• Debbie Davies

Flying HIgh as You Soar Toward Your Riding Goals

Less than a month before summer arrives friends, yet I expect most of you are already in the throws of bumping up your riding and horsemanship ready for the riding season you enjoy. I am experiencing my first spring with my horses and I living in Indiana, and it has been an incredible spring so far, albeit busy.


My horses finally moved out of my training barn, which is attached to my indoor arena and so makes it easy for horses in training and clinic horses to reside there. My 4 however are now in their brand new barn which we began building several years ago. They finally moved up there this week and it was as if their nervous systems reset immediately without the different albeit sweet energies of the horses in training. Their barn is their settled paradise, complete with dutch doors and pens off their stalls which also gives them access to their 9 acre field. I too feel like I am in paradise, and am the luckiest lady alive!


In addition to training here in Indiana, my season opened with the successful soft launch of our online university and our first class, Straightness is Not a Means to an End. Thanks to all of you that signed up, this course was an incredible success. I am so grateful for all the feedback you shared as to how the information assisted you in the transition to your next level of learning and understanding correct posture and movement in the horse.


By popular request we have relaunched this course for those of you that could not sign up the first time. It is now available through our website www.equineselfexpression.com, then click on the online university tab. You can also directly access the online university page at https://equineselfexpression.thinkific.com/. I know it is summer and it is hard to envision sitting and learning on line when you could be out riding, so that is why this, and all of our course are open and available to you in your time frame. No pressure, no dates when it will disappear, you can study at your leisure and rest knowing it will be available in your student log in page for a minimum of 2 years!


I would like you to consider what it might be like to soar toward your riding goals this year. We know the process of riding and training takes time, but what if you could learn and advance yourself through watching other students ride and take lessons and follow their progression? No matter what your learning style, the brain always processes and integrates more effectively and efficiently when the visual perception is available and it relates to 'some thing' of interest or to a relative topic of personal inquiry.


If you would like to take off in flight and prepare to soar toward your riding goals, I would like to personally invite you to our "3Flight Series", where you can do just that. One of the perks of participating in the Straightness Is Not A Means to an End class, is that 3 lucky people have an opportunity to spend the next 6 months moving toward their goals with 3 online lessons, and personal riding coaching in between those lessons. Our 3 riders have been selected from the last course and on June 7, August 31 and November 1, I will be offering a live webinar, teaching these students and offering seats for auditors to observe, learn from each of the lessons, post questions which will be answered on the university page afterwards and most importantly, track and follow the progress of each rider through the end of the year. This is an incredible educational opportunity to identify some of your own riding patterns, or those of your horse, that may be discussed and seen during our live webinar. There are a select number of auditor seats available so pop over to our university site and be sure to reserve your seat for the package deal available for auditors. This will be recorded, so if you sign up and cannot make the date it will still be available to you, for yes.... 2 years!


For those people interested in participating as a student next time, we are taking applications now. Let's head to the runway, take off and soar this year, flying high as we move closer toward our riding goals.


As riders and horseman it is fair to say that we see 'fads' come and go. There are popular training devices that hit the market then disappear, gadgets, supplements, methodologies, bits versus bitless and then controversial training methods that are advertised as a way to sometimes cut corners with your training. I suspect our horses have not been asked their opinion about these fads, training methods and supplements.... to take it one step further, i wonder what they would say if they were asked?


I am not trying to wage war on ideas, methodologies or equipment, nor trainers and teachers that validate them. What i would like to consider however, is the basic science of posture and movement; the fundamental aspects of the brain neurology and the emotional components that accompany that. What neurological influences do we have on the entire horse when we move to far away from the foundational principles that science and anatomy have on creating relaxation, suppleness, flexion and balance in our horses. There are multiple layers of answers to this question, but one basic value is our horse is either feeling safe or unsafe. Those 2 categories influence everything else that happens.


Safety shows itself in many forms as does a lack thereof. Can you identify something as simple as a horse feeling out of balance with perhaps an unbalanced hoof trim, an imbalance of the vestibular (balance) system from a not so good dental as a gateway for your horse feeling unsafe? What if he doesn't show it in a 'fright and flight' or tension reaction that you can identify? It doesn't mean it is not still there. I am putting this out for us all to widen our perception of basic foundational principles, which are stepping stones to advanced riding, and are often overlooked as the focus shifts from the functionality of the horses body in movement, mind, emotion and spirit, to a particular frame or look that is required in a particular discipline.


Many parts of the horse are affected negatively by a discipline or frame oriented approach. The junction that I find contributes to a majority of those imbalances is the occiput and atlas region. There is so much that goes on at this articulation, as well as influences of the cranial bones and nerves which innervate the head and face, the jaw and its global and local effects relative to balance, proprioception, and articulation of the hind quarters. The hyoid bone apparatus which contributes to the correct function of the thoracic sling, and then the relative influence of the brain being housed in that area. Now I will add another aspect to the influences of this region - the bit and bridle and the hands that are attached to to it. There are a lot of available resources regarding saddle fit, but not as many on the bit and bridle fit. Considering the depth and shape of the palate of the mouth, the size and thickness of the tongue, the angle of the teeth and jaw, are just a few attributes to notice when deciding upon a bit for your horse. Should he go bitless? Is a bit necessary? What part of the horse does the bit activate? If you would like to learn more about this highly innervated and influential part of the horse and the effect it has on every ride every stride, then you will want to save the dates below!!!!


On July 11 and July 17 i am offering a 2-part, live webinar on "The Cranial Nerves and Bones and the Relationship to the Bit and Bridle, Balance and Posture". This will be another opportunity to answer some of those burning questions and fill in some missing pieces relative to the vast influence this region has on your horse. The course will have 4 modules, 2 on July 11 and 2 on July 17. The first module on July 11 is 'The Cranial Bones and Their influence on Vitality and Balance, and the second module is 'The First 6 Cranial Nerves and How They Affect movement and Functional Balance in The horse. On July 17 the second webinar will include in module 3, 'Correct Fitting and Function of the Bit on the Nervous System' and module 4 includes 'Cranial Nerves 6 - 12 - Nerve Restrictions and Their Effect on the Jaw and Biting'.



As with all our classes this will be recorded and available for you at your leisure after the live dates. Head over to our university page now to sign up for this course. https://equineselfexpression.thinkific.com/courses/equine-cranial-course-1



There is so much information available to us regarding the care, well being, anatomy, balance, neurology and movement of our horses. Let us also not forget the emotional component that is influenced by, and influences all of that. These sentient beings bless us daily with their breath, their willingness, their heart and their life force. It is my commitment to 'the horse' to learn, learn and learn more. That I may understand them at all levels from the inside out and honor their every stride, their every breath and the continuous gifts they give to us.


I thank you all for being part of the greater journey that honors the gift of the horse, and heals our soul. Have a beautiful riding season, filled with learning and teaching and continued deep gratitude for your horse.


Debbie







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Equine Self Expression