Rebecca and I are from The Turning Tides Project and we have been going to Horsemanship for Health for four months now.
What is horsemanship for health you ask?
Well, let me explain the awesome theory of Horsemanship.
Horsemanship is all about building a relationship with the horses in a way that is completely natural to them. We are able to work with two gorgeous Arab horses called Dragonfly and Shirani. We have already built up a good relationship with the horses and we are very excited about building on that connection.
We are able to work on a beautiful farm in Newton Abbot with stunning scenery. Shirani is special because he has one blue eye and one brown eye. The whole day is focused on a ‘no force’ basis we work with the horses and not against them. We speak to them in soft calm tones otherwise they could get spooked, we use our ‘Chi’ energy and the power of intention. Doing it in this way means that we get a lot more from our horses.
When we get to the farm we sit down with our instructors Belinda and Joe where we are given blankets and hot water bottles and we discuss the plan for that days session. We always start with nice calm breathing to help us get in the right frame of mind as this helps to draw the horses to us. We normally do this sat in the field with the horses, with the horses walking around us. Then when we first approach the horses we give them a nice cuddle as they really like human contact and we give them a massage using their combs. Then we help the horse to keep warm by getting them to do certain movements, we can ask the horses to walk backwards by placing our hands towards their chest and applying pressure to the lead rope. Everything that we do is very natural to the horse and if they don't feel like doing something then we don't worry about it.
After working with the horses for 45 minutes we then get to work with Geoff who is a horse whisperer and this an amazing opportunity because we get to learn and see how far we can actually take our Horsemanship. Geoff has two Dartmoor Ponies called Rosie and Evie. Rosie loves to have her nose tickled and will sometimes cheekily curl her top lip up to show us her teeth. It is really funny as it looks like she is laughing. We have been lucky enough to watch Geoff train Rosie and Evie to walk through a curtain of ribbons. Which is a big deal for a horse. Geoff is also able to get them to walk through their stable door backwards.
We both hope to ride a horse in the future using intention instead of force. So many people can own a horse or ride one and not really understand their horse. Through ‘Horsemanship for Health’ I have been able to find a real personality in the horses which comes out more when you work with them. I have found that I have been able to learn a lot more about horses through the course than I would have been able to in books. It is really difficult to explain the full wonders of Horsemanship and to get a true sense of what it is, I suggest you have a go at it yourself. It will seriously blow your mind.
Written by Jennifer Baines, Published by Dom Palfreman