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Horsemanship is About Partnership

A Journey of Becoming a Balanced Partner-

This post will wrap up my learning experience at the Forge a Deeper Bond clinic, I attended at the beginning of June. Of course my understanding and growth continues through my horses, but the last few posts have focused on sharing what the horses that I worked with during the clinic have taught me.

The last, but certainly not least of the trio of mares that helped facilitate learning that weekend, was Lil’ Shadow… she is the black mare in the image below. This image was provided by Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch, who was also the host of the great clinic taught that weekend by Elsa Sinclair of Taming Wild.

Horses used for Elsa Sinclair ClinicWhen Resistance Finds You – Increase Your Awareness-

I often share in my horse health consultations and online training courses that resistance is a tool and guide on our journey that needs to observed and studied, not simply heeded and listened too. I have experienced this many times and in particular in the case of essential oils. (You can get my full story on essential oils in the Chapter 1 Preview of my eBook), but simply put had I looked into my resistance to essential oils when it reared its ugly head, I believe my journey would have undergone a monumental positive shift much sooner!

Moving into or inspecting resistance was not a new concept for me… so at the clinic when I felt resistance towards Shadow, I responded by increasing my awareness and understanding of her. For that I am grateful because she painted a picture of transformation and partnership over the weekend that I will not soon forget.

I Want it Now!

One thing Elsa repeated throughout the weekend is her belief and view that the dominant horse or a horse that goes into dominant behavior desires connection and they want it right now! She also explained, that is the basis of her brand of Taming Wild… it was not chosen on the premise of her taming a wild horse. But that she sees a need for both us and the horse to balance and tame that wild streak that wants everything right now.

I resonate with this and find it is often something I face when promoting natural horse health principles. Natural remedies and care take time, where as traditional or pharmaceutical options can bring results right now… because of this I often have to “tame the wild” out of horse owners in the same sense.

Shadow was very clear and loud in her expressions of dominance over the herd she was in, and it was no different when we (the participants and Elsa would work with her). Because of her high energy and loud behavior, I naturally resisted working with her. Here are a few thoughts to that resistance, as I observed and looked at where it came from:

  • I am calm by nature, enjoy and strive to maintain that calm, and prefer to not increase my energy if I don’t need to.
  • I need processing time (thinking time), especially when I am learning new things. Being a participant in this clinic already took a fair amount of my energy and focus, I did not want to meet her energy at this time, as it would drain and distract from my overall goal. These points also did not make us an ideal partnership or set us up for success…
  • If I chose to work with her, it was likely she would be 2 miles ahead of me in thoughts and action. Because she easily was 1 mile ahead of her surroundings most of the time.

Teaching Your Horse to Help Themselves Feel Better

The first day of the clinic I chose not to work with Shadow, but I observed her often, both with the participants that did, when Elsa worked with her, and when she interacted with the other horses. During her clinic Elsa said that passive leadership is about teaching your to help themselves feel better. Shadow did an amazing job presenting that to anyone open to seeing that weekend!

By day 2, Shadow was much softer, calmer, and easier to get along with both for us and the other horses. There were still times that she chose to barge into their spaces or resort to a more dominant conversation. Even then it was far less rude and dramatic.

Observing her upon my arrival on day 2, I knew that it was a good day and time to work with Shadow, equally for her and myself. Over the course of the weekend, Shadow was bringing everything Elsa shared full circle in my mind.

Elsa Sinclair Horsemanship

She helped solidify, that partnership takes balance, understanding, and support. The participants and Elsa offered support and guidance through passive leadership to encourage Shadow to seek balance and make herself feel better. We must remember it takes understanding and decisions to be in relationship and connection to our horses. One of the principles that Elsa taught was, I am in control of my body and the horse is in control of theirs.

The ultimate goal of partnership is to be together, this togetherness should equal in energy, thought, and movement. It is up to us to be the best partner we can be, assuring we are fair, reasonable, and setting things up for success. The horse being an equal partner must do the same for the relationship to work and passive leadership offers a non-manipulative or coercive conversation to accomplish it. For me this was the path I was looking for and after the positive shifts and changes I saw in such a short amount of time with Shadow, helped clarify the path and next part of my personal horsemanship journey.

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guide, click here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!


The title photo of this post is the work of professional photographer, Nadja Rider. She has a great passion for the mustangs of the Sand Wash Basin and her work brings awareness and life to the herds and horses there. I hope to further the efforts of her great work, through utilizing these beautiful images. If you would like to follow these horses on Facebook Click HereBe sure to check out Nadja photos, they share a story of the lives of mustangs in such an honest and authentic way.

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Horsemanship – You are Enough

horsemanship

Gravitation to  a More Passive Approach to Horsemanship-

For those of you who are wondering why is the horse health lady, blogging about horsemanship again 😉

It is important to remember that horses are herd animals. Connection and bond have a big impact on a horse’s health, and trust happens to be one of the 8 Laws of Health… it also has a lot to do with the two mustangs I recently adopted and the journey that it seems to be leading on.

Including the recent clinic I attended, graciously hosted at the Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch and taught by Elsa Sinclair. I am currently sharing a series of blog posts from my experiences from that clinic.

One thing that Elsa talked about at her clinic was how the more dominant based methods ( which utilize a majority of dominant conversations) of horsemanship when not balanced with other types of conversations can lead to more consequence delivering from the horse. Or maybe more simply said can lead to a more dominant behaving horse.

Which can prove to be problematic to the less dominant or less confident horse owner… She clarified often, as I would like to as well, that dominant styles or even a more assertive approach is not necessarily wrong. It is just we need to be aware of the various types of communication and conversations that can be had with horses and approach with what works best for each horse and even for ourselves.

When I was in high school I was confident and quiet comfortable with the more dominant approach, as I could handle the more dominant side that it would or could bring up in my horse without a concern. As I get older, my confidence is not as solid as it used to be, and raising the risk of having a horse deliver their own dominant consequence is far less appealing.

Those hesitations are part of what led me to other options, along with a desire to find a more peaceful less resistant path. My mustangs are both decent sized just over 15 hands and solid built, I would prefer to work with them as much as possible to reach my goals. Rather then trying to convince or force them into anything. Although the natural horsemanship I have used and loved for many years works well with them, there was a piece that still felt like it was missing… this more passive leadership approach, for me, I believe was that piece.

Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch - Roheryn

Judging and Assessing Less, Trusting and Moving Forward More-

I mentioned in the first post of this series that Elsa’s clinic helped clear some of the fog that was in my mind.

I am curious can you relate to the fog I described? The feeling of swimming in a sea of too many opinions, methods, and options.

Do you get lost in a clutter of ways or methods you could use to work with your horse? Possibly you just don’t even know where to begin, because there are plenty of opinions on that as well…

Looking back on when I was younger, I simply just didn’t care of what others were doing or what they thought! I was still very open to learning but happy to do things however I felt they needed to be done. I am on a mission of finding that side of me again, as it seems she is in that fog in my head.

The lovely Roheryn helped me through some of that fog at the clinic. She was a great horse to partner with and I told her current adopter George, that if he decided to ever part with her, I might need to know… She like my mustang Marshal had spent most of her life in the holding facility. When you meet her it is so hard to understand, because she is great! Curious, friendly, and ready to be a partner.

I had the opportunity to work with her a few times at the clinic and the last session I had with her made a positive shift for me, reminding me that I am enough and I can accomplish what I plan and set out to do. That when I listen to my intuition and get out of my head, things can just flow and be.

Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch - Roheryn

Progression and Movement-

The session in which Roheryn helped me the most, we were working on the horse moving through Elsa’s steps of tolerance, acceptance, and enjoyment with rocking or movement of our initiation. Elsa suggested I work with Roheryn’s legs, as I had mentioned Marshal’s leg issues.

I was nervous at first, as her owner had mentioned that although she was good with him she did not do well with the farrier and when Elsa went to show me where she would start, Roheryn was not very tolerant or accepting.

After observing where her “no” spot was, I chose to start at a more comfortable space (for both of us) at her withers, then I progressed to her shoulder, continuing to move down the leg. I rewarded and recognized any sign of enjoyment she offered, and would then begin again where it was easy and move down the leg. My goal was to do the rocking motion and have Roheryn accepting it; moving into enjoying it all the way to the hoof.

As I moved past the knee I forgot to continue with a pattern I had began further up the leg, this did upset her and she chose to leave promptly. But after connecting with her again and restarting at the easy place and moving down with the continued pattern I started with, I was able to get to her hoof in a short matter of time. After a good yawn and release I chose that was a place to end the session with her.

Horsemanship Quote

Mindset Shift and Focus Change-

Even after practicing this work with my horses for only a short time, it surprises me how a simple mindset change from, how do I get this horse to complete the task to how does the horse perceive and at what level do they accept or enjoy this task, has done for the connection and desire in the horse.

Although for many years I was aware it is best to end a session  on a positive note… ending on a sign of enjoyment is much better. This new idea is helping me be less skill or task focused and yet has me excited to try more things then I was before.

For those curious on what Elsa Sinclair teaches check out her blog Equine Clarity and her movie Taming Wild. Thank you again Eagle and Wild Horses Ranch for the photos of the horses we worked with and for hosting such a great clinic!

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guide, click here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

 

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Horsemanship Bringing Awareness to the World Around You

Horsemanship and Self Awareness Lesson from Tahotay-

It is a common understanding that horses are the best teachers! It is my belief that every horse that comes into your life or path, has a purpose and something in which they are to teach you. That even includes horses like Tahotay, Shadow, and Roheryn. Three amazing mares that had the job of assisting Elsa Sinclair to teach those of us participants and auditors this past weekend at Eagles and Wild Horses Ranch in Eckert, Colorado.

The image above was shared by George Brauneis who owns these amazing horses and hosted the clinic at his ranch. This picture is of Tahotay and Lil’ Shadow. For those who are not familiar with Elsa’s work I recommend you check out her blog Equine Clarity and the movie Taming Wild

As participants in her clinic, we went in with the horses free moving, no halters, sticks, etc. In this case there were three mares and usually three participants in with them at a time. Our purpose was to partner with our chosen horse. This included for starters, choosing a spot or location in which to relate and be with the horse, move when they moved, and take one more step.

Each of these mares has a different personality, of course, and Tahotay was very reserved, self focused, and rather enjoyed living in her bubble… my kind of girl!

Check in with the outside world and enjoy what there is to see!

What Tahotay had to teach me actually did not come while I was working with her personally, and even yet, did not settle in until the drive home that evening.

While one of the other participants was working with her, they expressed that it felt rude or intrusive to disturb or bring Tahotay our of her blissful and resting state. She spent a lot of time there…

Although I don’t remember Elsa’s statement word for word, she simply explained that it was a gesture as a partner or leader to encourage Tahotay to move out of her internal space and world from time to time, so that she could enjoy what the world outside of her could offer.

In that moment it made sense to me and I moved on with the day, not realizing the personal life lesson that would hit me on the way home. There was a lot to take in and process from the day, which to be honest is something I really enjoy… the overload of information and discoveries that I can think about and pick apart in my mind.

Delayed Horsemanship Ah Ha Moment

It was during my processing that suddenly I became aware of my likeness to Tahotay. I can be a bit of a hermit at times and love to spend time either alone or with my horses. In fact those are often my favorite places and ways to be. I can think, read, study, write, create, and simply be. No need to engage, explain, or expend energy to interact to much outside of that space.

Thankfully God has placed persistent people in my life, who enjoy my company and will drag me out of my bubble to experience the outside world with them! Because, there is enjoyment and discoveries to be had in ways that I would not choose without the influence of others.

This simple and yet profound connection to Tahotay, brought awareness in a part of my life that I need to balance and also helped me see how it can improve our partnership and leadership with our horses, as we encourage those who are like her to come out and see the world and explore it with us.

Encouraging these horses (and myself) to more frequently come out of our internal space and peaceful bubble, we can help foster more emotional stability and balance which will have a positive effect on other areas of their life. From training, behavior, relationships, and even health!

I am sure that you have had many moments and experiences where a horse has taught you something… I would love for you to share it. Post it in the comments below or come join the private Facebook group and share your story there. Click Here to request to join.

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guide, click here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

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Horsemanship is a Journey

Sharing my Journey of Horsemanship

I live in a state of gratitude and openness to share what I learn on my journey with horses. Both that of my personal horses and those of my clients. Since adopting my mustangs, I have been on a search for clarity and better understanding…

Of what?

Myself really, and all of the methods, techniques, and information that seems to now have become a fog in my mind. When I go work with my horses, I have found myself discontent to complete tasks and be in a state of “doing” with them. I  have discovered a desire in myself for something different and more than what I have now.

What is the something I am looking for?

Peace, deeper relationship, better connection, and more freedom.

As I started to search for the answer, I came across Taming Wild. A documentary of Elsa Sinclair and her mustang Myrnah, on a journey of training with no tools. No ropes, whips, sticks, or tack. After watching the movie I went to the website to discover that Elsa was coming to my area in a week… so I jumped on it and purchased tickets to attend.

My time at her workshop and even as I read her blog, there is a deep gratitude and resonance for me in Elsa Sinclair’s work. It seems she clarifies the points that seem foggy to me in my own mind and strengthens the beliefs and thoughts I stand for when working with horses.

Often times during bodywork sessions, I prefer that the horse is free to move. Sometimes the horse owner finds this strange and frustrating, as the horse in a way controls where, when, and to what capacity the session will go. The reason I do this, is I found that the results seemed to hold better and come with “doing less”, as the horse guides me where they want the work.

horsemanship elsa sinclair

I have only begun to implement and utilize what I have learned in Elsa’s recent workshop and hope to attend an online course with her this fall. I am excited to see what this part of the journey has to show me, and will be sharing more on what I learned and experienced this weekend, in upcoming blog posts.

Your relationship and bond with your horse is an important part of your horse’s health and wellness. It is a part that traditional health care tends to over look, but Trust is one of the 8 Laws of Health and is crucial to successful natural horse care.

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guideclick here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

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Horsemanship a Balance of Listening and Speaking

The Crucial Role of Communication in Horsemanship

“When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather on diagnosing and judging we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening- to ourselves as well as to others- non violent communication fosters respect, attentiveness, and empathy and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart.” ~ Marshal B. Rosenberg, PhD.

Although I began reading the book, Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life by Marshal B. Rosenberg to improve upon my ability to communicate with the people in my life; I have found it very congruent and in alignment with how I feel we can most effectively communicate with our horses.

Often when I work with clients on finding a better understanding or deeper connection with their horses, there is a lack of balance in speaking and listening between the horse and the human… Sometimes the horse is doing all the talking and not listening to the human or the human is doing all the talking and not listening to the horse. Either way behavioral concerns or disharmony are the end result of either type of imbalance.

Clarity and Mutual Understanding Between Horse and Human

It is also important that clarity is established in the conversations between the horse and human. Lack of clarity and understanding will result in behavioral concerns from the horse or frustration on the part of the human. We must make sure we can “speak their language” and that we are fairly and clearly communicating our wants, desires, and needs to the horse. Then as mentioned above, allow for a response and encourage a dialogue or conversation.

I don’t know about you, but riding robots is not my idea of a good time. If I wanted my sessions to be emotionless, mechanical, or on autopilot I would be riding a four-wheeler or motorcycle… I want connection, relationship, communication, and understanding. That is my goal and intent with every session with my horses.

Horsemanship and connection is an important piece of horse health. If there is tension and disharmony between the horse and owner it will have an impact on the health of the horse in a negative way. That is one of the reasons that improving and deepening connection and communication between horses and their humans is another passion of mine and part of our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness.

Begin Naturally Promoting Horse Health

Our mission here at Equine Essential Wellness is to help you promote your horse’s health naturally. We invite you to get our FREE The Secrets of Equine Naturopathy PDF Guideclick here or the image below to get this guide sent to your inbox today! Balancing your horse’s lifestyle with the 8 Laws of Health is crucial to their overall health and wellness!

Equine Health through Naturopathy

I hope you found value in this post. Please share via your favorite social media page to help us on our mission to promote horse health and wellness. You will find share buttons on the bottom of the post.

Life is better when you’re horsin’ around!

Angie

Pokey my inspiration for promoting horse health

Angie Wells is Certified in Animal Naturopathy, Equine Massage, and Equine Sports Training. To see more of her background and education click here. She has been serving in the Equine Alternative and Natural Care Industry for over a decade!