Picking up a horse's hind legs correctly can be a bit of a struggle.
The picture below is a still from a video (click on the picture to watch full video) where I work with a severely abused Arabian gelding.
As you can see, a light touch from my hand (along with the right energy) is enough for him to lift his feet. No squeezing or pinching required!!
Experiencing the differences between wild, domestic and abused horses made me realize that more often than not, it is not about WHAT you are doing, but HOW you are doing it.
In the beginning it might not even be about lifting their feet, but about getting them comfortable about you being around them, behind them, touching them. Good experiences will open doors to what you eventually want, but if you rush it, your hard work goes right out the window.
Tinderella, standing perfectly still while giving her hind leg without being tied, after working with her for about 15 minutes
If you'd like to see how I asses a new horse at Love This Horse Rescue (including picking up all 4 feet), watch the video below! At the end I'm doing some bodywork on the horse to get him to relax his end, a simple exercise to ask them to relax, shift their weight and eventually lift their leg.
We had a good scare yesterday, one of the horses got herself stuck on the tie rail which caused a (mild) nosebleed.
Later at home, I kept replaying the incident, trying not to think about what could have happened if I hadn't left my bag at the rescue, hadn't walked into the barn to find it, magically found my scissors just moments before...
It goes without saying that there's now always a cutter at the grooming spot!
Tinderella and my husband, bonding after successfully grooming & tacking her up
Out on the trail!
klik hier voor Nederlands
MY VISION AND BELIEFS:
When I started working with horses, I was inspired by the old masters like Ray Hunt, Mark Rashid and Buck Brannaman. Their way of not "working" - but connecting with their horses felt so pure and true, I could feel it in my bones. I thought; 'This is what I want to learn, this is what I will pursue.' Now, over 10 years later, I have a passion. To help those who otherwise cannot be heard, to give them a voice and give them their lives back.
Setting yourself up for succes or failure
Horses are too spiritual and too pure to just grab them, hop on their backs and ask for something without ever giving anything in return, like partnership, comfort, respect and an appropriate environment to live in. Somehow, along the way, we've lost our ability to emphatize, to put someone else's needs before our own. We do this when we have children, we make the best choices possible and put our own lives on hold, just to support them. So why not with horses?
When you're setting goals, or having dreams for your horse, how long does it take you to get to the things that really matter? It's not about the lessons, your tack, your fancy outfit and brand new trailer. It's about making sure your horse is willing and able to do the things you ask from him. Not afraid of the consequences when he fails, but asking for guidance when things get tough. Like true partners.
Working & living with horses: More than our eyes can see
Over the years, while working with all kinds of horses in The Netherlands and USA, I have tested my theories (yes, I have many!) about partnership as the main ingredient during my rehabilitation program. These horses all had different backgrounds, like racehorses, cutting horses, hunter jumpers, reining horses, warmbloods, coldbloods, thoroughbreds. All with often one thing in common: a complicated and heart-breaking past, which has made them either angry at - or afraid of - people.
Just physical training and care aren't the right tools for these horses. They'll need much more support and guidance on an emotional and spiritual level. Like humans and other animals, horses have several energy fields. Humans have four (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual), horses have three: physical, emotional and spiritual. Each layer has a cellular memory, in which all kinds of impressions are being stored during their lives.
The physical layer is their body, with the cellular memory of wounds, trauma and disease.
The emotional layer exists a little outside the body, and carries feelings, emotions and emotional trauma.
The spiritual layer is the most distant, with humans this is the layer that carries our karmic lessons and trauma we're carrying from a life we've lived before. Since horses don't carry anything with them from past lives, this layer represents the Spirit itself, the horse's gift to the world. It's the horse in his highest, purest form.
As you can see, horses do not have a mental layer. So why is that?
Horses are not able to have negative thoughts or feelings about themselves, or limitative thoughts. They don't hold grudges, they just forgive and let go. However. Horses àre able to carry guilt, fear, all empathetically taken on from the humans it serves. Which means that when you're buying a new horse, they might have some energy blockages due to taking over the emotions from their previous owner(s). Since horses, like most animals, are more grounded than us humans, they are masters in empathetically taking on a humans emotion and then release and clear it very quickly. But if the horse's own needs aren't met, like lack of interaction with other horses, the wrong diet or even neglect/abuse, it gets harder and harder to channel all that (negative) energy. At this point, you'll have a horse that is (either) physically, emotionally or spiritually out of balance. These horses always show typical behavior like cribbing, biting, bolting, shoving, not cooperating, low energy, rearing, bucking or sometimes even attacking.
Integrated Energy Therapy
A great tool (for me) while working with these types of horses, is Integrated Energy Therapy (IET). This is a beautiful and safe way (since I don't necessarily need to be near the horse)to get the energy in their cellular memories flowing again.
For example, a little insight in IET from one of my study books:
"The cellular memory in the area of the throat and lungs is where feelings of shame about self-expression are suppressed. There is a great deal of strength in the throat center of a horse. This is conveyed by the archetypal image of the horse standing very proud and regal, with no sense of pride or boastfulness. Horses have a tremendous ability to be expressive and spontaneous. They have a very large range of expression."
"Energy can be suppressed into the horse's throat center, when a horse chooses to become "domesticated" so that it can enter into the path of service to humans. Some of the energy of a horse's wild spirit is suppressed into the throat center. When the horse is not serving humans and is allowed to be free, this spirit can flow through the cellular memory of the throat center and the horse's true spirited nature will be expressed.
By Energizing and Integrating the horse's cellular memories, we are able to imprint and restore the right energy that allows the horse to remain strong and true. To me, an essential part of working with horses.
"The Human possesses the one thing that means more to the horse than anything in the world, and that is peace and comfort." - Buck Brannaman
WORKING IN COMPLETE HARMONY
Relax compositum supports the horse during stressful events, like a visit from the farrier or vet or moving to a new location.
It's an herbal tincture, made with plants that have soothing abilities that help the horse to relax during inner turmoil.
It's not recommended for long-term use, since the Compositum will only help fight symptoms of the problem
It is however, a great tool to use while safely figuring out the roots of the problem. Start by giving your horse or pony a dosage of 20 - 30 drops, two to three times daily.
You can easily cover some treats with the tincture, or drop the oil over their feed.
*It is not suitable for lactating horses or during pregnancy.
🌟Stress-free trailer loading for Lucky in three sessions 🐴🌴
She's had some bad experiences so I'm working with her to get her to load safely and without stress.
🌿I'm using the Relax Compositum from De Groene Os to help the horses "calm down" more quickly. It allows their mind to breathe, open up and actually learn, process AND apply what we are doing.
Lucky is infamous for her ability to shut down mentally and emotionally - due to people abusing her - and just physical work alone, will not help break these bad habits.
For a horse like Lucky, there has to be room for emotional, mental and spiritual support, by creating a low energy/high frequency bubble for us to work in, supported by the powerful, all-natural Relax Compositum tincture 🙏🏽
20 minutes before we started this session, I gave her some treats with drops from the Relax Compositum tincture.
I definitely witnessed her emotional state becoming softer after a correction, instead of harder. This offered her more time to take a few breaks and process what we just did.
During this session, she loaded safely with two legs in the trailer.
We actually worked these sessions with three people (me, my horse-savvy husband and the owner of the mare/ranch) to make sure she has support outside and inside the trailer.
It took some practice but after just a few minutes we were perfectly in tune and ready to team up.
As soon as two legs inside wasn't that much of a problem anymore, I started asking for a calm back-up. First by lowering her head, then by gently but firmly adding pressure against her chest and releasing as soon as she moved away.
I watched closely to see if and when her head moved up even a few inches, to respond by stopping her, petting her and talking to her. Then I asked her to drop her head again and after a few times she backed up nicely.
Enough for session one.
Day two was a very interesting day. I never focus on getting the horse in the trailer, I rather focus on creating and maintaining a positive flow for the both of us to work in. Where there is room to safely explore and communicate.
Again, this is exactly the spectrum where the Relax Compositum offers support. Just like the day before, I sprinkled the drops over some treats and after 15-20 minutes we headed towards the trailer.
We worked a lot on backing out (with still just two legs in). She panicked as soon as her ears hit the roof/walls, so in hindsight it was definitely a good call to not load her with all four legs already.
We worked on this, the same way we did during the first session and ended when she started to walk into the trailer herself!
Day three was the day where she finally - and safely! - loaded with all four legs.
We picked up where we'd left off the day before, and so did the mare. She again offered to walk into the trailer herself. We praised and cheered her on and built from that.
It didn't take long for her to - one time, literally - run inside and happily eat her hay and apples. Since we had lots of time left, we turned on the engine of the truck, closed the doors/window and ALL was fine.
The Relax Compositum is available online!!!! Although, since it's a Dutch company with a Dutch website, I understand if you're having difficulties.
That's why I'm making this EASY by letting you know that you can simply send me an email with your order and I will take care of the rest.
Instagram: zoevanm / de_groene_os
Website: www.zoevanmourik.com / www.degroeneos.nl
They tried everything, from changing the feed to monitoring possible ulcers 🤔nothing worked.
After just one session of Energy Therapy, the horses were ALL calming down, processing everything we just went through together, with room to move on and leave this hurtful behavioral patterns behind 🙏🏽👋🏽
I'm always grateful for being asked to work with these horses, the ones that need a voice the most. A voice of their own 🔥
If you'd like to know more about the use of various types of Energy Healing, feel free to send me a message with your questions 😊
In samenwerking met De Groene Os mag ik drie producten gaan gebruiken, ter ondersteuning bij mijn rehabilitatie werk met de paarden, hier in Amerika 👏🏽😍
💘Ik ben helemaal happy met deze samenwerking, De Groene Os is al jaren actief op het gebied van ondersteunende middelen voor (huis)dieren op natuurlijke basis. Niet alleen kunnen hun producten ondersteuning bieden bij fysieke stress, maar ook bij emotionele, mentale of spirituele onbalans. Helemaal mijn ding dus!
1️⃣Het eerste product waar ik mee aan de slag mag gaan, is Groene Leem.
"Een kruidenpasta met verkoelende, verzachtende en herstellende werking van de gevoelige huid." Het wordt veel gebruikt bij wondverzorging, maar ook wij mensen kunnen er iets heel leuks èn nuttigs mee.. 😁
2️⃣ Relax Compositum
Een kruidentinctuur gemaakt van planten met een rustgevende werking. Biedt een kortdurend, snel effect bij innerlijke onrust.
Een tinctuur van het kruid Ashwaganda, ondersteunt bij langdurige fysieke/mentale/emotionele/spirituele stressverschijnselen.
🙋🏻♀️🐴Verspreid over de komende maanden zal ik in de vorm van een vlog en blogs met beeldmateriaal, mijn bevindingen en de resultaten met jullie delen. Ik laat zien hoe en wanneer ik de producten gebruik, bij welke paarden en in welke situaties.
Dit allemaal kun je volgen via:
Facebook: The Horsewoman / De Groene Os
Instagram: zoevanm / de_groene_os
Website: www.zoevanmourik.com / www.degroeneos.nl
✴Vergeet niet de Stories/Verhalen van Facebook en Instagram èn InstagramTV, op zowel mijn kanaal als dat van De Groene Os!
Let's see if and where I can touch the areas around his face like his eyes and ears, which they're very protective of.
As you can see in the video, Zeus not just tolerates but accepts everything I try with him. We proceeded with a 45 minute liberty session to establish communication and hierarchy, without ever showing signs of dominance. He sure knows he is big and he knows how to use that in his advantage, so he tries to make himself BIG in his body, expression and energy. A lot to swallow if you're inexperienced with horse behavior, but Zeus is for sure NOT a dominant horse.
Some horses will always need someone who's in charge, a leader. But if they can't seem to find that special someone in their direct surroundings, (in Zeus' case, his surroundings were the round pen and the group of volunteers who'd wanted to work with him) they will try to find it OUTSIDE of this situation. Horses that are unsure or scared can become very nervous or explosive and develop more problems like barn sourness and buddy sourness. Zeus however, is not afraid or unsure, but an older horse that knows how to influance the human with his body and posture.
People often try to win this battle through the physical way - a fight you're obviously not going to win -, which Zeus has already figured out throughout his life, serving humans. Horses like him do not have much trouble Trusting humans, but they lack a huge amount of Respect. By being clear, honest and in balance with yourself, you can immediately set the tone for a conversation that both horse and human understand. Again, this doesn't start in the arena, or round pen, but it's starts with how you approach your horse when you grab him from his stall, halter him and walk him to his grooming spot. All little details that are EXTREMELY important.
All horses have a higher vibration/energie frequency, if you learn how to raise your own vibration and how to use this while being with your horse, you create Resonance: you create a vibration which expands into the other being's (the horse) energy field, so he'll be able to vibrate with your frequency.
I can go on and on about this for hours, it's such a special feeling to experience. But I can say with absolute certainty, that there's nothing wrong with Zeus on a physical, emotional or spiritual level.
[HOW TO] FREESTYLE RIJDEN #5: WOORDEN TER INSPIRATIE
In Nederland heb ik spelenderwijs twee paarden kunnen rijden op enkel een neckrope. Aangekomen in Amerika kriebelde het meteen om dit ook hier uit te proberen, om mijn theorieën en methoden te testen. Ik was ervan overtuigd dat ieder paard op deze manier gereden kan worden en hier ook profijt van heeft. Ongetrainde paarden, getraumatiseerde paarden, jonge paarden.
Ze het gevoel van vrijheid terug kunnen geven - hoe klein ook - is van groot belang voor het paard, in het gedomesticeerde leven waarin ze de mens dienen.
Haar een keer in Real Life zien stond stiekem wel op mijn Paarden Bucket List. Ze is niet alleen succesvol in het rehabiliteren van getraumatiseerde paarden, ze is ook Motivational Speaker en organiseert Youth Camps. Een soort ponykamp voor jonge ruiters, waarin ze leren meer zelfvertrouwen te creëren en er aandacht is voor pesten en mentale gezondheid.
Het laatste halfuur van de avond bestond uit een speech, gericht aan voornamelijk de jongere toeschouwers maar ook ik heb ademloos zitten luisteren naar haar verhaal. Hoe moeilijk het is om op te groeien en weinig te hebben, terwijl je wel veel zou willen... Hoe makkelijk het is om verleid te worden en jezelf en je motivatie te verliezen in de wereld van Social Media, waarin het lijkt alsof iedereen haar dromen waarmaakt behalve jij.
Ik heb regelmatig meegemaakt hoe harteloos mensen in de paardenwereld kunnen zijn. Hoe ze alles dat je doet kunnen laten klinken alsof het niets is, alsof je niet goed genoeg bent.
Je buitengesloten voelen is naar gevoel, instinctief horen hier allerlei gevoelens van ongemak bij, want ook de mens is een kuddedier en buitensluiting betekent een kleinere kans op overleving. Dit overlevingsinstinct is dus nog altijd levendig aanwezig bij niet alleen onze dieren, maar ook bij ons.
Extreme pogingen doen om "erbij te horen" wordt voor jonge ruiters steeds normaler. Maar wat is "erbij horen"? En wat moet je ervoor opgeven?
Ook ik ken dit gevoel.
Vandaag de dag sta ik altijd bewust met een dankbaar gevoel op. Dankbaar voor wat ik heb, dankbaar voor waar ik ben en voor wie ik ben. En ja, zelfs dankbaar voor al het bloed, zweet en tranen dat de afgelopen jaren- achter de schermen - rijkelijk gevloeid heeft.
Als jong meisje hoorde ik nergens bij - en ik denk vandaag de dag nog steeds niet. Op de vraag "Rijd je Engels, of Western?" kan ik bijvoorbeeld geen antwoord geven. Dan voel ik me soms een buitenbeentje, het zwarte schaap.
"Mijn" manier van werken verder ontwikkelen in Amerika en dit delen met anderen in de vorm van les geven en trainen, kwam met een gevoel van verantwoordelijkheid. Reflecterend op de afgelopen twee jaar, zie ik dat mensen - en voornamelijk de jongere ruiters - mij zien als volwassene, als lerares, als voorbeeld. Ik kreeg het daar ENORM benauwd van. Wat als ik faal, wat denken ze dan van mij? Wat als we elkaars visie niet delen, scheiden dan onze wegen? Wat als mijn theorieën helemaal niet kloppen, straks maak ik er een POTJE VAN!!!
Inmiddels zijn we een half jaar verder en kan ik weer normaal ademhalen😂 Mijn studenten zijn nog altijd even blij om me te zien en mijn gevoel van verantwoordelijkheid tegenover hen groeit met elke les. Hun vertrouwen in mij gaf me een enorm gevoel van druk, waar dat nu heeft plaats gemaakt voor dankbaarheid en motivatie om dit te blijven doen.
Een reactie van iemand die ik totaal niet ken bracht me echt even terug op Aarde. Ik was me ineens bewust van het feit van al die mensen achter hun laptop of telefoon, die een foto van mij voorbij zien komen en denken "Zij leeft mijn droomleven!" Die woorden zijn dagen blijven hangen, niet wetende wat ik ermee moest bleef ik het maar herhalend afspelen in mijn hoofd.
Na het horen van Alycia's speech, realiseerde ik me dat ik - hier, in Amerika - al door meer en meer gelijkgestemde mensen omringd ben dan ik had gedacht. Waar het in Nederland altijd een strijd was om een passend hokje te vinden, kijkt niemand er hier van op dat ik een rijbroek met westernlaarzen draag 😜
Na bijna twee jaar bij de rescue weten mensen inmiddels wat ik doe, voornamelijk met JP en nu dus onze hoofdstelloze-skills 💪wat mij mijn instructie-job gebracht heeft, begin dit jaar. Alles loopt zoals het moet 🌟
En mijn eerste en meest belangrijke les aan iedereen is: Als IK het kan, kan JIJ het ook.
Het laatste wat ik wil is iemand ontmoedigen, denken dat doordat IK alles mee heb IK wel kan doen wat ik doen.
Als je mij (persoonlijk) niet kent, zou ik je dit graag nog willen meegeven: Heb vertrouwen in en respect voor de kwaliteiten en passies van ieder individu en het proces van het ontwikkelen van die kwaliteiten. Je leven leiden hoort niet te voelen als een wedstrijd, maar als een persoonlijke reis vol ervaringen en onverwachte wendingen die je uiteindelijk kunnen brengen naar waar je maar wilt. Voel je niet "minder" wanneer je om hulp vraagt en voel je niet "meer" wanneer je hulp aanbiedt.
We leren allemaal op ons eigen tempo, op onze eigen manier.
So far, this little mare has only known the downside of being sensitive. The abuse she went through turned her into this shy but explosive horse that just didn’t know how to calm down. Because of this behavior, the rest of the herd wouldn’t accept her. She ran around frantically, in the pasture, in the round-pen even in circles around the herd. Basically, she was making it really hard for herself to accept the new situation because she’d only be exposed to new bad situations, and even worse people.
When I entered the round-pen, I immediately saw all the typical signs of a young, sensitive mare that has had a lot of bad stuff happen to her. She did not want to make any contact, avoided me and everything I did, and did not want to stay close.
Even though this is a horse that bites, I felt more comfortable working on the Trust part first. With horses that are more intrusive or constantly in your space – even when uninvited – I start with working on the Respect part first.
I decided a simple conversation would be enough for one session.
The moment the halter came off, she started circling around me in the round-pen with her head high and away from me. After a few minutes I managed to bring her energy down towards my level and started walking beside her, in calm circles around the fence. When she started to build-up her energy and/or started trotting, I moved away to give her more space until she was walking calmly again. Then I started walking towards her again, and at that point she became very interested in me because she knew we we’re figuring stuff out. Another thing I did every time I approached her, was smile!
Smiling actually tricks your brain into feeling happy, which leads to a release of dopamine and seratonin, both easily picked up by a horse.
Dr. Isha Gupta - neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine – explains;
"a smile spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin. “Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and aggression”.
This is not only noticeable by us when it happens, a dog for instance can actually smell hormones like dopamine and serotonin. A horse can sense these same things too, maybe not by smelling, but simply by feeling. So when they notice someone in their presence with a calm but assertive energy, they are more likely interested in getting to know you. An important first step for any horse.
So now that you know this, try and see for yourself just how quickly things can change between you and a horse that’s not really willing/ready to connect.
It certainly worked with this little mare. After an hour or so, she no longer looked angry at us or argued or ran away. She chose to stay, walk beside us and even offered her head to be touched. All while staying calm and responsive.
Needless to say, we ended on (more than) a good note. Just remember, to keep on smiling!
So we need to tell the horse we’re not going to eat them. We are a friend. But the horse’s language is not through words, but by using body language and altering their energy. Natural Horsemanship is realizing that the horse’s world evolves around this. So instead of words, we use body language to tell them we’re not the enemy.
Establishing the leadership role is no joke and if you only “discipline”, “train” or work with your horse when riding or doing groundwork, you could easily end up in trouble.
I know a lot of horses who are calm and response when in the arena, but have very rude manners all around like bolting on trails or pulling on the halter, trying to walk off while you’re mounting. It’s like they’re constantly nervous, no wonder because nobody ever stepped in as leader.
It begins when you’re thinking about your horse, getting ready to grab him for a ride and drive over to the ranch. Sounds silly? That’s where knowledge about primal relationships, body language and energy work comes in. Again, no joke!
A simple example: I know a woman, who rescued a horse and went out every morning to grab him and go for a ride. Some days, the horse was fine, and they had a fun trail ride. But other days, she’d freak out as soon as the woman touched her or even came close. Long story short: turns out that horses can smell if you’ve eaten meat and (naturally!) freak out, because of their instinct. So becoming a vegetarian actually solved this uncommon problem for this horse owner.
Interesting, right? Now, what if you’re stressed or angry or sad because of something that happened with work or your family. You think a trail ride would help clear your mind, so with a head filled with worries you head towards your horse, who is peacefully grazing. Until he sees you coming, looks up and starts running in the opposite direction. Sounds familiar?
“Scared of the halter” is what some people call it, or a fight over dominance, maybe fear towards humans. But in a lot of cases, it’s not the horse OR the tool: It’s YOU.
A horse is not going on a trail ride (let alone leave the safety of home) if the supposed leader seems worried or nervous or just not sure! Some horses are not that sensitive, or they already have established a balanced relationship with their human.
But even then your relationship has to have deep roots and a solid foundation for your horse to understand that even though you’re not at your best, you will still be a good leader, a great friend and an even better partner. The only way to get there, is to constantly challenge yoursel to be better.
You're only in competition with yourself, to grow and learn together with your horse so that when the time comes when you have to take your place as leader, it will only makes sense to the horse to fully accept.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
De Groene Os
Integrated Energy Therapy