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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

We are moving! Join us on Wordpress!

Hello Dear Blog Followers!

In celebration of our upcoming book release "UNBRIDLED" The Heart of Graceful Horsemanship,
All of our blog posts will be contained in one place because I realize that everything is everything else!

Join us at the link below, and THANK YOU!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Myth Busting Horse Whispering...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's all about support...

Monday, October 3, 2016

To fill up their senses...

To move in grace and harmony with your horse, so you can move with others takes filling up all of your senses with movement.

We had our "Moving in Harmony" Workshop this weekend.  In these workshops I look for ways to illustrate concepts so the participants can locate a similar situation in their lives and apply it here.

Our eyes are one of our primary senses that we (as humans) tend to use the most, so to add to the sense of seeing, we add touch, both, in movement. Remember the goal is to get into harmony with our horses, like a dance within a couple, and then add purpose.
In this photo this couple has mirrored "hind" legs, the goal,  even including, weight shifts, the human hand on the right hind quarter of the horse to feel what happens to the hip when the legs move; and finally the eyes watching. Let us not overlook the senses of energy and emotion which create the safety and comfort of both the horse and human who only met a few hours earlier. moving with a slowly grazing horse makes it all much easier than a quickly walking horse, so don't worry about the grazing! 

To really move in harmony with our horses, it is the hind legs that should be carrying us. The hind legs are where we need to begin.  So far every student I have taught who has taken riding lessons, learns rhythm at the rising trot and that happens by looking down at the front legs, which is an ok place to begin, if the human progresses to feeling, however, so many are forever looking and not able to feel. Resulting in,  getting more connected with the front legs only and riding from front to back instead of getting connected with the engine behind. 


Riding, while relying only on looking perpetuates unbalanced horses who are already heavy in front, either on the mouth or the front legs, which is why so many riding horses have physical as well as emotional issues in front. It is time well spent to connect with our horse's hind legs through feel, using all of our senses. 

Begin on the ground and then take it to the top.  Have a helper on the ground who can help you 'call cadence.'  The helper will begin by saying 'now' when your horse's identified hind leg is un-weighted and leaving the ground.  The valuable place to identify is before the leg gets to the top of the rotation.  This is when the leg is gracefully influenced, if you are too late or too early, you can easily unbalance your horse and create a disconnect.  Some horses are very forgiving about this lack of harmony. When you begin to call the cadence correctly, close your eyes and fill your other senses with this rhythm. 

When you are connected to your horses hind legs through feel, you will always be able to place the hind leg where you want it for optimal movement, like, working cows in a group.  The cows in the center of the remuda ( in this case, moving fence made by horses) needed to be trained.  This is a peaceful moment in this workshop!  There were many times when a good, connected 'couple' had to dart off to 'catch' an escaped cow! Being able to have a ready horse who is relaxed because she is balanced creates confidence in horse and rider.  

Take the time it takes because it works if you work it and harmony with your horse is worth it! 

Yours Truly, In the Company of Horses, 
Mary Ann

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Un Natural Horse keeping

In 2012 my young colt Sterling fractured his coffin bone.  This is a piece of my experience at that time.
So many lessons to be learned from one moment in time..  Since Sterling has been in the stall, I have been fragmenting the herd.  Two horses in the barn, three on the trailer and 4 on the track.  And with the exception of Sterling always being in the barn, they rotate.  Valentine is obviously disturbed by this turn of events. I'm pretty sure she is feeling x-communicated or at least, not in charge of things.  She eats outside and rarely comes into the barn, only when she wants to. She runs away  and feels generally distrustful.  Patches calls for whomever is not home but relishes her turn in the barn.  Jessie steps up and goes to work or stays in the barn whatever I ask of her.  Summer doesn't usually stay inside but does come to work and Harley never stays in the barn and is now earning his keep as a therapy horse for people in early days of recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol instead of being Sterling's gelding!
Valentine Harley and Summer lunching at work

Whew and keeping horses inside - I find it hard to imagine why people do this when there is nothing wrong.  When the horses come out, even the really grounded ones,  they are spooky, flighty, worried.  It makes no sense to do this to horses on purpose on a regular basis.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fun and Games Workshop!

It was a fun time we were after and we found it! 
The goal was just to spend some time with our horses before the holidays and winter took over our attention! 
There were horses and people of all ages and skill level, just out to have a good time in a relaxed environment but with some focus. 
No saddles, no bridles, no shoes, no problem!

The first thing we did is just get in the space with our horses and meet and greet everyone and every thing! Here at ICOH (In the Company of Horses Inc.) we have peafowl, guinea fowl, a duck (Howard) cats and horses including a miniature pony,. 
Not to mention jumps, tires for going between or to stand on, a car wash blowing in the breeze bamboo poles for jousting and hula hoops hanging from the trees all to help our horses not worry about us or our stuff! 
In the afternoon everyone had the opportunity to play at liberty, either in the round pen or in the big field! That was fun!  Everyone was able to get connected by spacial awareness and by energy.  
On day two we rode.  After visiting about the day before we prepared our horses for riding by dragging things, cones, barrels, balls, poles and our bamboo, all to prepare for this days riding games which included "Moving Day" where everyone mounted up and hooked up something to a rope and began moving things from one place to another. This "purpose" game helped the people and the horses feel the need to cooperate and not to worry so much.  For the horses who were not ready to drag their own things, they followed other horses brave enough to move stuff.  Before lunch everyone was able to move everything together! This game prepared everyone, horses and humans mentally physically and emotionally for things that could show up on a trail or in a show arena.  The horses were all calmer, braver and more partnered by lunch time.  
After lunch we had a go at our own version of Doma Vaquera and precision with our long poles by skewering a brass ring!  There was a prize for the one who could be moving on their horse and skewer a small ring with their long bamboo pole and the youngest rider with the smallest horse took home the prize! 
The last game of our workshop was the double barrell pattern; set up like a barrel race only mirrored so your first turn is to the left on one pattern and then to the right on the next pattern in an effort to have our horses even and less one sided.

A great time was had by all! 
For more information about future dates for this workshop, check in on our website! 

Monday, November 26, 2012



I've been learning about Feel - For the horses of course but this is another of those universal conversations.

Having some Feel keeps us from getting into a fight. I'm talking about horses again, but I suppose it applies to humans as well!

Having some Feel keeps us in the present moment interacting with what is and allowing what will be. Saying Yes and yes and yes.

Having some feel allows us to dance, play, run, sing, ride, fly! And we all have it. But;
WHAT does it take to develop our feel into peace, art and harmony?

This is where freedom comes into the equation. You need to be free; in your mind and your heart to experiment and express yourself.  So you might say you need to be emotionally free; available to laugh; look silly; move; fail!

Find some kids to hang out with. Before they begin to worry about who is watching or what they look like, they are free to be, it's not courage like when you have a bunch of concerns and you let them go, it's truely  natural! That's why horses love kids. They are fascinated by them, like us, we are fascinated by their world of discovery and wonder in even the smallest of things, the every day most common things are flat out fun.
Go watch this video

Did you watch it?  Are you still laughing? It was so great, that boy has feel, he was fully in the present moment interacting with what is and allowing what will be, saying yes, yes, YES.  He knows he had fun even taking a bow and blowing kisses!

We'll talk more later - go watch it again!