Archive for the ‘Horsemanship Naturally’ Category

@ 2.5 years old, he reminds me of my human sons!

@ 2.5 years old, he reminds me of my human sons!.


It’s all about the relationship

She’s 9 and her pony is 16.  They attended a horsemanship workshop here at In the Company of Horses to better understand Focus. She was the youngest participant by far, but the most free to imagine and play with herself and her horse!

IMAGINE What's Possible!

The task was to ask her pony to stand on the tires or the balance beam with all four feet and if she found that too easy to somehow increase it’s quality.

She had lots of conversations with her pony over the course of the two day workshop, asking him to go with her or to go first, in circles, over jumps all in an effort to get to know one another.  They had a magical two days as they flitted about from one place to another always together challenging one another in the most playful ways.

The child had scary mental images in her mind of the times she had seen her pony ridden by some local teenagers.  Once the pony ran off with one of the teens, and another time; he bucked one of them off. But this day, he was lovely, looking to his little girl for reassurance if he got scared,  trying to do all that she could think of in her imaginative mind. Over, under, through, around, on top of,  in, forward, back; they played, both on the ground,  for hours the first morning as their confidence and trust in one another grew.

It was thought there were issues with the saddle and the little girl believed it.  All morning long she kept observing the pony having no problem with the saddle. Every now and again, she would head over to the tires to see what her pony thought  about stepping up on top and Lo and Behold ~ Done.

Knowing it was only the morning of day 1 she took me up on my suggestion to refine whatever you get!  If it’s too easy how can you improve the quality of your task.  See the tire in the foreground?  Well it has a pocket of water inside and whenever the pony would step on it, the water acted like a volcano and gushed out making a sucking noise!  When the pony finally stood next to the gushing volcano with all 4 feet at the end of Sunday, he looked at the water, then back at his girl. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that her pony stood there because his little girl wanted him to. No force, she just stayed in the conversation for two days. Now that’s Focus!

Learning To Let Go

It’s quite a task for any human being~ Letting Go~ Especially when you are committed to a particular outcome. It’s a great life’s lesson, learning when to hold on tight and when to let go.  What will teach you quickly is a rope burn! The kind you get on your hands when you hold on too tight for too long.  Oh, it creates blisters and hurts for days! And all week as we look at the dreaded rope burn, we wonder, why did I not let go sooner?  I wish I let go sooner.

Learning to Let Go

It takes two beings to create a rope burn a real one right there on your hands or a metaphoric rope burn on your heart.  Some get burnt and burnt and burnt before they learn the valuable lesson taught to any young person trying to have their way with a horse who has another idea.  It’s easier for everyone if you can just let go and watch the proud pony come back on on her own.  And the reward is an indescribable sense of accomplishment.

Ways we learn.

Remembering; Rhyming; Association How do you learn? 

People learn things by different processes:  remembering, some by rhyming,  still others by association.  Catchy phrases  said over and over somehow find their way into all areas of life!  Here are a few:

  •  Focus; Focus gives you feel; Focus and feel give you timing; Focus, feel and timing give you balance.
    Focus: to concentrate: to focus one’s thoughts.
    Feel:  to be or become conscious of.
    Timing: the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future;
    Balance:  mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
  •  Trust; Trust that they will respond, be ready to correct, not one more than the other (Balance).

    Sterling half asleep while eating.

    10 months old awaking from a nap in his lunch.

  • Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten;
    Einstein’s definition of insanity is “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result! “
  •  Attitude is everything. Attitude: The way a person views something or tends to behave towards it.  Your attitude is a multitude of actions and/or reactions which eventually make up your character.  
  • Dance like nobody’s watching. Freedom and full self expression are gifts to the old from the young.  As teachers, not only allowing, but encouraging creative play and exploration are our gifts to the future. Going boldly where no one has gone before!  “Exploring What’s Possible”

Good things to remember whether raising baby horses or baby humans that fall asleep in their lunch!

Lessons Learned While Parenting From the Barn!

 Lessons in Horsemanship learned Naturally from horses! 

Heart of Gold
The best Pony in the world!

We were out in the fields near the barn working on emotional fitness with two horses. 

Our goal was to practice trot; canter and canter; gallop transitions going cross country. We set out from home together, the horses were fine.  We rounded the corner away from home and suddenly everything became scary, a hawk, the big grass cutting machine, the irrigation pond, deer, corn!  So the first time around we walked all the while feeling my chestnut Mare’s heart beating through the saddle! My young student a 14 year old girl who has been riding with me for 16 months was on the pony.  The pony who teaches all the lessons to this budding young horseman,  here at In the Company of Horses.  Her name is Heart of Gold, AKA Hearty or Heart for short.  

On the far side of the field, we needed to go between the woods and the corn field.  If you have done this before, you’ll know, the corn is tall in NJ in August!  There was space for us to get through with a bit of ducking under a couple of trees near the end.  We get through these trees and come out by the road on a lovely patch of grass between the corn and fence.  My 16.3 big red horse notices some large blue object in the neighbors trash and goes directly backward ~ fast.  Curiously,  Hearty and her student could walk around us to have a look for themselves.  And here was where I noticed the thoroughness of the lessons of the past 16 months were truly learned.  My young student who couldn’t wait to go practice her gallop; canter transitions, just waited.

 Wu Wei- (Chinese: “nonaction”), in Chinese Taoism, the principle of yielding to others as the most effective response to the
problems of human existence. That’s what she did. She just waited, not passive but  non aggressive. Wu-wei is thus regarded as the secret to human happiness,
for through “nonaction” all things can be accomplished. 

The proof: Next time around we trotted the whole thing, the third time, we practiced our gallop; canter transitions!