It has come to my attention (thankyou Haruko!) that sometimes the pace of our conversation or the words used in our Live Seminars make it difficult for our much loved students who speak a language other than English to follow the audios easily.
I make notes for the Live Seminars. Very often what we actually talk about is not exactly the same, because we respond to the conversation – but I do have those basic notes.
So here are the notes for the first of our special Pignon series.
I had a gorgeous brag from Adriane this week who’s been on 21 days to a quiet mind – about the change in her new horse Tiny who had been scaring her he was so angry and is now dropping his nose into the halter happily to go with her. What IS it that makes our horses, including Tiny in this instance, respond so differently to a change in us?
It’s because we’re listening and know HOW to listen and they get confidence in that – I think it’s as simple as that. And we’re listening in OUR unique way of feeling for our horse – that’s what you develop in our programs and that’s also what people are looking for when they sit out with their horse for day after day doing nothing with Caroline Resnick’s work, or when they do the bodywork with Klaus Hempfling and the practical spiritual and body exercises with Noora Ehnqvist or learn an advanced martial art like Mark Rashid.
Frederic Pignon touched on it too, briefly, I can’t remember now how he expressed it – but it was along the lines of if we wanted something from a horse, then we had to be able to do that too – Calmness creating calmness, balance helping the horse to create balance too.
BE the change that you want to see in your horse is the way I express it and it’s even bigger than influencing our horse’s calmness by ourselves being calm – it’s also about making changes in ourselves and quietening our minds so as to improve our feel for our horse. And it has a PHYSICAL aspect as well. When we are superbly physically connected to our horse, in a riding position that is so stable that we can be sensitive with our bodies, THEN we can actually feel a stiffness in our horse and communicate the release with a release in our own bodies – it’s a magical way of riding, being able to be that sensitive with our horse.
Hi Jenny, My brag has to be the half pass on both reins in trot that I achieved at the clinic at Steve Halfpenny’s. This followed on from shoulder in and out plus hind quarters in and out. Two years ago when I rode with Jeff I was very crooked which in its turn put Sasha off, the only thing I have done over the past two years is to follow your programs!! The thing I think that has made the major difference is to only do the least amount of work on Sasha when ever she offers what I ask for we stop, sometimes I might only ride for a very short time. Lots of stops and rests and over time she is offering more and more. Mary
That’s interesting Mary because Frederic talked about how a little time achieved such a great result too and I’ve noticed the same thing. Even when I only have time to feed up, on the way in or out of the gate for feeding, we can do a little liberty work – 2 minutes worth of superb quality and great feel for your horse gets progress every day that adds up to quite a lot in a short time. Your stop Mary I bet is filled with appreciation for her too. I think that’s just as big a key to success. Also your riding position is so beautiful now – I’ve seen the photos – that you can clearly feel the limitations of Sasha’s body now and not push her further than she can go – so you have been in Pignon’s words “cultivating her to say YES”. The photos are gorgeous!
From the Pignon clinic
Pignon is an absolute genius at helping a horse find their comfort zone – that’s EXACTLY what he’s doing with EVERYTHING that he does and why I was so excited because that’s exactly what we do here too.
He started with every horse, with his hands on their body, just feeling their story – I think that’s what he called it??? Either that or “hearing their story”. Ask someone else who was there. I’m not sure if everyone understood what he was doing, because he was talking to us at the same time. But by the time he finished this communing with the horse and with that gift he has of helping a horse to find their comfort zone really fast while he’s working with them, each horse was ready to turn over to him.
Once you’re confident in what your connection with your horse feels like, you just feel inside yourself and wait for the connection to happen, for the horse to come alive under your hands – you can actually FEEL the difference if you have your hands on the horse at the time.
You can’t MAKE a connection happen – no matter what technique you use, you cannot force it. You CAN move your horse around in an urgent situation, i.e. do some technique like walk towards their hind end – and keep yourself safe while you are waiting for your horse to connect with you but you cannot MAKE a horse connect with you with that technique or any other really.
You can only FEEL the connection yourself, BE the change that you want your horse to be and with the soft ahhh… eyes that I talk about in 21 Days to a Quiet Mind, wait for whatever has to change in us and them for that connection to happen.
So Frederic starts there with the connection itself and then everything he does for there is about helping a horse to express the real horse they are within. He’s looking for a happy expressive horse who finds pleasure in saying YES.
What he’s doing is taking our Comfort Zone work one step further. A horse working in their Comfort Zone IS a happy expressive horse and I just wanted to explain why that’s such a big deal.
A horse in their comfort zone is in self carriage, their stride is soft and rhythmic, their back is lifted up, so that they can carry themselves with strength and grace and beauty too. It brings out a horse’s inner beauty and makes it a visible outer beauty to watch them move in self carriage, I always get all smiley watching it.
Those soft rhythmic strides mean that their body lasts for longer, because the joints are not being jarred with each step AND horses whose joints HAVE been jarred with each step can start to heal when their body is moving the way it’s supposed to – all flowing grace and beauty.
Let’s not skip over that point too quickly hey?
Whether ridden or on the ground – when a horse is in REAL self carriage, NOT held there by hands on reins and seat and legs, but 100% in SELF carriage– and that means long loose reins on the buckle folks, that’s the only way that you can test that they are really in self carriage when they are ridden – their bodies / joints/ bones/ ligaments/ muscles /tendons can start healing the way they were designed to.
Frederic talked about that healing too – he said it was hard to tell where training stopped and healing started. And that’s the way it is when you work with the mind body and spirit of the horse – training and healing for both horse AND human, go hand in hand – the SAME techniques do both things – healing AND training.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about all the elements of his genius in helping a horse to find a comfort zone.
He calls it developing a happy, expressive horse who is allowed to say NO but usually says YES when you ask something and he achieves THAT by not pushing a horse past its limits in any given moment. He creates a HABIT of the horse finding pleasure in saying yes – no matter what has gone on in their lives before.
WE call it following the good feelings and using the early warning signal that something is Not Quite Right for change. When we use our Not Quite Right for change and backing off, we are backing off a horse before he says NO. When we get REALLY good at feeling that moment where something is about to be less happy than it was – consistently – then we’ll be in Frederics class – because THAT is what HE is doing.
He FEELS exactly the limits of his ability to ask and still have the horse say YES. And when he pushes past that limit by accident – he stops, apologises clearly to the horse and figures out what he has to change.
We’re going to do a Quiet Mind exercise to get an improvement in our ability to notice the horses’s limits BEFORE they hit them – to get more Pignon like!
So let’s be clear here. What we watched was a horseman who hardly ever had a horse say NO. And the MAJOR reason for that was that he KNEW the horse’s limit, he FELT the horse’s limit – just like those of you who have been working with me for a while, feel the horse’s limit every time the happy humming energy gets less and with every early warning signal that something is Not Quite Right that you experience.
Now… just stopping and backing off at every Not Quite Right and waiting for The Chew will give everyone of any level of experience, a simple technique that gives everyone the ability to help their horse to heal.
Frederic did do that sometimes – although he wasn’t waiting for the horse to chew, he WAS waiting for the horse to feel RIGHT.
What he did very often when he felt that he had reached the limits or when he had inadvertently pushed too far, was just drop back to something simpler and familiar that the horse COULD say YES to and that he could praise them for, so that they were consistently feeling good. That was SUCH a key to his success, having the horse consistently feeling good.
That’s a TECHNIQUE – dropping back to something that the horse CAN say YES to and feel good about – it’s a great technique.
But you have to watch it with techniques – because they are not always perfect in each individual case in each individual moment. He didn’t drop back to something the horse could say YES to EVERY time. Like we do, sometimes he just stopped and waited.
So when he didn’t do the same thing all the time, how do YOU know which thing to do?
What you guys who are more advanced with your feel can do, is in that Inner Guidance place, you can decide whether to stop and wait for your horse to Chew – to RELEASE whatever is going on behind that tension or stress …
You can drop back to something that your horse CAN say YES to.
Follow any other guidance that you get in the moment that will apply perfectly to THIS horse and to YOU, in THIS moment.
So what you do, what action you take when your horse reaches their limit on what you are asking or if you’ve inadvertently pushed past that limit and they’ve said NO, depends on your experience and your FEEL and your Inner Guidance system.
And if you’re new to this work and that’s all too confusing in the beginning, you can’t go wrong with doing whatever it takes to make yourself safe and backing off and waiting for The Chew.
Now let’s have a think about what makes a horse say NO.
• They say NO when we go too fast for their minds to absorb whatever it is that we are asking.
• They say NO when we ask too much in that moment
• They say NO when they are confused
• They say NO when they are afraid – and there’s all kinds of degrees of fear and anxiety.
• They say NO with resistance when they have been repeatedly pushed past their previous NO’s
It’s pushing past the “no” past the limits in THIS MOMENT that creates tension and gets in the way of the horse learning to say “yes, finding pleasure in saying “yes!”
So how do you know a horse has reached his limit of being able to say YES in this moment? FEEL
How do you know if they are confused and WE need to explain something differently? FEEL
There were so many fabulous topics among Frederic’s two days, I can’t cover them all here. Next time we’ll talk about CLEARNESS –BE CLEAR were words that he used over and over again. What precisely does he mean? HOW do we be clear? How do you tell the difference between confusion, i.e. we need to explain something differently and allowing a horse to say “no”.
I had a lovely chat with Johanne yesterday as I was preparing for the seminar and she raised the issue that we can stuff up our horse with our learning. I’ve heard that too and in other methods and approaches you CAN stuff the horse up – but you CANNOT stuff them up with this method.
EVERY mistake you make and believe me you will make plenty of them – anyone who achieves anything worthwhile has made mistakes getting there – EVERY mistake you make as you and your horse solve it together, you will create a stronger bond together – with MORE physical, emotional and mental well being, not less.
It’s SO reassuring to work WITH your horse’s co-operation like this – it’s almost impossible to stuff it up permanently.
One of our lessons on Fast Track is about how to recognize and what to do when the baby horse appears. It’s when a horse who has had a hard time in the past, has let go of so much crappy stuff, released it permanently – that you have this baby horse clean slate to start working with again. I’ve seen it many, many times now. So if you can help even a traumatized horse to RELEASE and come back to mental, emotional and physical well being from that, then our well meaning mistakes are chicken feed in comparison.
And whether they’re huge old mistakes that humans made way back at the beginning, even with an old horse – or whether they’re smaller more well meaning mistakes that we make as we go along – we can know that the fixing of every single one of these issues creates a stronger bond with our horse.
One of the things that’s specially my talent, is making everything as easy as possible. And we do that by clearing up whatever is going on BEHIND an issue, so that the improvement just happens on auto pilot from then on.
Today we have a special Quiet Mind exercise designed to have us noticing the horses limits before we hit them – to make us more Pignon like!
Paying gentle attention to your outbreath, feel for your heart beat and if you can’t quite feel it then just imagine that you can, allow yourself to notice any emotions or energy moving in your body or physical feelings, allow any thoughts and ideas to drift across your mind all the way to the gold at the bottom of them.
Set your intention to understand something that is in the way of us noticing our horses limits earlier and easier – not trying to be LIKE Pignon because we are wonderfully and perfectly unique ourselves , but being INSPIRED by Pignon.
And then I went into the Quiet Mind…