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Working with Mares

Riders on a Lifelong Quest for Learning with Their Horses

Many horsemen today are searching for a more mindful and humane way of working with their horses. For most of us, it is an ongoing journey to truly know our equine partners as we hone our horsemanship skills. Much of our learning will involve changing our approach to the way we interact, allowing our horses time to understand us and the opportunity to feel better inside their own skin. It is from our willingness to dig deeper within ourselves that mutual respect and responsiveness is engendered between us and them. The pictures below give just a few examples of the amazing ways that horses help us humans learn about ourselves.

Photos by Joyce Scott

Reschooling the older horse begins before we ever make physical contact, same as it does for the young horse. The round pen can provide an ideal space within which to work.
It provides a definite boundary, allowing us close proximity to assert ourselves and be actively directive. But just as importantly, it allows us to be passive observers, learning
what it means to give the horse complete freedom to decide when we've earned their trust ~ and whether or not we've awakened their desire to be with us.


The first touch and groundwork are important, too.


ABOVE: Using lateral and longitudinal flexion helps the horse let go of tension and stiffness over the topline and along the sides of its body while being saddled, bridled, or at any time. Helping the horse learn how to relax in this way means that we learn to relax as well as we feel the brace melting out of their bodies, and out of our bodies. Horses will learn to softly and patiently accept all kinds of tack and equipment, and happily learn to take our direction if given the opportunity to understand the meaning behind our touch and our actions.

Stretching the adductors and hamstrings.
Using a soft rope allows a person to stand upright.

Leg-yielding along the wall from the ground.

Taking a moment to release tension before mounting.


The enthusiasm of a child learning to use her body
on the back of a horse...



...can inspire adults to do the same.


Learning to let go of being in control is as much
a mental and emotional exercise as a physical one.

Taking the time to ensure that the horse is
relaxed, stable, and steady at the mounting block.

Being open to new information
is a vital part of learning.


It is always our goal to establish rapport
between riders and their horses.


The two-legged tries to demonstrate a leg-yield.

Or maybe she just feels like dancing.

Learning good posture...

...while eliciting a horse's soft, round carriage
helps maintain relaxation in both horse and human
while enabling each to reach their athletic potential.

White lipstick: a sign of agitated teeth grinding
- or soft chewing -
We strive for the latter.

Nature's tiniest flowers and critters provide
infinite opportunities for us to learn from...
...if we're willing.

For more information about Terry Church clinics in the South Bay, please contact: Liz Arrington

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