Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where to start

In response to the last posting

Lisa wrote:

I have looked at Alexander's website and the online school, and truthfully felt a little intimidated not knowing if I would have much to contribute to the discussions, or if I was a good enough horse person, but I will look again and apply for the forum.

and King's caretaker wrote:

I am wondering where to start with liberty work? How do you best learn to read your horse so you stay safe?

I think both of you are in a very common position. The shift in the horse world will not come from those who are the good "trainers" and already deeply entrenched in old mindsets. It will come from people like you who are starting from a more open place. Asking questions, especially in regards to the "status quo" is probably the most important thing you can do right now.

Lisa, don't worry about not knowing if you will have anything to contribute to discussions. You will be there as a student. Share from your heart and ask about the experiences you have with your horses and you will be guided by the other students and horse advocates who truly have only the horse's best interest in mind. People who have been there for more than a few months and who have been able to make use of the community support and lessons find themselves gradually absorbing this different way of relating to horses.

I found it an invaluable part of my own journey to be surrounded by a world-wide community of people who don't compromise on any issue regarding the horse's well-being. I hope that one day more of these communities will exist so people can be part of them face-to-face with others; not for a weekend-workshop, but as a daily way of life.

While you both are waiting for your applications to be accepted I will answer the other question about how to start with liberty work, learning to read your horse and stay safe. I think Carolyn Resnick said it well in the special features of the Path of the Horse DVD. Her father told her to focus on what she can do with a horse, not what she can't. If that means all you can do is watch your horse from the other side of the fence, then do that as much as you can.

I remember when I first took away any way of controlling Sofi's head, I was only able to get close to her from the other side of a fence. I mean this literally. Me...with over 20 years of professional horsetraining under my belt including a year "starting" her. I would reach out to pet her and she would make a nasty face and kick full force at the gate, or lunge towards me with her teeth bared and ears pinned back. So, we started on opposite sides of the fence, or only when I had a very long whip in my hand...not to hit her but to swish back and forth to keep her far enough away that we both felt safe.

To a horse, the most natural thing you can do with her is to simply spend time with her doing nothing. Look at the flowers, listen to the birds, watch your dog, read a book if you need that to stay still. The hours you invest in these activities will bring you closer to where the horse lives than any "training" you will be experimenting with in the future.

Remember, the shift doesn't need to happen world-wide, it only needs to happen within your own heart for your horses to feel it. That one shift is what changes the world.


Here are the visual records of my morning's walk down to feed the horses.

Here's one of the mystery plants, starting to stretch up! Remember, email me if you think you know what plant this is ( Don't post guesses on the blog. The first 3 correct answers will get a free Path of the Horse DVD. Nobody has guessed correctly yet.

Patrik and Sofi happily cleaning up what Sundance left from last night. Sundance was more interested in the new oat hay more than her old grass/alfalfa mix.

This is a very old apple tree that still produces some years. The sheep and goats especially love the fallen fruit.

Either I missed the blossoms or they didn't emerge this year. Last year was a bumper crop. These are the leaves emerging now.

And progress on the oak leaves. It always amazes me how different the young oak leaves look than the mature ones.

It was hard to admit, but I am feeling sick today. I'm hoping it's allergies that can be dealt with but only time will tell. JD is back and will take care of the horses until I'm feeling better. I am lucky beyond belief to have help both on the physical level, and beyond.

I spent a lot of time today in my trailer trying to rest my body so it can fight whatever it may have taken on. I watched two spiders very silently, still-ly waiting for their meals. I think their ways can be a good metaphor for a quality that most humans seem to have forgotten the value of. Myself included in many moments. They position themselves in places that seem right, spin their webs, and then wait. When the time is right, their meal is delivered.

Have you experienced this quality today?


  1. Hi Stormy,
    I would like so much to become a part of your conversation with Lisa. I think I'm at the very same spot that she is. I've been reading Imke and Carolyn Resnick, and just beginning to see a path forward with my own dear horses. But, gosh, I have a lot of questions, too many for a comment here, I think. Would you consider emailing me, so I could send you a longer response?
    I am particularly grateful for your consistency and frequency of blogging on this journey, it is a gift to have companions in "real time" as well as in books.
    Hilary Lohrman

  2. What went on in Sofi's past life to make her so angry?