Hanover Michigan Clinic 2008
Yes I did it and it's about time!
Having the right enviroment and people makes all the difference in how we come together as a group to learn and share.
Dave and I did a clinic here last year together as well and I knew just the place I was coming to again , the kind of folks this wonderful, peaceful, safe place would bring.
Thank you Jeannie Shepherd for making it all just right for us all , the horses too!
I'm always working hard to take my repeat horse and rider teams to the next place in their homework. Even though we had some new folks and some that had been here at my ranch as well, everyone fit perfectly as a group and more like a family coming together finding each other and just letting it all happen and go where it may.
To open a very important door to that next place I felt I needed was to take them to that place of feeling our emotions to the fore front, to open ourselves up to our horses, and to that place inside ourselves we sometimes guard so well.
That most important element we need show for our horses to give us everything they have in them to perform at their very best.
I'd put some serious thought in what I was about to do, the risk I was taking and hoping having Dave there with me would help and he would pick me up if I fell and not bring what I needed in the people to fruition.
What I did was GIVE THEM MYSELF, my soul on one palm and my life on the other, my own fears, struggles, joy and pain and held them out to them to do what they pleased with it all. That most vulnerable place for us all, I gave freely and in fear. This was very hard thing for me, but what had I to lose. I've spent much of my life being judged, broken to pieces in body fixing other people mistakes, used and spit out by the players. I still have chosen to live my life and work by my gut and my heart even though it did not fit into the cultural rules of those around me, the politics to be one of the "in" crowd.
So I've not become wealthy in some ways due to my choices but have become wealthier in more important ways such as having the best people around me and in my life, and the best part, the gifts the horses have given me in how to live, see them, help them and myself get better along the way.
And Guess What They Did With It All?
Yes , these amazing people took what I was offering of my self and put their own souls and lives out on their palms also, we were all in the same place, our emotions exposed, real and ready to bring them to our horses and go to work.
We all left life's baggage somewhere else just for a weekend, took the risk and took our selves to the horses as equals, yet their guides, teachers and leaders in these teams of horses and humans.
We opened first door of communication in our group ground work session, creating that safe place for the horses to open their minds to us. To listen to what we may ask, while being rewarded with positive words and soft touches all brought about by those clean, honest emotions we had all found in our selves. The calm, the relaxation and the peace that soon came out in ALL the horses and took over the arena was something to behold. They just gave us all we asked willingly and with contentment.
The same energy followed through just as it should in our under saddle work, we had set just the right tone for the horses, they were still open to us and willing to let go of their own bodies and emotions for us to mold and shape in new ways, better ways for them and the ways in which we needed them to go for the advanced exercises that were yet to come.
Our goals to utilize and bring a horses full energy and drive from the back of the horse through to the front, engage the hind quarters. Eliminate any blockages of the back to front power from poor equipment, physical issues, past poor riding or misunderstanding in past training.
To learn to ride from the center of the horse not the front.
How to know ask for and feel straightness, bend a horse in the rib cage, using seat and legs first and head gear communications as our secondary tool, our own bodies being first and foremost, not only in mechanical movement of our bodies but in how we use our own energy through emotion to create the movement and then to feel it all happening below us in the horse, the horse being an extension of our own legs.
How to raise and lower the base of the neck to create different back shapes for various movements.
The best part in knowing these was putting it all to work for us and asking for a lot of lateral exercises in patterns and rather complicated ones, speed increases and decrease for walks and gaits. The importance of it all to bring quality to a horses performance while keeping the bodies healthy physically and mentally and perform with out resistance.
I can still bring the vision of Tina on her Paso Mare doing half passes with directional changes through a cone pattern beautifully. That special very little horse "Mike" and his owner doing a perfect counter bend on a 20 foot circle.
Season finding that collected working walk and her own independent seat for the first time, the smile and joy on her face I will always see. April and her spotted mare "Veges" having coming the farthest from last year with April finding in herself the strength and support to help this sensitive mare over come some past baggage she had when April purchased her.
I saw the most stunning Standard bred mare of my life, she reminded me of Princess Grace Kelly in her manners and quiet unpretentious beauty.
So many special moment for us all to remember.
Again Thank you Jeannie for making this all possible and Dave for all his knowledge he shares so freely and the support you gave me to do something so very hard.
Next year can not get here fast enough.