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The Project:

One Mustang directly off the range, One trainer, No tools, Just body language

The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

Myrnah’s gift

When I began this project with Myrnah I imagined it as an isolated project. Interesting, yet separate and completely different from the rest of the training and teaching I do. Never have I been so thrilled to be wrong. Instead of the project being separate and different, I find the things Myrnah teaches me permeate and improve everything else I do. Myrnah’s gift to me, showing me a relationship with horses from a completely different angle, seems to spread all through my work like ripples in a pond.

The developmental processes Myrnah has helped me learn, the processes that I didn’t have a year ago, profoundly benefit the horses and the people I come in contact with everyday. So any of you who get to work with me, next time we have a great session together, Thank Myrnah!

This week, with its beautiful sunny days, white puffy clouds, and a school vacation, brings me to tell you about Cameron and Antheia. Cameron is my daughter, ten years old, and loves horses just about as much as I do. Antheia is the grey mustang filly coming three years old this spring. Thanks to Myrnah’s inspiration, this week was truly special for Cameron and Antheia.

Antheia and Cleo are the only two horses still living in the paddocks at my house. The pastures down in the valley with the lush abundant grass are a wonderland for any horse getting enough exercise to work off the sugar. For the horses not yet under saddle, all that food can be too much of a good thing… so for now Cleo and Antheia stay in the upland paddocks close to home with Cameron and me.

Antheia is a love- innately social with a playful mind and a steady disposition, eager for anything new and fun the world can bring her. At close to three-years-old I wasn’t in a hurry to start her riding career; however, I knew she and Cameron would both enjoy the development process immensely. So with the combination of sunny days, time on our hands, and Myrnah’s gift of inspiration, I broached the idea to Cameron, and the game was on!

Day one: Cameron groomed Antheia loose in the paddock and then I talked her through the drive and draw process Myrnah and I use. Slowly and patiently Cameron used the pressure of moving in and out of Antheia’s space to create the magnetic draw bonding them together. I was surprised how hard Antheia made Cameron work for it, and I was impressed with Cameron’s perseverance as she developed her timing to attract and draw Antheia with her. Once they made it to the round pen together, Antheia following Cameron freely at liberty, Cleo and I came in too and helped speed the process along.

The game was for Cameron to use as much drive and draw and patient persistence as she felt good about. If it felt like Antheia was not holding up her side of the equation- drawing to Cameron- then we could switch games, sending Cleo and Antheia out to take a run around the round pen together, knowing Antheia would be much more interested in working with Cameron once she knew the alternative.

My work with Myrnah has encouraged me to minimize sending horses away, pushing them to move because they are trapped between a fence and me. Nonetheless, tools like a round pen were created with good reason- they speed up the process. Not everyone has the time and the patience to take the slowest road of development. Cameron and Antheia’s work this week was inspired by Myrnah, yet tailored for them.

By the end of day one, Cameron had taught Antheia to draw with her and find a resting spot next to the tires stacked as a mounting block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day two found the draw a little easier between them, and a comfortable ease with Cameron climbing up on the makeshift mounting block to stand up high over Antheia’s back and belly over, letting Antheia feel weight for the first time ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day three graduated naturally to Cameron swinging a leg over and sitting high, Antheia carrying a rider astride for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day four Cameron was on and off a dozen times, sitting longer each time, finally riding as a passenger as Antheia chose to walk over and step up on the pedestal-

TA DA!!! .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day five the draw between Cameron and Antheia was almost effortless, so they added to the groundwork the practice of pressure on Antheia’s side to mean move forward, linking beautifully with the riding. By the end of day five Cameron could ask for a walk with the nudge of a heel, and Antheia was happy to oblige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is something special about starting your first horse under saddle; it is an experience you don’t forget. Thanks to Myrnah, Cameron and Antheia took that experience up a notch- no saddle and no bridle or halter, just an understanding between them. I got to watch from the sidelines, simply offering words of encouragement and shining a light on their path.

I sat on the ground, Cleo standing guard over me as I snapped photos and reveled in watching another horse and rider experience the inexplicable joy that comes with building a bond and doing something new together. There is really nothing quite like it.

Myrnah’s gift I think is really about realizing how powerfully rewarding it is to do things with more trust and less force. It may take longer, it may feel harder, it may seem pointless at times, but there is nothing comparable to the feeling you get doing something new, knowing your partner wants to be there with you. Nothing is holding you, but the desire to be there together.

Elsa Sinclair

EquineClarity.com

6 Comments

  1. Very nice !

  2. “When I began this project with Myrnah I imagined it as an isolated project. Interesting, yet separate and completely different from the rest of the training and teaching I do. Never have I been so thrilled to be wrong. Instead of the project being separate and different, I find the things Myrnah teaches me permeate and improve everything else I do. Myrnah’s gift to me, showing me a relationship with horses from a completely different angle, seems to spread all through my work like ripples in a pond.”

    Throughout these many posts documenting your “project”, Elsa, the above quote is what I have been hoping to read more than anything else…that your relationship, partnership, friendship with Myrnah would cease to be a “project” with an eye on some equestrian goal, or feat that would look stunning on your resumé, but instead be a portal to a more authentic way of not only interacting with horses, but with the world at large.

    I never doubted the goal was attainable, but I did wonder if it would have a more permeable impact upon you as a human. I cannot imagine one can go back to conventional training after having experienced all that you and Myrnah have without compromising in a deleterious way. It will be interesting to see where you go with this, Elsa–for surely your identity as a “teacher” and “trainer” are no longer bound by what is now an obviously limiting and erroneous perception of horse/human relations.

    “Our inner attitude is a decisive factor in our relationship with horses. Do we give them inner space instead of assaulting them with demands? Do we make room in our hearts for them? Or do we use them to satisfy our hunger for freedom as we unconcernedly live out our dreams on their back? He who wants to create space for horses despite his own constant human presence needs to first have freedom within himself. Freedom for horses begins in us. Instead of blocking their way, making them yield, driving and stopping them, instead of wanting to constantly and in every conceivable way manipulate them, we must open a ‘feeling’ place within ourselves for them. The airier and more boundless this inner space is the more joyful and winged the horses become in our presence.”–Imke Spilker from her book EMPOWERED HORSES

    That you have been able to show Cameron the “portal” to this more authentic way of being with horses suggests you will not be going backwards, but forging new paths forward where your ripples in a pond join in with a wave of change presently taking place among humans and horses.

  3. Beautiful

  4. Elsa, you now know you have a repeatable, teachable experience—though Cam is an IDEAL next trainer.
    Lynne has touched on something I’ve been considering…you have also met the personal partner-goal you set in the first blog, back in Jan. 2011. Now where….? 😉 M

  5. I have found your blog through Lynne’s blog. This is the first post I have read and is wonderful – I look forward to reading more.

    Máire

    • Hi Máire,

      I can’t help but asking you to please read the whole story from the beginning, because I can assure you: it’s so incredibly wonderful :-)!

      Cheers, Marja


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Myrnah grazing and me quietly still with my eyes closed. That is why the blog last week was about Cameron and Antheia, with Myrnah and I existing simply as […]

  2. By A Brand New Partnership « A Girl and A Mustang on 03 May 2012 at 10:47 pm

    […] mum, Elsa, wrotea blog about Antheia and I in our first week of work. I will be continuing it from now on. This blog is all about a brand new […]

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