably not make Christmas. We have put a lot of time energy and money into getting him back to what he is now. He is looking great and starting to behave like a healthy horse once again. So hopefully with science and alternative meds and healings we have done what we planned to do and saved my beautiful Jacob. I suppose only time will tell if we have achieved this and all our efforts and tears have paid off. – Deb Stralow
Dear Mel,
Thankyou to you and Tony for such a wonderful learning experience at Banyandah. I started to learn so much about myself in that few days it was just amazing and I couldn’t believe the change in my horse when I got home. I rode him early the next morning …..his energy and ease of movement when getting the cattle in was like he was reading my mind. Our relationship has escalated to another level. It’s just so special and to think he wasn’t there physically with us (180kms) away in his paddock at home, yet our conection was still there the power of focus! Even my pain I feel I have been able to manage so much better.-Tina Bell (NSW)
The ultimate Horsemanship experience at the beautiful Banyandah for 5 days (Oct) was just that the ultimate horsemanship experience. With my best intensions packed I enjoyed the unique expertise of both Tony and Mel, who are a brilliant instructor tag team. Firstly we were helped to SLOW DOWN, to acknowledge and connect with our horses and ourselves, this alone was very powerful. Tony and Mel through simulation and practical sessions were able to set up both the horse and the human Mentally, Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually to bring down barriers that were blocking true harmony. A great group of students attended, they were supportive, opened mined an a hole lot of FUN we laughed and learnt so much with each other. I want to thank Jane Reid for her warm and wonderful hospitality and sharing herself and “Banyandah” with us.
Sue Storrier (Crookwell, NSW)
It was a ripper course…I was so glad that I was able to make it even for the short bit that I did.  It really blew my mind.  I must admit that if I hadnt seen the changes in Bobby…OR…participated in / witnessed the human demos (cups of water & love/hate paper), I would have thought it was too AiryFairy for me.  Anyway, I made some HUGE personal changes for a big skeptic, I didnt realise how much I have been suppressing my own emotions, I also didnt realise how wound up I was…so it was nice and relaxing to realise that I can wind down inside.
-Jodie Heald (VIC)
I started doing “natural horsemanship” a few years back after going to a Monty Roberts Clinic. I worked at a traditional horse riding centre and was allocated a horse ( read-lost a bet over a pool game) that they had been given as a “difficult” horse and no-one had had any amount of success with. It took me 2 full years to get my Parelli Level 1 as the horse had so many problems that to achieve safe partnership took a lot of patience (and wonderful support from Michelle Carter and the Nambucca Club!) The owners gave me the horse as a prize for all my hard work when i left. All seemed to be fine but no matter how much work i put in i never seemed to be making any further progress, i still had impulsion problems, lots of problems with canter either on the ground and when ridden, and while i felt safe there was certainly no harmony and no sight of refinement. I even (shock, horror) turned to traditional methods for answers but that didn’t help. I was getting reluctant to take the horse to any events as the horse seemed to be getting more cranky the harder i tried. Eventually I took my horse to one of Mel’s informal days at Moonbi where she took one look at the horse and suggested he might be having some physical problems and booked me in there and then for a clinic with Tony. I also attended a riding clinic and she suggested where my saddle was possibly causing some problems.Well, in the last 6 months i have changed the saddle, continued using the Bodywork concepts regularly, changed the feeding, and had riding sessions to put into practice the theory from the clinic ( thank you Jenny Blair and Spooky for a humbling but highly entertaining lesson in steering dynamics!) and i have a completely new horse!I realise that the “problems” that i had were not problems but just symptoms and the horse was trying to be honest in his feedback. i thought my horsemanship skills were good enough to know what to do but Mel has started to fill in the blanks about why to do it and when. I was missing the knowledge to look at the problems from outside the usual square and now I can finally see that when the horse is free of physical restrictions, confident, emotionally connected to you and ridden in a way that makes sense to him then all the other parts just come without trying. It’s not about the canter, it’s not about the flying changes and its not about collection, if there are no physical and mental barriers between the horse and rider then I can personally testify the canter will be easier, the changes just come and the collection will be offered. Even campdrafting was successful!
Obviously things still don’t go to plan every day- my horse and I change every day- but now I’m learning to read the feedback from the horse more accurately and try to change things accordingly.
I will certainly be going to Mel’s clinics again to keep increasing my knowledge and fill in more of those blanks.
Its just a shame I didn’t do it earlier!
-Althea Lean ( Alfie) and “Pickle” ( Uralla NSW)

Hi Mel,
I have been meaning to write to you and Tony to thank YOU.  The week was just fantastic!  What you teach is so Banyandah.  It combines horsemanship and energy work in a way which changes people and horses forever.  The changes are embedded!  I feel completely different now about my connection to horses as well as to my body position when on them.  I made the shift, but it was you both who made it safe and opened the pathways to do this.  THANK YOU.
Jane Reid ( Howlong, NSW)
Awesome is the word. After nearly a week back home I am still constantly amazed at how much I learned from you and Tony at “Banyandah”.  I had been worrying about my ability to cope (or not) with my young horse, who in my heart I knew was right for me but I let lots of negativity from outside influence my judgement and as a consequence we were going nowhere. You two made me realize that I had to believe in my own judgement and with the fantastic” Body Work” on myself which I believe has changed my life in many aspects, not just with horses, and freed me to be able to be more at one with “Chiquita”.  The change in Chiquita’s attitude to me over those 5 days was great and we are continuing to build on that experience.  The course covered so much I can’t believe we did it all in just 5 days.  It was the most rewarding experience I have ever had and can’t wait for the next episode .
Many, many thanks,
Joy Wooton

Hi Mel and Tony
Thanks so much for such an inspirational 5 days. It was amazing!  It certainly has filled in some gaps in my understanding and relationship with my horses. I am able to look at my horse and understand a little more about why things have been difficult for them and  me. It is such a new awareness! Not to mention the self awareness issues!! It was great to be able to feel more in time with my horses movements, not to mention feeling taller!! I am looking forward to the changes I can help Sprite with. When he came to me he was rather zoned out. He had a very blank expression and was just switched off. Through our understanding he has learned to look for the rewards and play again. Now hes teaching me to look further!
Anne Gaddes ( New Zealand)

 

“Mel’s clinic was fantastic. I learnt so much about how my horse should move, and how I can influence her to move better. I also learned to ride more harmoniously. By working on improving both aspects the outcome is amazing. Mel is a very skilled instructor and I cannot recommend this clinic highly enough.”
Anne Marie Stringer (Adelaide)

 

Your quote ‘It’s not about training the horse, it’s about riding with excellence’ summed up our clinic beautifully for me. The changes I saw and the things I learnt about my pony which were brought about not from working on him but from working on my own softness and posture, were amazing. After studying natural horsemanship for 12 years, this is the obvious next level, the complete package. I’m very keen to learn more about the bodywork. Can’t wait for the next clinic! – Mandy Foot(Adelaide)

 

Wow what an amazing clinic, and how wonderful it was to experience a truly international, high calibre instructor. We worked on so many things, where to start… we used exercises to improve our body awareness and increase our flexibility,  I can’t believe how much freer my hips were by the 5th day, and able to move independently. On the ground, becoming aware of how to move my horse around with ‘silky smoothness’… fluid and flowing… then watch him respond to that and get so much happier and more confident… and then see his top line start to change, from that upside down Arab, head up, tail up, to a rounder outline, stretching his back, lowering his head and offering vertical flex himself?

Then once we had this connection, expanding on that and getting him to mirror my body, like influencing his gait online and getting downward transitions purely by the action of my hips, or getting him to stretch his neck by lengthening mine. And then there was the riding. Now after all our simulations, I feel totally clear about being able to work out what to do with my body, when I want my horse to do a particular move… I’ve learnt the importance of his ribs, of how to get upward transitions without pushing with my legs or my seat, we transferred our ground principles to the saddle and my horse offered to round, lift his back, offer vertical flex and get more suspension, and we are just trail riders! Just an amazing 5 days, where at the end of each day we were feeling up and energetic and our horses were happy and willing to keep doing more. Can’t wait to have you back Mel, to progress this further.
Michelle Wheaton
(Adelaide)

 

I learnt a huge amount at the clinic.  I was quite nervous about coming along to a new teacher and knowing that my horse doesn’t cope well in group situations and so was prepared to sit out and watch if necessary. But your calm and accepting approach of where each of us was at was so reassuring.  You were able to give each individual the attention they required, from people who were very advanced to novices like myself.

I am looking forward to putting into practice what I learnt about riding dynamics over the next few months and now have some confidence that I can help my horse over-come some of his emotional issues.  I was also very grateful for your practical advice on some of his physical issues, and will be trying to improve this for him. think we all had moments of lightbulbs flashing as you explained in very simple terms what has been mysterious for so long about achieving soft and relaxed horses under saddle!
Philomena Taylor(Adelaide)

 

You have a story that is interesting and of use for many of us in our journey to understanding and improving our relationship with horses. You have a kind of extra universe of information. I think we all saw and appreciated your strength in sharing the extra added dimensions that you have incorporated and refined – the mind, spirit, body work.

I think the format of the course worked in so many ways. For instance, it felt like there wasn’t a lot of pressure although I was being exposed to many new things – like the bodywork for humans and then the horse. Yes, the human first then the horse in that order, worked well.  The exercise ball techniques working with opening up the pelvis with the clock was very good. I loved your suggestion that even if we could not do the movement physically we could do it in our minds. The mat work was excellent as well.  I felt many of the exercises gave me more conscious attention to slowing down all of my movements.
Kathleen Sargent
(Adelaide)

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