The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:14 pm 
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I sometimes use one of my horses for the lessons 'contact with horses'. Sometimes for people who have no experience with horses and sometimes experienced horse people who want to start a fresh so to speak.

I do the following:

I tell the horse in the morning that someone will come and needs to be taught.
I tell him that he could do that if they want to.

When the pupil has arrived I first stand in the court yard and explain about what I have learned the past 22 years about horse's culture and instinct.

Then we move close to the paddock were the horse resides of who I think is the best teacher for that person.

It is up to the horse then to come over and say hi.
When the horse says it is okay to join him in the paddock we or the pupil go on the say hello.
All on the horse's terms.
Then the horse and I show some interaction rules, like I do this and then he does... etc. just me doing 'stuff' and the free horse reacting if he chooses so. (he can also walk away of course :lol: but that actually never happens really).

Then it's the pupils turn. The beauty is this:
The horse decides the lesson completely and he decides when it's over.
I only translate on the side line what and why things are happening or going to happen...

I did not have complains yet from my horsey friends, on the contrary. :D
They seem to enjoy it.

Yes sometimes pupils start crying as the horse frees some sort of blokkade in them, or they simply free it themselves in order to move on in having contact with the horse... I am not entirely sure how that works.

I am not sure if therapy would or could work the same way?

Regards,

Josepha

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:32 pm
Posts: 10
I'm not sure if this is an old topic I'm reviving and if it is I'm sorry! I'd like to use a personal example of mine to demonstrate how I feel about this...

In grade school I had this really sarcastic teacher. Being the passive, quiet, trembling and naturally scared person that I am this teacher couldn't resist. He would wait by the door and then get down in my face, he'd boom his voice at me, he'd rub balloons on my head, he would pretend to pour water on me, etc. Of course, from none of this did I EVER benefit. I was always scared to go to class, afraid to meet him in the hall because he'd make jokes about me. Eventually, once I had decided I wasn't going to school anymore, my mom emailed in and told him basically to knock it off. Once he stopped forcing me to be interesting or funny, I came out of my "shell" a little bit and started offering jokes and allowing him to see the bolder, more exuberant side of me. This teacher, as I saw it, got just as much benefit from seeing how his behavior influenced mine and getting to know me than he ever would've gotten from just tormenting me and I was becoming more confident daily. So to sum up: If both sides get some sort of benefit, I see no harm in continuing to do things.

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:20 pm 
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Hi there, welcome, and please don't apologize for reviving a topic!

All ideas are interesting, and it's fabulous to see them resurface if they've gotten lost in conversation about other things. It's actually one of the things I love the most about have new people come to play!

And I think your story and its insights are lovely.

All the best,
Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:19 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Estonia, Tallinn
This discussion is interesting for me, because I personally am very interested in equine assisted forms of therapy. I must say that not every horse is suitable for therapy and there is many different forms of therapy also, some are good in one form, but not in another. Still, no matter, what is the therapy or activity with a horse about, it is always polite and proper to ask a horse if he/she wants to join in and help. The horses are very good at answering and a person who knows the horse can surely make a difference between yes or no. For example, I ask my horse every time, before I touch her, if it's okay with her. Because it's her body, not mine, she has the right to decide. And usually, if person's intentions are good and mind clear, the horse says yes. One form of therapy even evolves around getting horses to say yes to people...a person has to be really honest about his/her feelings for that and not hide anything. Those therapy horses act as a really clear mirrors in that case. They reflect back humans emotions and subconscious thoughts. All horses do that (some more, some less). This process is also very interesting to the horse, not only to the person his reflecting. The horse is joining in to help the person to understand his/he fears and face them. Another kind of therapy, of course, is for the children/people with special needs. Now that kind of therapy is usually emotionally very exhausting for the horse and he/she has to rest and really get to decide if she/he is up to it. Horses like to help (if they themselves are healthy and taken care of). And actually, there has been cases when autistic children have had very deep and profound contacts with horses - those encounters are enlightening for both sides! I see everything that people and horses do together as a symbiotic thing. We learn together, we develop...we are there for each other. I have also read Linda Kohanov's books and I find them VERY interesting reading. I also agree, that there has to be present at least one person who puts horses welfare above everything else. I also think that there should be present another person who puts child's welfare above everything else - if there is a person for both sides of therapy, then we can be sure that everything is in its right place and everybody are happy with the situation.
In conclusion, I must highlight again: ASK your horses. They will tell you. You just have to know how to listen and one who starts giving therapy sessions must surely know one's horses that well to understand them. And I say horses, because if one of them says no and you don't have any other horse to ask, you have to send the client back home. : )

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 3:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:11 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Barcelona
I love this topic as i have been intressted in horse therapy for some time now
As we just bought a farm and will move there this may i wanted to do
this with my horses( after a lot of training from my side of cours)
i think every horse is suitable, but its his choise. Sometimes horses which
never seem to care about helping might meet the right person and
suddently start helping.

For me this is not something i need to do for money and there for
we wont have any pressure. After a lesson they can rest as long as
they feel like. For me the horse is the most important. We have one
grupe of horses living togethe ( mares and a stallion ( which soon will
be operated to cut his tubes), because we think that they are heathiest
when living in a complete gruop.
I also believe that we should not forget how much horses can learn from
us. This works in two ways.

Funny about the asking to touch. I thought about it, but if my boyfriend
or my friends keep asking if the could touch me, i'd be insane by now
( this not meant as a critic, but more as sharing a thought) if u dont know
a horse, yes! I wouldnt want a strager to start touching me;), i think that if
you know a horse u'll know if its in the mood for some love:) or exitment

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:19 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Estonia, Tallinn
Absolutely...and you, knowing your horse, can read a sign when she really isn't in the mood. But all the strangers, they need to ask...or I ask for them. And Ronja gives an answer. Sometimes she needs more time to look at the people from the distance and sometimes not. I always get the right moment and there hasn't been a visitor yet that Ronja won't allow even after a little time. It is all about mutual respect. But when we are to use a horse for therapy, then it's absolutely important that every client respects our horse and that the horse gives permission.

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
Posts: 760
Thanks for reviving this topic. I think about this a lot. I'm trying to encourage some people on another forum right now to take advantage of all the physical and emotional benefits that come from being around our animals. They have so much to offer us and so many people still have no idea that their therapist already lives in their house. :funny: :cheers: :cheers: :f:
Birgit


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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:56 am 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:11 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Barcelona
I do agree completely. Respect from both sides is the most important thing
therapists aré all around us. Our animals and all the people we meet.
As long as u aré aware of urself, tour teachers aré everywhere:)

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 2:26 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
If you click on the link I think you will enjoy this provocative letter from Chuck Mintzlaff
Heart_of_Equus
http://whydoesmyhorse.co.uk/phpBB2/view ... 54cf08bf4a


This is Chuck's website, I hope Jo and FuzzleWoo will write up their experiences of his programme.
http://thenaturalhorse.org/
Really thought provoking articles on this site, written as best he can manage from the horse's point of view....
and this is what Chuck applies "use" for:-
Immediate Intervention Therapy
The Official Texas Pony Express is an Immediate Intervention Equitherapy program designed specifically to help severely abused children immediately after Child Protective Services places them in a crisis center or shelter. The program has numerous goals: (1.) Allow access to the second level of the five levels of human/equine bonding. (2.) Nullify existing trauma. (3.) Provide a physical/emotional niche from the outside world and the opportunity to become one of those elite humans referred to as "mounted." (4.) Create/enhance self esteem, self-confidence and assertiveness. (5.) Instill life/survival skills through program lessons that directly correlate to their interactions with the horses. (6.) Create a substantial base for future EAP/EFP therapy.
(7.) Instill appreciation and respect for the horse, interactive horsemanship skills and safety procedures. (8.) Create opportunities for therapists to reach a client that would not be readily accessible through verbal therapy by offering interactive metaphors and correlations to real life issues and treatment.

Articles acclaiming the program have been written in the Dallas Morning News, the Ellis County Press, Cowboys and Indians magazine, City and Country Pets, Today Newspapers and Dr. Laura Schlessinger's "Perspective."

Letters of referral from various shelters, pastors, therapists, Boys and Girl's Clubs, Dallas Coalition on Character and Values, Sierra Club, Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation, and other reputable individuals and organizations can be faxed or emailed. A radio interview on 6/23/01 on the Rick Lamb "Horse Show" about the training and our program can be heard at: http://www.thehorseshow.com/banner.html

Therapists, foster parents or supervised adults working with an abused child are extended an open invitation. In ten years of operation, we have never charged a fee for our services, relying completely on our own initiative and private donations. Below is the Training Evaluation all program horses must pass before any interaction with their young clients is allowed.
OTPE Equine Training Evaluation ©


(Adolescent/Equine Group Interaction)

The following evaluation was developed as a minimal guideline for horses interacting with children between the ages of six and seventeen utilizing group Immediate Intervention Equitherapy. It was developed for the sole purpose of minimizing physical and/or emotional trauma caused by negative interaction between horse and client and is quintessential for any type of adolescent/equine group function. It was not created as an ultimate evaluation, but rather, a minimum standard of training/preparation for independent interaction. The Official Texas Pony Express ETE is a simple guideline of interactions that the horse must learn to accept as commonplace, to protect the children from their own lightning-quick impulsive, emotional actions and reactions. Though difficult to believe, it is an established fact that, as adults, we seem to be unable to predict exactly what a child will do next when interacting with the horse! While Friendship Training Methods are not mandatory to produce highly acceptable results, it has, in general, been found to be more efficient and easier on both the horse and the human than traditional training formats. Specific items such as “sheet over the head,” “gunshots,” etc. may be added if applicable for a specific program. Example; horses used on a trail-ride/ camping trip would be conditioned to flapping bedding, clothing, pup tents etc. in the event of an unexpected high wind or storm. Again, it is to be regarded as only the most basic of minimum standards necessary for any adolescent/equine group interaction. It is taken for granted that the final judgment of whether a horse is ready to independently interact with any group of children on any given day, lies with the handler/trainer of that particular horse. Each horse has its’ own individual overreaction and sensitivity to flying insects, gusts of wind, seasonal changes, abnormally windy days, barometric and humidity changes, estrous, recent ascension or descension in herd rank, chronic, mild but initially undetectable colic, preference to male or female riders and numerous other factors beyond normal observation or control. The old saying “Know Your Horse” should obviously be escalated to a new level of meaning and significance in any type of group adolescent/ equine program if the safety and welfare of each child we serve demands the same degree of responsibility as the next, sacred.

I found Chuck' articles a few years before I found AND, I think they share much in common and perspective



http://hometown.aol.com/texasponyexpress/
oops that is gone because there was no funding for otpe website, hope the people he helps know how to find him

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/piepony/


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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:32 am
Posts: 31
Location: Douglas, MA
Helene E wrote:
I do agree completely. Respect from both sides is the most important thing
therapists aré all around us. Our animals and all the people we meet.
As long as u aré aware of urself, tour teachers aré everywhere:)


Amen! :applause:

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www.thepenzancehorse.com
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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Location: New York
My friend Cara is the program director at an amazing program called The Medicine Horse.

This is an article from their trainer/volunteer coordinator on

http://www.medicinehorse.org/mindful.html

Here's how it begins...
Quote:
Over-Mastered By Matt Condon

A friend of mine once presented a series of classes entitled, "Nine Rules for Successful Parenting." Then he had children. He changed it to "Nine Guidelines..." After his second child was born, he presented a third series entitled, "Nine Suggestions That Might Work In Some Situations for Some Children... Sometimes."

One of our problems is that we think we know stuff. I have an undergraduate and a graduate degree in religious studies. If you'd have asked me a question about religion 15 years ago, I could have told you the answer, decisively and authoritatively. I went back to school recently and received another masters in communication studies. What I discovered is how little I know about communication. I'm now about to plunge into the study of Buddhism, and experience has taught me that I'll probably not be enlightened when I finish. No doubt I'll have even more questions than when I started.

In his book "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" Suzuki-roshi wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that if an "expert" is presented with a problem, his options for a solution are limited. If a child is presented with the same problem, his horizons are limitless.


He talks about a lot of things that we talk about here.

Just thought this was lovely and so nice to see in the context of a program that is about therapy -- for both horses and humans. One of their really successful programs has been pairing Premarin foals with teenagers who are struggling.

:f:
Leigh

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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:20 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:53 am
Posts: 4
Diane,

The topic of "using" horses for therapy has long been debated with EAGALA methods almost ignoring the horse as a sentient being and instead promoting exercises designed to draw awareness to the client all the while asking the horse to engage in completely unnatural situations ("temptation alley" is one, where the horse is led through a chute full of grain and hay and the client has to "keep the horse away" from this).

As a practitioner of Equine Facilitated Therapy, and long term dressage competitor, I have a really hard time with these methods-as I'm sure the horses do. My preference is to simply allow the horse to have a relationship with a person and interpret his responses back to the person (interpreted from the position of the horse-a herd animal with independent thought, motive etc)

I'm glad you brought up this topic-it is a worthy one!

Sincerely,
Claire Dorotik M.A., author, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE:Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond
www.clairedorotik.com


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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
clairedorotik wrote:
Diane,

The topic of "using" horses for therapy has long been debated with EAGALA methods almost ignoring the horse as a sentient being and instead promoting exercises designed to draw awareness to the client all the while asking the horse to engage in completely unnatural situations ("temptation alley" is one, where the horse is led through a chute full of grain and hay and the client has to "keep the horse away" from this).

As a practitioner of Equine Facilitated Therapy, and long term dressage competitor, I have a really hard time with these methods-as I'm sure the horses do. My preference is to simply allow the horse to have a relationship with a person and interpret his responses back to the person (interpreted from the position of the horse-a herd animal with independent thought, motive etc)

I'm glad you brought up this topic-it is a worthy one!

Sincerely,
Claire Dorotik M.A., author, ON THE BACK OF A HORSE:Harnessing the Healing Power of the Human-Equine Bond
http://www.clairedorotik.com


You have undoubtedly quickly spotted the potentials in an AND approach that depends less on control and more on seeking a more companion style relationship with the horse.

Other than how to control, and often poorly at that, the horse may have less therapeutic, possibly even counter therapeutic aspects than what may come from exploring a new kind of relationship, animal to human.

It may be that in having to relate as a companion rather than a one way control over another we find ourselves having to learn to control ourselves as much or more than controlling the other.

The archived posts in various folders in the AND forum are packed with just such accepted and self imposed controls.

As in more valued human relationships we cannot easily throw away the other as we build our bond, our attachment to our horse.

If I were to have to come up with the main point in AND horse to human relationship I think it would have to be the development of empathy. Empathy in the clinical humanistic Rogerian sense.

Again and again you'll find when an AND member makes a major relationship breakthrough with their horse and their relationship empathy played a part, a considerable part.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:20 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Having just scrolled through Claire's website and read the description and excerpt from
"No Secret So Close" I am amazed at her motivation to get through college.
This lady has certainly walked the walk along the toughest path of life experience, that perhaps enhances her ability to empathise with those who seek the treatments she offers.
Running and riding at high competition levels, recognising the nutritional requirements as well as human want for accomplishments recognised, understanding the healing offered by her own herd buddies, becoming a relationship counsellor having expeirenced the worst extreme of relationship breakdown, ....life sure gave Claire a lot of unlettered qualifications in preparation for the services she offers.
Great honesty, motivation, accomplishment and yet free of self pity, anger, resentment, jealousy, bitterness and other self destructive toxins. Claire, your horses have given you wonderful healing and you managed to listen and learn, then offer help. :applause: :f:

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/piepony/


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 Post subject: Re: Horses for Therapy
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:04 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
Posts: 43
My dear friend works with EAGALA. I don't feel this is good but we can talk together and every one can tell what he thinks.
She doesn't favor my way, I don't favor her way, but still we are friends :)
I remember when she asked me first time: "if someone was crying and sad do you take him to your horses to help him that he could stop cry?" And then, I said "No!, Never!". It was few years ago, but still we are friends :)
This is EAGALA:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGZ3nvEG7Oc&list=PL9D5968323A313452&index=4
My friend's think that she hepls people and horses are happy and free there because they have always free choise and they can express themselves all the time and are not forced to do anything. Simply they are. She is very involved in this and she loves this.
My opinion is that horses are very lost and confused there. I can see it even on this very short vidio. These horses have an internal pain and they don't know how to express it, and each session worsens their emotional state. To Eagala they choose only calm and shy horses, the reason is that open and brave horse could be very agressive near people which are not aware of what the horse really is and about how much they have influence on horses. For me this is always immoral :roll:
I writte this here because I know that I can, because my friend knows my opinion.


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