Bonnita Roy Clinic (The Horses at Alderlore) part 2

This weekend was the second clinic with Bonnita Roy. We had a larger group and some new horses. There was some good x factors this time. ICE SLIDING on the roof of the indoor made for some pretty interesting and hard work because the horses startled easily and that made them jumpy at first. But that being said we all did our parts to work through it (those of us who didn't have horses that were a bit too intimidating to the owners to work with). Bonnie took over with the horses the owners were a bit afraid of to show them that they were only reflecting the peoples fears back to them and if they could reflect back to horse calm soft energy, (easier said then done for some) The horse would soon follow. She worked with some particulary challenging horses and they transformed to calm and soft by the end of her time with them. Key points she made was it is important to see the horse in the moment just as he is. Not come into any interactions with projections like that horse is dominant or spooky or shy. I particularly resonated with this because as professional trainers, we learn to make quick evaluations of horse and humans and in that aspect can (even when we try to be neutral) project and actually create and attract the very behavior we are trying to change. I see it all the time with horses. The horse changes based on who is handling them for better or worse.

Some of us were in the second group having completed our first Dance class. The next phase was liberty. Last time we worked with the Cordero. It was interesting after reflection that the energy of the people was so mixed and there was a 50/50 split between people who were scared and people who were able to maintain calmness. My personal horse Mercury was in rare form and came in with huge energy. Now normally he is a goof and very playful but this day he was off the charts! What a display (I wish I had video of that)! It took a while to get him to focus but we were able to get a little progress eventually. I felt that being the sensitive horse he is, He was picking up on all the mixed up energy, I was too.
I got to work with one of her personal horses after him who was a little calmer and I could practice my dancing position a bit better. That was good because after a few days of feeling like I had 2 left feet, It soaked it in and on tuesday, when we were all by our lonesome in the arena, Mercury and I had our first "Dance"...with ice crashing and all....


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Clinic with Bonnita Roy Part 1

In my never ending quest to explore horses, Today was our first workshop with Bonnie Roy of the Horses at Alderlore. Her workshops consists of Klaus Hempfling, Linda Kohanov and others in that vein inspired work. Working on true connection and spiritual growth through and with horses. She uses her own herd including her stallion Khemancho at her place to do workshops for horseman and non horseman alike. Her work encompasses all different areas and I encourage people to go to her site to see the scope.
Our particular workshop involved working with our own horses and observing non-judgementally, our relationship with them. We did this by doing a series of exercises at liberty one at a time while we watched each other.
We had an extremely interesting mix of horses and people ranging from a Morgan, Belgium, Quarter Horse, Freisian and Dutch warmblood! Also, with very different circumstances.
I was particularly intrigued by her work with the barn manager and her belgium mare that had agression and abuse issues. This mare was a force to be reconed with and intimidated us all. I knew somehow this work would be helpful to her but I didn't know how. She just let the mare tell her how much she could handle and Bonnie listened. Bonnie worked with her owner as a team and the mare became soft and happy before our eyes. It was great to watch. It gave her owner new tools to work with to build there relationship beyond one based on fear of this formidable mare.
As for myself, I worked with my Warmblood. He is an extremely sensitive extremely smart horse. I raised him from a yearling and as you can imagine we have a great rapport with each other. But here is what I learned. My horse is so smart he is an overachiever. I also had found that lately, He would so over anticipate tasks, that I could not get him to stand still and wait for me. I saw that this was out of balance and was in the process of working on this area of our relationship. Bonnie helped me see this more clearly. Slow down she said, be more aware of my body language. I was sending unintentional cues to him I didn't even notice. And because he is THAT sensitive I need to be more aware. That's why we all need eyes on us.
Upon further reflection later in the day, I realized I had created this learning monster because I kept saying to myself "he is so smart I have to keep giving him tasks to keep him challenged" we forgot how to do nothing. I also saw in myself that I am quick minded and fast learning and I need to SLOW DOWN. And even though I thought I had mentally slowed down, It wasn't enough. I have been working on this for some time now and Mercury mirrored to me exactly that. And that no matter how aware I THOUGHT I was, he was telling me I was not paying attention to my own energy. Which is the caveat of being a trainer. We ofter pay more attention to the horse then ourselves. And that's why I knew this workshop was perfect for me! I highly recommend her and look forward to the next one on the 22nd of february.


Observing the inventors of Natural Horsemanship in action today...

Today, I had the privelege of watching the inventors of NH in action, The horses themselves. I was at my barn and I was observing a paddock which had just had a new horse added to two others.
I also was reflecting on Linda Kohanov's teleseminar and what she had said about Dominant horses vs. Lead horses.
In the adjacent paddock was my friends horse, displaying very anti-social and dominant behavior. Aggressively lunging at the fence, pinning his ears and acting very agitated. I had no doubt that he would hurt the other horses in the paddock if he was in with them. In the other paddock was a true Lead horse showing me how "real" round penning is done. He was moving the new horse around in an assertive but not dominant way. The second horse mimicked him and followed and was showing that he was already established with the Lead horse. I saw the dance between them. The new horse stopped, turned and faced, looked in several times, dropped his head and walked. He wanted to talk it over. Come and Join up. The lead horse looked away and showed no interest. I watched this for some time. It was so interesting to watch them do it. Not a human! I felt like I had a refresher lesson from the masters themselves.