Dear all horse friends, working students and people connected to our Academy!
In these COVID-19 times we stay safe at home and actually get to have some more time with the horses. We will post more updates soon on the riding program, our journey to trim and Kadoo’s latest news of course…
Today we will share a wonderful news about Daniela’s new book.
Daniela Tejkalova came to visit our center to participate in an EPONA clinic a couple of years ago. This was a wonderful experience for us and the clinic participants. Our horses enjoyed and the clinicians as well. Daniela and her friend Hanka are these days publishing a book in Slovak sharing the experience at our center and a kinder way of being with horses around the world. Thank you so much for bringing this message to the world and including us in it.
Kind regards Stina
Extract from the book CAROVNE KONE;
Liberty is the practice of a horse in voluntarily following his trainer. The whole methodology is focused on the horse spending time with a person voluntarily and also in freedom (without a halter and a leash, ideally on a riding school or pasture) to follow a person or perform various tricks with it. The whole liberty training is based on precise non-verbal communication of a person, reading the communication of a horse, spending a long time “selflessly” (without special goal and purpose) with a horse on a pasture so that the horse takes a person “as his own” and spends time with him voluntarily. During all exercises, the horse has the opportunity to leave at any time, it is never forced to exercise. One must “deserve” the horse’s attention with his calm and conscious setting, positive emotion and consistent, respectful communication. In liberty you can play various games with a horse, obstacle training and dressage work. It is something that requires great patience and the right “mindset” of a person, when a person perceives a horse as a complete partner with his own emotion, expressions of will and needs.
Liberty is a very effective affair, some trainers can do wonders and various circus numbers with horses in freedom. Here I would like to emphasize that it is clear on the horses whether they were strengthened and dressage to the “liberty”, and therefore work in freedom is and remains only a circus performance, or horses with a trainer really like and do not take work as work but fun. And for me personally, some elements, such as sitting on a lying horse (which is a very dominant expression from the trainer) or turning the horse upside down (which is in nature the frozen position of a victim in a beast attack) do not belong to a liberty as I mention it. The elements of liberty should, at least in my opinion, respect the natural nature, communication and freedom of the horse.
I (Daniela) would add to this part my experience from the Caribbean and France, where I had the honor of meeting Linda Kohanov and Stina Herberg and seeing them in their work with horses “at liberty”. Stina fascinated me with her free dance with horses and her energy dedicated to living with nature, and Linda with her wisdom hidden in modesty and invisible work with energy, which, however, the horses visibly understood.
Stina Herberg and the teachers at Richmond Vale Academy founded and runs an ecologically oriented educational facility on one picturesque, little-known tourist island of St.Vincent. Stina comes from Norway and has always loved living and working with horses. When she moved to the island in 2007, there were only a few horses that had lived “in the wild” for years, after the former owner left them roam freely. Despite their impoverished condition, Stina took them in and gradually led them to look and cooperate better through non-violent communication and perseverance. Although she had a good foundation of “horse science” from her past and from Carolyn Resnick, today she says that she learned the most from her horses. Originally, these horses were supposed to be used for trails for tourists, but she found that this was not an activity that would please them. She therefore decided to go differently.
She spent a lot of time with them, without demanding anything from them, sitting next to them, walking around them and just watching them. Gradually, she began to understand and use the way they spoke, until they began to trust her and work with her voluntarily, without any coercion. When I saw her videos a few years ago, I said to myself that I wanted to see it live. After dramatic changes in my family, I enjoyed the trip and what I experienced exceeded my expectations.
Stina, with music in her ears, and her horses, danced in the meadow with ease, mutual respect and tenderness, alternating with unbridled energy and a sense of freedom. They were simply there together, surrounded only by wildlife, enjoying time together until the hot sun rose over the ocean.
When we later went bathing with the horses, I understood how easy it is to stay with the horses in nature and share ordinary moments. All you need is mutual respect and a willingness to talk together.
Stina says that everyone can learn horse language and every horse understands it. All that is needed is a full authentic human presence, a connection with one’s own body and nature in and around us, and a willingness to listen with the gentle signal and speech of a horse. No chasing a horse in a circle (until allowed), no special technique or drill, no attempt to subdue the horse by force. Only loving straightforwardness emanating from within the person, a little reward here and there, a lot of patience and respect for the being itself.
Visit Danielas blog about her stay at our center