“Everything you ever needed to know is right there in your center.”
True horsemanship is based on a deep connection between the horse and the human. My inner state is reflecting on my horse. To be a good partner for my horse, I must discover my authentic self. When I am present and congruent, I am ready to experience the potential of my horse and myself.
- Is working on the mechanics of riding helping you progress, but you feel that there is still a piece missing?
- Are you searching for harmony, but don’t know where to find it?
- Do you feel like your horse doesn’t understand what you want?
- Are you in a constant argument with your horse?
- Do you want to deepen your connection with your horse?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, perhaps Riding with Connection is for you.
What is Riding with Connection?
On a technical level Riding with Connection focuses on the basic biomechanics of the horse and rider. Using imagery, breathing exercises and concrete technical hands-on advice, I help you become more balanced and organized atop your horse. If you have always dreamed of having an independent and active seat, I can help you achieve it, one step at a time. Improving the biomechanics of your seat will automatically result in better communication with your horse. It will also increase your awareness and ability to understand and analyze the interactions your have with your horse. Horses, however, are masters of communicating with emotions. Therefore, to achieve true connection and to become a better rider, eventually physical or even mental awareness is not enough. Only by acknowledging your emotional state and how it affects that of the horse’s can you move to another level of communication. This includes learning to listen to your horse. Only with honest two-way communication with your horse can you achieve harmony. Riding with Connection is therefore a process, which starts with the technical, but may very well also take you on a mental and emotional journey.
Who can benefit from a Riding with Connection clinic?
My clinics are for all riders of any level and discipline. You can be a beginner struggling with rising trot or a professional getting ready for your twentieth competition season. It is crucial, however, that you truly want to connect with your horse. This means having an open mind and a respectful attitude towards your horse.
Is Riding with Connection dressage training?
Yes and no. Although my background is mainly in dressage, I coach every individual in the discipline of their choice. I do, however, believe that flat work is the foundation of all good riding and therefore work mainly on this aspect. I am a big fan of the basics, because I have learned over the years that most riders are missing parts of their foundation. This is why riders with different backgrounds and skill levels can take part in the same clinic. Despite their differences, every participant will get exactly what they need.
What happens in a Riding with Connection clinic?
A typical Ride with Connection- clinic is 2-3 days with max 8-10 riders (unlimited auditing). A clinic consists of daily body awareness exercises which engage both riders and auditors, group theory sessions, private or semi-private riding lessons and videotaping + analysis. Subjects such as seat bones, breathing, core strength, rider position and horse biomechanics are explained in detail. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage in the conversations that arise on various topics. Riders ride in pairs and parts of each lesson are videotaped for later review. Video feedback and analysis are important tools to further deepen the knowledge of each participant, whether an auditor or a participant rider. Each clinic follows a certain curriculum, but ultimately the participants and their questions and concerns make each clinic uniquely interesting. The atmosphere is always accepting and non-judgmental.
What happens in a Riding with Connection riding lesson?
Every lesson is different, because it is always tailored to your and your horses needs. The first lesson, however, is typically very similar, no matter what the level of the rider or horse. In the first lesson I cover aspects such as seat bones and their affects on the horse, the position and core strength of the rider, the intention and communication of said intention and helping you understand the feedback your horse is giving you. Every individual learns in different ways and together we will explore what is the best way for you and your horse to learn together. Often, instead of telling you what to do, I will ask many questions and help you discover the right answers for your body, your mind and your horse. The lesson is an interactive experience, a team effort between you, your horse and me so be prepared to participate!
How should I prepare for the first lesson?
Just be yourself! Also, be prepared to be open to the experience and to discussing whatever happens physically and/or emotionally when you interact with your horse. I believe every person is the expert of their own body and I trust you will bring your expertise to the lesson. If unwanted emotions such as frustration, fear or anger arise, I find it absolutely crucial to address these emotions through discussion before moving on. This can be difficult at times, but I assure you, it will be worth it in the end, for both you and your horse.
What do you think about whips and spurs?
Whips and spurs can be used in many ways. Using a whip as a communication device and a signaling instrument is very different than using it to hurt someone. During my clinics you may ride with whatever equipment you desire (or none, for that matter), however, I believe less is more. I also believe that violence is never the answer to any problem; whipping or spurring your horse breaks all communication and connection between you and the horse. If this is something you find yourself resorting to, we can explore these issues and find solutions together in a nonjudgmental environment.
Do you teach other ways to connect with horses besides riding?
Yes. for example I believe it is extremely important to take time to connect with your horse. Playing in liberty, taking walks together in-hand or clicker training are all great bonding experiences which will allow your horse to show you who he is and how his mind works. If you feel your horse is “acting out” during your interactions in-hand or you feel as if he is not present, I can help you understand his world and establish a connection that will benefit you both. We often don’t take enough time to simply spend time together with our horses “doing nothing”, the natural way for horses to relate to each other. I encourage you to explore this aspect of your relationship with your horse.