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Ride from the Heart DVD - The Art of Communication By Jenny Rolfe

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 28, 2012 07:10

 

 

 

Ride from the Heart DVD

The Art of Communication

By Jenny Rolfe

Cracking Media

50 minutes - $37.00

To purchase on-line, go to: http://www.spanishdressagehorses.com

Also available on Amazon

 

Reviewed by Carol M. Upton http://www.dreamsaloud.ca

Training is about connection with our horse with love, harmony and respect. The more we understand the ways of the horse, the more we understand our own feelings. As a result we can live in more harmony - not only with our horse - but with ourselves. ~ Jenny Rolfe

 

U.K. riding instructor Jenny Rolfe teaches innovative techniques of core breathing to connect with the horse and help the rider to find harmony in body, mind and spirit. Now these techniques are available in progressive and well-organized detail on the DVD Ride from the Heart.

 

Rolfe’s principles are based in dressage, but applicable to all forms of riding.  She demonstrates with her Iberian stallions using liberty work, not only as a training aid, but also as a warm-up, re-establishing connection on the ground prior to riding. The object is calm, assertive leadership, and total empathy between horse and handler.

 

The DVD includes common training tips such as not pulling on a horse’s head when leading. There are also excellent demonstrations of Rolfe’s exercise system to improve the rider’s body awareness. Exercises, loosely based on Tai Chi, are done in standing positions. The rider is then soft and relaxed when mounted, and thus the horse is as well. Most athletes already use such techniques prior to competition, but not much has been offered on DVD for the equestrian.

 

Instructors will value this DVD as a teaching tool for all levels, but it additionally offers fresh perspectives on position and groundwork. It is really for anyone who wants to help their horse become a more confident athlete and simply create a better ride.

 

Jenny Rolfe’s clients come from all over the world and include those professionally involved with horses, among them BHS trainers, physiotherapists and natural horsemanship instructors. She is also an artist and author of the book Ride from the Heart and her upcoming 2012 release Breathe Life Into Your Riding.

HorseOwnerToday and Elaine Ward of Western Dressage in Canada

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 11, 2012 16:05

 

 

1.  Tell HorseOwnerToday about your journey to developing Western Dressage in Canada to where it is today.
I've been involved with Western Style dressage for the past 30 years. I was a successful youth rider, and did the 4H, Paint and Quarter Horse Shows. I was learning dressage at the time also. My first dressage lesson was back in 1973! When I started teaching professionally, I would have students that would come to me with their Western horses.  I would work on really basic dressage exercises to improve the gaits and suppleness of their horses, and work on the rider's  position. It's really no different for me. Good training is good training. I teach the horse to use his hind end, and teach the rider how to achieve it.  Ideally we want the horse to carry it's self. My best analogy to riders is to imagine the horse is like a motor boat. Without the power of the engine (the horses' hind end) to lift the bow (the horses' front end), you will never have a horse that is light and can carry it's self.
Western Style dressage as a discipline is so new, that our job right now is to educate riders to the benefits of it. To develop a better level of communication, and a higher level of learning. What's really cool about Western Style dressage is that it is a progressive training, and the levels of tests increase in difficulty to reflect that. Even if someone has no interest in showing, the tests are just that, the ability to ride patterns of increased difficulty and to ride to a standard.


2.  What changes have you seen in the the Dressage in Canada market in the past 5 years?

I think the market has really not changed. You have two types of riders out there. The competitive and the recreational rider. It has always stayed that way. But on the other hand, the generations are getting older. What I have discovered from talking to people is that the older riders no longer wish to sit in a dressage saddle. They find the Western Style of riding much more relaxed and less restrictive. Those riders have also gone out and purchased a more average moving horse with a good mind. They still want to learn dressage, but not on a big moving, active minded horse. They love the camaraderie of riding with friends, and still want to go out there and learn, but not with the big warmblood or hot Thoroughbred types anymore. I'm not saying that Western Style Dressage is for the older riders, but from looking at several studies, the demographics point to the over 45 rider. I have discovered the same thing from talking to people interested in Western Style Dressage.  WSD also is important to the youth out there too. We would like those riders to develop a good foundation for training, no matter which discipline they choose to ride. Dressage is the French word for Training. Training done correctly.

3.   What changes do you predict for the future of Western Dressage in Canada in the next 5 years? 


The goal of the Western Style Dressage Association is to get WSD out there to every corner of Canada, through demos, displays, clinics, etc. Our long term vision is to have Equine Canada except WSD as an actual discipline with a section in the rule book. In the mean time, it's all about education!  We would like to see WSD included in regular dressage competitions. We would like to have an affiliate in every Province!  http://westernstyledressage.ca/


Nawaab: Stallion of Ahmedabad

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 12:45

 

 

 

 


Nawaab: Stallion of Ahmedabad

By Gina McKnight
Photography By Uzair Kasbati, Manthan Mehta, Nrupal Mehta


The commotion in the backyard at 5 o’clock am can be heard along the streets of Ahmedabad.  Nawaab, handsome five-year old black stallion of Anish Gajjar, is awake and ready for breakfast!  An anxious whinny resounds as the local farmer tosses pulas of green alfalfa over the wall into Nawaab’s stable; the syce arrives to place the forage into the appropriate feeder, along with Nawaab’s daily portion of Bajra (grain).
Nawaab is comfortable amongst the sounds and hustle of city life.  His stable is ideal; a large space for meandering throughout the day, a fragrant frangipani tree and a pink-flowering bougainvillea vine for daily shade.  At 15.2 hands, Nawaab towers the neighborhood children who are sometimes startled by his appearance as he gazes with probing stallion eyes over his stable wall.
Sired by Suraj and dam Lakshmi of the famous Manaklao Stables located forty kilometers from Jodhpur, Nawaab mirrors his ancestral lineage with his cognitive skills and signature physique.  He is the horse of legend.  A gazing star on his forehead symbolizes good fortune, giving him a distinctive appearance, making him desirable amongst Marwari breeders.
Wielding a confident and graceful countenance, he is brave and loyal, embracing all the characteristics of the classic Marwari; the mount of kings and warriors, the result of centuries of natural selection, environment and geographic.  “His disposition could be described as content, curious and an explorer. He's got one of the best temperaments; a little assertive, as a stallion should be, and always very friendly,” says Gajjar. 
Dedication and compassion makes a true horseman, which is evident in Gajjar’s articulate training and intuitive approach. Training is in process and the bond between horse and rider has been well established. According to Gajjar, “Nawaab has been bred by a very reputed breeder, Dr. Narayansingh Manaklao, but was never trained for riding. After bringing him home, I’ve done three sessions with him and he doesn't rear anymore or show any impatient signs. I really have my hopes set on this one. Looks like he'll turn out great!”
Gajjar plans to school Nawaab in dressage, an equine ballet in which the horse’s eloquent moves are orchestrated through an unseen channel of communication between horse and rider. Rooted in military training traditions, dressage will allow Nawaab to demonstrate his nimble and adaptable qualities. Nawaab’s genetically engineered structure for intricate maneuvers, such as dressage, ensures his success as a champion.
Gajjar affectionately strokes Nawaab’s neck and tickles his ears. His great admiration for Nawaab is evident.  Nawaab responds with equal affection and trust.  Gaining Nawaab’s respect with strong but moderate authority establishes Gajjar’s natural leadership role. It is a magical image of connected friendship between horse and rider that has been envied throughout time.
Nawaab and Gajjar can be seen on their trek from the stable, through the city streets of Ahmedabad, to the adjacent green fields for their brisk morning ride.   It is a pleasant ride, the result of expert care and training.  “The gaits are soft and he's quite sure-footed. I've brought him into a well collected ride. The trot and canter are both quite soft and comfortable,” says Gajjar.  When asked about Nawaab’s beauty, agility and expert performance, Gajjar states, “I don't have any magic in me; it’s just passion and hard work. Every day is a learning experience!”
Within the annals of Indian Mythology, the fascinating Marwari hold a prominent position. There is no denying that the Marwari image emits a powerful influence on equestrians around the world. The indigenous Marwari is one of India’s most precious resources; progressive, resilient and unique.  Currently, due to low census, Marwari are confined to India (with very few in the U.S.A., France and Spain, which were transported there before the ban); however, as their numbers increase, the export ban may be lifted.
As an equestrian and avid horse lover, I hope to find a Marwari in my stable one day.  Their versatility and etiquette would be a welcome addition to my valley. I am positive one of Nawaab’s offspring would be right at home in my peaceful Appalachia countryside.
 
Anish Gajjar is co-founder of the Equestrian Club of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, India
  
Gina McKnight is an author and freelance writer from USA

http://ginamc.blogspot.com/

http://gmcknight.com

Memoirs of a Horse Owner by Sam

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   November 18, 2011 09:36

Memoirs of a Horse Owner    

 

                    Horsemanship ....... it is an art, a science, a tradition and a lifelong journey!

 

The articles written for www.Horseownertoday.com  are a collection of my personal memoirs as a horse owner.  They are about my experiences and about my understanding of horsemanship.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of www.Horseownertodaycom.com  and in some cases, they do not reflect the opinion of the majority of horse owners today.  They are about my journey toward understanding a horse.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

I enjoy watching the horses interact with one another in the pasture.  An interesting thing occurred the other day and it got me thinking about how leadership works in an established herd. 

It was a beautiful spring day.  Most of the horses were standing along the fence line, lazing in the warm sun.  The rest of the horses, including the yearlings, were nibbling on the newly sprouted grass near the pond. 

As I stood watching, my thoughts were interrupted by a ruckus near the pond.  One of the geldings had started chasing the yearlings around.  He was relentless and it caused me to wonder about the safety of the yearlings.  It was about then that the big bay took notice.  She motioned with her head toward the dun that was resting beside her. 

The dun left his resting spot along the fence line and slowly trotted toward the troublemaker.  With a rather matter-of-fact attitude, he separated the troublemaker from the yearlings and herded him around the pond.  After one circle around the pond, the dun returned to his resting spot beside the bay. 

Within minutes the troublemaker was back at it.  And again the dun slowly trotted out.  He separated him from the yearlings and once again he sent him off around the pond. 

On the troublemaker's third offense, the dun trotted out with a bit more determination.  He separated him from the yearlings and herded him toward the group of horses that were resting along the fence line.  As the troublemaker trotted by, the bay bit him on the backside.  That ended the ruckus in the pasture.

I couldn't help wondering about what I had seen.  As horse owners, we tend to read things into situations and come up with entirely wrong conclusions, sort of like when we believed our teddy bear could talk.  "Personification" is the proper term for it.  Yet it seemed to me that I had not read anything into this situation.  

As it turns out, a herd of horses has a set of values and laws that benefit the entire herd.   It is the responsibility of the lead horse to maintain the herd's values and laws.  This is done for the wellbeing of the entire herd.  The herd looks to the leader for support and direction.   The herd relies on her wisdom.

Conflict is usually between consenting scrappers who are attempting to increase their position within the herd hierarchy.  Often the lead horse will let them figure it out on their own.  Occasionally the lead horse will delegate leadership to another horse.  The lead horse steps in if the horse that is lower in the hierarchy is not able to resolve the issue.   And within the herd, strong friendships are formed and submissive horses are protected. 

It seems that people often mistakenly assume that leadership is based on dominance.  Rarely is that the case.  Dominant horses tend to be too reactive to be good leaders.  They are too emotional, too exuberant, too flighty and too extreme in their behavior. 

The herd leader is the horse that is best able to protect the herd.  The herd leader is often the most intelligent horse and the one who has the most experience and wisdom.  The leader is trusted and respected for her wisdom and her ability to keep the herd safe and secure. 

Horses communicate with one another in a meaningful way.  Leadership is maintained in a logical and honest manner.  It is consistent and "in the moment".   At times it is very subtle.  It is not based on dominance or emotion.  I suppose it could be said that the lead horse is the horse with the most "savvy".

Sam                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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