The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:29 am
Posts: 2
Location: Czech Republic
Hello everybody!
First of all excuse me for my English – I don’t think I am very good at this :blush:
Well a little bit about me. I am fifteen old girl living in the Czech Republic. I love horses from a child, the history of me and horses is a little bit long so I won’t describe it here. I have never had my own horse, but nowdays I am looking after two horses which owners don’t have enough time for their horses. So I take care of them, ride them, and so on. One of them is eighteen years old Hucul stallion called Jára, he hasn’t very simple character and often it is a little bit complicated to make understood with him. But I am not going to write here about me and Jára. It is another chapter ;) I would like to write about the next horse – ten years old gelding, Czech Warmblood called Merlin. He’s a beautiful, tall, white (grey) horse, very kind, with great character. I look after him more than seven months without his owner’s checks (I don’t want to analyse here how it is between me and Merlin’s owner, but to tell the truth I can be with Merlin next two months at the very most and then the owner will come again and I really don’t know how it will be then, I hope I will be able to look after him after it too, but I’m afraid nothing is certain). In the begining I tried getting to know him - I found out he is very kind so I rode him with a halter, without any bit. He answered very well so I sometimes rode him only with a cordeo. In that time I tought that any collection isn’t important. Merlin was happy because he hasn’t good experiences with a bit and I was happy because he was obedient without the bit too. In that time I have thought it is the best to ride a horse without a bridle. I have thought it is the best as for the horse as for the rider. I have thought the true friendship between a man and a horse can be perfect only with as few as possible equipment.
Suddenly, somewhere deep in me I felt that riding without everything (except saddle, of course, because it spread the rider’s weight) maybe wasn’t (and isn’t) the best. But why, why? Yeah, collection! I realized what does collection mean... I realized why is this good and now I think I can say important, too... I realized that I had fallen from the knotty and uncertain horsy way again.
I arised from the ground and tried to start again and better. I started to work with a bridle, with a bit. I thought that Merlin would be able to work collected when I used the bit. I hoped it would be better. It was since two months, I think. And it isn’t better at all. As I wrote, Merlin have bad experiences with a bit – he always turns his tongue upward over it. Always, even without any pressure on the bit. I tried to show him that the bit isn’t so bad, that he can follow it and that it is only a comunication instrument... No, no, no! Everything turned to the hell... Everything went wrong again. Again and again. He isn’t so responsive than he was and I feel he isn’t happy. He isn’t happy at all and I am not happy too! What is that awesome way when even the horse even the rider aren’t happy?!
A new fall from the knotty and uncertain horsy way again. And a new attempt to arise from the ground and start again and better. I had to do that so many times and everytime I put a question: WHAT is better?
Is there any better way to train the horse? Is there any way which is more pleasant as for the rider as for the horse? --- Is this the AND? Have I finally found what I was ever looking for? Or have I found the next shaky path from that I will fall again?
I am confused. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I am enough strong to start again. And if I am, how should I start? --- I don’t know if I am enough strong to work with Merlin according to the AND, in spite of it totally impressed me. I am not sure if I would do it right, because there is a big pressure on me in the stable – there are only people who find bits as a normal thing. And I don’t know if there’s any point to try it – still and all I have only two months with Merlin, then I should tell his owner what I do with him and why... I am not sure if I will be able to vindicate AND in face of the owner...
At the end of this chaotic text I would like to put a final question: Is the AND the way that I was ever looking for?
Excause me for this crazy text, but simply I must tell it to someone. I can keep it in me no longer.
Thank everyone for any reply.


PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6082
Location: Dresden, Germany
Hi Ellinor, welcome!! :)

Of course I can´t tell you if AND is the right way for you and your horses, but if you want to read more about collection and if reins are needed to achieve it, maybe you want to look into some threads here. We have a collection of topics that come up frequently and there you will find quite some discussions about collection and the role of reins.

Merlin is such a cutie and Jára sounds great too - I always wanted a Hucule when I was a child! :smile:

Warm Regards,

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Hello Ellinor,

You describe your struggle and uncertainty very eloquently. Your frustration comes through quite clearly.

I'd like to make a suggestion and an observation. The observation first.

When you have had time to, as Romy suggested, read through some of the AND discussion threads you will come to find, and I hope with some relief and encouragement, that what you are experiencing many of us have also experienced.

I found myself, a professional horseman so many years ago, seeking the same kinds of answers. I was not happy with what was being done to horses. I experimented, as you have done, with different ways. I had no one to guide me, and only vague clues as to how to be with the horse in what I felt was a more egalitarian (as equals) kind of way.

It interfered with my income, as I could no longer just train horses and turn them over to the owners. I insisted they take lessons from me, and lessons that explored alternatives to the orthodox ways of riding of those times. Naturally there were few who were interested.

So I left for over 30 years. Closer to 40 actually.

And two years ago I returned. And shortly after that I found AND. It had some of the answers I was seeking. Or rather, I should say, the AND members had many of the answers I was seeking.

Look for the discussions about training, ground work, and mounted work, daily training diaries, and especially what AND members have to say about the world of horse clinicians and why some appeal and some do not.

In the end the decisions are yours.

I hope you find what you are seeking; either here, or in further seeking.

My last suggestion? Be kind and patient with yourself just as you wish to be with the horse. Then you are ready to be that partner. Kind and patient. With yourself too.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie

Love is Trust, trust is All
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 788
hi there :D :D :D i loved your crazy text. it is great to hear someone pouring out their heart because of the love of horses. they have an ability to make you look inwards and question your very being. you sound to me to be a true horse lover, and i am sure that your path will lead you to where ever you need to be. i have a favorite saying at the moment, and i think it is especially good for someone like you, and it is "the journey is the adventure, not the destination"

i felt much like you only a little while ago, the anxitey of starting a new way, starting all over again, and feeling like a beginner again. i felt that i just wanted to be "there" already, and i wanted to rush it and have all the answers. till one day i opened my eyes while playing with my horse, and realised that the discovery of this new path, and the journey it had me on was the fun thing. it was exciting to not know what was around the corner, what was the next thing that i was going to find with my horse? oh it was great. so i opened my eyes and watched my horse love me enough to learn with me, and i loved it.

i also think that knowone can tell you wether this path is for you. i know that even though i still continue to suck peoples brins dry of all they know, this is still the path for me. and the way i knew it, was that i gave it a go, and i saw my horse open up to me and give all it had to give. this was what i wanted. so for you, all i can recomend is to read, watch videos, look at photos, and have a go. see what it feels like. sometimes you need to try on a pair of shoes and have a little walk in them befor you can tell if they are the right pair for you. so enjoy, open your mind a little, and dont see it as starting again, see it as adding to your knowledge a new chapter. you dont have to erase the chapters befor, you dont have to become a beginner, like it feels, but use what you have learned so far to dabble in new and interesting things and see what you like and what the horses you are with like too. by the looks of it, you already are starting with a good amount of knowledge and feel.

welcome to the forum, i hope that you discover what you want, but if not, i wish you well and hope that your journey leads you throught wonderful places and you can get all the enjoyment that i am having here. :yawn: :kiss:

just keep swimming, quote from nemo!:)
love jessy

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:29 am
Posts: 2
Location: Czech Republic
Thank you for welcome! :friends:

And thanks a lot for the replies. I think the best thing that I can do now is to read through some discussion threads here and then to behave as the best as I’ll see. As it was said, in the end the decisions are mine. But thanks a lot – your replies helped me on. Now I’m a little more sure it will be ok again. Maybe not tomorrow, but one day surely :f:
„The journey is the adventure, not the destination“ – that’s very nice saying, I’ll keep it in my mind :idea:

A little postscript for Romy: If you want, here are some photos of Jára 8) : click1 click2 click3 click4 click5 ... PS: Now he is white!! He's a half year brown and then he is a half year white - but he still has black legs, tail and mane and brown head :love: However, I haven’t got any photo of him with white coat :/

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:29 am
Posts: 1486
Location: Belgium

Welcome. I love your pics.
They are stunning!

I wish I knew your world

PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:01 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:44 pm
Posts: 1937
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Hi Ellinor,

Welcome over here :D
No worries, a suggestion, just focus on the hind instead of the head and look for a suited bitless bridle and read here ;). Just try to relax and think that a lot of us were in your shoes and it all turned out good (to my opinion ;) )

Kind regards



PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 3:44 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 7:51 pm
Posts: 2055
Location: Netherlands
And don't forget that many over here are still in your shoes as well!
Speaking for myself, I'm still frequently in doubt whether I'm doing things right, if it's okay to use a halter when running with the ponies, if our piaffe will ever become a real piaffe, if the ponies are truly happy, if if if...

I guess that for some of us doubt is our natural state of mind. The trick is to use the positive side of it in that doubt about the present often leads you to explore news ways to go to the future. And apparently your current doubt led you to AND which could be a road you'll follow for a longer or shorter time.

Anyway, your horses sound like great companions on your road, so just try to enjoy all the lessons and experiments you go through together! :smile:


New horse book: Mandala horses!

Never stop making mistakes! Natural Dressage

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