Ralph tried to put the video online but it was to large for youtube.
He will do it again tonight, split it up.
For those who are interested, here my Horse Expo diary!
Josephaâ€™s diary of Flanders Horse Expo Gent 2008
Wednesday March 19
Endless things to do, the hour O is getting close.
The work day starts at 7.30. Ralph sets of to the hospital he works at and I start with everything there is still left to do for the Horse Expo.
A lot of paperwork and packing, the shop is open till 8 pm and it is busy, the phone keeps ringing and I can not keep up with the emails. When Ralph gets home at 6 pm I start giving a lesson. After I am done and the customer and her horse has left, we eatâ€¦
Still some final work on the folders and flyers etc.
At midnight we dropp on our bed exhausted.
Thursday March 20
The work day start at 7.30 again, I have to handle all the orders that come in for the stand.
We set up the stand in the living room as a try out.
Next to the customers in the shop, stable work, the web shop orders etc. I am almost ready at 11 pmâ€¦ One last round in the stables, the horses sensing that something is going on and that they best not give me a hard time for attention.
At 1 am I leave the shower and drag myself to bed.
Friday March 21
Today is the big day. We have the shop closed because of a Belgian Holiday, â€˜Good Fridayâ€™.
At 8 we start packing everything and loading the trailer. I of course have stable work as well and I turn the horses out in the arena in turn, for the other paddocks are more like ice cold swamps. It is snowing and the cold is bitter.
At half past 1 we prepare for leaving for Gent to build our stand at the Expo center. We should arrive at half past 3, time enough to build our stand.
Alas, due to the snow, two accidents occur around traffic hot spot Brussels and we are jammed for 3,5 hours. Well after 6 pm we arrive. The organiser of Horse Expo, Dietrich is waiting at our stand room, he said he was worried. He is such a wonderful person. He makes us feel right at home and we start working feverishly on our stand.
All other stands are up and ready before long, they are huge and look expensive, full with all the regular horse tackâ€¦ There are 3 larges halls and 2 arenas. One arena will be all mine next Sundayâ€¦ it is the one next to our stand. Dietrich saw to that especially.
We are finished at half past 11. 1 am we finally collaps on to our beds.
Saturday March 22
Henny is at our house at 7 am. Together with Ralph they leave for Horse Expo. I have a house on my hands which is a total mess andâ€¦ I still have a lot of folders to print and fold for the expo.
I have to prepare 2 rooms for guests and the shop is open until 5â€¦ and today is carnibest day, that means that it is going to be extremely busy with the huge delivery of fresh dog and cat food and people coming to pick it up.
My mother comes round to help me with the stables, the laundry (Equihof shirts) and cleaning the rooms and making the beds.
Finally I am ready at 9 pm. I hit the shower, tomorrow is my big day and still I have not prepared one single thing nor have I found what to wearâ€¦
Samantha comes in at half past 10, she is brought by her mother Cisca and her brother Leroy.
We order pizza and fries. At 11 pm Ralph and Henny arrive back from Horse Expo, exhausted but happy. The stand was a huge success even though there are many, many stands with horse tack etc. The People love the thought behind Equihof and our special products designed out of love for horses, not out of use of horses!
Sunday March 23, (AN)D-day
Ralph and I get up at half past 6. I take care of the horses and Ralph goes to the bakery.
At 7 I wake my guests, Henny and Samantha.
I have a clinic in mere hoursâ€¦ But I still have no clue what I am going to do, for there was no time to think it over.
We leave at half past 7. Leroy and Cisca join us, they want to see the clinic as well.
In the car I meditate, I ask my grandmother and grandfather for guidance and I meditate on â€˜my man the Pluvinelâ€™ Help me Masterâ€¦. I say. Ralph finds it very funnyâ€¦
Itâ€™s like a jedi order I think by myself and I laugh too.
When we arrive in Gent, I have time to arrange everything with the sound etc. at 10 Yoke and Johan arrive. They are very calm as are their horses, the Alpha mare Roosje and the large warmblood chestnut Nino.
I talk to the horses and explain them what we are going to do, what is expected of them (well not much) and why we are doing this. They look at me like they are saying: â€˜have no fear, we know what to doâ€™
I believe them.
Then Laura arrives with Ramazotti. As opposed to Yoke and Johan who I never taught before, I did teach Laura one time a month before.
Both Laura and Ramazotti are very worked up. I talk to them both separately, and they calm down. Afterall, they only have to be themselves and be together, which they really love.
Then I go back inside waiting at my spot, before I am handed a microphone and want to go into the arenaâ€¦. My arenaâ€¦ the arena is all mine now! And I am happy to see a lot of faces this early in the morning waiting around the fence and on the seats.
Then I see Dietrich, the one who made Horse Expo happen, the one who invited me to do this clinic, shaking my hand and wishing me good luck.
I enter the arena, â€˜I already saw some fans of you!â€™ Dietrich calls after me. I do not know if he was joking, but it is nice anyway ha ha !
I walk into the arena and look around me, all this people watching me, great!
While the horses are coming in I explain who I am and what I am going to do.
We have to wait for Laura and Ramazotti, somehow, they are not coming. I tell the audience that while we wait for Laura, Yoke and Johan just walk around on Nino and Roosje, I am going to tell them about horses.
I explain about horses being prey animals and how deep that impact everything they do and even more important, what they donâ€™t do; which is, showing pain.
I explain that that is the very reason why lameness in a horse is always so drastic while with a dog it isnâ€™t. When a horse shows pain, he has had it so long, and it has become so serious that he has actually given up: â€˜There you go predators, I can keep it in no more, I am done for.â€™
I also explain that you must never close the door on a prey animals for he needs to be able to flee.
If you do not want them to flee, then donâ€™t give them a reason to.
Restraining a horses flight is an actual reason for them to make them want to flight.
While Laura and Ramazotti come in I introduce my wonderful horses and riders. Ramazotti walks around carrying Laura like it was his idea. Therefore I say: This is Ramazotti and his Laura. Laura told my afterwards that she had the same feeling before I said it.
I have the riders and horses perform circles on the loose rein, well, Laura and Johan, for Yoke has only a cordeo.
I explain to the audience that collection is a state of body and mind and that it comes from excersize that makes the horse supple and strong. The exercises can be found with Xenophon, The Pluvinel, La Guerinere etc.
I ask the riders and horses to show the exercises. Yoke and Roosje are very advanced, on the cordeo they show perfect circles and leg yield and a real wonderful collected canter and trot.
Every time I tell the audience: is that not worth an applause? And they agree!
Then I tell the audience how much problems Yoke and Laura had with their horses when they still rode in the regular way, with a bit.
Especially Laura, who fell next to Ramazotti almost every week.
Now the horses were the very image of calmness and cooperation. Of course some people will not believe this transformation, I know.
I start to explain about biomechanics and the laws of physics. I explain how we work with what the horses present to us, rewarding their every initiative.
And indeed, Yoke and Johan hand out treats to their horses all the time during the clinic.
I explain to the audience that horse riding is simply not ruining what is already there, but simply not interfere with the horses movement. Creating the opportunities for the horse to stretch, balance and in the long run collect.
I say: keep your trainings light, logical and simple and above all, have fun! For if it is not fun, why do it?
Then I give word to the audience: any questions?
And there are 3 or 4 questions, about how to achieve collection without using the rein to make your horse bend his neck and how to start without a bit etc.
Wonderful questions, a real warm applause and 3 horses and 4 humans leave the arena completely exhilarated.
Afterwards I receive may responses and now still e-mails which I am answering.
On to the next demo, clinic and reading in Brussels during Equistyle May 17 and 18.
Monday March 24 the last day of Horse Expo
7 am we have over slept!!!â€¦ I take care of the horses and we race to Gent. The whole world seems a sleep still, the road is empty and what is even more surrealâ€¦ the landscape is covered in a thick leer of fluffy snow while the sunlight makes it glitter. It is breathtakingly beautiful, but I can not remember ever having a white Easter in Belgium.
We arrive at our stand just in time. Again we have a brilliant day full with people visisting our stand, buying and asking info on Natural and bitless dressage.
We get very tiredâ€¦ it is just Ralph and me nowâ€¦
Half past 6 the light go out and a voice asks people to leave, Horse Expo is over.
We start packing up. It is a sad view, seeing the gigantic but ever so beautiful stands disappear. Dietrich comes by to thank us, he says he will start organising the Next Horse Expo. We thank him for a lovely expo and time.
9 pm we are ready packing and we leave for Riemst. In the car we have to sing songs from the 80â€™s to keep a wake.
When we arrive home at midnight we still have to carry everything to the shop.
I think it must have been around half past 1 am when we find our bed. And the alarm is set early, for the shop opens at half past 9 and then all the goods must be back in placeâ€¦