Welcome

 
All my life I have felt the connection to animals. I have desired their presence and hoped for a meeting of the minds. I get to share their powers of perception, their beauty, their grace, their speed and amusement with the human world and in return give care, love, and an interactive program to replace animal skills not exercised in survival. I have won national and regional awards in dressage and studied with trainers both here and abroad from all over Europe. I showed for 10 years and now realize that what is important to me is to foster the connection and understanding between horse and rider. As a rider for 45 years, and a professional breeder, trainer, and teacher for 25, I have decided to specialize in the seat, especially for the adult rider, and to work on the development of the suppleness and balance of the horse by attending to his back. I use lunging for the horse to release and strengthen his back, and for the rider to educate her seat and balance. I use work in hand to give the horse awareness of his body and balance, and to teach the rider feel in the hands while standing safely on the ground. Then the rider can take what she has learned about the horse to the saddle and use the same exercises at the walk to increase her feel. When the rider is aware of how a correct shoulder in should feel, and how her weight and position affect the horse, the transition to all lateral work in trot and canter is easier. Because the shoulder-In is an important step on the way to collection this work makes collection easier to understand for the horse in the tradition of Guerniere. Trot and canter work are practiced as the pair's athletic ability and balance improve.

Jobima, Holsteiner, granddaughter of Guerlain, Retired

One of the most important parts of being a good companion to our animals is to understand clearly what we want them to do. Then we formulate a series of stimuli and expected responses, which we can reward, or ignore, depending on how close the animal comes to fulfilling the expectations. The tricky parts are: 1.How to break down the stimuli into recognizable episodes for the animal to understand and begin to deal with not being autonomous. 2. How quickly to present repeating stimuli and what is the threshold for reward- a good try or pretty near perfect 3.And finally to develop a program for training or socialization so that simple skills can lead to more complex ones. Then of course, there is the horse's collaboration. He must be fit to do what you ask, happy in his work, and free of ill-fitting tack, and nagging muscle soreness. My years of experiences in training young horses, and rehabbing older horses allows me to help choose the most efficient methods of helping the horse to heal and build muscles. Also my experience of many different forms of rehab therapy allow me to assist the rider to choose the best path for supportive or interventional care.

 

 

 
The reason I believe that the kind of one on one work I do is necessary, is that in this day and age, most people are not raised on a farm or around horses. They have little idea of how dangerous a 1200 pound animal that has survived for millions of years by fleeing at the slightest provocation, can be. And once that danger becomes apparent, our own human self-preservation instincts take over, and our efforts to forge a closer bond with these huge beasts can easily be thwarted in many ways. My goal is to help an individual horse and rider pair overcome their lack of knowledge by giving them a customized program of simple skills that will work for both of them. I don't want to take a horse and rider pair deep into a particular discipline, though I feel qualified to teach Third Level, but rather give a start so that the rider can chose to follow a riding style that is suitable to the horse's ability and the rideršs desires. In addition to using the skills acquired through years of teaching and riding dressage, I use various empathic and observational skills to identify disconnects, and causes of poor communication and performance of the pair. Once the seat of the rider and the ability of the horse to follow the riders directions have been evaluated, then begins a gymnastic program to help the horse become more elastic and able to produce soft correct movement in all three gaits, and the rider first to follow then facilitate and finally encourage brilliance. The many training systems I have studied allow me to fit the training to the horse but also find the lightest system that works for both horse and rider and suits their goals.

Guerlain, USDF Musical Freestyle Champion

Bjorn, Fjord, with Ann Longfellow, Owner.

The process of becoming a horseman takes years, and one of the best ways to do this is through study with a professional who understands safety issues, how the horse's brain and body work, and little ways to increase the pleasure and security your horse enjoys in your presence, thereby making him more willing to try to figure out what you want. Using the rider's own horse, I employ a system, based on the principles of Classical Dressage whereby the rider can gain an understanding of the mind of their horse and develop a secure seat. This forms a basis for communication and the foundation of a partnership between horse and rider. Another way of explaining what I do is to teach riders to work with their horses as partners, not simply in deference to their size and flighty-ness, but sentient beings, aware of the emotional state of their owner, and cooperative friends with a vested interest in their owners becoming more fluent in the language of riding, a special language that people have to learn with their bodies. Horses have to learn this language too but hopefully, what we humans have devised over centuries of trial and error and finally success is accessible to any given horse as a second language. We have some experienced School horses for use and these horses are educated, light and kind.

 

Florido, Lusitano Stallion, Teacher, Friend

Perry and Renee Koser, owner.

Bjorn and Ann show what dressage can do for any horse.

 

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