The Three Mees

 

Did you know that there are three versions of you?

The one you think you are,

The one other people think you are,

And the one that you really are.

 

The cool trick is to unify all three versions of you.

 

 

How do you view your horse?

People who know me will know that I am an EET  Level 3, a Positive Reinforcement trainer and I follow as closely as I can the Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderups’ training ideals. Anyone who follows Bent Branderup will perhaps have heard him ask “How does your horse view you?” and this is a very valid question indeed, as your horses’ view of you is the only really important view.

But I want to turn this question on its head and ask ” How do you view your horse?”

Do you think that your horse is stubborn? Do you think your horse is lazy? Do you think your horse is quiet? Do you think your horse is dominant? Do you think your horse is unpredicatable? Do you think your horse is stupid? Do you think your horse is an introvert? Do you think your horse is an extrovert? Do you think your horse is quiet ?

 

Pain can make a horses’ emotions APPEAR – angry, stubborn, lazy, stupid, quiet, unpredictable, dominant, extroverted or introverted .

Fear can make a horses’ emotions APPEAR – angry, stubborn, lazy, stupid, quiet, unpredicatable, dominant, extroverted or introverted.

Misunderstanding of your communications can make your horses’emotions APPEAR – angry, stubborn, lazy, stupid, quiet, unpredicatable, dominant, extroverted or introverted.

 

It is too simplistic to use labels, and labels tend to stigmatise and stick. It is too easy to fall into the trap of over generalisation.

Labels like “stubborn”, “lazy” or “dominant” “quiet” etc etc make a tidy and easy pigeon hole to use, but they could prevent you from having a balanced relationship with your horse that is in the moment. Each interaction must be judged independantly and all of these moments –  if they are managed well,  will build up be step by step what you are capable of together, to create a confident relationship, built on trust.

The emotions behind your horses’ behaviours will only apply at some points while you are together.  Observe and take note of your horses’ emotions when freely interacting with other horses, both at times of low stress with no food resource guarding challenges, and also when there is some percieved anxiety, stress or food/resource guarding urges.

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Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup

 

 

Some of you will know that I host clinics with currently accredited and certified Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup trainers here at my home “Stonehaven” in Somerset.

It is a lot of work to organsie and co-ordinate these clinics, but I do them for two reasons:

  1. Because I  continue to be fascinated over the years with learning to understand how Bent works horses, how his current accredited trainers  evolve and are being taught very accurately and in great detail over time but are encouraged to retain their own identity. This is because he is not interested in quantity of trainers, he prefers quality and this ensures that their depth of knowledge as trainers is kept current and therefore they do not require a script to follow; they are not clones.
  2.  Because I think that more humans and horses in UK should have the opprotunity to learn to this humane, gentle and consistent step by step approach to training and riding horses. There are currently no Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup Trainers in UK.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I am hosting a Masterclass series of Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup clinics, which will consist of 3 x Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup clinics, held in May, July and September, with Ylvie Fros teaching in May and September and Kathrin Branderup in July. The Masterclass series are already fully subscribed and there were sufficient numbers signed up to require organising them to  be run as double (back to back) clinics over the course of the Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays in each of the 3 months.  This will give all of the riders  a really good chance to learn more detail and subtlety with their work and keep up the momentum of learning input to progress themselves and their horses better during this time.

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

I also do have an open clinic being run during the weekend of June 23rd 24th with Monika Sanders who is another very experienced and sensitive Academic Art of Riding by Bent Branderup trainer who famously rode and adored Bents blind Knabstrupper, Filur for many years. I am now opening this clinic to take bookings on a strtictly first come first serve basis, with a deposit of £100 securing your rider place. This clinic will also be open to theory students and will cost £290 for a rider place and £80 for theory student place.

 

Healing and Horses

Ask yourself in your relationship with your horse, “who is healing who?”

You may find that the larger amount of healing is being done by the horse for your benefit, than there is being done by you for your horses benefit.

Of course it would be perfect for the relationship to be reciprocal, so that both of you can benefit and there is no taker and no giver in the relationship, but a healthy balance between the two.

Are you a taker or a giver? Are you feeding a horse so that the horse can feed your ego?

Who is healing who with you and your horse?

The Mindful Horse

Horse care that you care.  They don’t get caught up in egos and they are naturally mindful.

Like Vipassana Meditation, they have innate and intense seeing.

 

Be more Horse.

 

 

 

Teaching Fish to Swim. All about my Fox

When you train a typical Iberian horse, there is no need to teach that kind of horse how to be round and collected because they are born knowing how to do this and they are biomechanically set up for this kind of movement. These kinds of horses usually need to learn how to stretch out, relax and let go of the neck and withers and take longer lower steps.

When you are training a typical Thoroughbred, Warmblood, or Draught horse type, there is no need to train these horses how to push powerfully forwards with their hind legs, they are born knowing how to do this and are biomechanically set up to make this easy for them. They need to learn to become more round, and bring their hind legs underneath them more to help lift them off their forehands.

Teaching horses to do what does not come naturally is far more difficult, but it is essential in order for that horse to reduce the harmful effect of whatever nature gave the horse to do easily.

Put simply, if we dont try to correct the horses by either lengthening them out or rounding them up more, we risk allowing them to damage themselves by their own natural biomechanics of movement.

 

Here are some photos of my horse Fox, showing the changes he has made to his body, from a 3 year old bay snowflake spot to the near white powerful war horse he is today.

 

Fox, just turned 3 years old

 

Fox aged 3 1/2  years old

 

Fox aged 5 years old

 

Fox aged 7 years old

 

Fox aged 10 years old

 

Fox aged 12 years old

 

Fox aged 14 years old

 

Fox aged 15 years old

 

 

Fox aged 16 years old

 

Contact me for lessons or clinics via email, FB messages or phone.

Anxiety and Stress Poops

If your pony poops in your house, then it is a sign that he is not confident and is anxious about being in your house. If you want to bring your pony into your house, then train for confidence and calmness, so his stress poops dont mess up the carpets.

The same applies for working your pony in the arena, but the stress poops are a bit easier to clean up.  What is stressing your pony?

 

Contact me if you want to learn more about confidence training for horses. If your horse learns to become more confident then you will be more confident with your horse too – and you will be especially more confident about your carpets staying clean!

Affiliative Behaviour

How many times does your horse show affiliative (friendly) behaviour towards his or her horse friends? How many times does he or she show affilliative behaviour towards you? More times than you have noticed probably! It is often slight and subtle, so its easily missed –  and when directed at a human, it is also very often misinterpreted and punished, or ignored.

 

Storm and Rosie; Then and Now.

The pictures can do the talking.

Rosie was afraid of Storm at first when she was only 15 and he was 12.

Storm was afraid of Rosie at first when he was only 12 and she was 15.

 

They said, “you wont be able to change that bulging upside down neck!”

They said, “hasnt he got a huge head!”

They said, “these hocks show the worst arthritis we have ever seen on Xray!”

But look at Storm and Rosie now! Never give up

Not Perfect

Noticing when a horse is making a failure is very important. Knowing when a movement is a failure or a success is the first essential visual skill to acquire. If a movement is made badly this can mean the entire benefit for that movement is lost completely – and it may even become damaging to the horse – and this applies no matter which method is used to train the movement in the first place.

It is never a good idea to expect perfection. If you expect perfection, you will be very likely to be dissapointed, but you must still know exactly what perfection looks like (and feels like) – and what it does not look like (or feel like)  in order to work towards it.