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Holistic Horsemanship

'You are not working on the horse, you are working on yourself.' - Ray Hunt

We are often asked what type of riding we teach - the short answer is we don't teach any specific discipline. The long answer is we focus on holistic horsemanship as a solid foundation for anything people want to do with horses. When humans interact with horses, whether while riding or on the ground, having an understanding of how they communicate, what drives their behaviours, how our own actions impact them, and what they need in terms of leadership, will keep everyone safer. This also encourages a bigger picture perspective on horse/human interaction that goes beyond technical skills, important as those are.

Horses have the ability to teach us, they help us grow in our understanding of ourselves and life in general. Working with them creates the need, and therefore the opportunity, for us to cultivate healthy boundaries for ourselves, and also requires that we respect the boundaries of others. We can't make horses do anything. They have to be willing to cooperate, and while there are a few ways of achieving that that are based in cruelty, the methods that are thankfully becoming more popular, are based in bonding. Building solid relationships with the horses that we spend time with, especially those that we want to participate in certain activities, may seem like it takes more time at first but in the long run the benefits are more than worth it the effort.

Holistic horsemanship is about each rider or horse handler striving to reach their own goals in a safe and respectful way. There is not one program outline that will work for every person, just as there is not one program outline that will match every horse. Participants learn to alter their approach and cues because everything can change based on what's going on in their own life and which horse they're working with. The season, and even the weather, will impact how and what we do. Working in this way we gain life skills, becoming more adaptable, resilient and flexible. We increase our confidence, self reliance and self awareness as we are immersed in the amazing energy of the horses.

Our horses have taught us more about acceptance and change than anything else. They have been our best friends, and our most honest teachers. The depth they have added to our lives is something that we can never fully articulate but are always aware of. They bring peace and humility to the parts of us that struggle with the duality of our instinctual, natural selves vs who we must be in the modern culture, and through time with them we find that actually, we don't need to be anything more than simply ourselves. We are continually grateful that we have the opportunity to share horse experiences with others, and watch them find that same magic for themselves.

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