Today I received a wonderful endorsement letter from a student of mine Diedre Kindsfather, an amazing woman. I thought it would be a good testimony for those of you who are thinking about attending my December clinic here at the ranch. I even have a new magnificent stallion to support the guests that come. He is an Arabian, six years old, and I will be doing videos with him soon from the beginning of our relationship that I will call “Maestro’s Journey Through the Waterhole Rituals.”
Diedre and her husband Thom came recently for a 3- Day Private Clinic with me at my ranch. Diedre is amazing for many reasons for her connection to all animals and her years of study. But what stood out to me about Diedre was how smart she was. She could have taught Thom my Method herself, but knew that it would be better for him to experience it with me. How many newly married people would know that? It is very hard to take on the role of “I know and you don’t” at the beginning stages of a new marriage.
Thom flew with the method more than I have ever seen anybody take to working with horses that had no background with horses. He worked with the horses as if my method was his own. I know Thom will not feel this way. But what got me was how focused he was, and how focused the horses were on him, and how they naturally wound up in a partnership from Thom’s leadership. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, because this is what Thom does for a living with humans in the corporate world, coaching leadership decisions. So why shouldn’t he be natural communing, connecting, and leading horses?
So, here is the letter! They will be coming to my December clinic. Be sure to sign up for Beyond The Waterhole Rituals Clinic, December 1-8, 2011. This class is only open to the Insider Circle and Extended Circle students, as well as my private clinic students and students who have worked directly with me as well as my Certified Instructors. There is a limit of 10 people so that we can really expand our personal growth. On last count, there were 6 spots available. Be sure to remember to register, even though you may have told me you are coming.
Dear Carolyn, Hello, Carolyn and Lori. Thom and I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for the private Dancing with Horses clinic. The Valentines gift of two-for-one was perfect for us, and made a great wedding present as we got married between Valentine’s and the clinic date.
I had read your books and blog and seen the videos, and I’ve worked with all these and have learned a great deal from them. I know, though, that the learning can be more personal and precise person to person, and in coming to your ranch, I found I was not disappointed. In working with the horses you made available to us, I learned so much more about the rituals and how I engaged them, such as about when I was going on automatic pilot or when I could be more generous, have more faith, or to see the horse’s response in a different light, and I learned to clarify and tune my personal boundaries. The horses we got to meet and work with are fantastic, eye-catching, charismatic beings as well, and this added immeasurably to the learning. They commanded my attention and kept me feeling I was living in the land of myth.
I have worked with horses much of my life, and believe strongly in continuing education. I have worked with a number of professionals and organizations in the field of equine guided human learning and wellness, which is my field of work, as well as more traditional horsemanship learning in dressage, natural horsemanship, and various show worlds. The clinic with you seems the pinnacle of all my learning and training, as well as the rarest of finds—a blending of the skills and perspectives needed for both high-level horsemanship and EAP, and when I came home I felt sated, as though I’d found the source of learning I’ve been looking for years to find. I couldn’t wait to begin applying my learning to my herd of 9 horses.
First, I got my closest equine companion, Legend, out to try some things. He and I have ridden in dressage clinics together, have worked with natural horsemanship trainings in which we teamed in the gentling and training of mustangs, we’ve competed in endurance races, trail ridden in the back of beyond, and he’s packed gear for me and my non-horse-savvy friends hiking the Pacific Crest trail and other multi-day trips where he was often alone with his pack, taking cues from a distance. He and I have done liberty work in our own way, and he, more than any other horse, has experienced the evolution and intertwining of all I’ve learned. I couldn’t wait to evolve with him some more.
What I found was a new lens on my interactions with him, and even more enlightening, I uncovered emotions that I usually reacted to and covered before I’d ever known they were there. Just in companion walking, or in leading from behind, or in other rituals I’ve done before, I discovered moments when I was impatient and pushed when I felt that my horse was “evading,” when I didn’t really let him choose. In resisting those impulses, I felt the strong emotions that motivated them and that my former actions covered over. I found my truth to the quip “familiarity breeds contempt.” This of course led to a series of feelings, including shame and guilt. But the overriding feelings are those of excitement and anticipation, because now I see some moments when I unwittingly strain my relationship with my horse, his trust in me, his desire to be with me. I know his generous, loving nature. He has been a light in my already rewarding, adventurous life. And I know that if I give him more, I will get more, too.
This is not the only reason to change, though. The reason is for both of us to feel free in our work together, to clear any blocks to communication and communion. In whatever method I’m using, whether working at liberty or on dressage, or trail riding, or packing, I will look to make use of the new-found instincts about pushing and forcing and allowing and trusting and boundary-setting. That was the biggest gift of your clinic.
I am also so gratified to see Thom, who is somewhat new to horses but an eager learner, spending more and more rewarding time with the horses as well. Recently he called me as he came out of a boardroom meeting, and rather than reviewing the meeting, he processed the experience of feeling he was in that meeting with Marchador, companion walking with him.
There are many very talented horse people in the world, many methods, many techniques. What you do for horses and teach to people is unique. It underpins so much else. It is fundamental, and you take it to an art form. I am so grateful to the world for you, and I’m signing up for more! Thanks again to both you and Lori, for making the learning the kind of experience we want for the horses—something that allows for change that opens up worlds.
Hope that you all enjoyed this letter! May the Horse be with You! Carolyn