How taking the time to work with horses on the ground can make you a more confident, balanced rider.
by Darley Newman
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I entered the round pen with Sheryl Jordan at Salamander Resort in Virginia. I’ve done some natural horsemanship, read about the realm of “horse whispering” and had the chance to join up with horses at a ranch in Arizona, but this was something a little different. Sheryl runs a program she developed called Equi-Spective, during which she helps boost confidence and instill leadership through connecting with horses. I had my doubts as to how this would work for me and how we would actually capture a session, as we were also filming it for my PBS TV series Equitrekking.
A striking horse named Patrick stood on one side of the round pen as Sheryl worked with me to help me boost my alpha presence, while also remaining calm and balanced. I worked to do this not only through my posture and breathing, but also through my inner energy. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve done it, but as time went on Patrick, a horse that didn’t know me at all before this encounter, was listening to me and eventually following my lead.
I realized that my focus was helping to focus Patrick and it was an amazing experience. As a longtime horsewoman, I know there’s a lot of value in groundwork. It’s just a matter of making the time to do it. If we all could take the time to think and act more deeply in our daily interaction with horses, I know we’d form deeper connections with our equine partners and be better equestrians in and out of the saddle. Equi-Spective helped me to think more about my life and work with horses and how even a horse you don’t know so well can help change your perceptions and teach you something new.
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