The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Ok, I will tell you more about Tachat. But then I need to tell you about Wodan first.
Warning: it will be a long story...

For the pictures I just realised that I put some on another horse site before (which I left because of the constant nagging of people :evil: :evil: - contrary to this site :cheers: ).
I hope it works what I've done:

http://www.paardnatuurlijk.nl/cgi-bin/f ... cgi?id=876

Wodan is the small bay horse, Tachat is the giant bay horse, Billy is the whitish (roan?).
Gauda was not on the scene yet when I put these pictures there, so for her you still need to wait a little.

Here's the story.
It happened 8yrs ago. I finally decided that I wanted to learn horse riding, since I had told myself at my 15 already that one day I would have my own horse.
I was 43 in the meantime...
So I went to a riding school where I did not find what I was looking for, at least concerning the 'handling' of horses. It was the classical way there with a lot of dominance, hurt and so on. We all know the picture, not good.

What I did find there was this young colt, Wodan, 2yrs old, who had been in a little stable standing for more that 1yr already.
Somebody had deposited him there the year before with the message: it is a present for person X, they will come and fetch him later.
But nobody every came... Finally he was not 'worth' the money to come and pick him up again!
(You can already see the kind of people he came from...)
So for the rest of the summer he was put on a prairie with another foal and his mum. By fall they put him in the smallest stable they had and that was where he had been since. But I fell in love with his beautiful eyes (always beware to look in a horse's eyes!) and rescued him from there. Just in time because he had to go to the market for slaughter otherwise because 'he was only taking space and was only a cost - did not make any money'.

So here I was with one colt of 2yrs old, me knowing nothing about horses but willing to learn it all - but only in a good way.
I knew what I did not want, but did not know where I had to be for what I wanted. Luckily I met someone who did, so had lots of courses afterwards.
I very quickly moved Wodan to a farm near my house where he could be out in the pasture with lots of other horses to grow up.

The farmer knew I wanted to learn riding and I could not do that on such a young horse, so a few weeks later he took me to a horse seller, where Tachat stood, for sale at slaughter price. I thought he went there for a horse for him, silly me... :blonde:
The guy said he was no good anymore for the jumping, but for walks he was 'allright'.
He was 5yrs old and had been badly injured, had lots of scars on his hind. He had a 'hanetred', I think they call it 'haltspring' if I remember in English.
It makes him move his leg far too high up because he does not sense how far he is. Than he puts it down with a big smack.
So when he walks it goes : trip, trip, trip, ... bang!
In trot you could hardly see anything, galopping he did perfectly.
I just only made a small walk on him in the wood nearby, while the guy was leading him (I could hardly ride), and tried a little trot in the ring.
He jumped me out of the saddle with each step... to me this was 100.000 volts under my behind! He was really not the kind of horse I had in mind...
When I came off him, I brought him back to his very low stable, he could not even keep his head up in there.
And I talked to him (I have this bad habit), asking him if HE thought it was a good idea to become my horse and come home with me?
You know what? He nodded :yes:
I just stood there, did not know what to say next. You can't tell a horse it was only a joke, can you?
So that is how Tachat chose me. Ever since then I am allowed to take care of him :huh:

But I did not want to ride him as long as he had this problem, it was very bad on the left hind leg. The right side was better but still...
Sometimes he lifted his leg soo high that I thought he would fall over. It brought tears to my eyes each time!

I called a few vets to check on him - they said there is no known cure for his problem. And from the scars it looked like they operated him already on both sides.
This got confirmed by my cousin in Canada who is a vet, specialised in acupuncture for horses. He said this problem can be put in one word: frustrating.
It can get a bit better but the chances that it would go away were almost zero. Anyone saying the opposite is telling lies... He proved right.

So I had just made a very good purchase there :thumright: a young injured horse that could not be cured!

I tried everything anyway: he stayed for 6 months in a place where he was treated with some herbal product which takes the acidity out of the body. He had to be sprayed first with 1:50 and had warm showers twice a day afterwards. Then after some time 1:20, 1:10 and so on untill they could use the pure product one day.
With always the warm showers to wash off whatever sweat he poured out.
He looked a lot better afterwards, his eyes looked softer, his body had become soft (he was all stiff when I got him) and he walked just a little bit better. :huh:
So later on we tried osteo, bach blossoms, homeopathy, acupuncture, ordinary massage, shiatsu, Reiki, Buchi (another energy technique), Ttouch, you name it.
Everything I found out about, I tried. :roll: He is the most expensive horse I could ever buy!

He now walks better than ever before, but it is still 'trip, trip, trip, ... and a lighter bang!'
On even ground, like on the street, he walks better.
Cold and wet waether makes him walk worse again (enjoy Belgium!), as well as when he is unsure about the ground.
My personal feeling is that now we have done everything physically which can be done. Maybe if I could become his personal shrink, we might still get a bit further. But he is 13 now and I have come to terms with how he is. As he has. My biggest problem with him now is to keep his hoves well... I want to do that the natural way also, and want to do it myself, but my God, it is killing my back!

It is not extremely fun to ride him as you feel almost on a camel when he walks... :ieks:
But he is the leader of the gang and no horse takes offence to his funny step!

So he has mostly been 'horse', almost never having to work (I did that instead, till my burnout...), he just could have fun on the prairie. :yes:


You bet that now I take care what to say to animals... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 11:31 pm 

Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Lake Chapala Mexico
Hey AMA,
I also just joined this board and think it's going to be just great.

What a story you just shared! You certainly have a lot of heart and your horses are lucky to have you.
They all looked real happy romping in that pasture. My horses would be sooooo jealous. We have nothing like that here in Mexico.

Were you ever able to continue in your riding lessons with someone you found suitable? No one ever comes down here. If I were in the States, I would be a clinic junkie, I'm sure, ha!

So I just keep pouring over the internet and watch UTubes and get what I can, but I'm thrilled to have discovered this site.

Pat


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 3:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Hello Pat,
Welcome aboard!
I wish we both will find a very nice path on this forum, to the joy of our horses!

Well, as far as riding is concerned, I did not really find what I was looking for.
That, in combination with some health probs, made that I just enjoyed my horses on the ground.
The last 3-4 yrs I may have been on them (don't dare to call it 'ridden' anymore) only a dozen of times.

But through this forum I got in touch with Cynthia Royal. She lives in the US, but I ordered her dvd's 'Horse Talk Relationship' and 'Horse Talk Bridleless'.
I got them just last Friday, so far I have studied about half an hour of the first dvd.
I will put a full review under a new topic item when I've studied it fully.

But so far I can already say that this seems to me the closest I ever found to how I want to work and ride.
I have learned further details about human-horse language that go just this step further than all other teachers I ever had.
(Not that there were dozens, but at least half a dozen.)
It confirms also to me that it will be my horses that teach me to ride, not a human teacher. The latter will only be able to tell me how to sit well and so on.
But the feeling of moving together in harmony, can only come from my horse itself.

But than I guess you/I have to find the teacher on your/my level, not meaning riding level but vibration level.
And that level grows with your own growth, that is why you will always keep on looking for more (at least if you wish to evolve).

Who knows, maybe one day I will actually be able to ride the way I always wanted to...

And you too! Wish you lots of success.


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 5:29 pm 

Joined: Sat May 09, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Lake Chapala Mexico
Hi AMA,
Looks like you and I are on the same wavelength as well as most of the people on this list from what I gather. I also have not been riding my horses all that much due to one thing or another. My goal is also to do bareback and bridleless.

Once I finally am able to get my horses to load in my truck, I will be going to a facility 20 min from here where the lady has a bunch of enclosed and big riding areas. One of them is a dressage ring with mirrors and I plan to take some lessons from her. There I will feel safe. It will probably blow her mind when I tell her what my actual goal is (won't do that right away tho). She's a Grand Prix la de da, is going to try and qualify for the Pan Am games coming up here in 2010.

I have done "some" riding of both horses bareback and really loved it but want to be in a more safe area to continue, even stood up on them and that was way cool!!!!!!! :yes:

What you just wrote about Cynthia I shall now investigate. I have not heard of her. Will love to hear when you watch those DVD's and wheat you think. Sometimes when you spend the money and order stuff, you can be disappointed.

Pat


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Hi again,

I promised I would give my impressions of the Cynthia Royal dvd's.
So far I have gone through the first one only, Horse Talk Relationships.

Those expecting beautiful shots of a lady in white on a white horse, will be happy with the intro.
But don't expect any of that in the rest of the no-nonsense basics of friendship and leadership.
I have to admit that I was amazed at what I learned from that in less than one hour time.
Well, the dvd takes about that long but I studied it alltogether already for about 5hrs or so. Really want to be sure to see and understand all the different reactions of the horses she demonstrates with.

Over the last 8yrs I have seen many clinics, visited workshops, studied books of major horse-guru's, done Parelli, started clicker, you name it what else and yet, from her teaching I learned another approach to my horses, or actually it was more I learned to read their answers better.
Or was it an eye-opener maybe and I was only ready for it now?

It is all in the very little details, you should not go over the dvd too fast. That's how I learned some more of the inner nature of the horse.
Afterwards it seems all so obviously, but still why did never any other teacher give me this insight?

I realised that a lot of what she tells, I was already doing but without really understanding the horses' reactions to it.
I sometimes thought they were really funny (from a human standpoint), but actually they were telling me things that I did not understand - and hence reacted in a non-horsey (human) way.
With the wrong effect to what I had in mind of course.

Parallel I started reading JessPlum's diary on this forum.
Also thanks to the good vibrations I got from reading through her full 30 pages (with lots of pics and video's), I got the itch to actually start playing again with my horses. Something I had not done anymore for a long time, due to health problems.
But basically also I realised from Jessy that I should not consider it 'working' but 'playing' and that any smallest reaction should be rewarded.
She sure had an eye-opener there for a workoholic burnout person... I love you Jess! :kiss:

I must say the combination of those two 'teachers' has given me a new swing into the dreams I have about me and my horses.

I have not started a diary yet, so give you two examples of what I considered a major breakthrough in a couple of days:

- Billy, my white/gray gelding (who is a bit of the raskal in the herd - has not stolen his name: Billy the Kid) allowed me for the first time in his life to sit on his back while he had a rest in the grass. He did not oppose to that at all and stayed really relaxing. I was allowed to do that on two occasions the same afternoon.
Funny remark: a little later when I continued picking up the droppings, he came near me (as he does so often) but this time he put his head on my shoulder, as to say: I like relaxing with you, you can rely on me, I rely on you too!
It was such a warm and intense moment, it really made my day. :love:
Later that day we did some chase the tiger and the walking in sync, which he did so well that we managed a trot soon after.
It made him feel so happy, he bucked like a young foal from happiness, just as he does when he is playing with his 'brothers' in the first spring-sunshine.
My day was really complete than!

- The next day Tachat, who is my 'invalid' horse and a real hell to pick up his feet, surprised me completely!
He is the leader of the herd, so I did the leadership rituals with him just as Cynthia explained. It took him a while to accept me as the proper leader above him.
He is a giant and I am only a little lady and he could always take advantage of his height to 'ignore' me if he did not want to cooperate. Especially with giving his feet, which had become a nightmare for me, since I want to be able to treat the hooves myself.
Well that afternoon, we had our rituals with the taking space with the food and insisting on eye contact. As he was so sure of himself he did not keep eye contact with me at all for a while. But we continued the rituals and I compared his behaving with the examples I had seen on the dvd. A little later he started to respond that yes, I was his leader and he would keep an eye on me or else I could steal his food.
His reward was that he had a very nice meal that day, so he was still happy. :yes: this is the better way to exercise.

But the biggest surprise of all came just a little later when I asked his front feet. I got both of them with very little effort! As if to say: you finally got it, how to show that you are the leader, now I accept it. I did not keep his foot for long though but I praised him so much and gave him some more carrots as a treat.

This was for me a second day in a row where I felt there was something changed in our relationship, for the better.
I will be so happy being able to do his feet myself, as I hope that this regularly effort, will be better for his back-end.
Maybe we can even do some more happy exercises than, which I now always held back for him, not knowing if it did him any good.
I really love that horse and would like to see him as any other 'normal' horse without always seeing him as the invalid.
(It always amazed me anyhow that he always managed to be the leader of the herd, even though he has this handicap.)
I will still let him choose whether or not to do things, just like with lifting his feet. But his yes/no will have a different ground now.

I always felt somehow that Tachat is my teacher, he is a Belgian warmblood, was a top jumper at 4yrs old (which then got wrecked over the next year by some top level pro's) and I always considered him far too 'good' for me, who cannot even ride properly.
Maybe we never will, but I sure will learn a lot from him now.

With my special thanks to this forum, which made me discover Cynthia as well as Jess and so many other lovely people, searching to have a free-friendship with their horses and get onto the same vibes with them! :applause:

Who knows, I might even start a diary one day...


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:45 pm
Posts: 788
hey there, i actually read something!!! wow!!! amazing for me at the moment :D :D :D my brain wont settle enought to read lately, but i forced myself. :funny: not too hard though, because it was nice to read :blush: :D :blush: :D i am glad that you are discovering that feeling. i love when you can feel the horse change towards you. it is a momentouse moment!!!! :cheers: congratulations. :love: :thumleft: i am glad that you are noticing that it is play. as soon as i took the focus off the "training" and stoped thinking about an agenda, then it all started to happen. :D i still had struggles alot with my brain wanting to "train train train" but i have moved past that now. and it is much less daunting. actually i was able to play with 6 horses yesterday, and that is great for me in winter! :applause: i had so much fun, because i dont care anymore about other peoples expectations, what the horse gives me is what i am interested in, and it sounds as though you have reached that too! :love: :love: :love: it is amazing that something that people take for granted, like picking up feet, can mean so much when you have a horse offer this that has otherwise had issues. doesnt it fill you with a feeling that nothing else can! :love: :love: :love: :love:

i do think that you should start a diary. it is great fun. and even if you think that you will not be able to enter much, i promise, now you are on this path, you will find things to put in there. :love: :love: :love: i found thirty pages!! and that is just one of my diaries!LOL :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: i cant wait till you put some photos on. you will need to open a photobucket account. that is the easiest i found, there are others, but i dont know what they are called.

anyway, i will check in on your diary soon. loads of love

:love: :love: :love: jessy :love: :love: :love:

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


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:39 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
I finally made it... I hope! :blush:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HYoAe0cDtNX5KvWP75zabQ?feat=directlink

Today is a very special day! I managed to create a Picasa web album! :cheers:
Hurrah, now I will finally be able to post pictures of my beauties!
At least, I can show you the link... still have not found out how some people have the pictures straight away in their post...

But I am so proud of myself now :applause: :funny:

_________________
Kind regards,

AnneMarie

------
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
And if you want to see all of my beauties, I added all now:

http://picasaweb.google.com/11.21.mieke ... directlink

_________________
Kind regards,

AnneMarie

------
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:04 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
Nice to see them again! :) Here is a tiny little 7 seconds video of the fluffy one (unfortunately my camera can´t take pictures anymore), so that you can all see her in her full beauty... actually that´s the only video I took during all my time in Belgium last week. :blush:


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Hey, this video is so nice! I would like to download it and keep it on my laptop! Just don't know how to... :blush:
And a very good quality picture as well, I should have brushed her first to get her in all her glory :funny:

Thank you very much Romy!

PS: I have started my diary finally (thanks to you, I could not leave you without notice of the progression of 'our' beloved ones), you can find it under 'the wonderful world of Arkama'.
Just did it today (could not do much else because of terrible pain in back/shoulder so had to stay put), but I will write tomorrow about our steps with Billy (and the others) up till now.
I will post the few videos and pictures I have of you on there also, even though on one of them I cut your head off :blush:
:love: :love: :love:

_________________
Kind regards,

AnneMarie

------
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:50 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6076
Location: Dresden, Germany
AMA wrote:
Hey, this video is so nice! I would like to download it and keep it on my laptop! Just don't know how to... :blush:


I sent it to Jan´s email address as I don´t have yours.

Great that you have started a diary, looking forward to reading more about your cuties.

Warm Regards,
Romy


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 Post subject: Re: Wotabi and Gauda
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:11 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Thank you very much Romy!

I will send you my emailadress in a pm.

Am in the process of uploading my first video's (about you!) for my diary.
It is quite an adventure for me :funny:

_________________
Kind regards,

AnneMarie

------
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...


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