Discover your ideal relationship with your horse

CEGA creates an atmosphere of openness and trust in which to explore your own special horse-human bond. We want to help you remove blocks, deepen your awareness of the power within, and help you achieve your goals.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turn off your brain!

This week is my week to do the CEGA blog posting.  Kate, Barb and I have structured some of our CEGA responsibilities on a three-week rotation, and the blog posting is one of them.  Sometimes, a topic comes to me pretty easily.  Sometimes, I feel like I have to just sit down and start typing, then my brain starts working.  The funny thing is, when I am writing, it is actually much more productive if I shut my brain off, and just let the ideas and thoughts come out my fingertips.  It is when I am over-thinking that I get into trouble.  

And so it is with riding.  I consistently find that two things are true when riding.
  1. Over-thinking gets me into trouble, or at the very least, interferes with the feel that I am striving to develop.  
  2. Sometimes, I have to just go through the motions of grooming, tacking up, and hopping onto my horse, to sort of prime the pump and enable me to have a really good ride.

This is precisely what happened to me yesterday. I had ridden Sid, my really fun, solid, reliable little Standardbred.  Good conditioning ride, no expectations of anything else.  We had a blast.  

Then it was time for me to ride Monarch, my Thoroughbred, who is also a great amount of fun, but let’s just say that he tends to be more “highly aware” than Sid.  And once again, right before I got on him, the neighbors across the road decided to try setting off some bottle rockets.   Another neighbor was walking down the road with her three unruly dogs and a little kid who was pulling one of those noisy plastic sleds.  Oh boy. Combine this with the fact that I hadn’t ridden Monarch in over a week, and my mind was full of the possibilities for things to go wrong.  So you see, I was already in defensive mode when I mounted Monarch.  

How silly!  As it turns out, we had a great ride!  I was aware that I was defensive and over-analyzing the situation, and just decided to trust myself and my horse.  I worked on getting Monarch’s attention on me, and not on the sled or the dogs, and I did some deep breathing and relaxation exercises for me so that I could be back in my body and less in my mind.  You want to lean on my leg, Monarch?  I will give you ONE good nudge with my leg to get off me, and that will be that.  And I will expect you to respond appropriately. You want to accelerate in the trot and start flying around? Nope.  ONE good half-halt will suffice.  Then you will resume that nice one-two, one-two cadence.  I focused on feeling, and not on thinking.   The results were fabulous.  Monarch really liked me being clear and not nagging him.  He was reaching out for the bit, flicking his ears back and forth, and responding much more willingly and quickly.  I really liked being able to communicate with Monarch in a clear, way that left no room for misinterpretation and that relied on feeling rather than thinking.   

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful New Year, filled with fun times with your horses!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sometimes in all the bustle of the holidays, our horse partners get a bit lost in the shuffle. We have too many errands, it is too cold (and we aren't used to it yet), we get too tired, it's too dark... the list for reasons not to ride, not to spend time in the barn can get pretty long.

Can I offer some advice? Try going out anyway. Just once, even. I don't mean to feed or muck or do other chores. I mean go out once, when you really don't "feel" like it, and go for a ride in the snow, do a little schooling session to see what you both remember, or even do some unmounted work--lungeing or liberty work. Anything that lets you reconnect.
Put some carols on the stereo or ipod and ride with a friend to the music. Or listen to the gentle hiss of snow as it falls around you, or the birds in the bushes wrangling over the berries and seeds. When you share these moments with your horse, they take on a deeper meaning, ad you'll enjoy them all the more.

Just before Christmas there is a calm that settles over me. I don't mean that I have all the shopping done, or that the house is all clean. It's the spirit of the season. The joy, love, hope and remembering those who are no longer here to share it with us. That's when I remember to get my self out to the barn, and even if it is for five minutes, reconnect with my horses.

Happy Holidays to you all, and may your New Year be filled with light, hope and joy for the future :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have a confession to make.  Are you ready?  I LIKE November.  

Those of you who don’t live in the Northeast are probably thinking, “Big deal.”  But for those of you who live in this climate, I can almost hear the gasps of shock.  

Why do I like November?  I’ll tell you.  I have thought for a long time that November gets a bad rap.  October foliage is a tough act to follow, sure, but November is quite lovely too, with the varying shades of silver and brown.  And the visibility in November is spectacular!  Being able to look deep into the woods offers a perspective we don’t get the rest of the year, not even in springtime.  Also, my daughter Hannah, one of my favorite people in the world,  was born in November.  

Mind you, I have not always been a fan of November, and I still don’t enjoy the endless days of rain  and gray that we can get.   But overall, I really like the whole hunkering down for winter feeling—more cooking, making sure my horses are tucked in and cozy for the night.  Nothing like the sound of rain on the roof while listening to my horses contentedly munching their hay, then going back in the house for some nice hot soup!

So many things in life come down to perspective.  You know, the whole glass half full/half empty thing.  It can be so easy to focus on the negative aspects of anything. Think about your horse.  For instance, do you have the mindset that,”My horse doesn’t like ring work—he gets so bored!” Is it your horse that doesn’t like it, or is it really YOU who gets bored? Or maybe you spend a lot of time wishing something about your life was different—a different horse, different place to live, different job.  All of these may be valid things in your life that need changing.  But two thoughts come to mind.  It’s easy to spend a lot of time wishing things were different and imagining how much better our lives would be if they were.  Wouldn’t this time be better spent enjoying what we have, and finding the beauty in it?  And it is so easy to spend time wishing for a change, without actually doing anything about it.  Not a very satisfying way to live!

I invite you to consider that your glass is half full.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Just do it! No, really.

I recently had a truly fabulous trail-ride on my horse, Simon.  No big surprise there, you say.  Regular followers of this blog know that I have raved about Simon more than once. He is my Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome—a 17h1” dark bay Bavarian Warmblood.  What made this ride so memorable was the variables that were thrown in.

  1. We were in the middle of a nor’easter that weekend, complete with a temperature of 37 degrees, high winds, driving rain, a few inches of snow, the works.  But my horses had already been in their stalls for all of the previous day, and Simon was clearly antsy.
  2. I decided to bring along my Border Collie, Beck.  Now, if you know anything about dogs, you know that Border Collies are very high-energy—a tired Border Collie is a happy Border Collie, and I try to  bring Beck along whenever possible.
  3. I was wearing my winter riding boots, which meant I couldn’t wear my spurs, as they don’t fit those puffy boots.
  4. And oh yeah, I had taken the flash noseband off Simon’s bridle, which had the potential effect of allowing Mr. Wonderful to ignore the bit a little more effectively.

What the heck, I figured, it’ll be fun! And besides, I was at the Fair Hill Three-Day Event last year, when the weather was absolutely horrific.  They had temps in the 30’s for the first three days, and pouring rain.  But they got out there and did their job.  I resolved after that weekend to never again complain about riding in a little inclement weather.  As the saying goes, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.”  

We set off up the  road, all of us happy to be outside, even in the teeth of the nor’easter.  Simon was high-headed and looking around, shying and spooking a little, being silly. Beck was bouncing in and out of puddles.  As we made our way up the road, the wind picked up and the rain came down in buckets.  When we got to a neighbors driveway, her four golden retrievers came barking and charging down the driveway toward us.  Mayhem ensued. Simon bucked and spun around,trying to bolt for home,  Beck charged off after the four goldens, and I was rather abruptly woken up out of my la-la land state, which is where I often tend to go when riding.  Meditative and relaxing, sure, but not always the most useful place to be on a horse.  

I sat up, took up some rein, and insisted that Simon pull himself together.  I called Beck, who mostly ignored me (it was too much fun to be big and tough and chase four dogs all at once), but then came back to me, and we continued up the road.  

For the rest of our outing, I had to be at my most alert, trying to ride every stride, and not get lulled into inattentiveness.  I insisted that Simon pay attention to me, and kept changing up what I was asking him to do, so that he always had at least one ear flicked back at me, checking in to see what was next.  He was that best possible combination—highly aware, light, responsive, forward.  It was wonderful!

Just do it?  Well, just do it for me meant making myself get out there when it would have been so easy to stay inside by the woodstove with a book. The tipping point for me was asking myself whether I would feel better about myself if I stayed inside for the morning, or got outside and worked my horse.   And just do it for Simon meant shut up and listen, with me insisting on the correct response the first time I asked him for something.  We returned to the barn feeling really pleased with ourselves.   

Here’s to pushing ourselves and our horses to become just a little bit better with every ride!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fantastic weekend!

What a great weekend!  We had a wonderful CEGA clinic at Plumbrook Pony Farm in Norfolk, NY, yesterday—12 riders and horses, a great day of learning—for all of us!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Clinic Today!

Leaving today to do a CEGA clinic at Plumbrook Pony Farm, just outside of Potsdam, New York. Can’t wait!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In the flow

Here it is right in front of me yet another understanding or is it lesson on how the "flow" works. I completed my masters degree in education in May and I have been wondering how to move forward into the next steps of my life. I have become a good coach a bars facilitator and numerous other things along the way. I love them all yet I found that when I returned to my inspiration of 20 years ago working on what I call "Life Skills". I began to see how all of the things fit together and when I move towards helping people to discover how to make their lives work. The ideas begin to flow and I am some how moving where I was stuck before. I continue to be amazed at how every thing in life returns to being in the flow. When life becomes easy and fluid we are where we are meant to be. When we struggle perhaps there is a better fit around the corner.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I have been thinking about conversations and communication a lot in the past week.  What got me started down this path? A couple of things.

First,  I was in my local food co-op last week, and overheard a mother talking to her 13 or 14 year old son.  They were discussing tattoos, and the mother said that essentially it was a moot point, as her son would NEVER be getting a tattoo.  He teased her about it a little bit, saying, “What if I want you to come live with me and buy you a big fancy house?  Does that mean you wouldn’t come live with me?”  She said, that’s right—she would not live with him if got a tattoo—furthermore, if he ever wanted to come home to HER house, he wouldn’t get a tattoo either.  Hmmm.....

The second thing that got me going was that my riding instructor, Kate, had come home from a great week-long clinic, full of ideas and new ways of looking at the horse-rider partnership.  I worked on two of the horses at her farm right after they had had lessons, which is when I typically work on them.  I have NEVER seen them more relaxed and content.  Not physically or mentally really tired, just very peaceful and almost buzzing with happiness.  And I had a lesson with Kate right after this, and my own horse,Simon, was the most relaxed I have ever known him to be in a lesson.  

The really interesting part about that for me is that the changes that Kate made weren’t huge, by any means. In fact, I’m not even sure that I could clearly define for you what those changes were, but the word soft keeps coming to mind. I know that we spend a fair amount of time in my lesson working on getting me to ask ONCE, clearly, and get the result I had asked for, not nag, nag , nag with my hands and legs and whip, which is my tendency.  But we’ve worked on that before, without the same overwhelming relaxation on Simon’s part—not to be confused with laziness.  

So the conclusion I come to about both these interactions—the mother and teenage boy, and the horses and riders in lessons with Kate, is that it is all about the ASKING.  My thought after hearing the mom and son was, “Oh boy.  I’d love to check in with both of you in about five years, to see how that ultimatum-style of parenting is working out for you both.”  Imagine how things could have been different for both of them, if she had invited a discussion, a conversation, with her son, instead of laying down the law.  

It’s the same with our horses.  Discussions, conversations, asking nicely instead of demanding or nagging—this will get us further toward our goal of excellent horsemanship.  This is not to say that we don’t have to demand respect from our horses, or that we should allow them to be bulls with us, but think about what most makes you want to cooperate with a co-worker or your partner.  Demands, threats, bullying, may get you short-term results, but will certainly get you long-term resentment and unwillingness.  

Enjoy your conversations with everyone around you, two-legged and four-legged.  

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to school!

This week, like so many other folks out there, I went back to school. I started taking a very comprehensive equine anatomy and physiology course, which will expand my knowledge of how the horse works as a physical entity, and help me to provide better care for my clients.

I noticed several things early on in the process, among them, that it is harder for me to study now than it was a "few" years ago when I was in college; that my brain works on this stuff even when I am asleep; and that we all learn and process information in different ways.

Like our horses, I can get stuck when learning something new. Some of the terms that I am trying to memorize are definitely more challenging and less intuitive than others. Some of them take only one read-through and I have them down. Some of the ones that I thought were so challenging, I wake up in the middle of the night, reciting them in my head. If I am in just the right mind-set, learning is so easy! But if I am distracted, looking at the clock, not in my quiet place (whether mentally or physically), it is an absolutely uphill battle.

We are so much like our horses! Except for memorizing Latin medical terms, our horses have the same challenges when trying to learn. A gifted equine athlete may find flying changes easy, but another horse may really struggle with them. Some horses are easily distracted and easily bored, and need to mentally challenged more than others. Some horses benefit from a lot of repetition, others find this to be mind-numbing and frustrating.

And sometimes, we project our own learning styles on our horse. We might say "Oh, Poopsie just hates ring work! She gets so bored!" when the reality is that Poopsie is just fine in the ring, but WE are the ones bored with it.

It all comes down to the same thing. Whether we are the ones trying to learn something new, or we are working on something new with our horse, we have to get out of our own way, and really listen to what we or our horses need. Set yourself and your horse up for success. Create situations where learning can really happen. Remember to give yourself a pat on the back, and your horse a pat on the neck, when you've overcome a challenge, even if it felt small. We can all use more encouragement! Take breaks, and allow yourself and your horse to feel a sense of accomplishment. Don't be too hard on yourself or your horse if that lateral movement wasn't just picture-perfect, but don't settle for second-best and laziness in yourself or your horse, either. Ask for more, and then allow yourselves to enjoy having achieved it. And don't school yourself, or your horse, into the ground. Make learning fun for both of you! The rewards are infinite.

I wish you joy in your time spent with your horses, and in the time spent with yourself.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lately I have been listening to lots of different people talk about vibration. They (Ester Hicks, Gary Douglas, Dain Heer and numerous others) say we are infinite beings and I believe them. They say we can have more of what we want in our lives and I believe them. Not because they said so. Because they have shown example after example of how it works. When you create a certain vibration or energy it attracts similar vibrations. This has been proving by scientists. The problem is we don’t look at ourselves as vibrational beings. If we can create the vibration of what we want to attract it will come. I want to have a great ride today, instead of I hope my horse doesn’t spook, buck, be lazy, take the wrong lead etc. We often get caught up in a reaction to something we don’t want that we forget to see what we have and what we want.
You might ask how do I do that? Next time you ride try this, find the feeling of what you are looking for and why you want it. Now stay with it as you move forward. Example: Before you get on remember a time when you had a fantastic ride. Remember what it felt like and what made it feel so great. Why you love horses and how your issues of the day begin to melt away as you ride. Don’t try to recreate that ride. Stay with the feeling that is creating the energy and vibration of how wonderful it was. Create that vibration and enjoy another yet different ride with your horse. The more time you spend in that space the easier it gets.
It takes practice and it can be done. We have spent so much time in our lives following the teachers of the day and then beating ourselves up for not being good enough or not having done it right instead of finding the energy and excitement of the lesson. Enjoying the ride and seeing what is right about this or that.
Yet it is really about how you feel and what your energy is like. When you feel good your vibration is different then when you feel bad. Horses are very sensitive to your vibration. They immediately know where you’re at when you come to visit with them. Horses normally vibrate at a higher level then we do. So…. Take advantage of the opportunity to vibrate at a higher level. Have more fun.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Endless possibilities

Right now, most everything in my life feels wide open and anything seems possible. It's pretty scary! The fact that we have the opportunity to create our own new selves and new directions is always there. Right now it is coming to the surface for a lot of people.
It's like riding (you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?). When you run into a block or stuck area while riding, there are endless ways to release and soften, to move forward, to avoid getting stuck in that space. Look first to your breath--where did it go? Then look to your energy--is it flowing or are there tight areas? Then ask how you can help the horse understand where you DO want him to go--not how you DON'T want him to be.
Then take that breath, soften that tension, and go for it. Once your horse realizes there won't be a fight, he will be happily surprised and much more willing! He'll wait til you figure it out. He just hopes it's sooner rather than later

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another day another dollar.... another day another ride..... another ride another opportunity to learn and change how I see the world and how I move throughout my day.

Each day is a new opportunity to begin fresh with a new perspective on riding and on life. Today while I was at Pilate's I began the exercises from a place of trying. I continued to be frustrated with my inability to connect my body into a whole and really work from my core, until I began to let go of trying and find the flow of the energy. Once I began to work from the flow of energy I found new ability to be stronger and more fluid. When I was trying and holding myself in place I was stuck and could not move. When I thought about the energy moving through my pelvis and down into the floor. I noticed that it felt easier and that I felt stronger and believe it or not the more I could move. These concepts around energy, work for every aspect of my life. I discovered them through CEGAwork and I continue to be amazed at how they work in all aspects of my life. The more I get out of my own way the easier life becomes.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

If I'd known then what I know now...

Earlier this week, my daughter, Hannah , and I said good-bye to Hannah's thoroughbred gelding, Harley. Old age and various infirmities had finally caught up with him, and it was clearly time. We spent a lot of time reminiscing about the Harley we had known and loved.
Here's one of my most profound memories of him.

Some years ago, when Hannah was in Pony Club, we made arrangements to take a cross-country lesson with the club at the facility of a well-known, high-level eventing trainer. We were all very excited at the prospect--how cool would this be?!

The day before the lesson, we bathed and groomed Harley, and generally prepped him for his outing. He was somewhat agitated, but we attributed it to his picking up on our excitement. The next morning, when I went out to the barn to feed the horses, Harley wouldn't eat, was barely picking at his food, whinnying and very restless. Hannah coaxed him to eat, and we loaded him on the trailer for the long drive.

We arrived at the farm, tacked up, and began the lesson. Harley was tense and not listening to Hannah, which was very unusual for him. He would normally become excited and keyed up, but not distressed, the way he was this particular morning. The lesson was to start in the arena, and we all thought he would settle down once he started to work--maybe it was just the strange place that was unnerving him? The kids started jumping their ponies, and Hannah came off Harley. In good form, she got right back on and the lesson proceeded. She was cantering to a 3 foot vertical, just a single rail, when Harley shied very hard to the left, and Hannah came off again. She landed hard, broke her glasses, and although she really wanted to continue, it was clear that this schooling session was over for her. Someone caught Harley, and I took Hannah into the barn to find some ice for the egg on her head. We decided to ice her head for a while, then load up Harley and go home, to take her to see a doctor at home. Harley was frantic, and absolutely refused to get on the trailer until Hannah came out to load him--at which point he walked on as quietly as an old dog. He was clearly upset and worried about Hannah, and reassured when she appeared to take his lead rope. He was apologizing as clearly as if he had spoken out loud.

On the way home, Hannah and I talked a lot about what could have upset Harley so much. Suddenly, Hannah remembered the video we had been given before Harley came to live with us. It had been taken about ten years before, and showed Harley being ridden in a severe bit, with big spurs, in a dressage lesson, without any regard for the fact that this was a VERY sensitive horse, who never needed spurs. The video had been taken at the same farm where we had gone for our schooling session. This same video showed him at another farm, being rushed at the fences, and generally having a lousy time of it. He was not happy.

It was clear that, before our schooling session there, Harley had known what was coming, and he was completely undone by it. He was fearful, tense, and trying as hard as he could to tell us. And good boy that he was, he tried to be a professional when we got there.

Do I regret that we didn't do a better job of listening to him? Of course. If we had gotten out of our own way, taken a step back, we wouldn't have put either Harley or Hannah through a pretty unpleasant experience. But we were both caught up in the ego aspect of taking a lesson with this famed trainer, and thought Harley would adjust to our needs.

What is my take-home message from this episode? As always: listen to your horse, and to yourself. I mean really listen, on a deep level. Quiet your mind, take some deep breaths, and check in with your horse, and yourself. Get to a still place in your own head, and see what you come up with. Don't edit it--that's really important. Just listen. It's all there, just waiting for you to hear it. And thank you, Harley, for helping us to learn.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

August is almost upon us, and here in northern New England I can hear the cicadas buzzing and crickets chirping. A flock of geese is gathering in the field next door. It's both the height of summer and the end of summer.
Sometimes life is so busy, it's hard to truly focus and be 100% present while riding. So I've started a regular practice that has been incredibly helpful and successful for me.
Try this: Each time as I begin a ride (usually at a walk on a long rein, but I can do it anytime), I allow all the busy thoughts to just whirl around uninterrupted. There are a few that keep recurring. I take a deep breath in, and while blowing it out through pursed lips, I see the biggest worry/distraction/thought blowing away. I tell it I can't have it right now. It can come back later, but right now I'm blowing it clear from my mind. I do this two more times. It seems that 3 is the magic number. Whatever 3 things are foremost in my mind, I blow each away in turn. So I've relaxed my mind and through the breathing relaxed my body as well.
Sometimes, I think I know what the three things are for sure, yet when I take the breath and blow, something unexpected pops into my head. So I let it come, and I blow it away. Even when I think I "know" what's bothering me, this exercise lets underlying or suppressed thoughts surface and show how much they were really at the heart of matters.
3 breaths, 3 worries sent away and a greater feeling of peace and well-being. Happy Riding!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I don’t normally write down the things that happen in a day. So trying to find ways to write and share information in a blog is a new concept for me. I really want to share experiences that help people to understand more about what CEGAwork is, in the hopes of helping them become more aware of the benefits of this work.
Yesterday, when I was sharing the concept with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I realized just how excited I am about this work.
We began to discuss how most people don’t take the time to take control of their lives or their rides on their horses. We tend to react to stimuli that appear before us, rather then choose how to respond. We sometimes feel as though we don’t always have a choice. There is so much happening in each moment, particularly when we ride. We are so easily distracted by something in our life or something our horse does.
I began to talk about how I was finding that I actually got more done, had more time in my day and felt better about my day when I was able to take control of myself. I want to create my life from a place of knowing, a place of flow, where I get to choose how I want to respond to the things that happen in my day. I have been noticing that my focus has changed when I ride I am more present. I used to get stuck in a moment of anger or fear when my horse did not respond the way I wanted. Now I let it go and ask again. This is why I love doing this work. I am able to bring my awareness to whatever I do in a new way. The results have been astounding in my riding and in my life. The horses I ride become more responsive. My aids have become quicker and quieter. My transitions are more fluid. I see the people change at their core as we work with them. I am so excited to be able to share this work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why CEGAwork?

As a member of the CEGA Team, I am often asked to describe the benefits of CEGAwork. Here's one example of someone who could benefit from CEGAwork--Me! I invite you to see if you can find similarities in your own situation.

A couple of nights ago, I went to a local cross-country course to school my horse, Simon, with some friends. I love riding cross-country, whether foxhunting or in an event, and had been really looking forward to the time with my friends, my daughter, and our horses. Well, right before Hannah and I left to trailer down, I got a phone call about a crisis at work that I had to deal with. It took longer to sort out than I wanted, and left me feeling mentally drained and unfocused.

When we arrived at the farm, Simon was being a big bull--not respecting my space, stepping on me, both literally and figuratively, and generally being unpleasant. We mounted up, and I worked hard to get him to focus on me, not on the other horses. He was sluggish, behind my leg, looking for any excuse to suck back and wait for the other horses, and every approach to a jump was a "Will he? Won't he?" moment. The low-point came when I did a lousy job of planning an approach to a fence, Simon swerved hard on landing, and I came off with a thump. (I am profoundly grateful that I was wearing my safety vest!) I remounted, continued to school him over fences, and the rest of the session went was uneventful but not stellar.

What happened? It was as though I had completely forgotten everything I have learned in my years of riding, showing and taking lessons. I needed CEGAwork! I needed the tools that CEGAwork provides, to help me refocus my energy, reconnect with my horse, and get grounded in the Now! Because if you're not grounded when you're working with your horse, at best, you're not putting forth your best effort. At worst, it can have really unpleasant or even disastrous results.

If you've ever felt scattered, unfocused, or disconnected from your horse, I strongly encourage you to check out CEGAwork, and let it work for you. You will be amazed as you discover new powerful partnership possibilities and uncover hidden strengths.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What to do in the heat? Try to keep calm, work light, and spirits up!

When I visit the horses in the barn during these intense hot humid days, I notice how they try to do just that--they are peaceful, even if sweating while standing still, they are always happy to see me, and they appreciate a minimum of work at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Today I heard a quote: "Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses." So with that in mind, I went to the barn to listen, instead of talk. The horses were snoozing for the most part--waiting for it to be cool enough to go outside. A few wanted to chat, though. They are feeling very positive about the people here and the planet in general. They are eager to be our partners as we grow and learn to step up to our limitless potential--whether as riders or just beings on the earth.

And, since it's too hot to ride, I will "dive" into my favorite training guides (Podhajsky, Herbermann) and practice with my mind and spirit til it cools off enough to practice with my horse.

Stay cool!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yesterday I had a great experience. I was riding a horse to see if I wanted to lease it for the summer. During my lesson this horse began to show me all of the places and all of times where he had learned how to be blocked by various riders in his life. As he began to show me how to keep him free and mobile through each movement we did. Each turn became easier and more correct and the horse began to be more and more fluid. This horse was teaching me CEGAwork. It was really great to see how the horses are beginning to learn how to teach in yet another amazing way. I am once again truly grateful for the wonderfully generous beings we know as horses.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on an earthquake.

So there I was on Wednesday, in the middle of a fabulous lesson with my horse Simon and Kate. Simon was working really well, light and responsive, and I was loose and relaxed—which doesn’t happen often for me, so I try to celebrate it when it does! Suddenly, Simon took a sort of a stumbling misstep, as though all the air had been let out of his balloon at once. Kate’s response was, “Wow. Okay, let’s give him a break for a couple of minutes.” I glanced at the clock, checking in to see how long we had been working. It had been about 20 minutes, and the clock read about 1:40.

A few minutes later, we went back to work, and resumed a very good and otherwise uneventful lesson. When I dismounted, Simon was looking at both Kate and I with eyes wide open, staring out the door, and acting highly alert. It was CLEAR to both Kate and I that he was trying to tell us something, but we weren’t getting it.

It wasn’t until later that day, when I heard about the earthquake, that I put the pieces together. Simon felt the earthquake, even if we didn’t. He literally became ungrounded by the upheaval of energy beneath his feet, and was trying to check in with us to see if we felt it too. Kate was perceptive enough to realize that Simon’s sudden “quit” was very different from his somewhat lazy, looking for an excuse to not work so hard attitude.

This tells me a couple of things. One, it reminds me just how sensitive these large animals are, in ways that many folks are just learning to appreciate. Two, it makes me appreciate Kate as an instructor even more. Her ability and willingness to trust herself and her spiritual connection to the horses, to see what others don’t, assures me that she and CEGA are where I want to be—understanding my horses, and all horses, in ways that I never dreamed possible just a few years ago.

And lastly, it was a powerful reminder of the abilities that we ALL carry—horses and humans alike—to be able to let each other know how we’re doing, what’s important to us, to really communicate and connect with each other. It doesn’t matter that Kate and I didn’t feel the earthquake. What matters is that Kate could see that something unusual had happened, and she respected what Simon was trying to convey. If we empty our heads of extraneous distractions, and listen, REALLY listen to our horses, and practice this skill, the world will continue to open to us in the best ways possible.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The joy of fly sheets.

Fly sheets! Possibly the number-one thing you can do to protect your horse from the nasty biting flies--deer flies, horse flies, and big ol' green-headed flies. And you don't have to spend a ton of money on them! Last year, I bought 3 new, soft and silky fly sheets for my guys, and spent less than $100--TOTAL! Now, you do have to watch for the deals, and try to buy in the off-season when possible, but good deals come up from the major suppliers all the time. (Think Dover Saddlery, State Line Tack, and TackoftheDay.com.)
You want soft fabric, not the stuff that feels like lawn chair fabric, so that it doesn't chafe your sensitive pony. A belly wrap style is great, and that way, you won't have to fly-spray your horse's belly. Neck covers are great too--as long as your horse has some shade to get into, as even the lightest fabric can cause your pony to be uncomfortably warm on those hot, steamy summer days.
For my money, NOTHING beats looking out at my horses on a hot summer day, and knowing that they are totally unconcerned with the flies buzzing around.
Next week: Night turn-out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lessons through bodywork

It is so interesting to me how the universe gives us what we need, and reinforces lessons. I frequently find that I will work on a series of horses that have very similar issues, and that those issues are manifested in ways that are downright eerie.

For example, two of the last three horses I've worked on have had front end problems, specifically hoof/lameness troubles. Although the causes and diagnoses were different, both horses had strongly over-developed trapezius/rhomboid musculature, and no discernible groove between the larger muscles of the neck (the multifidus cervicus/splenius and brachiocephalicus). These muscles are being overused and stressed by the horses, in an attempt to take weight off their sore front feet.

This is part of why I find my work to be so gratifying. I LOVE seeing these horses relax as I work on them, and to know when I am done that they are more comfortable, and have greater flexibility and range of movement. I love finding those sore or tight spots and working on them while the horse sighs with relief.

And as the horse's owner or caretaker, you can extend the benefits your horse gets from bodywork by being conscientious in doing stretches with your horse and making sure he/she is warmed up and cooled down properly for every ride. Not sure how to do stretches with your horse? Watch for my next blog posting for details!

Monday, May 31, 2010


I hope everyone has had a chance this weekend to enjoy some time with family. I know it seems for most of us we don't get enough time with our horses because of our families.
Trying to strike that balance between work and horses, spouses and horses, children and horses is hard. Remembering that life is about balance, and being fulfilled in different ways is hard.
This summer, try to really be wherever you are. If it's a family weekend, be with them and grateful for them. When was the last time you asked someone in your family about their life, their job, or their dreams and truly listened? When you're at yet another baseball game or soccer tournament, are you really paying attention to what's going on? Or are you on your cell or laptop "catching up"?
That same ability to be present wherever you are holds true for when you're with your horse and riding. How is he feeling? What is your schooling plan? Does it match your goals? Is there some way you could see training difficulties more from his perspective to help you both through them?

Have a great weekend, and remember, wherever you are, be there with bells on!

Friday, May 14, 2010

CEGA Work lessons all day!

Today was fabulous: 6 lessons, and 2 training rides all with a focus on energy and connection through breathing--and WOW! the results!
Beautiful, seamless transitions. Steady consistent riding. And no struggling! All students today came away with a good feeling and something to be proud of.

And, at the end of the day, my horse had reminders for me--don't over-ride, think a little, focus a lot, and breathe--it's all right there. Every now and then he reminds me to settle down, and trust. Otherwise that canter depart I just need to think about to do becomes a trip from 0 to mach 9 :-)
Happy riding everyone!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What a great day!

Every so often, I remember to do a "gratitude list." The entries can range from "I'm grateful for the car that let me in during a busy traffic time" to "I'm grateful for the love and support of my family."
In the past two days, I have had quite a few reminders of good things--both remarks and moments that would often go unnoticed, but for some reason, a few are coming back to me.

Riding to music is fun! Yes, it is, and we often have it playing while we train, so I forget what a great boost it is to students.
Riding through the woods to the top of a hill in a field with gorgeous views and 9 friends is simply amazing--must be a great way to lower blood pressure and rejuvenate the system.
Horses that come from Colorado and arrive at 6 pm instead of 3 a.m. is truly a gift!

And two of my favorites--remembering how lucky I am to spend my life with magnificent beings like horses and yes, the love and support of my family :-) --Kate

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring has sprung!

And hopefully those of us from cooler climes are back in the saddle again! The CEGA team is gearing up for our clinic season, which kicks off with our new 1-day format. The 1-day is organized to give folks a taste of the work with less of a time commitment. Check the website for all the juicy details. (www.cegavt.com)

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The best way to start toward realizing the fullest potential in your partnership with your horse to attend one of our 3 day workshops. Arriving the night before to settle in to the farm, meet your fellow participants and the CEGA team, you will spend 3 days working with all three team members both individually and as a group.
While your horses enjoy their energy and massage "spa" treatment with Judith, Barb will begin to explore the hidden potential within you for a clearer understanding of your self and your horse. Each day you will have the opportunity to create a new relationship with your horse on the ground and under saddle with Kate.

All three partners work collaboratively to bring out the best in your horse and you. As professionals and equine intuitives, the team creates the ideal setting for growth and development through clear communication and recognition of potential problem areas.

Want to learn more? email info@cegavt.com or visit our website www.cegavt.com!


This is the first trial post for our new blog. We invite everyone who loves their horse and cherishes the connection they share to follow us as we introduce our work.

Our team:
Judith--licensed Equine Massage therapist and intuitive equine energy worker par excellence! Judith will let your horses body speak to her, and help guide you to a better of understanding of how he's feeling and thinking, allowing you to gain insight into your working relationship and the physical relationship you share.

Barb--Super coach! With an MA in Personal Exploration, Barb will help guide through the maze of mental and emotional clutter that can interfere with having a purer, deeper, and more honest relationship with your horse than you thought possible.

Kate--Nationally recognized instructor, professional equestrian coach, competitor, and choreographer, Kate will take the pieces of the puzzle and put them together to work for you and your horse as a super team with new insight and a brighter future.