I was so excited when I found this forum the other day - because a lot of the exercises etc. I've been reading about here are ones that I thought I'd invented. I didn't think that "my" way of being with horses was this widespread, and I can't wait to learn more from people with the same philosophy as me!
So, I'll try to introduce myself without getting too long and boring. My name is Sara, and I live in Tanzania, East Africa. I've lived here for about a year now, and previously, I've stayed in Sweden, Canada and Japan. I learnt to ride at the local pony club when I was nine, and I never had a horse of my own, but I've had the opportunity to work with many fantastic horses and ponies - some of which came especially close to my heart.
The first one of these was Indra, a sensitive and strong mare with the size of a pony, and the mentality of a horse. She had been deemed crazy by a lot of people who had seen her at shows or at the barn where she lived, but she was all my friend and I could find and afford when we decided to lease a horse. (Our parents knew nothing about horses, or they would probably not have agreed to any of it.) My friend and I were both about eleven, and both of us had never ridden outside of the weekly lesson at the pony club. We had Indra for almost a year, during which I without realizing it developed my way of being with horses. It was probably part luck, and part our innocent (or just unknowing) way of handling her without demanding much, but at the end of that year, Indra had become a completely different horse. The stubborn pony who without warning could take off in an unstoppable gallop, and who'd basically always turn her back when you walked up to her in the stable had turned into an amazing friend we could take on hacks without a bridle and who'd come cantering when we went go get her in the field.
The second horse that was special to me was a tiny, fat and black shetland pony called Musse. I'd put out an ad about wanting a pony to work with, and his owner sent me an email asking if I wanted to come see her horses. Musse was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, and he loved learning. With him, I "invented" Chasing the Tiger (though I had no name for it), and he learnt tricks I don't even know how I taught.
The third, and most special up to today, was Rayhan. I had just moved into a new house, and in my neighbor's pasture I found the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. He was a white Arab, and my neighbor had barely had him for a week when I found him. He had been horribly treated by the previous owner, and he was just skin and bones, with mane and tail completely scratched off. Whenever anyone tried to approach him, he would completely panic, and he hadn't been ridden in more than six years. What I did to gain his trust is a story too long to tell here, but he came to be my very best friend - a horse that I loved more than I even like most people.
Unfortunately, the owner and I did not get along too well, and after two and a half years, I had no choice but to leave my darling. About a year after that, I moved to Tanzania. I live at a boarding school here, and I have eight wonderful horses to work with. My favorite is a sweet chestnut pony called Penelope, and she is probably the horse I will be writing the most about on here.
Well, this ended up being a lot longer than I'd planned, but if you've read it all, thank you