Seasons greetings to you all as the return of the light begins today, December 23. This season holds within it many different bouquets of holiday meanings to our fellow brothers and sisters around the globe. Marked by the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the holiday season announces Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Soyal, Yalda, Kwanzaa, Festivus and many more celebrations. Within diversity we can find common ground but also contrast in the blessing of others views and opinions, beliefs and ideals, all of which can knit us together in goodwill, respect and generosity. If we allow, these cultural celebrations give us opportunities to enrich our lives with perspectives other than ours, creating a web of interconnection within our own deliberate individuality.
As horsemen and women we are often presented with diverse perspectives and even opposing views. What is 'natural' for our horse, what is a boundary versus 'dominance', what is a conversation versus a 'demand'? Lots to think about as we consider our 'philosophy' of horsemanship and riding and intertwine 'right' from 'wrong' within that internal conversation.
As a clinician and constant student of the horse, my number one mission is to stay 'mindful' as i witness different horsemanship modalities and methodologies. It is easy to judge what others do, as it is to compare yourself with others. Yet what if we just sit back as an observer, without judgement, and mindfully have an experience, especially if we witness training, riding or handling that is in opposition to our values and beliefs of what is right and wrong, and indeed what might be humane versus inhumane. I find this a loaded subject; so often I feel a desire to intervene if i witness an action or reaction that I deem unfair to the horse. The bigger question may be, "what would happen if I stay on the observers perch, mindful and present, in acceptance without judgement?" My experience of that has been space for conversation and discussion, which open doors and closes the distance between different worlds and views, not just relative to different disciplines, but within the same discipline.
As we step into the winter and witness the natural world in hibernation, I also step within to illuminate the darker spaces inside of myself. There, hidden dreams have been suppressed and shadows have been hiding, too afraid to see the light. As i sit by the warmth of the fire, literally and metaphorically, I embrace new spaces that are ready to be illuminated, nourished, tended in the growing season and harvested! There is no time frame for the harvest, just the awareness of the seed that once may have been a dream steeped in fear, and is now a manifesting creation growing and gaining life force energy ready to be birthed..... some day!
I also sit in deep gratitude of the previous shadows that have been illuminated and transformed. This is the reality behind the recent 'birth' of my new publication 'Meaningful Movement, Better Performance, Happy Horse'! Back in 2010 I was presenting at an Equine Expo, and had the idea of this book. At the time I envisioned it as separate cards with an explanation of a few muscles and a stretch or two to accompany them. Over the years as I awaited the confidence to present something in written format, the fears of failure presented along with excitement of creating such a project. The nurturing of a seed to a project often begins with tending to the self and nourishing those hidden corners where darkness once lingered before its transformation, planting, nourishment and manifestation, all of which precede the harvest. Today I am beyond delighted to present this 'harvest' in the form of this book and accompanying 'take to the barn' work manual. It was almost 3 years of writing, studying, and learning from the horse, but 12 years in the making and with almost 200 pages, a little different presentation than a few cards that was the original vision!
I am beyond delighted to witness this cycle of growth and manifestation, not only in myself, but in my students and their horses. Each day I am blessed to hold space for students to learn and to watch them accomplish goals and dreams with their horses, all because they stay grounded in their personal work with free space to overcome doubt and continue to manifest.
If we allow our horses to be our mirror, then with the purity of our own intention we can witness reflections that serve us, as well as those that do not. Each moment we are in the presence of our horses is a moment of illumination as they, better than us can sense our dark corners where we have carefully hidden some dreams and desires but not believed in ourselves enough to nurture those seeds.
During this holiday season I invite you to give yourself the gift of reflection. Any dark corner is fertile soil awaiting illumination, planting and nurturing of that dream that is ready to be birthed.
I close this year with the deepest of gratitude for all of you and I would like to offer a special discount on the aforementioned publication as a thank you for being an advocate for your horse. My mission and purpose is to continue to learn and grow as a student of, and too the horse, and my commitment is to share all of that knowledge with those that have that same
If you are interested in this book, please click the link below to purchase the book, and if you would like, the accompanying course, Muscle Cycles and Sequences. The links will take you to the appropriate pages where the discount is already included. This special runs through December 25.
Please also join us for my free New Years Day message on January 1, 2023. Follow us on facebook at Equine Self Expression to learn how to register for this short New Years special.
Until then, I wish you love in your heart, peace in your mind and connection to your true life's calling. Give yourself the gift of just spending time with your horse without any agenda! In between chores and working them is a sacred space of stillness, where the silence of the conversation deepens the understanding of the mystical language of equus.
Happy Holidays to you all,
Debbie and the Equine Self Expression team!