Centro Ecuestre La Luz – a good place to start is with the name, which translates as “The Light” Equestrian Center. The idea for the name came from 3 directions. First for the way we work with horses, always with supreme attention to lightness, second for the luminous light for which Andalucía is famous and third for lightening up our lives, creating a natural space away from the bustle of our high tech society where we can let our light shine.
Live and Breathe Horses – Originally I dedicated my time purely to training, retraining and starting horses, however it always came back to the issue that in reality it was the riders more than the horses who needed the training ! As I started to work more with the riders I found teaching to be inspiring and fulfilling. Four years ago we converted some stables for human occupation so that we could run residential courses which have since been enjoyed by guests from all over the world. To market the courses in English speaking countries I chose the name “live and breathe horses “ as it is easy to remember and says just what we do !
Our approach can be described as classicaly natural, intuitivley down to earth and routed in good old fashioned common sense.
We are training horses in the classical tradition which has at its heart all the same values as what is now referred to as natural horsemanship. So we work always with his nature, allowing each personality to come through and develop. Respect for the horse and maintaining his dignity are essential , as any crimes we commit against him we are also doing to ourselves whether we are aware of it or not.
Without awareness all the knowledge in the world is useless as the horse reads us on an emotional not intellectual level. So we help him understand us by training ourselves to be aware of our emotions, feelings and resulting body language and in this harmony we can begin to communicate with him on his level. Horses, like people, respond more than anything to love, love just for the joy of loving and for the powerful connection it gives us to nature. Treated with love, compassion and understanding horses will shine with all the grace and strength that is their birthright.
My teaching is based in a passionate love of horses and horsemanship. By seeing each student as an individual at their own unique place in their journey, each lesson can be tailored to meet the needs of that moment. The lessons give a positive experience of expanding possibilities and redefining your potential. In being non-judgmental, there is no doing it wrong , there are only learning opportunities and horses have a real knack for showing us exactly what we need to work on.
Our journey in horsemanship will parallel that of our life as equine magic resonates through all area of our being. Whether you are a complete beginner or advanced dressage rider you will find our holistic approach based around lightness, energy, balance and communication, rewarding and enlivening. Note . in writing these texts I refer to the horse as “he” to limit repetition, of course the horse is just as likely to be “she”
Our biggest challenge is to understand and to be understood. Training the horse is really more about training ourselves to be in tune with what is happening. He already has it within him to do all the movements we ask for, so our main job is to effectively communicate our wishes to him so he can carry out his work with the grace and freedom he has when running loose.
Often problems occur because the horse does not understand what is being asked and the rider, in failing to recognize this, adds to the confusion. Often people think they are asking for a particular something but their body language and emotions are saying something quite different as far as the horse is concerned. We cannot underestimate the impact our frame of mind has on the horse so, at each moment, we need to be aware of the messages we are continually communicating to the horse, whether we intend to or not.
Energy is a defining factor in our lives, the more energy we have the easier we can cope with all that life throws at us. Working with horses on the ground helps us become aware of that energy and how it influences all beings around us. Being firmly grounded in nature and it’s powerful energy horses help us retune ourselves to the same. To have harmony between the horse and rider we need to have a constant flow of energy through both. The energy (impulsion) we create with our leg aids and seat must be allowed to flow in an uninterrupted circle, any blocks will deaden the energy and limit the effectiveness of the aids. Hence our Equienergetics training.
Unless there is a physical problem with the horse, which can be confirmed by the vet, resistances are usually caused by the rider blocking, either by physical stiffness, restricted breathing & posture or emotional turmoil. All inter-related, they can interfere with the energy flow meaning we cannot create the impulsion we need for the horse to move gracefully and proudly. Remember your posture when walking is your posture on the horse so it is useful to feel how supple and fluid our movements are on the ground as we carry this through to our riding.
Rebalancing the horse is an essential, important and on going part of his education which will allow him to carry the rider with comfort and elegance. With a correct gymnastic training we can even improve on nature as we move the center of balance off the forehand freeing it to create more expression.
We also preserve the health of the horses limbs and back by never forgetting the hugely unbalancing experience we humans can force on them, even though our intentions are good. The more balanced we are in our own bodies the more we can keep in balance with the horse while riding, which in turn makes his job of carrying us much easier. So we do body work on the ground to feel more where we are at physically, Alexander technique and Body Mapping are a great tools in this development. By taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions we can find more balance and harmony within our being so we can treat the horse with the consistency, fairness and compassion that he deserves.
Without lightness we seriously limit the possibilities of the horse. Everything should be as effortless as possible so with the softest of aids the horse will happily work without constant interference from the rider. His mouth must be mobile and the reins activated by a light contact so the impulsion (energy) created by the legs can complete the circle through the reins and seat to the hind quarters of the horse . If the jaw is set that energy will stop there making him heavy in the hand and stiff in the back. This will cause problems as soon as the more difficult movements are asked for and is also detrimental to his health.
There is a huge range of bits and gadgets on the market claiming to control and position the horse but if the hands that hold the reins are not light and responsive it is all to no avail. Mostly, we need to pay more attention to the give part of the basic principal of ” push, take and give”. Whilst remembering that many of the unwanted sensation we feel in our hands come from inappropriate use of the legs which must also learn to act with utmost lightness and sensitivity. The horse will always thank us for letting go and lightening up our actions. The horse is very aware of where we are coming from. When we are stuck in the head, busy with the mind, the horse hears this as disruptive noise. He will respond immediately if we can lighten up and come into our feeling , intuitive part. Let us ride from the heart !