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.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What does control mean to you and your horse?

I am reading a book that is talking about the difference between influence and control. Some of us have the desire to control things, situations, and animals in hopes that we will somehow get a desired effect.

So, I have begun to look at what control means to me. Let me know what it means to you.

There are the ways I work to control my emotions. I prefer to use the term monitor however at times it feels as though they are out of control and I have to reign them in and keep them under "control". I find that when I become uncomfortable my desire to control things increases because I believe that if I can control the things around me I will be o.k., really it is about gaining control over myself. My first desire is to tell others how they "should" be; so that I don't have to deal with some old wound from my life experiences. As I become more aware of the places where I have what I refer to as a default reaction. (my horse spooked here last time so I better be ready for it every time I go by here) A place where I have made an assumption that something that happened in the past will continue to happen again and again. I begin to make different choices, letting go of my assumptions and creating room for a different outcome.

In the past it seemed like a good idea to have some type of control over my horse. (We all know that leaving a horse to it's own choices while we are riding, can often lead to places the rider may prefer not to go.) If I can just keep my horse under control I will feel safer, have a better ride or.......(fill in the blank) this often translates into holding and becoming tight in my body. As I become more tense my horse begins to feel confused and I have begun to deliver aids to my horse with out awareness of what I am doing. The more I tighten and search for control the more my horse becomes upset. I do not get what I am looking for until I let go and begin to ask in a clear manner. It is in the release that I allow my horse to answer my request.
I have found that as I let go of the idea of control and begin to play with the idea of influence and using my energy to create a flow or an intention I find that my horse becomes amazingly responsive to these concepts. My horse begins to take part in a conversation and I begin to listen to where my horse lets me know something is hard or he is not sure how to do a movement. When I recognize that my horse is telling me what is going on for him through his movements and responses. I begin to find ways to influence rather then control; a clearer aid or a half halt instead of holding on and creating tension. My horse and I begin to have an ongoing conversation where we are aware of the influences and challenges that are coming in each moment of a ride.
Where can you let go of something that no longer serves you and create a new way of communicating? I would love to here what other people think about this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What makes you tick? How about your horse?

As we move through life, striving to improve and grow, a key portion of this is finding out what motivates us to achieve our best.  In our relationship with our horses, we also need to find out what motivates them.  How do they learn best?  Are they sensitive, “thinking” types, easily bored? Do they question everything we ask them to do?  Are they good-natured, willing to comply with anything within reason that we ask of them?  Do they need to think about a request, take time to absorb it, before they can comply?  And there are many more ways to learn, especially when you put different riders and trainers into the equation.   

In my barn, I have four horses, each with one of the learning styles I mentioned above.  I have to approach work time with each of them differently.  The sensitive thinker is happiest with doing something different all the time, keeping him happy and engaged.  My just-for-fun horse will do anything, really, and will babysit anyone on his back, including my three-year-old grandson.  Another is sensitive in his own way, needing time to  process information before I ask again, and gets confused if asked again too quickly.  And the mare questions everything!  She should really have one of those question mark cartoon bubbles over her head, permanently.  

None of these styles is necessarily any easier than the others—it all depends on us, our personalities, and how we approach our ride time.  I’ve found that I need to be completely relaxed, have all the time in the world, for Mr. Sensitive Thinker.  If I’m in a hurry, he gets stressed out.  If I’m tense, he is exponentially tense. Of course, tension in us affects them all, but some of them hide it better than others. Mr. Easy-Going is my relaxation ride, but he doesn’t like to be taken for granted just because he is easy-going.  Mr. Processor shuts down if nagged at.  He will just give the minimum effort to get by.  And Ms. Questioner needs to be asked, not told, to do anything.   Try to force a situation with her and she will never forget it.  

Essentially, I have to be four different riders with these four different horses, although the base line is the same: relaxed, focused, listening.  These are my basic tools in my tool kit.  Then I pull out others as I need them, depending on which horse I am working with.  It’s made me a better, more well-rounded horse person.  

What does your horse want YOU to know about how he learns? And what does he want you to know about how YOU learn, to be the best partner you can be for him?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


So many times we fail to hear the kind things people say to us on a day to day basis. Words we often most want and need to hear, but are so often convinced of their untruth, we cannot accept them into our selves.
We often will rehash the unrelated negative comments of complete strangers who may be having a bad day, and we bump into them on the street. Or someone's opinions may be so colored by their personal events that even simple conversations feel like disagreements when the topic is beyond the understanding of the other person involved.

For myself, I often feel as if I should be more competent and need less help, or be farther along in my life. If I stop to think, I am often told I am very competent and successful. And if I look farther, I realize this is true. I may not be living up to my own expectations of self, but indeed that is an artificial standard. It may be unreachable and is created by imagining the realities of others and making false comparisons.

Where in your own life--riding, work, relationships, housekeeping--do you feel as though you are falling short? Can you take a moment right now to assess things a little more objectively? Make lists--what have you accomplished? What is life bringing you? Though it may not be what you imagined, you will be surprsied to find that an "objective" comparison will tell you that you have done well.

Are there areas where you would still like to achieve more? Great! That is what goal setting is all about. Pick an area that means a lot to you and your own quality of life--not for others but for yourself. Now choose a modest goal for improvement in that area. Create a plan for achieving it. If any one part of the plan seems undo-able (time-wise, financially), stop and do a little brainstorming to see how you can work with or around that problem.

Are your standards set so that even Clark Kent couldn't achieve them? You don't need that kind of pressure, and you don't need to be perfect. You deserve to take credit for what you do well, and to work consciously toward your goals and desires. And if you slide away from your plan... No Worries! You can make a new one!

Enjoy the day and the season, and lighten up and see the good in you :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Looking for inspiration in your life?  Here are three things that come to mind for me, right off the top of my head.

First, watch the movie “Temple Grandin”.  It is the story of a truly amazing woman, who has autism, but that assumed “disability” enables her to think in pictures (her words), the way animals do.  I’m not doing her story justice, I know—so watch the movie, or read one of her books.  

Also, because I am fresh back from the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I am still thinking about that a lot.  It was won by Mary King of Great Britain, riding the lovely King’s Temptress, a mare that Mary bred, raised and trained herself.  Mary also took second place, on the gorgeous gray Fernhill Urco.  First and Second place both?  Unheard of!  Unprecedented!  Mary is no spring chicken, either—she is 49 years old. Oh wait, that’s how old I am!

 Third place went to Sinead Halpin, who has NEVER competed at Rolex before, and her horse Manoir de Carneville.  Sinead is only 29, and to watch her ride, and the love and credit she gave to her horse after her gorgeous show-jumping round, brought tears to many eyes.  

We’re never too old, or too young, or too “handicapped”, to let that stand in our way.  It’s no good sitting on our butts, wishing and dreaming, waiting for things to be different.  Get up and make your dreams happen!  Ask for help if you need it, but do it!  What are you waiting for?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Great weekend at Everything Equine! Met lots of super horse folks, and talked about goals, relationship, fear and moving forward--both horses and their riders!
Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and we will be drawing the winner of the free CEGA workshop later this week--stay tuned!