The Art of Natural Dressage

AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!
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Author:  Josepha [ Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011:August 12-14 ADD YOUR PROGRAM WI

oh yes, and at our place, there are 5 horses to play with :)

Owen (who has been very ill again, but is getting a bit better)
Inocencio (who is the sweetest you can imagine! Yes really!)
The Don (crazy old geezer)
Joya the haflinger who is on fitness course and finding new zest for life
Fluga the Icy who is dying to be played with


Author:  Bianca [ Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011:August 12-14 ADD YOUR PROGRAM WI

Josepha, you are not joining on saturday?!!! :ieks:
But you'll surely come in the evening I hope? :blonde:

Author:  Josepha [ Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011:August 12-14 ADD YOUR PROGRAM WI

Sorry sweety, have to much to do here with the two extra horses and the training of Joya.
But I'll see you all on Sunday :)

How late will you be at our place?


Author:  KDS [ Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011:August 12-14 ADD YOUR PROGRAM WI

Is there anyone bringing a videocamera or is it preferred that I bring my 'grumpy old video beast'?

It has some 'age ailments' but it can work... but if someone is bringing one already I don't think he will be of good use...

(note: when I think about what to bring somewhere it always starts with 'which camera's' and that always turns out to be several photocamera's and a filmcamera' haha... priorities right?)

Author:  Bianca [ Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011:August 12-14 ADD YOUR PROGRAM WI

Bring it please!! :D The more videos of AND the better right? :green:

Author:  Bianca [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

The Art of Natural Dressage Summer Meeting 2011 was great :D
Great thanks to all for having a lovely time with much fire, rain and good times :green: Especially from Imperia, Evita, Unico and Atreyu.
We've been building a great fire with the horses around, I didn't even know this was possible :applause: and there was much playing going on, I saw too much only from a distance, the meeting was too short! Still so much amazed about the 'zen' like interaction between Romy and Impie!
Thanks to Els, Kirsten, Romy and Barbara especially I found out that Evita has no problem with traffic, towns or whatever... it's me who had to learn how to cope with this :blush: :green: because we went into Thorn to have a lovely icecream (Barbara, I now realize I forgot to pay you back :ieks:) and Evita was so brave and nicely behaving! Imperia was too ofcourse but well, in the caring and very entertaining hands of Romy. She has made the whole way like a constant playing field for her and they were exploring everything and having so much fun and game, really inspirational! Saturday night we had a good BBQ which was possible despite of some raindrops. Sunday at Josepha we saw the Ino who is really changed a lot! Wow! really nice interaction in training woth Josepha and also nice to see the in training buddys over there. And ofcourse Jamie provided us with his charms, looking totally in love with Romy :friends:

Here are some pics









Author:  Romy [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

What an interesting meeting indeed! :)

I already knew how lovely Barbara and Els are, but it was also great to meet Kirsten and hear about her experiences with all the different horses she is interacting with. So nice to discuss and learn with and from like-minded people, who still all have their very own ways of interacting with horses. And to me it's so precious that there can be discussions and exchanges of ideas in such an even and balanced way, with everyone putting things on the table for the others to take what fits, and with everyone sharing and listening, instead of one person dominating the conversations and giving lessons. That's what I so love these meetings for. I spent way too little time with Bianca, but maybe I can manage to visit her alone for a weekend next time. I would really like that, because in her groundwork she still is my big inspiration.

Every year I am looking forward to the opportunity of spending two days with my dear little Impie. This year we really used it a lot, playing for several hours on Saturday. For next year, however, I think I will spend more time watching the others play, because I can learn so much from that. I feel like I missed this chance a bit this time, focusing mostly on my own interaction with Impie. And I so much wanted to ask you for suggestions on my training, ladies, but then forgot even this. :blush:

For me personally, the most interesting thing this time was the visit at Josepha’s. Over there we got the chance of watching the training of two people, Josepha and a classical dressage trainer friend of hers and Bianca. They did similar things (groundwork with the cavesson) with the same two horses, Ino and Joya, so it was a very nice comparison, between horses as well as between people. First I must say that the trainer friend has an incredible knowledge about biomechanics and I have seldom seen someone being so precise in using pressure/release. But since this is supposed to be a report about an AND meeting, I will only write about the things relevant for this training philosophy.

Josepha worked with Ino first, and most of you will probably know about his history. Then she worked with Joya, a little Haflinger mare she has in training, who had been stiff and over-pressured to a degree where she reacted with total resistance even to the slightest demands. What exactly Josepha did she can describe better herself, for me it was most interesting HOW she did it – and how the horses were reacting. With both of them I saw no fights going on, because whenever they said no or weren’t sure (and this happened quite some times), Josepha let go and then tried it again when they were okay with it. In this way she managed to channel every bit of resistance and turn the experience into something the horses seemed to be fine with. It reminded me of Patricia’s quote that you can’t push against an open door.

I think there is such a thin line between a horse acting in response to a rein aid and reacting to it, or in giving to the cue and giving in to it. Personally I don’t even dare to try it, because I doubt that I would be able to use the reins purely as an aid instead of a restriction. With body language it is easier for me, although I feel that even this is hard enough. But now I saw that it was possible, a very rare opportunity as far as I can tell.

When I have seen Josepha working with horses, my main impression has always been that they were very content with what she was doing. But then often it’s hard to say to what degree this is Josepha’s influence and to what degree it’s just the horse being like that anyway. Yesterday we were given a demonstration not only in absolute but in relative terms. Perhaps Josepha will get the bodily results later. Perhaps some effects that other trainers long for she will not get at all, who knows? But then my background as a psychologist determines my main focus, and I must say that I have never valued Josepha’s way of interacting with horses more than I do after this demonstration.

Author:  Bianca [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

Thank you Romy for the more in depth description :) How was your trip?
Wrote this late at night and luckily because I was sitting there in silence I heard water running.. the garden hose outside was open :ieks:
Imperia was devastated this morning... looking soooo sad when I went off to work...wanting to play and was making her cute sounds and looking at me like... where is Romy?? :sad: .. poor girl... I promised I'll play with her in between work this night so I hope she'll be a bit happier then.

Author:  Barbara [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

Oh my dears I miss you all so much... It was really a lovely weekend, I felt so in tune with everyone it felt great being able to just nod your head when someone is speaking about horse training :) I love all the stories and all the ideas and knowledge that were shared this weekend!

I too wish it could have been a week :)

And I am sooooo in love with Joya :) so Josepha give her a big hug from me, I did not even say goodbye after the phonecall that my dog was missing (he escaped again today btw) I loved watching your interaction with the horses Josepha, it was beautiful to see them work with you so lovely

Bianca you were soooo great with Evita outside on saturday, and no worries about the icecream, it was my way of contributing some more to AND :) we had to celebrate after all!

Kirsten and Els you are always welcome to come over and I am looking forward to leeting you again... You were all soooo nice :) I miss the feeling of just being together...

And Romy thank you for just being there and teaching me mostly without words how I could live my life to the best

Author:  KDS [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

I really enjoyed watching people play with the horse (Romy and Imperia are both unstoppable and so focussed :ieks: I'll have to do some 'focus training' for myself :) ) Or just scratch horses (Barbara knows the really good spots ;) ) or think about questions (Els had some really nice ones... 'is this me or is it the horse' 'but why...' )
Bianca was mostly busy feeding us (which was really great as well). How careful and clear Josepha worked was equally inspiring
And I really enjoyed seeing all the horses in real life, and people in real life...

Be careful what you say Barbara... I'll be planning my trip to Belgium soon ;) !

Author:  Josepha [ Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

Thank you Romy, Bianca, Barbara (I will tell cute Joya you said hi!), Els and Kirsten. It was so great seeing you and such a shame we did not get to spend more time together. It was also wonderful to see Elke and Mukasa and their so beautiful cute baby Roos! And of course thank you Lisanne for your fantastic demo! :kiss:

And again a special thanks to Bianca for organising every thing!!! :kiss: :cheers: :kiss:

This weekend really did not feel as an AND meeting for me, because I was not there on Saturday, which I regret more then I can say. But, well that was the case for me due to some personal issues.
And when ya’ll came over, we did not really do any AND as the time was short after the classical dressage demo (Which was probably because we kept eating like crazy people because of the wonderful and enormous amount of food Bianca brought over ha ha !)

Having said that it did not feel as an AND weekend for me… nevertheless the AND fire has broken out in my heart again like it has not done since we first started out this forum.
You see, for me it was also interesting to see a really fantastic classical dressage trainer at work, especially with two horses I know myself very well. I had not seen Classical work since a long time up close and personal. The reaction of my horses to this system and the effect (which was technically very correct) on them personally made me realise how much I have left that path years ago and have embarked on a totally different way of being and training with horses as opposed to just ‘training them and making them do’ no matter how soft, kind or elegant it is or looks. I greatly admire people like Lisanne Thomas, Anja Beran, Marijke de Jong and Bent Branderup to name but a few, but it shall never be my way, ever again. Even though their work does inspire me. :yes:

According to my take in this, horses can collect perfectly on their own, or else human’s could never get that result from them. And I believe after 5 years of working my way that the most important ‘muscle’ to train to get proud collected movement from a horse is the Ego of the horse.
They collect, or just use their bodies in a way that is beneficial to them when they feel good, or happy or proud or sexy or whatever, but really good! :cheers: :applause:

Within my way, or the AND way, It is not so much a case to ‘produce’ correct movement as it is in classical dressage, but more a case of retrieving it or weaselling it out in tiny bits in a more playfull manner and then rewarding it big time. :alien:

Rewarding healthy exercise and movement, if only tiny step for step makes them come to wonderful results in two ways (in my experience):
1. You as a fellow trainer rewarding them and being proud of what they are trying to achieve on their own makes them want to do that same movement or exercise more.
2. The horse after a while starts to feel the benefit to his or hers body and will on his own seek out this great powerful feeling from for instance a stretched nuchal ligament or a lifted shoulder in shoulder in, or the way they strike of collected if they canter depart from travers and so on. When you let them think that out for themselves, they think, feel and reap the benefit. Next time they will use your suggestion! Or at least will try to.

But the main key remains to let them find out for themselves. I want the horse to be thinking, searching and finding and wanting to find. My heart gets so lifted when I see those eyes light up as soon as I see a horse doing something he thought he or she could not do, or perhaps really could not do before. Seeing them go like: ‘Wow, did you see me do that! How cool was that!!! I want to do that again!’ Because by your mere suggestions, they came up with it all by themselves and it felt GOOD! ( I so now that feeling having been an ex fitness junky and personal trainer ). I also realise other may not see anything for not knowing the horse, or see just some 'happy accidents' as some one once said. (I do not remember who).

So I side track a lot just making suggestions and wait (takes loooot’s of patience yes….) for them to – perhaps - give an answer and reward massively every tiny attempt towards experimenting with my suggestion. I will just be there as a personal coach, trainer, but above all friend who wants to inspire them to work on themselves as opposed to being worked and having their minds purely on what the trainer is asking/demanding instead of. I have Romy to thank mostly for this I guess, reading her diary, having her over, seeing her work and videos… that shaped much of my thoughts and techniques in the way I work now in combination of course with years of classical back ground. Also, it reminded me of when I was working in a classical way years ago, but still felt the ultimate lightness was missing, no matter how sound, fast and direct my horses responded to my aids, even if the seemed to respond to my though (!) I guess I always felt their spiritual or mental ‘yes’ missing. I believe it was that they themselves never really got to understand ‘why’ only that they just had to ‘do’. No matter how technically correct, my aids never were just aids but also commands. I remained giving an aid until I got my desired effect. For the goal of Classical dressage is to have a horse which is a pleasure to handle and which will remains so for a long healthy life. And it works that way, nothing against that. But again, I never felt the spiritual lightness from the horse, they acted, without really understanding and wanting, craving to do it, if you hopefully understand what I mean.
Then one day, I saw a Russian guy working with his horse, and I saw a glimpse of what it was I was searching for. Eventually realising that the answers will never be found with a human, but with the horses themselves and people who like to simply share their experiences with those answers, AND came to be.
With The Art of Natural Dressage and riding art I have experienced that craving, that ‘yes!’ that feeling from the horse saying: ‘this is what I WANT to do NOW!’ And sometimes experiencing movement and collection beyond my wildest dreams, with my own horses and with horses of students. It got us all hooked. But… but… but…. You can not produce the same results as with Classical Dressage.
After all, you have to wait for your horse to say ‘yes’ and your horse can also in certain situations say ‘no’. If you horses does not want shoulder in today, there will be no shoulder in, but maybe there will be other things, though THEN the spiritual ligtness of ‘Yes I want to do this now’ produces an effect which leaves all the so called ‘demanded’ shoulder ins waaaaay behind… or at least for me it does. I am so hooked on the ‘spiritual yes I want to do this now’ there will never be a way back for me. I can get horses to do things if I really want to, and sometimes I do, to be quite frank and honest in my line of work. The feeling afterwards, though, is like a little hangover.
Less and less am I interested in producing a certain result of what I want or what I think should happen. More and more am I addicted to horses telling me that they want to do something NOW. Is this a way for every one? Probably not. Does it need to be? Of course not. Sunday evening made me think so much about what I am doing and what it is I really want, what I want to teach, share, learn and train… and I found my way back home for good this weekend, with every fiber in my body! It has brought me much clarity and energy, so thank you all!

Now next year, we can, if you want, have an AND sleepover at our place! Or we can have a winter meeting (there was talk about that) at our place and a summer meeting at Bianca’s or whatever you like! Or or or… whatever ideas come up. Ralph finds it time to get the attic ready so we too can can offer enough sleeping places  Not as stylish as Bianca’s though… she should be in the home improvement and decorating business! Ha ha ! But we shall try to make it comfy and cosy for sure.

I am sooo looking forward to the next meeting!!!

And I love you guys, you have no idea!

Ps: I shall explain about Ino and Joya later, Ino in his diary and Joya with videos okay?
Pps: Happy Baxter is found back with his mommie Barbara!

Author:  KDS [ Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

With Romy I was talking about the same thing, the demo of Lisanne and Josepha and the difference and comparisons...

And the conclusion (well for me at least, correct me if I'm mistaken Romy) was that we all want to do a shoulder in in a proper way, but in fact with AND my first goal is the psychology of the horse, is she happy, proud and well somehow with Pucky and Ruphina both 'are the sure of themselves'?
That's why guiding them to much physically doesn't work, you have to guide them mentally to that perfect spot, I see it as giving them 'tasks'. It's open and they have a bigger responsibility themselves, more control, but mostly: they have to keep thinking.

I'll prefer the long way home :yes:

Oh Barbara, you were again home to late according to Baxter? :funny:

Author:  Barbara [ Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

Jep home too late... I am a bad bad mommie :) Today he took off again, my mother in law put him out in the yard and then went cosily inside... So he decided to go and get me so I could tell her he is a house dog!!

I love you all too, you are sooooooo welcome to come over, no problem...

and I also felt that the small detail differences in training classically and the AND way make me more sure I want AND!

big hugs from snoring Baxter and almost snoring Barbara

hihi Kirsten now I finally know who you are ;)

Author:  KDS [ Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

Barbara wrote:
hihi Kirsten now I finally know who you are ;)

Yes well that was part of fun for me, all I knew was some diaries, some stories and some pictures;but somehow, the pictures are mostly about horses, and what I see in videos and pictures whether or not including people... is the horses, but now I actually can see a face when reading a story. That is really good, and Belgium is not that far away ;) For me at least.

Author:  Josepha [ Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: AND SUMMER MEETING 2011: It was soooo nice!

I posted videos of Joya and of Inocenio in the video section :)

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