12.30.2013

Trained Liberty vs. Liberty Training

What is the difference between Trained Liberty and Liberty Training? With the increasing interest in Liberty and Liberty play, I have noticed that there is a distinct difference between what I call Liberty Training or Tricks and Trained Liberty.

 Liberty has been around for some time in many ways shapes or forms. It is used in circuses, entertainment, and even movies and TV. This Liberty constitutes mostly what I call Trained Liberty and tricks at Liberty. It is distinctly different than Liberty training or play. Horses trained in Liberty are taught a lot of their cues in tack and under restraint of some kind as opposed to being at Liberty and free to come and go in the conversation as well as change the agenda if they want to. Liberty taught in round pens or small areas also constitutes the possibility of the horse not having the ability to leave the conversation, change the subject and be free to communicate in a two way conversation.

What Liberty Training looks like to me is a free flowing organic conversation that changes moment by moment. I have no feeling of what my horse "Should" be doing. Only a feeling of enjoying the conversation, and the companionship intertwined with whatever we may be playing with. Take the pressure off. There is a really nice space to train in when we do that. It opens door ways to more interesting, fun training for both horse and person. This does not mean you are not communicating or even communicating quite strongly at times, It just means there is no pressure to achieve a particular outcome or result. Just you saying something, and the horse is allowed to say something. And then you listen to what the horse says. Then you say something back that seems appropriate in that moment.

I have hula hoops in my ring that are on the ground for figure guides and Mercury keeps showing me that he would like to work with the hula hoops when he is at Liberty. He clearly goes over to them and puts his front feet in the hoop. There are 4 and he will proceed to the next one and do the same. I have never taught him this and he offers it as his own idea. I am interested in this game he is showing me that he made up. Stand in the hoops with your front feet. I might then elaborate on this game by adding another piece to it. This to me, is the spirit of the Liberty play. It is free, organic and two way. Even when I am practicing more and more advanced Liberty play, I am always looking for my horses ideas, suggestions and input. I am always pleasantly surprised by what I get. I have a photo series of what to me shows the interaction I desire with my horse at Liberty. It is all spontaneous, co-creative, in the moment and a lot of fun! Happy New Year!
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for FDH Virtual Clinic here http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/















12.20.2013

Double Liberty Fun!

Here is a super fun video with a pair of great horses from New Zealand. It shows one horse who was experienced with Liberty Play and the second one who was being introduced to the exercises. It was one of my favorite sessions of the trip! http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/view?q=52b50ea95c3cb.flv
Sign up fo Virtual Clinic http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/

12.14.2013

Energetic Inflection

I have recently been talking about and demonstrating how we can become more aware of our Energetic Inflection when communicating with our horses. Energetic Inflection is a term I use to describe what you are bringing to the the horse in your communication not just through your body but what is emanating from your body language. In other words it is very much like voice inflection.

When we speak verbally, there is so much feeling that comes through that we don't pay attention to. A person's tone combined with language, completely changes the feel of what you are communicating. For example, when someone had affection in their voice you can hear and feel it. You can also hear and feel frustration, lack of clarity, Joy, impatience, calmness, peace, and firmness.

When we use our body language, it can be heard and felt the same way (with or without voice). Some people think of energy as a vague term but I think whenever we are around any living thing we can sense the energy if we focus in on it.

What I notice a lot is not only vague, scattered, un-grounded, loud, Impatient communication but also Inflection that comes with it. Body language alone does not communicate. It is Body Language combined with Intention and Inflection. When we add Inflection, It gives our communication feel to a horse. We talk about feel a lot in horsemanship but it is mostly referring to the feel of the horse to the person. I think about both. I think about how do I feel to the horse. How am I coming across? How is my Inflection? I want to always offer an inviting feel to my horses. We have to mirror a feel to a horse that we want to get back from the horse. We can not bring jarring, abrupt energy to the horse and expect to get soft, peaceful exchanges of communication.

I worked with a mare in New Zealand. She was a very big Draft cross. She was very sensitive. Surprisingly so. So much that everything felt like "shouting" to her and she had developed some defensive responses because people had been loud with her and she didn't like it. I immediately saw that if you brought the wrong body language and inflection, that she was going to let you know by challenging you. I brought the softest, lightest, intention, body language, and Inflection I could and listened intently to her communication adjusting accordingly. I let her know we didn't have to go there if she would listen to me. We came to an understanding which pleased both of us much like a mutually fulfilling conversation with someone where you come to an understanding that makes you both happy.
Summer is very sensitive mare that requires
a very tactful, sensitive, soft inflection

Even when we hold tools (whips, wands, sticks etc.) , Inflection can be radiated through them from our energy. A tool can send a very precise, clear communication with a very nice feel behind it. Or it can be jarring ,abrupt and loud. I use the words Tai Chi to give people the imagery of how to move their bodies while communicating, with or without a tool as and extension. I also use the imagery of the Rhythmic gymnasts who use the ribbons in their routines. That's how you should use your arms or whips with or without string. With grace and flow.









I have seen several horses that when approached with certain Language and Inflection were apt to feel confronted and as a result took defensive postures with people. They were merely saying "If your going to speak to me like that, You're not going to get very far" As would all of us if we were approached that way. In the clinic I showed how we can un-intentionally "offend" our horses and make them feel Confronted which in turn feels dominant which in turn often provokes dominant attitudes (especially in dominant horses). In the New Zealand clinic I did some exercises with people practicing on each other. One person had to be the horse and the other had to be the person. We practiced different Inflections and Body Language. People definitely got it! See if you can see the feel in the Inflection in these picture below. Happy Holidays! http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Join FDH virtual clinic here http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/






12.07.2013

Down Unda fun!

I am back from down under and I had two great clinics where yet again, the horses and people were incredible and fun!

I went to Australia first and I love this particular one because we actually have 4 rings going at once on the second day and it is is so interesting to see all the different levels of horses and people working at the same time. Our class pony Oscar, offered his own unique lessons in Liberty. He was a fabulous character. One of his best lessons was though he was cheeky, there were times when he offered valuable insight into how to approach him in a way which didn't feel confrontational. It illustrated how a horse can show many expressions of communication with his face, body and ears and it is important to be able to read why those expressions are there and not just dismiss them as dominance, or cheekiness.

Oscar and I conversing

I also had some outstanding sessions with several horses including a young filly who didn't want to be touched on her face. She had a halter on and it couldn't be removed. In one hour at liberty she went from no way to loving being touched by her owner, myself and another person! I also met two mares who reminded me about the why I am so drawn to the soul of a horse. I did nothing with them, Just enjoyed there presence while I worked with the filly. This to me is the essence of my connection to horses.


In New Zealand, I got to work with some horses that I have been working with on Virtual Coach (http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!services/vstc1=virtual-coach) and in Clinic. I was pleased to see how these horses had come so far. I also saw many new horses and had the pleasure of meeting a horse named Chesi. Chesi was an interesting horse because I was told he was was very backed off people, sensitive and did not want to be approached. I met him the first day at Liberty and through one simple exchange in a matter of minutes Chesi and I made a great connection! So great that in fact he and I were doing some Liberty dressage dancing almost immediately. It showed how a horse and person can dance together spontaneously when the energetic inflection is right. I told everyone that I normally didn't go so far with a horse so quickly but that Chesi was offering and who was I to turn down a dance with a beautiful horse! He is an extremely sensitive and intelligent horse and he was an example of a horse that just needed to be understood.

Another fun lesson was with a returning participant who brought two horses. I suggested we play with them together and it was soooo fun. They were both cheeky and one was experienced in Liberty and the other was a new horse for the person. We were letting the more experienced horse show the other one horse to do the exercises and then we would play with whoever wanted at different intervals.

I am always bringing new exercises as much as possible to further people's connection and communication with their horses. I introduced the concept of Energetic Inflection at the New Zealand Clinic.We practiced on each other with one person being a horse and the other being the person. We did several different approaches to illustrate how it would feel to the horse when we change our Energetic Inflection. It was clear to everyone after practicing on each other how this subtle shift could make a huge difference to a horse and how they received your communication.

By popular demand, I did a short demo of Selection at both clinics. Because I have the unique ability to travel and try this in different countries and horses, I have had fascinating variation in choices made by horses. I have learned so much also from seeing what deficiencies or issues horses are struggling with regionally.

I want to thank my organizers Shaunna, Christin and Bek for helping make yet another successful trip and clinic. Thanks to the horses for being a constant source of inspiration and for all the magic they bring. I wish everyone Happy Holidays and I have lots more videos, Clinics and classes coming up in 2014. Also remember you can join FDH Virtual Clinic to get continued support post clinic, see exercises from the clinics and more, as well as group Skype check ups with members. See more pics below!
Sign up here http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Practicing Energetic Inflection on each other

See if you can see the difference in this picture

Double draw!

                                           
Chesi 
A happy to be touched yearling


Bek and Paddy, Particpants and Virtual Coach students


Elvira and Christin, Participants
and Virtual Coach students

11.09.2013

Correct Principles at Liberty

I like this picture because it shows how her placement is at a very specific angle to her horse, behind the wither line, influencing 2nd and 3rd positions on her horses body. The only thing that would help is if she stood taller and felt where her shoulders were, so would her horse. She is slightly on her forehand in her body.

It is super fun to play at Liberty with our horses but some people criticize certain types of Liberty for reinforcing bad bio-mechanics and or habits in the horse. I prefer to put my Liberty into categories. First there is Connection building Liberty with no real emphasis on technical "seed planting" as I call it. The emphasis would be on being with your horse more and doing less. As I start to angle toward technical "seed planting", I have Beginner level of Liberty Fun!damentals , Intermediate level (Geometry, Bio-Mechanics and Impulsion) and an Advanced level ( (Collection and lateral work).

In order to bring this Connection building style of Liberty Training to your practice, You have to think about what you would like from your horse when you are riding. More importantly you have to come into your body and feel the riding body language in you. I am constantly reminding people to not try to get their horse to do something. The idea is to get them to feel something that your are doing and connect to it. Horses are SO symbiotic with us it is astounding to me. Yet we are so unaware sometimes of how we are influencing for good or bad. At Liberty we have a communication level that can be both free and technical simultaneously. In really playful moments, I find it fun see how much I can get Mercury to Mirror me. I watch him studying me with a quizzical look as if to say "What's this about?" Then he tries to do it!

My challenge for this week is for you to really get into your body when you are with your horse. Every inch of it. Your head to toes. Especially hips and shoulder and feet. Breath deeply while you are working/playing and keep reminding yourself if you get too focused on what your horse should be doing. Get back into your own movements. It will really help your riding if you feel into some of you riding habits on the ground. I see people do exactly the same posture and communicating on the ground that they do when they are riding. I can see exactly how a person rides just like I can see exactly how a horse rides when I play at liberty with him. You can practice this at Liberty, on Line or Mounted. Just stay present in your body.

It takes a good understanding of what we want to communicate to our horses to become more clear and coherent. Many times when we get it right, our horse says "well why didn't you say so?" "I am happy to do that!"

In my clinics, I find that just helping people focus on coming into their bodies, slowing down, and communicating clearer breaks through a lot of the "issues" they come with simply, gracefully and eloquently.
In 2014 I will be offering more intensives on all these areas as well as how to move it to dancing In Hand and Line Work to Super fun Mounted success! Dates to be announced. Thanks to Natalie Bourchier Photography (http://www.nataliebourchierphotography.co.uk) for the beautiful photo.
www.fdhorsemanship.com
Sign up for FDH virtual clinic here:
http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
Upcoming Clinics 2013:
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here to go to my Events http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar




11.02.2013

This Week: Yoga tips!

As some of you know I am a Yoga enthusiast. I believe it to be very supportive for riders and for getting into a better Mind-Body connection for working with your horse. A lot of people don't realize how out of their bodies they are. Yoga gets you into your body and thereby helps you find where you may or may not be flexible, comfortable and aware. Many of my students have heard me utter the phrase "Your brain lies to you" It means that your brain often tells you your body is aware or moving in a way that it actually is not. That's why many Dressage riders work with mirrors. They want to see how they are using their bodies on the horse and make sure they are actually doing what they are feeling. It also helps us confirm whether or not what we feel in our horse is correct as well.

I used to practice yoga for years in my house alone. One day I got mirrors and was astounded at how I wasn't moving the way I thought I was! Just using the mirrors improved my yoga a bunch. Video is also a helpful tool as are having eyes on you or an instructor that is knowledgeable and has a good eye.

I have long been a fan of Yoga Journal (http://www.yogajournal.com/video/teacher/Sienna_Smith) magazine and they have a fantastic website with tons free video of Yoga routines. I have honed my practices to help support areas in my riding. There are several practices that can help your specific needs if you know what they are. I always suggest Hip-openers or stretchers, Core strengtheners, and Balance poses. I have selected some easier videos this week to share with you that relate to sitting and therefore can be done on your horse (if it is safe to do so) or on a mounting block prior to riding. If you have a smart phone, you may be able to watch these or any of my videos right at the stable! The link above with take you to some simple exercises to get started in your Yoga for riding practice. Don't worry they are well within everyone's ability!

Working with a large yoga or Physio ball is another way to get into your core awareness, stretch and mobilize you pelvis and hip joints. This improves seat awareness and communication.This is a area many people don't realize they are restricted in. And therefore restricted in your ability to sit, balance and communicate well through your seat. I have some great videos in my FDH Virtual clinic for seat awareness and communication. See the link below. And I'll see you Down Unda Peeps soon!
www.fdhorsemanship.com
Sign up for FDH virtual clinic here:
http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
Upcoming Clinics:
Nov 10: FDH workshop
Middlefield, CT
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here to go to my Events http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

10.26.2013

Flowers for confidence

White Chestnut-not only beautiful but good for calming the mind.
Tomorrow is one of my workshops for building confidence between horse and rider for trail riding and obstacles. I look forward to helping participants build trust, communication and safety with their horses. We will be covering safety, FUN!damentals, Obstacle negotiation and Fun! The first part of the day will be in the arena and the second part will be taking what we learned out to the trail. If you are interested in hosting this type of clinic at your farm or organizing any other custom clinics, Contact me at http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!contact

I wanted to give some tips on how Flower Essences can help with fearful and unconfident feelings in people. Many riders are battling fear and confidence and I have found several flower essences that can help calm destructive, negative thinking, and fears as well as boost confident feelings.

Here is a list of some very helpful Flower Essences that I recommend to many people:

  • White Chestnut-is a very good essence for when you constantly worry about things. What is my horse going to do? What if he spooks?, What if I fall off? etc. These are what I call projections and they take us out of the "Present" and put all kinds of "wishes" we don't want out there. It helps quiet and calm the mind.
  • Rock Rose-is for when you feel panicked or terrified by things. If you need this, you find yourself getting beyond fear to a panic level when confronted with certain activities with your horse.
  • Mimulus-is good for fear in general if you are aware of the things you are afraid of and can name them like I am afraid to go out of the arena, I am afraid of jumping, I am afraid of falling off.
  • Larch-is good for when you lack confidence in your skills and feel like you will not do well. You may feel you are not good enough to do certain things and don't have the confidence to even try. 
  • Rescue remedy is always a good all around essence blend when you are unsure of what you need. It helps with stress and nerves and is good after an accident. A good first aid kit remedy. 
Here is a short list of Essential oils that can help with fear and confidence as well. I suggest you "self select" the essential oil which is most beneficial by inhaling it. You will either feel like you want to keep inhaling it or you may want put it on your person (you may need to dilute stronger oils). Scents you find not so attractive are probably not the right ones at that moment. They can change though!


  • Lavender
  • Valerian
  • Chamomile
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon Balm
  • Vetiver
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
Here is a link to shop for flower essences if you would like http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!services/vstc3=flower-essences/vstc1=other-services If you are attending the clinic tomorrow, See you there! I look forward to the upcoming down unda trip and seeing how people are doing and meeting some new faces!
www.fdhorsemanship.com
Sign up for FDH virtual clinic here:
http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
Upcoming Clinics:
Oct 27: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop Granby, CT
Nov 10: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop
Middlefield, CT
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here to go to my Events http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

10.05.2013

Are you shouting?

Talking amongst ourselves at the UK clinic
I am increasingly aware of the way we "shout" at our horses all the time. Even when we think we are being calm and subtle it can still feel like shouting to our horses.

I get to work with a many different types of horses, breeds and temperaments. I find that they all respond to very small and subtle communication if not "thinking" it. I challenge myself daily to be quieter and subtler with my communication and body language on the ground and in the saddle.

What I notice is, people train their horses to need louder and louder communication instead of sticking to a promise and discipline of not resorting to that unless completely necessary. I say discipline because I have noticed that people, in a rush and mindless state, throw all kinds of unclear communication at their horses. Then they get frustrated that their horse is not "listening" and communicate louder. Now some may argue that desensitizing is a good thing and it is for certain horses who may be very reactive to their surroundings and things but I find this over used and and excuse for coming into horses space thoughtlessly and using very loud signals. We want our horses to be thoughtful and we can teach them that by mirroring thoughtfulness to them.

Many people do not like sensitive reactive horses because they need you be very conscious of your body language and communication because they react to the subtlest things. I think everyone should have to work with this type of horse at least once to learn how to be this quiet and soft with your communication. Especially if you own a horse that can be classified as "dull" or low energy. These horses unfortunately, get shouted at the most. I treat these horses as the most sensitive. Just because they don't react as quickly or seem "bombproof" does not mean they are any less responsive then the hot sensitive horse. In fact they are as responsive just different in the way they respond. They will also tolerate more "loud" communication so in a way enable us to be loud.

It takes a lot of discipline to stick to using the smallest communication and language that is coherent, clear and respects the sensitivity and intelligence of a horse. Ask yourself if you are shouting more often then not. If you have been having a loud conversation for a long time, this pattern will take time to shift and you will have to be the one that leads it. Here's another image to think about. Do you know someone who thinks when they are not being heard they need to raise their voice? Does that make them clearer or just loud. Does is make you understand them better or just get tense?
Oats for thought...

Thanks as always to Natalie Bouchier Photography for her beautiful photos http://www.nataliebourchierphotography.co.uk/Natalie_Bourchier_Photography/Welcome.html
www.fdhorsemanship.com
Sign up for FDH virtual clinic here:
http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
Upcoming Clinics:
Oct 13: FDH one day workshop
Greenville NY 
Oct 18-20: FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
Oct 27: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop Granby, CT
Nov 10: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop
Middlefield, CT
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here to go to my Events http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar


9.30.2013

UK summary

Ena the super model at the clinic
I have just returned from another fun clinic in the UK at the New Horse. This is the first year I have done two clinics across the pond. We did one in the Spring and one in the Fall. This helped me really progress the people who went to both clinics and gave other people the opportunity to attend one or the other. The people I did see at both clinics really impressed me with their progress they made from June to September. They did their homework! Others had real breakthroughs in the second clinic working with the tools I gave them.

I also had the pleasure of visiting Lucinda McAlpine's farm and chatting with her about the state of horse sports and other things. The most fun was meeting her 11 generation family herd she keeps for her study of Natural Horse Management. Another refreshing outside the box horse person! She is doing interesting work on her horse path if you'd like to learn a bit more http://www.lucindamcalpine.com/.

I met some excellent new horses and played with some that I know well. We will be focusing on the upcoming year dates and will keep you posted on 2014.

For those of you in the US or willing to travel. The next FDH clinic is October 18th-20th at Back Acres Farm in Plainfield, MA. Fiona Habershon (http://www.fionahabershon.com/) will be back demonstrating at the clinic and taking appointments in Self Selection and TTouch while she's here. Mercury will tell me what he wants to show off in his only personal clinic appearance of the year. He's a Diva but he loves his public. For info and registration go to this link http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138987660 
Thanks as always to Natalie Bouchier Photography for her beautiful photos http://www.nataliebourchierphotography.co.uk/Natalie_Bourchier_Photography/Welcome.html

www.fdhorsemanship.com
Sign up for FDH virtual clinic here:
http://fdhorsemanship.com/virtualclinic/
Upcoming Clinics:
Oct 13: FDH one day workshop
Greenville NY 
Oct 18-20: FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
Oct 27: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop Granby, CT
Nov 10: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop
Middlefield, CT
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here to go to my Events http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

9.12.2013

Confidence on the trail


Do you dream of this one day?
A lot of people get into riding and see themselves riding in the wide open fields, trails, beaches and woods. The actual reality of this can strike fear and panic into some riders.

One of the tips I have for people who are feeling unconfident riding out, is take baby steps, ride with supportive (not pushy well meaning "know it alls") people or even just take your horse for a walk in hand or on lead. Only do as much as is calm, relaxing and fun. If you are feeling extra confident, then you can try raising the bar a bit with no expectations or pressure on yourself or your horse.

I find that people are often not prepared mentally or connected enough to their horses to go out on the trail safely. They have not got their FUNdamentals firm enough and are setting themselves up for potentially bad, unnecessary experiences because they do not think about what can happen on the trail. Did you know having your Fundamental basics and good communication and connection can not only help you have fun on the trail but it could be the very thing that keeps you safe in a potentially dangerous situation.

Many trail riders complain about arena exercises and Fundamental practice saying it is boring and pointless. Then when they come unstuck on the trail, they don't know why. I am hear to tell you not only will I not ride a horse on the trail that does not have good fundamentals and communication, I do not feel safe on a horse that doesn't have these key pieces.

There are several exercises every horse and rider should know to keep safe and communicating even through stressful experiences. Before I take a horse out of the ring, I have to have confidence in our Connection, Communication and FUNdamentals.

In light of all this and by popular demand, this fall I will be doing a series of workshops dedicated to taking your Connection, Communication and FUN!damentals out of the arena. These one day Playshops will be geared towards all aspects and safety to go out and have fun. All disciplines are welcome. Hope to see you there and check back for additional dates being added!

Also remember next week FDH is back in the UK at the New Horse for my second clinic this season. Register and get info here http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138983059
Fiona Habershon (http://www.fionahabershon.com/) will also be back for the October 3 day Clinic so if you missed getting a session with her or would like another session, Contact me at http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!contact

http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Click here to sign up for FDH Virtual Clinic
http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events:
Sept. 20-22: FDH UK Clinic at The New Horse, Motcombe
Oct 13: FDH one day workshop
Greenville NY
Oct 18-20: FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
Oct 27: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop Granby, CT
Nov 10: FDH Building confidence for trail riding workshop
Middlefield, CT
Nov 22-24: FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
Nov 30-Dec 2: FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
Click here http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar
 


9.06.2013

My week with Fiona and Self Selection

Fiona has just gone back to the UK after a week here working with Horses and Dogs. It was an incredibly educational and fun week. Each session was unique and some horse and dogs had quite dramatic changes.

I could write pages on what I witnessed but instead I will just touch on how amazed I was by how the innate knowing in animals is so intelligent. One thing I observed is even when offering for example 3 items of the same herb but of 3 different brands, the horses would know which one was superior in quality.

I also saw how a seemingly healthy horse, would select sometimes quite a lot of herbs in a wide variety. Also dogs. Each animal's selection profile was so unique. And offered the same herbs a day later, would not take them or take very little. Something to think about when it comes to daily supplementing and how we approach it traditionally. Are we over supplementing? Are we giving one thing the horse needs mixed with 10 things he doesn't? That's what appeals to me about this. It is single herbs and oils offered. The animals can balance themselves.

Fiona has agreed to come back for the October 18-20th clinic in Massachussets. So if you want to see a demo of her work, learn about this work, and get a session for your animal, join us! Here is the link for info and registering for the clinic http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138987660
Contact me for info on a session with Fiona and check out her website here http://www.fionahabershon.com/

http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
10/18-10/20 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar



Working two dogs




Working with Macie

8.24.2013

It's not personal

I have said this to many students over and over again. I have seen people take their horses behavior, mistakes and communication personally if not very personally. Why do we do that?

Well, in my experience, there are several scenarios people feel like their horses' behavior or actions are personal. When a horse does not do what you ask, you assume he did it because he doesn't like you. He would do it for you if he liked/loved you. Another one I see is similar, He wouldn't do this behavior if he liked/loved me. You think your horse gets what you are asking and is purposely not doing it. You think your horse injured you on purpose. Then there's the idea that my horse should always want to be with me and should always want to do whatever I decide we should do.

Let's put this in another context. You probably have a friend, family member or partner that you are fond of. Have you asked them to do some task and they didn't do it or even said they didn't want to? Did you assume they don't like you? Did you think they were doing it on purpose? When someone does or doesn't do something it shouldn't injure the relationship. It is a difference of opinion or agenda. In healthy relationships, we talk about it and come to an agreement that is good for both of us. We also don't always want to be together and don't always want to do the same things as each other. Even if we care very much. I feel this way about my relationship with horses.
 
I never take it personally when a horse has a different agenda or idea then me. I am so grateful they allow me to ask for the things I do, It doesn't enter my mind. Look at it from their point of view. When a horse wants to eat grass when I am walking him, I don't think why does he want that grass when he is not supposed to eat it. I think of course he wants that grass he's a horse and I would love to give him some. Then we can have a conversation about how he could get some grass and when might be a good time to get some grass.

When it comes to being injured by a horse, whether it is being thrown off, kicked or bitten. As frightening and traumatic as that can be, I always know the horse had a reason for the behavior and that they are generally communicating something strongly to us when they do this. Just like they would to another horse. Sometimes, we don't see their small communications until they feel like they need to shout at us. Sometimes when I get a horse in for training that is supposedly behaving badly, I spend the first 30 days trying to see what that horse is saying and why he is saying it. I often find that the horse had a very good reason for saying what they said as unpleasant as it may be for us.

So if you find yourself taking your horses behavior personally, remember it's not. Just as I say to my horses when I may set a strong boundary, It's not personal I just need you to understand that this is not ok with me. And you know what? They don't take it personally. Oats for thought.

http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/ Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar



8.16.2013

Zoopharmaconosy Journal and upcoming Clinics

Barley Grass mustache
When I first started to learn about the Zoopharmacognosy, I was finding out what to offer and also because I have a good working knowledge of herbs, adding my own selections to offer. I knew what ailments and imbalances the horses may have and I let that guide the herbs I purchased. How interesting it has been!

I haven't been able to do it everyday as some days I can only offer a few things (I also run out!) or I couldn't be there. The days I did offer, I wrote down amounts and choices and found clear patterns and fascinating learning about my horses true needs. One thing I thought was, if you were worried about offering free choice amounts as some people are, It is at the very least, a good way to find out what your horse is really is deficient in and then supplement controlled amounts. So for example, Mercury really goes for the Rosehips in large amounts so I could easily see giving him a daily supplement of them and I think he would be quite happy! Rosehips have quite a lot of value as a supplemental and medicinal herb so I feel really good that I can give him what he is asking for instead of making educated guesses which I had come to find through using self selection were wrong despite my educated and well intended ideas.

Here is my list for Mercury(not consecutive days as I said and I was working out measurements as I got more accurate)
  1. Rosehips: several handfuls, barley grass: several handfuls, golden seal: pinch, licorice: 1 handful
  2. Rosehips: several handfuls, barley grass: several handfuls, Peppermint: pinch
  3. (Suspected he had Lyme around now) Echinacea: several handfuls, Rose hips: Container (square Tupperware)  barley grass: handful
  4. Rosehips: several handfuls, goldenseal: pinch, German Chamomile: several handfuls, Flax: Container.
  5. Rosehips: whole container, German Chamomile : half large container . Violet leaf (Essential oil) two drops.
  6. Barley grass: half container, Rosehips: half container, German Chamomile: Half container, Flax: Whole container.
  7. Barley grass: handful, flax: container, echinacea: mouthful, rosehips: container, kelp: Pinch, German Chamomile: container.
  8. Barley grass: mouthful, Chamomile: 2 mouthfuls, Dandelion root: pinch, Flax: container.
  9. Barley grass: mouthful. Rosehips: 1 pound. Chamomile: 1/2 container.
  10. Rosehips: 1.5 containers, Flax: mouthful
  11. Rosehips: container, barley grass: mouthful, chamomile: mouthful. Comfrey: mouthful, Astragalus: handful, Dandelion root: 8oz, Hibiscus: 3 handfuls. Flax: 4-oz.
  12. Rosehips: pound, Calendula: handful, Handful of Almonds! Garlic: 2 raw cloves.
  13. Two small pieces of raw Ginger.
I learned that he favors Flax oil (but not all the time), Rose hips (A lot but does not want them sometimes), and Chamomile (German and Non a lot at first then just a bit here and there). He liked Barley Grass in the beginning and took a good amount and now only takes it sometimes in smaller amounts. The Echinacea Angustafolia is interesting because I thought he might be getting Lyme Disease again and I did a few days of Lyme Nosode, he took a good bit of Echinacea one day and a pinch of Golden Seal and now seems fine and doesn't want it anymore. That's AWESOME! 
If you are interested in Learning more about this and having a session for your animal(s), Fiona Habershon will be here at my Labor Day clinic and is taking sessions for the week she's here. We are taking as many pre-bookings as possible. She does a 2 hour complete session with Essential oils and Herbs/oils and Supplements that it would cost you and I a a fortune to purchase and then offer in the precise way she does it. Fiona then gets what she calls a "health picture painted" through the Self Selection process. Here is the link to get an appointment. Schedules will be worked out over the week. http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2139011952 
Which leads me to the Labor Day Liberty-Line-Mounted Clinic. There is still some horse/rider spaces left due to some last minutes changes so if you are thinking about going sign up here and don't miss my only 3 day east coast Liberty-Line-Mounted clinic this year. Auditors need not pre-register and if you need to lease a horse for the clinic contact me. http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138987660
On the heels of the Labor Day clinic is my second UK clinic this year which will be fun to to carry on with some of the people who went to the June one as well as some new faces. Register here for that one http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138993665
It's a crazy busy time! But I am enjoying the journey. Hope you are too!
*Please remember to try Zoopharmacognosy at your own risk and do not offer things you are not sure about. 
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/ Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar
 
 

8.09.2013

Conflicting advice

Mecury and I are the final word for us.
Who hasn't been given conflicting advice in the horse world? Horse people are some of the most opinionated people. How do we know how to decipher what is right and wrong?

Well instead of looking at right and wrong let's call it different schools of thought or just plain schools. As a student of Horses and Horsemanship, I have made it my business to study as many approaches to horsemanship that I can and still do. My daily education and still most important teachers are the horses I work with. I learn from them everyday and I literally learn new things from herd observation and dynamics all the time.

I continually upgrade my knowledge because I feel that you can never know everything and there is always someone who knows more than you to study with. That said, as I found my own voice, I knew that certain schools of horsemanship and training were in line with my vision and goals and some weren't at all. As my vision on what I wanted for me and my horses became clearer, it was easy to see what approaches resonated and could be integrated into my existing way and make it better and more progressive.

Some criteria I use to determine whether to follow a school of thought or way of working is first I put myself in the horses place. I ask myself "would I like to be treated this way if I was in the horses place" if the answer is no. That's an easy one. Another interesting way of looking at an approach as I tell my students is, look at the whole method without judgement. Try to see what the exercises are trying to accomplish and what the desired goal is. Simply learn what the school is about. Then, if you are seeing some exercises and ideas that you can relate too but are not exactly to your liking, see if you can modify them to suit your style or your horses character. I often watch people work and get an idea and then adapt it to what I would like to do and how I like to work.

I don't discount a whole system of training because I don't agree with it. I see if there is anything I can learn and use with some "tweaking" to make it fit in with my approach.
For example by studying Dressage and merging Natural Horsemanship with Liberty, I was able to create a style that made each school complementary instead of contradictory as some would say.

Another important consideration is you and your horses' character and personality. People are drawn to ways of being with horses that match their personality. What resonates with one person may be absolutely horrible to another. Does that make them wrong or just different? Wrong for you, Right for them. Right for you, wrong for them. The bottom line is, are they happy and are they and their horse enjoying whatever they are doing. So are you and your horse happy? Then you are using the right approach!

Even in horse care there is much conflict of opinion. I always say for any 10 experts that say a food or supplement is good for your horse, I can find 10 that will say it will be detrimental or worse for your horse! So I listen to what feels right to me and then I ask my horse if he thinks it's right. Zoopharmacognosy has allowed me that option now. I also observe my horses habits. When horses are free to choose food and shelter and herd mates, you see a lot of what they really want and not what a bunch of human experts say is "right". Getting different opinions is a good idea when faced with difficult decisions and then go with what feels like the right path whatever it may be. Oats for thought...

We still have openings to see Fiona Habershon when she is here the end of August and the beginning of September. Contact me if you would like an appointment with her.
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

8.01.2013

Electra's first ride

Here is a video of Electra's first ride. She did amazing! Using the Liberty, Line, Mounted progression made our first ride easy and our communication transferred beautifully. I am so proud of her! I'll keep you posted on progress!
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar



7.25.2013

Voice

Electra learning directional language and Voice Communication
There is a lot of debate about using your voice when training. Some are for it and some are against. I don't mind either way. I sometimes use my voice when I feel it's useful and sometimes I prefer my body language. Sometimes I use both.

If you were a fly on the wall during my training sessions, you would hear me babbling conversationally to my long time friends and trainees. It is how I personally set intention for myself. I feel in turn the horses read that intention and my patterns and inflection. I don't always talk though. I know that there will be times when I cannot use my voice for a variety of reasons so it is good to be able to ask your horse things both with and without verbal communication.

For young Electra, I am teaching her words like Walk, Trot, and Canter. Also, most importantly, the word "Good" you've done well. We've done well. It is important in her development that she learn the word and the body language so she has what I call an association cue when I am mounted on her. By combining Liberty FUN!damentals with Voice, Line and In Hand exercises, Electra will be well prepared to understand direction and the progression to Mounted by the time I feel she is ready for me to get on her. She will mainly have to get used to my weight and the communication coming from her back.

It's important to discipline ourselves to say a word only once. Also to cluck no more than twice. Alright, all you readers out there, who is a unconscious violator of this rule? I know I see plenty of repeating of words and clucking in my travels! That is my only suggestion when using voice communication. It is a fine way to communicate but always have a body language to make it clear what that word means. Horses are VERY fast learners and literally Electra learned those words in one session.

I tend to do things with balance in mind. Never too much of any one thing. So use your voice or not by your own decision and train in a way that works for you and your horse. It really comes down to learning to be a clear, effective, Communicator. Oats for thought.
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

7.18.2013

Context

In this Context, I see the perfect moment to bring up Eye Contact
I talk a lot about trying as much as possible to keep things in context for Horses. What do I mean by that? It means that horses don't just do things for the sake of doing them. They do them with intention and purpose. For example, a horse will only move another horse because he wants to communicate something. He is not practicing moving the other horse. There is always a rhyme or reason.

When I am training horses, I try to keep things in context by doing them in real time and working with situations which are directly in front of me in the moment. It even works with more advanced exercises. Let's take an easy example. My horse is in my personal space a bit too much. If I ask him to back up a certain distance and halt. This Communication has Intention, Meaning and Clarity to the horse. I didn't move him just to see if i could. I moved him because I feel safer with him a little bit farther away. He will not take that personally because he sees there's a reason for the request. You see what I am getting at?

While working with the young Mare Electra. I noticed she was very oral and liked to chew on things. I gently communicated what I thought was ok to play with (hula hoops, barrels and she loves tarps!) and redirected her away from things I'd prefer her not to chew. She understands now which things are ok to put her mouth on and which things are not. She is young and she will like to inspect things out of curiosity which I want her to freely express. At first, she was unsure of the video camera and then became very interested in it. Using the context of wanting to show her it was my territory but I wanted her to be able to inspect it gently (and not damage it) I allowed her to come in with her nose but not to push it or get it wet. In this interaction, There was context. I was communicating that this object was mine and how I would like it to be treated without deterring her curiosity. This is a very important balance.

Food exercises will bring up Context immediately with most horses. You have it or another horse does and they want it. It is the way I build quick rapport with horses if i have the opportunity, when I have very little time to do so. 

In more advanced exercises, Patterns and Intention set the Context. For example, If I carefully visualize and focus on a specific shape (a square), at a specific speed (a walk), at a specific symmetry (in shoulder in) ( I know that's a lot but I said more advanced! :)) I have given my horse a clear context for what the objective is. As opposed to thinking things like "I really wish my horse would put his head down" "Why isn't he responding to my cues?" "I must not be doing it right" None of these provide context. This does "Let's make a Square" "The square is exactly this big" "Let's do it in this gait" "In this shape" And remember, This is not about the doing and perfection, It is about the Conversation that comes up when we create the Context. That is the fun discovery part if you let go of expectation and needing it to be perfect right away. The shape pattern gives you a purpose and you use it to guide the conversation without judgement.

I brought this up because it is very important to our daily practice and how we avoid what feels like drilling to our horses. I also always say if I need to practice something for my own understanding a few more times, I explain to my horse, It's for me to learn not for you, you are doing fine! And I thank them for having patience with my learning process. Oats for thought.
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

7.11.2013

Electra

Trotting together
I have just gotten in a young lady named Electra who needs to further her education to riding. She is a beautiful Andalusian filly I met at a one day workshop I did locally. I liked her immediately. She had great character and was sweet, smart, playful, and willing. The farm she came from breeds Spanish horses and needed her started for riding so she can be sold. It was really cool that they wanted her started in this way of working with horses.

What I have learned about Electra so far from our Liberty sessions together is that she really wants to connect to her person. She is soft, curious, and seems to like obstacles and jumps a lot! She went right to our barrels, poles and jumps. She goes to them again and again. She also likes playing with the tarp and went right to our bridge and put her foot on it. This tells me that she might like a career in trail classes, versatility, Jumping, Eventing, or just pleasure trail riding. She also looks like she could make a nice dressage horse or western horse. She seem very versatile! I like horses that are versatile. It's fun to be able to have the option to do different fun activities with your horse.

Every time I start a new young horse, It is never the same. I have to blend the needs of the owner and the character of the horse with what I do. So it is never the same with any of them. Imagine if someone came to me and said I don't want to ever have a bridle on this horse but I want to ride. Then I would come up with a completely custom plan and train that way.

With this horse I am using no treats at all. Only scratches and grooming which she loves. I am also using my Liberty Fundamentals exercises and and In Hand work primarily to prepare her for being ridden. I will take her for walks around our neighborhood to help get her fit and used to hacking by walking up some hills before I ask her to carry me.

So far she has been so willing and easy. She is a joy to work with. I will keep you posted on our progress as we go on. If you would like more info on her to purchase, please contact me.
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar

7.03.2013

Zoopharmacognosy: My experiences

Here is part 1 and 2 of my first sessions with my horses and Zoopharmacognosy. Fiona Habershon is coming to the US to show us the full method in the fall. Once I started doing this with each horse, they all started clamoring to have their turn. The overwhelming feeling from the horses was like a huge "THANKYOU for giving me what I REALLY need"
http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/
Links
Part 1: http://youtu.be/fKImTO4C7cU
Part 2: http://youtu.be/kTO1SOYHzeM
Sign up for http://fdhvirtualclinic.vidmeup.com/
Upcoming events
9/31-10/2 FDH Horsemanship Clinic: Plainfield, MA
11/30-12/2 FDH clinic in New Zealand: at Taralee stables, Carterton, NZ
11/22-11/24- FDH Clinic in Australia Strath Creek, Victoria, Australia
for more info and registration
Calendar:http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/#!calendar