Post by Category : Horse Ease

The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Horse

Horses are light on their feet … light beings  … graceful creatures.

Here are two beautiful anonymous quotes about horses –

 

‘To Ride a Horse is to Ride the Sky’

 

and an American Indian Proverb

 

‘The horses are mystery beings’

 

Anyone who has ever ridden or owned a horse will know that horses are amazing teachers. They reveal to us our habits, fears and imbalances and show us how they can read our minds and feel our thinking.  They are trusting, forgiving and understanding and teach us to experience the world lightly and feel deeply.

 

This drawing is a visual reminder to riders to take the time to think as lightly as a dandelion clock when you are with your horse, letting your thoughts float forward and up on the breeze so your body can follow. In turn your horses will follow and he will give you his lightness. He will show you how to float. He will give you his back and his mind.

 

It will take you practise and awareness to keep letting your thoughts float in the breeze and is a totally worthwhile ongoing lesson in thinking that will develop you connection with your horse. Of course it is not the whole picture but it is a major key to the whole picture.

 

How do I know this?

Not because I am the worlds greatest rider, but because I understand Alexander’s discoveries and have applied and taught the work to my riding and teaching others on their horses for a long time.

 

So why the title the unbearable lightness of being a horse?

I can’t help but feel it must be somewhat unbearable for sensitive horses who can feel a fly on their flanks to have us ride them when our energy is heavy, our thinking mundane and our bodies pulled down. It is testament to how wonderful they are that they put up with it!

 

When you understand how your anatomy and thinking work together on and with your horse, change occurs, instantly and easily. It is not rocket science! Or maybe it is?! Your horse is showing you every day what you are doing, and how you are. Being interested in how you are getting in the way of your horses lightness,  is perhaps being the rocket scientist or an alchemist, certainly an experimenter … entering the world of the mystery being.

 

‘The wind of Heaven is that which blows between the horses ears.

Arabian Proverb

 

Learning about the Alexander Technique discoveries is not so much about getting it right, but more getting interested and aware in how we are doing altogether. This opens our minds, changes our thinking and lets something else happens … something mysterious and light. We can’t change and stay the same, we have to enter the mysterious and the unknown to experience something different, which includes developing our connection with our horses.

 

Alexander Technique is a great thing to learn to illuminate the way. Riders are great people to learn Alexander’s discoveries as they are so linked to horsemanship and riders are, on the whole, motivated in wanting to make life as good as possible for their horses, as custodians of these mystery beings!

 

If you want to know more Alexander Technique why not check out the media download on my website here   – Walking with your Horse, Lessons in the Alexander Technique

 

For more horsy cartoons (commissions undertaken for birthday pressies etc) here is a link to my website www.kirstenharrisart.com.

 

Lessons and workshops by arrangement. I am based in central Scotland.

 

 

 

 

And if you like my Alexander Technique inspired drawings check out my colouring book.

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods Here

I had a lot of fun making it.

 

 

 

 

 

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101 Life Lessons from My Dog – Part 2 (66 – 101)

66. Dogs are keenly aware if something different is going to happen … Putting shoes on to go out is a very exciting life event!

 

67. Watching the behaviours of others is interesting and gives insight! Your dog is watching you!

 

68. Think ahead! Forward planning can make life a lot easier. A dog won’t necessarily be caught just because that is what you want this very minute.

 

69. Give praise quickly. If it is a no, it is a no, if it is a yes, be quick with the praise too. Yes is the goal. Your no supports your yes! It’s anatomical!

 

70. Dogs can anticipate your next action. Maisie my Cockerpoo, puts the ball where she thinks I am going next, she is invariably correct. My dog is mind reading me!

 

71. Dogs are very good human trainers!

 

72. Let sleeping dogs lie. There is truth in old wisdom. It gives you peace.

 

73. Dogs understand body language.

 

74. Dogs love it when you rest your hand on them and think into the back of it. Bliss! Alexander Technique non doing ‘hands on’ are an excellent and effective way for calming down a manic, crazy dog … over time!

 

75. Who cares about the weather when you can go OUTSIDE!

 

76. Get more Grrrrrr …. stronger boundaries and grrrreater passion for life! Anger and hyper energy can be very useful!

 

77. Passion and obsession are not so different! …. Really keep your eye on your favourite ball!

 

78. If one person doesn’t want to play with you, don’t worry! Someone else will play with you.

 

79. Dogs bring energy and enthusiasm into the room. Whoo hoo! Live life with energy and enthusiasm.

 

80. Chasing a dog that doesn’t want to be caught is a waste of time!

 

81. If it is not working with the dog do something else, be creative … Creativity keeps life interesting.

 

82. Not everyone loves your dog. But all that matters is that you do. Trust your own judgement. Trust your own love! Everyone deserves love!

 

83. Some dogs are messier than other. It is just who they are. They are not trying to mess up your life on purpose!

 

84. Not all dogs want to be fawned over, some dogs just like their own space. Free choice! Don’t take it personally!

 

85. ‘Some dogs mothers are bigger than other dogs mothers!’ (misquoted from The Smiths). We are all different … YAY!

 

86. No matter how small you are or think you are, you are important! You are allowed to take up your space.

 

87. People really don’t like being barked at!

 

88. There are different kinds of bark. Use your bark only in the case of emergency when you really need to get someones attention.

 

89. Dogs have an opinion too. Allow others their opinion. You don’t have to agree.

 

90. People are wonderful and to be greeted with enthusiasm. Most people will respond back accordingly. The odd one won’t. Don’t take it personally, it is their problem not yours!

 

91. You don’t need words to communicate love.

 

92. Be kind! Kindness will be rewarded with loyalty and companionship.

 

93. Dogs don’t take your grumpy mood personally. Don’t take things personally.

 

94. What is your stuff is your stuff, what is their stuff is their stuff.

 

95. Dogs know how to give you space if you are in a bad mood and will go find somewhere to hang out in their own happy space. Give people space if they need it.

 

96. Find the warmest and most comfortable place to lie down and let go completely.

 

97. Take the ‘plunge’ – even if you have never tried to ‘swim’ before you might like it. And if not, the shore is not far away.

 

98. Innocent but slightly eccentric behaviour can be misinterpreted badly. Be your quirky unique self even if people do misunderstand you. Don’t stop doing what makes you happy just because folk don’t get it!

(My dog likes to tickle her inside leg on the shoe of anyone sitting cross legged. This involves lifting her leg as though she were a male dog about to pee. Maisie is doing her ballet moves for fun!)

 

99. Dogs change your perception of life … A lone man walking a dog on a path is a man taking his dog for a walk. A man walking alone on a path is a potential threat! (sorry guys!)

 

100. Dogs love to meet and greet. Dogs bring people together. Strangers will talk to a dog where they might be shy to talk to you.

 

101. Everyday is a new opportunity to enjoy chasing and catching the ball! People will start buying balls if they know there is passion, and come to visit just in order to share your passion with you!

 

My Motto after two and half years with a highly intelligent, hyperactive Cockerpoo affectionally known as Crazy Maisie is – ‘Be More Maisie!’

 

Animals can teach us daft humans a whole lot of life lessons …

 

 

 

 

Part 1 below ..

 

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101 Life Lessons from my Dog – Copyright Kirsten Harris 2017

 

 

65 Life Lessons from My Dog

 

 

 

 

 

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Horse Ease – Geeks, Gals and Gee Gee’s

I am in heaven …

 

I am teaching Horse Ease – Lessons in the Alexander Technique to a group of gals who are passionate about horses and self knowledge.

 

Last night in our class I confessed to being a co-ordination geek!

By understanding how the anatomy of ‘me’ coordinates we become better riders. I am passionate about sharing this anatomical geekiness as our gee-gees love it when we are balanced and co-ordinated on their backs. We expect them to be balanced, are we?

 

I found myself in geek heaven as these amazing woman it turns out are also geeks. Willing to look deep inside at their own every day lives, habits and thinking patterns and see how these might effect their horses for better or for worse.

 

Last night we analysed two words – forward and stopping.

These are both horsy and Alexander Technique words.

What do these words mean to you?

 

Forward – Is it a conscious flowing easy dynamic direction for you or are you tipping forward, rushing forward?

Forward is a ‘power’ word in Alexander Technique.  Think in terms of finding your own horse power, your own dynamic poise and you are on the right tracks.

if you are interested in being a more skilful rider it is essential that you understand this word in depth. (I highly recommend you find an AT teacher!)

Is your horse balanced or on the forehand?

Is your horse barging forward or not going forward enough?

Are you scared to move forward on your horse? In life?

Are you rushing forward thinking about the future all the time, stuck and frustrated in your own habits or do you have a reliable co-ordination plan for working on yourself?

Do you rush forward in life paying little or no attention to how you get there or do you pay attention to your everyday movement knowing that it will effect your horse when you get on?

 

As we deeply analysed and experimented with the word forward the level of honesty and connection that the gals were making started to profoundly change their balance right there in front of my eyes. Aha moments and insight into how their way of going in life was mirrored in their riding.

 

Stopping – Is stopping (the halt)  a non thing to you, boring or just what you do when you are tired or is it active dynamic balance?
Is a stop constructive balance or just a chance to give the horse a break until you do something again?

Do you know how to find active dynamic balance in the stop?

Are you aware that movement is always present even when we are seemingly still?

Your body dangling freely under your head in active balance is an invitation for your horse to balance under you … Is stopping interesting to you? When we go deeply into the dynamic stop we find so much information and feedback. It becomes a conversation that your horse is willing to participate in.

 

A few thoughts for you to mull over …I hope it is helpful.

 

Forward and Up!

Kirsten

 

LINKS –

More on finding forward flow on your horse –  ‘Walking with you Horse’ media download on Alexander Technique and horsemanship click

 

More on Stopping – To find out more about Alexander Technique constructive dynamic rest click the link for ‘Body Magic’ here

 

 

 

 

 

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65 Life Lessons from My Dog

65 Life Lessons from My Dog

by Kirsten Harris

 

1. Have a good stretch and yawn first thing in the morning. It feels great.

 

2. If there is a human being about lie on your back and get your tummy tickled. Tickling is happy.

 

3. Morning grooming sessions make you feel good for the day. Nobody likes a smelly dog.

Especially look after your feet. You can’t walk without them.

 

5. Eat your food with gusto and pure pleasure.

 

6. Drink plenty of water.

 

7. Be totally delighted to see your friends. Greet them with enthusiasm and joy.

 

8. Be fascinated by the sights, sounds and smells around you. The best things in life really are free.

 

9. Playing or going for a walk with someone is better than on your own. Run for Fun.

 

10. If you need to howl. Do it!

 

11. Smile and wag your tail a lot, it will keep your back free. Dance like a dog everyday.

 

12. It is OK to have a snooze in the day time. Dogs loves it when you lie on the floor. Be more dog and rest inbetween activity. It’s good for your back.

 

13. Get some training. Practise makes perfect. Being skilled is pure pleasure for you and the people around you.

 

14. It is possible to be totally relaxed and alert at the same time. Alexander Technique’s constructive rest (semi-supine) is the human equivalent of your dog sleeping with one eye open.

 

15. Worry Less. Muddy floors can be cleaned. Enjoy getting muddy feet in the first place.

 

16. Dont compare yourself with the other bitches! Be accepting.

 

17. It feels good to give and get strokes from others. Give and receive praise.

 

18. Make yourself pant breathlessly from having fun in the world at least once a day.

 

19. ‘NO!’  is a really important word. Use it.

 

20. Go outside several times a day to refresh yourself.

 

21 Have boundaries. Your space is your space, protect it from invaders.

 

22. Don’t pick fights. Stand up for yourself if necessary. Don’t cower, but exiting fast or going around something to avoid confrontation is often the best strategy. Fighting doesn’t occur if you know how to look after yourself.

 

23. Commitment brings joy.

 

24. Trust your instincts.

 

25. Everyday is an adventure. Going on trips is an adventure. Trust the unknown. Dogs never know what you have planned.

 

26. Ball games are fun.

 

27. Have a sense of humour and be a bit naughty sometimes.

 

28. Bugs, flies, moths and bees are fascinating.

 

29. Staying a dancing hands length away from being captured is a good game.

 

30. Have your own space, where you find peace and ease.

 

31. Sofas are great but sometimes it really is more comfortable to lie on the floor. Rolling around on the floor is really really good too.

 

32.  Different dogs have different energy levels and personalities. They are all loveable. Accept yourself.

 

33. Develop your listening skills.

 

34. Sitting at someone else’s feet is a mark of respect.

 

35 Be aware.

 

36. A little treat for a job well done makes life flow and brings happiness and joy.

 

37. Keep a little treat ‘up your sleeve’ at all times, you never know when you might need a reward.

 

38 Be loyal and honest. Dogs don’t lie.

 

39 A good companion and friend is the best thing in the world.

 

40. Walking everyday keeps you in good shape.

 

41. Some humans make better leaders than others and get more respect.

 

42. Slippers are great.

 

43. Toys that squeak must be destroyed as fast as possible.

 

44 It is important to respect cows, sheep and horses, but it is OK to chase crows out of the garden.

 

45 Some ‘cats’ are weird and need assessing before approaching.

 

46. Humans are a bit slow and clumsy but are generally nice and like to be loved

 

47. Humans that spend too long on the computer are boring and missing out on great opportunities for adventures and walks.

 

48. Humans don’t like arse licking.

 

49 Don’t chase cars.

 

50. Always look for the most comfortable place to sit. Sit nicely.

 

51 Find a favourite relaxation spot outside to watch the world go by.

 

52. Dogs are happy when you are happy. Be happy

 

53 The countryside is freer than the city.

 

54. You can communicate with everyone, even if you don’t speak the same language. Be friendly to strangers.

 

55. Don’t hurt people. People don’t like being bitten.

 

56. Don’t steal other people’s stuff. Slippers are fair game!

 

57. Trust people unless they hurt you. Then refuse to go near them.

 

58. Breathe out deeply with contented pleasure when letting go into rest.

 

59. Explore your surroundings with new eyes and enthusiasm everyday. It is full of wonder and delight.

 

60. Respect the environment. Don’t ‘shit’ in someone else’s paradise. If you do, clear up the mess.

 

61. It is possible to be poised in activity. The eyes lead the body follows, watch a dog catch a ball, it will teach you how the body is co-ordinated.

 

62. It is OK to drop the ball.

 

63. Don’t worry. If you think it’s a dog’s life, be more dog.

 

64. Get messy. Use your body. Explore. Get your feet wet. Run into the sea. Dig in the earth. Enjoy Life.

 

65. Love is unconditional.

 

(65 Life Lessons from my Dog – copyright Kirsten Harris July 2016)

 

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The Crooked Woman and Her Crooked Horse

“There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;

He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house”

 

There was a crooked woman who had a crooked horse

She found an AT teacher and decided to take a course

The crooked horse and woman, started to align

And work together in harmony, both had a better time

 

Walking with our Horse – click here 

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Time for change

It’s time for Walter, my mini Shetland pony foal to be weaned.

 

I am no expert, my first foal

I could have done it suddenly – just take him away from his mum and deal with the screaming. Feel the stress. Maybe sudden, no time to think is kinder to us all..

Or slowly, which I have chosen.. get them used to the change bit by bit.

Hopefully reduced stress, even better no stress.

My impatient self would love it all to be done and dusted.

But then I would miss the process

Miss the learning curve that I am on

Miss the whispers from my intuition telling me what to do

Making me aware of timing

I would miss understanding and honouring the experience of others

I would miss this quiet journey of discovery as change is gradually made

 

I have no choice…but to take the time to figure out how to make the change

Change is a process…

It takes time, patience, awareness, inhibition, slowing down, listening within, noticing whats happening and letting each day reveal the best possible path.

Small decisions moving everything forward

Baby steps. Foal steps

 

 

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And some things are going to make you tense…

Somethings are just going to make you tense! Like contemplating how to wean my mini shetland foal so the vet can come with his emasculator to chop his nuts off!

I am totally inexperienced at this, being the single ‘lady farmer’!

 

The way I have been unraveling the hideous, neck tightening thought in my brain is to think in little mini stages this week so as not to stress the horses. First separate wee Walter, my-buy-one-get-one-free surprise, from his Mum, Lettie for an hour, then two, then three and today for the day and night.

 

Have just let Walt have a suckle, but I definitely have to separate them as though still a baby he was behaving in a decidedly stallion like way this morning.

Little pony, big boy!

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So far, so good. Peaceful ponies. Though not sure I will sleep too well tonight with one ear listening out! So it is definitely time to lie in semi supine and look after me for a few minutes and get many of the benefit of several hours sleep in fifteen minutes in this position of mechanical advantage.

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Student review of Walking with Your Horse CD

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I have used Kirsten’s CD  Walking With Your Horse for several years now, and, although I have not  listened to it when riding, the approach that it teaches has proved very beneficial to both my riding and my general attitude.  

 

Whenever I have found myself in a tricky situation, e.g. when riding a slightly skittish horse across a wide and unfamiliar field accompanied by a fairly inexperience young rider, employing the breathing technique, letting myself down into my saddle and keeping my vision wide and trying to achieve loving eyes enabled both riders and horses to proceed to their destination without any mishap   In fact as I engaged my training I felt my horse relax beneath me and a potentially hairy moment passed without my companion being aware that anything could have been amiss.

 

I also have Kirsten’s CDs of “Breathe” and “Body Magic” with which I unravel myself from time to time.  

 

AMB (Alexander Technique student)

 

 

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