Portugal…What’s Not To love?

Last week represented one year closer to my dual citizenship. People often ask me how I ended up in Portugal, and I can only say that once you have been here you will understand.

Growing up I knew very little about the country, just that my father would have a port wine after dinner every once in a blue moon, and I enjoyed the taste and the story behind it. Portugal he said, was on the other side of the world, the land of the explorers.

I have now been in Portugal for over 5 years, and I still have so much to discover.

The Lusitano, is the smartest, bravest, and most willing breed of horse that I have ever ridden, and recently when I was considering ending my journey with Batialo, the training wasn’t the thing that I was going to miss the most. The character that is my horse, how much he makes me laugh, and the amount I value his friendship was the hardest thing to face. Sometimes, our horses know us better than we know ourselves, and when you say that a horse can change your life, well, I have witnessed this first hand.

11411660_10205439596741167_1668263557334878812_o But that isn’t the only reason I stayed in Portugal. When I first arrived here my mind was my greatest enemy, and in Portugal I made it my greatest strength. Why? The people here have an appreciation for the things that matter the most, and I’ve said before that the Portuguese believe “time spent in good company, is time well spent”. I learnt that I didn’t need to worry about what happened next, because the moment I was living was the best one, the only one, and the one that I should enjoy to the fullest.

The food, well, I have eaten all around the world, and there has not been a single nation or national dish that has more history, and more tradition, than that of Portugal. The seafood, is quite frankly the best in the world, and the best kept secret, and for a girl who grew up on a cattle farm in Australia, every time I eat “marisco” I feel like it’s a delicacy, when in fact it is just the norm for the natives of the Iberian peninsular.10256695_10202600707970722_5691497753527609482_o

When Portugal was playing in the Euro2016 final, I felt honoured to be a part of it, and when I saw the Sydney Opera House lit up with the colours of Portugal, it struck something in me that felt very familiar.

The two countries that I call home, united in a sporting victory.13707732_10208051258311074_4800011340586123624_n

In truth I find many similarities in the cultures of the two countries, even them being on the far corners of the globe. Many countries love sport, but few countries will honour the opponent even in defeat, and celebrate their success, knowing that in celebrating the victor, we also honour the defeated.

If you have ever considered a trip to the Iberian Peninsular, if you love Lusitanos, or seafood, beautiful beaches, and a rich history, then don’t just take my word for it!

I was sitting on my favourite beach recently, and I suddenly felt a strong feeling of sadness, knowing that the one person I would love to share Portugal with, who would love much more about this country than the Port wine after dinner, would never know how far I travelled to know the land of the explorers.

One of my best mates said recently that I may not be Portuguese, but I chose Portugal, which makes me even more worthy of the nationality, and while I’ll always be Australian, I am proud to call Portugal my home.

To visit me and have lesson on a Lusitano, you can write to me at warnes@live.com.au, or read this blog for more info 😉

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Warneyswhip Classical Riding Holidays

It’s just a horse…

_20150423_125409What people say affects us, even when we don’t want it to. Even if we are strong enough to know that what they say comes usually from their own set of insecurities, their own set of weaknesses.

When I was little I loved to compete, and I would miss birthday parties and school excursions, and my friends would say, “it’s just a competition, it’s just a horse”.

Their words had little effect on me, because my best friends were the ones who never commented, and even though they new nothing about dressage, they would still ask me “if I won the race” when I returned to school on Monday.

When my dad died I took responsibility for my mum, and believed that if I did everything to take care of her I could make up for the loss of my father.

I went away to boarding school when I was 15, and for the first time in my life what people said affected me. They would say “how can you leave your mother alone?”, “How will she cope without you?”, and these words hit me like fire, and sent an ache through me that I couldn’t shake off. I felt guilty, and I felt selfish, but actually my mum was fine. The people that said this often meant well, but sometimes even good intentions can have harsh effects.

I think through this experience I learnt to actually gain strength from other peoples’ comments. When I arrived in Portugal they said I would never make it, they said I would never ride Batialo, they said I was an amateur on a Ferrari, and I would absolutely never compete internationally. What they said made me more determined.

But I didn’t do it for them, I did it for me. I did it for Batialo, a horse that I feel knows me better than most people do.

Right now I’m thinking of sending Batialo away while I recover, and yesterday when I came to the stable a little girl was patting Batialo. When I arrived and Batialo saw me, he made a noise and titled his head, and looked up like a kid at christmas, and the little girl, who knows nothing about horses, said, “look, he loves her”. It was a nice thing to say, but I swear I nearly broke down.

If the last 5 years has taught me anything, it’s that quite often the stronger you are, the more you feel. I used to believe that strength was found in showing no weakness, no emotion. I know now that true strength is in showing and feeling emotion, and letting yourself just be who you really are, and having the courage to know that the people around you, the ones you trust, will stay there through the good and the bad.

I have been told many times over the last 5 years that “it’s just a horse” and that may be true, but to me it’s not. That doesn’t mean that I will never find another horse like Batialo, or that I am not happy with my decision, and as much as I hate to admit it I feel a little relieved. It just means that I’m honest and strong enough to know, that if I make the choice to put my happiness and health over my partnership with him, when people say “it’s just a horse” I will never believe them.

Positive about the future with this little man, Iota, By Rubi (because maybe he won't spin!!)
Positive about the future with this little man, Iota, By Rubi (because maybe he won’t spin!!)

 

Faith, Heart, and Humility…The Lusitano

Faith is a beautiful thing. Faith in other people, faith in your dream, faith in your horse.
Once you lose faith, it’s very hard to get it back. I have always been a person to place too much faith in the things around me. I often believe that things will get better well past the point when other people would have walked away. This is both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand it often means I stay too long and end up suffering, but on the other hand it means that when I eventually do make the decision to walk away I can say I gave it everything I had.
When you lose faith in someone or something, you typically stop respecting their opinion, their advice, their point of view. When you lose faith in your horse, your fear outweighs your ability to teach and learn with that animal.
I have always said that the Lusitano is the smartest horse I have ever known, and as a breed in general the horse with the most heart. If a Lusitano wants to do it, they will give you their everything, and will go above and beyond to please their rider.
There are of course exceptions in other breeds, and I have had horses of all types that show these characteristics, but the Lusitano is my true love.
Recently I was told that the Lusitano is not a brave horse, because they have such a big heart. An animal without a big heart, is an animal who fears nothing, and an animal who fears nothing, is not brave. Bravery comes from overcoming fear, from knowing what you are facing, and being able to forge ahead anyway. The lusitano would run into battle, knowing the danger, but be brave enough, and loyal enough to continue.
I always had faith that I would find my Lusitano, the horse to take me to the top. I believed so much in that idea that it actually helped me change many things about myself in order to reach that goal, that objective. I changed physically and mentally in ways which make me almost unrecognisable today, and yet I’m the same girl, with the same dream, and the same amount of faith.
Batialo, was the horse I always thought I would take to the top. I spend every day building a relationship of trust with him, and everyone says to me that they can see the relationship I have with my horse.
However, that is not everything. You may see the perfect couple, and from the outside it looks like they know each other, but you cannot see when one of them is losing faith.

Humility in sport, is a sportsman greatest asset. The ability to admit when something just won’t work, ability to admit fear, weakness, time to make a change.

I have always been a very driven horse rider and person, but drive can only get you so far, faith and heart will take you the rest of the way. Humility will then show you when it’s time to let it go and build a new way.
I love my horse, he is a part of me, but I have lost faith in him because well, when he spins it hurts, and fear takes away the fun of it, and the reason I ride, the true underlying reason why I do what I do is because at the heart of it all I’m still that country girl who finds freedom, who finds peace, on the back of a horse.

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I wouldn’t change the last five years with Batialo, but I have to really ask myself whether I am doing him justice, because my fear, and my lack of faith, means he will never reach his full potential. If I continue to believe in something that I know will lead me to more pain, I will eventually feel like I have failed, when the truth is I might succeed on another horse, at another time.

The thing about faith is, you can lose faith in other people, in other animals, in your dream, in your career…but the only thing you can never lose faith in, is yourself.

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Warneyswhip Classical Riding Holidays

Want a riding holiday close to the beach that offers non riding activities for your non horsey partner? Or have you always dreamed of riding a Lusitano in Portugal?

Warneyswhip has teamed up with the Cascais Riding club to offer Classical Riding holidays, where you stay at the same facility as the horses, just 5 minutes from the beach.

You can design your own holiday based on the time you can get away, and then put together a riding schedule that suits you.

Accommodation – (pool, close to beach) Prices subject to high/low season changes and a 15% discount for riders.
– Studio Bungalow (room, kitchnet, wc) – from around 50€/night
– One Bedroom Bungalow (room, living room, kitchnet, wc) – from around 75€/night
– Two Bedroom Bungalow ( two rooms, living room, kitchnet, wc) – from around 100 €/night

Lesson each day- choose from one or two lessons a day with me or with Frederico Pinteus judge and classical trainer.

Horses-
-Sensitive horse GP (piaffe passage/flying changes)
-Young calm medium level horse (half pass/ traverse)

-Option for kids or beginners lunge lessons on a very calm schoolmaster for the first ever ride or just starting out

Feel a truly gifted horse in classically trained piaffe and passage on my little man Ulisses…

Optional, day trip to lisbon, with a guide- lunch included

For the non-horsey husbands day activities include..Golf course; Tennis; Padel or Surf transfers. Dance lessons in Bicuda are also available.

Included- Dinner with Sarah Warne (me) and the Cascais Riding Club at an ocean view restaurant

Check out the bungalows here…

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To check the seasonal prices, find out more information, or to book your holiday write to warnes@live.com.au

 

What Does it Take?

To be an elite athlete comes down to one major thing…your mental ability to cope with pressure, failure, defeat, pain.
Sure it helps to be physically gifted, but plenty of people have the body for sport, although may lack the intelligence and perseverance required.
Bottom line is you will always be knocked down. There will always be times when you are told you cannot make it, because of whatever reason, and the only way this becomes true is when you yourself believe it.
I was watching a documentary recently on the legends of Motor Racing, and their ability to overcome life threatening injury and constant defeat is beyond what you would consider humanly possible, and yet they do it, time and time again.
I wrote a blog last year that talked about how I overcame the darkest years of my life. I always believed it was my dream that got me to where I am now, a person who is truly happy with herself and her life. I learnt recently however that it wasn’t the dream, it was me. I decided to do everything to recreate who I was, and if that meant moving across the world and starting again then that was what I would do.

After being told recently that I will never make it back into international competition my inbox was filled with other riders, or readers, who had been told the same, but decided that no was not an option.

A fellow sportsman and friend told me recently that top athletes always face pain, injury, and failure, but that they overcome it by eliminating all the elements that may prevent them from being the best they can be.
They remove all the unreliable, or unpredictable parts of their sporting lives, in order to give themselves the best chance, and then they work harder than all the others.
So that’s where I’m at. Eliminating everything that might stop me, and trying everything that might help. It means commitment, and it means sacrifice, but if we don’t sacrifice for what we want, what we want will be the sacrifice.

We watch a top sportsperson win a race, or a match, and we often overlook the pain, the struggle, the years of bruised body and mind, that it took to get there.

It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. As horse riders we learn early on that what we do is dangerous, but we are so passionate about what we do that the danger is outweighed by our sense of belonging, of purpose.
I have always said that it doesn’t matter if your dream is to be the best you can be in your own arena, or the best in the world, just decide what you want, and then make it happen!

Searching for Perfection…Feeling Like a Failure

Recently I have been really down on myself. I think at some point everyone feels like they could have been more, done more. I hate regret but quite often we tell ourselves that if we had of done this, or been this, then we could have been where we want to be.

I have had pain for as long as I can remember. I am still not used to it. I still expect that I will wake up one day and it will be gone and I think the disapointment is as much of a  pain as the pain itself.

I have been told that If I stop riding I won’t have pain, but what life would I live? Horse riding is for me more natural than walking. I honestly can’t imagine what it feels like for someone who has never ridden, to sit on a horse for the first time. For me it’s like breathing.

It’s important during these times to remember how far you have come. When I came to Portugal I was in a really low place, and I used to be one of those people that worried about what people thought of her. I didn’t like dressing up or going out, I didn’t want to really be seen. Having a dream can quite often give you something greater to strive for, and in spite of whatever failure you face this is what you get out of going after what you want.

I used to be weak, physically and mentally, and somehow, I managed to change into someone strong, someone who others believe in, because I believe in myself.

Yesterday someone said that I am the only person she knows who has no feeling for anyone or anything, and nothing could be further from the truth. I guess that means that my strength often allows me to hide my true feelings, and I am not sure that is a good thing.

The truth is, despite being strong, I still feel failure. Everybody does. And over the last few weeks I have questioned again whether or not I can physically cope with my horse and his personality.

As I await some rather important MRI results, I have to remind myself how far I’ve come. Horse riders are quite often perfectionists, and if we don’t get it right, when we wanted to get it right, we feel somehow like we have failed.

Don’t wait for someone else’s approval or praise…Horse riders also learn very very early to dust themselves off and get back on that horse, which is a piece of advice to follow both physically and metaphorically speaking ;).

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Fear…

When I was young I was fearless. I would gallop across paddocks, over fences, through thick bush land, without the slightest thought that I might get hurt.
When Dad died I feared that Mum would die too. When I broke my hips I feared it would happen again. I have learnt that in life, both physical or emotional pain, often leads to fear.

But is fear a bad thing?

I have come to realise it is not! When I first came to Portugal I would get on any horse, regardless of its “training” or lack there of, and I would not worry about what happened. This was not a good thing because I didn’t care what happened to me. As I grew into a woman who loves her life, who is grateful for everything she has, fear came with it. A mother will tell you that when she gets back on a horse after having a child, she is different. Not just because her body has changed but because she has one very real reason why she cannot afford to get hurt.
Fear reminds us that we need to be smart, that we need to take care of ourselves. We owe it to the people who love us.
No, fear is not a useless emotion.

For me, the two most useless emotions are regret and self pity. I find nothing more unattractive in a person than someone who pities themselves, and asks for others to feel sorry for them.

Everyone has stuff they need to deal with. There is a huge difference between asking for help, and asking for pity.
On the other hand someone who admits to being afraid is someone that I admire. It’s common in life to fear the things that may actually bring us the most happiness…career change, love, getting back on that horse :).
In fact, the first step in overcoming fear is admitting it.
Don’t look back and wish you had have done something. Regret is useless. Face your fears is a cliche but it is a well known line for a reason. If you are scared ask for help, admit you’re scared, but don’t make up some BS story about why you can’t do something. Be honest, with yourself and with everyone else. You may just find out that others have the exact same fears as you do, and by sharing it you can lesson the load :).

What Do You Really Want?…

 

When I was young, I wanted desperately to have a normal life.

My dad had committed suicide, and I wanted to be like all the other kids in school, who had no idea how fragile and terribly sad life could be. A week out from the 19th anniversary of his death I think about what I really want from life.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

What Sir Roosevelt says is true, and I no longer regret anything that happened to me because it’s part of who I am.

What makes a person strong? What makes a person inspiring? The strongest person I know in the world, is my mum. Not just because of who she is but because of who she enabled me to be.

She would tell me that I could do anything I put my mind too, and I grew up believing that.

I am told very often that I am lucky…Lucky to live overseas, lucky to have found such a talented horse, lucky to have a mum who shares my dream with me.

Luck has nothing to do with it.

One of my memories growing up was watching Australian swimmer Kieren Perkins win gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

I’m not particularly interested in swimming, but he entered the final after a pathetic qualifying heat, and the nation had deemed him a “has been” who could not possibly, and statistically, win gold from lane 8 (the slowest lane).

I remember the moment when he won. A true champion. No-one said “wow he was lucky”.

He wanted it more than the others.

Truth is I was never a really talented dressage rider. I just wanted to chase the cattle and go really fast out of control behind whatever ran out in front of me.

But I was fearless. I now have fear, because I know better. Falling off hurts.

People who saw me riding Batialo when I first started with him as a 4 year old would tell you that they thought I was crazy. I was. But I wanted a top horse, I wanted to compete internationally, and the desire for what I wanted was far greater than the fear that I might get hurt.

People don’t have dreams or goals necessarily to win. Most of the time it’s to test themselves, to prove to themselves that they can go after something, to give them a reason to wake up in the morning, and to sleep well at night.

The people that I admire the least in the world, are those that tell other people their dreams are stupid. What gives someone the right to make that sort of judgement. I’m sure Mr Perkins didn’t listen when people told him he was too old to win another gold medal.

We always hear the phrase “never give up”, and think “oh sure, yep nice line”. It’s true though. Sometimes of course you need to adjust your dream, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying.

I don’t even understand the term “normal life” anymore, and I certainly don’t wish for it.

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Just when you think you have learnt what you need to learn, something new comes along to change the entire way you looked at it.

If I think of myself ten years ago I honestly never imagined I would be this happy. There was a point when I had no reason to get up in the morning, but I got up because I couldn’t do to mum what dad did to us. That was my thought, “keep going for my mum”. Now I hate to wake up late because I might miss something, and I truly love every part of me.

I guess I wish my dad knew that hitting rock bottom is just the starting point on the way to something wonderful 😉

haltI started pilates recently and if you knew me a year ago you would say it was impossible for me to do pilates.

In the first session I quite literally got a headache, because the instructor kept telling me to breathe slowly, and my mind was racing at 100 miles an hour (my usual pace) and I wanted to complete the series in under 30 seconds and get out of there. It’s like those meditation tapes that tell you to clear your mind, and next minute you are mapping out your ten month plan with Zen music playing faintly in the background.

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Now I love pilates. It’s relaxing. And my mind is actually much calmer and slower in everything else that I do, which helps a lot in my riding, because my horse isn’t picking up on my “a million thoughts an hour” brain speed.

If you don’t have a dream you don’t need to go out and run a marathon. But if you do have something you want to do it’s not worth looking back and saying I wish I had tried. It might be that trip you wanted to go on, or the job you wanted to pursue, or the person you wanted to tell that thing you have always thought but never said…

Just do it.

Yes, now your mind is sprouting all the millions of reasons why you can’t do it…

I still say… “just do it!”

Finally if you do do it, just enjoy it. I was at a dinner recently and the woman next to me didn’t want to eat her petit gateau so I ate hers as well.

petitShe turned to me and said “aren’t you worried about having a stomach ache in the morning”, and I replied that if I get hit by a bus on the way home I will regret far more not enjoying the second petit gateau.

 

“There will be more petit gateau’s” was what she was thinking…but reality is there just might not be.

It’s fine not to do anything with your life if that’s what you want, but if you decide to do something, just make sure you use everything you’ve got to do it.

 

 

Somatic Health- Retrain your brain to move out of tension & pain®

 

As horse riders, we are very familiar with the concept of chronic tension and pain. We typically ride rain, hail or shine, and know that often when we say hell YES our bodies will say hell NO!

Over time, these physical limitations can lead to our world getting smaller, increasing stress, repeating tension patterns in the muscles that can cause chronic pain, creating imbalance, and limiting the subtle awareness and control we need in order to communicate effectively with our horses.

In the past year I have connected with Ryan Moschell, who is a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator and a leader in the field of Somatic Education. He teaches a specialized conscious way of moving that can connect you directly with the source of the chronic tension, your brain, and, over time, help you to develop a self-initiated and self-regulated form of neuromuscular re-education.

“You will learn a deeper awareness and somatic skill-set so that you can address the effects of stress, trauma, pain, and sameness that can come from Sensory-Motor Amnesia, SMA (AKA – chronic muscular contractions).” says Ryan.

Sensory Motor Amnesia, SMA, is affectively what is at the root of chronic neuromuscular pain. It is defined as a “habituated state of forgetfulness of how certain muscles feel and how to effectively coordinate them; it cannot be ‘cured’ by treatment, medicine, or surgery but it can be controlled consciously after a relearning process.” Novato Inst., 2006

SMA can lead to the common physical complaints that we usually mistake for the natural aging process. With Ryan’s help riders can learn to alleviate, prevent, and even reverse the effects of SMA with this empowering adaptability skill that you can access anywhere, anytime for the rest of your life.

Ryan has had huge success in the Equestrian world working with many riders, including Felicitas Von-Neumann Cosel, international grand prix dressage rider and trainer. He has recently published an article in the January 2016 edition of “Dressage Today”. Click on the image or text below to read the full article and watch a few videos to show you the possibilities awaiting you in and out of the saddle with Somatics.

The Training Between Your Training

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Feedback from his clients has also been incredible…

“Thank you Ryan Moschell! Truly amazing, after one session my chronic (30 years) of back pain was reduced to almost nothing. Everything has been easier, walking, standing, sitting, better balance, easier breathing. I felt great on my horse. I cannot wait to see how much better this can be with a few more lessons! I recommend this to anyone with pain or tension or the desire for more body awareness!” Felicitas Von Neumann-Cossel – Equestrian

“After my workshop and individual session with Ryan everything is easier such as walking, breathing, sleeping, you name it. Even my 3x/week boot camp interval training is more fun. I am much more aware of things that my body does when sitting. I tend to bring my legs together and now I know that I am “training” my tight hips :), mostly I sit with my legs slightly apart now ; I hold the steering wheel with less “death grip” My first ride after the sessions: Due to confidence problems over the last few years, I had too much of a thigh grip in the saddle. This time I did not and my horse went into the canter so much smoother and I was able to follow the motion much more fluently. Also, in riding the image is conveyed, “let your legs hang down like a wet towel draped over your arm”. Well, I think I felt this for the first time. My instructor told me after the first canter depart to do that again so that your horse will know you have changed an this is the “new you!” I will say that the comment in your video about looking forward to this verses dreading other modalities: yoga, PT, makes a lot of sense now and I have to concur.” Evi Ebert – Equestrian

“I retired 4 years ago ready to enjoy life only to have debilitating news that I had inoperable spinal stenosis and curvature of the spinal column from living an active life full of accidents. Added onto that I had hip deterioration, ligament and tendon damage from a previous horse accident. I tried injections for pain, four years of physical therapy, pain medication, and finally burning the nerves to reduce pain. I was given special shoes and a cane. I walked better with the cane. But who wants to look old and fragile. When I met Ryan Moschell I was walking with a cane and wobbling when I walked. After only five sessions I am cane free! I no longer crawl up the steps and my wobbling is almost gone. I dance four times a week, swim, do yoga, barn work and show my horses. We even ended up this years show season champions at Maryland Saddle Association, Delaware Appoloosa shows and several other show series on the shore. Ryan Moschell and Somatics was the answer for me!” Mary Anne – Equestrian

“My hip has become more stable. My gait is more balanced and my posture has improved. I sleep better, and it’s easier to turn over in bed. The stiffness in my neck and shoulder has decreased. …the lower back pain I used to get when doing kettle bell swings is gone. Because my hips are looser I can squat deeper and easier. “ Chuck W. – IT

Ryan Moschell travels worldwide to teach workshops that include a combination of group movement classes and one-on-one clinical sessions with each attendee during his stay. You can contact him with the information I have added below. I, for one, am looking forward to having Ryan come to teach near me (Europe or Australia) so I myself can attend one of his workshops. As a rider who suffers from chronic pain I know that anything that may offer a solution is worth a go. I hope that this information will help all of you both in and out of the saddle.

Contact Ryan Moschell today and organize a Somatic Health Solutions® workshop for a group of equestrians near you.

Traveling Workshop Information

http://www.somatichealthsolutions.com/home/begin-2/workshops/

E-mail – Ryan@SomaticHealthSolutions.com

Web – http://www.SomaticHealthSolutions.com

Phone – USA – (410) 703-6956

International – 001(410) 703-6956

Offices in the United States: Maryland: – Annapolis – Easton – Woodbine District of Columbia: – Washington

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/RyanMoschell *

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Please forward this blog with the buttons below to riders and friends in need, I have a feeling they will thank you!*

Horses Recognise Your Emotions…

I read an article recently that says according to research horses are able to discriminate between happy and angry human facial expressions.

People won’t really believe me unless they know horses, but it’s incredible how much our horses pick up on.

They know when we are stressed. They know when we are sore. They know when we are down.

A mate of mine said to me recently that her horse was tense at a competition, and I asked her if this competition was a big deal.

She replied that it was by far the biggest competition she had ridden at, and I told her that I was not at all surprised her horse was tense.

They know. Even before we know, they know.

I honestly believed that I was calm at my first international competition, and I got into the arena and Batialo became like an electric fire stick, and when I came out of the test, and the stomach notes untied themselves, I realised I had been nervous from about three weeks before.

Last year I went through my biggest break up to date, and Batialo was miserable. He didn’t eat as much. He sulked at the back of the box. Only if you knew my horse, would you know just how unlike himself he was during that time.

When I took time off for injury, he was angry at me. He would not look at me, or come to me, and I was amazed after just my first ride back how much he went back to his old funny self.

Horses are herd animals, they know when other animals in the heard are sick, and they feel empathy for them.

Next time your horse isn’t eating, or is jumping out of his skin. Ask yourself how you are feeling, or what is going on in your own life. Your horse is your greatest reflection, and sometimes he is telling you, to just cheer up!!

Full article online at Eurodressage…._20150423_125844
http://www.eurodressage.com/equestrian/2014/07/10/sarah-warne-what-our-horses-pick

 

To advertise a product or service over my website write to me at warneyswhip@gmail.com

 

Training The Dressage Eye

When I was little Mum would sit for hours watching videos of Nuno Oliveira, or Reiner Klimke or Kyra Kyrkland, and while at that time I found them deathly boring, I was already being programmed to know what was right.
I grew up learning to compete on a pony that had the most correct basic rhythm and balance, and I was lucky to be able to feel that from a very early age.
I would watch my mum and my sister ride, who both had lessons with Nuno, and even though I didn’t really think I was taking notice, I was developing a sense of what was correct training. In fact I was never exposed to bad riding, or hand holding, or spurring, or rolkur, and it wasn’t until much later on that I was even aware that there was another side of dressage.
I had a comment recently on one of my posts that the person had become so used to seeing praise for something that he had begun to see it as correct.
When I see a flashy trot, I don’t go WOW, I look immediately to the horses ears, to his eye, to his mouth, then to the rider’s hand, the contact, the hindleg, the back. I look at all these different elements (elements that are the basis of the FEI rules and objectives) and tick them off one by one in my mind. The WOW will only come if all elements are given a tick.

I am the first one to admit that I have moments where I don’t get the ticks, I am holding, or I’m tight, and Batialo is tense, and I just can’t get everything to come together. The big difference is, I don’t post this with a comment saying “WOW” so that everybody thinks “WOW”, because then people see this to be right, and lose awareness , so the tick approval system gets lost in a sea of praise.
Condemning riders isn’t right either. It’s very very difficult to get relaxation and lightness, and correctness in training, add a big screen tv and an audience and lots of other hoopla and it’s a cocktail of added difficulties.

But until we see what’s correct, over and over, until we congratulate that and reward that publicly, then we ourselves begin to forget what’s right, and we automatically put a WOW on a photo that isn’t wow, it’s just flash.

It’s not our fault, we see it over and over, we see it praised and rewarded.
True change comes from knowledge, and knowledge comes from asking questions, and to ask the questions you need to have an eye that sees past the initial WOW, and checks off all the elements of our very complex yet fascinating sport that make a combination deserve a WOW for their pursuit of correctness based on the FEI objectives and a happy horse!

To support my articles order a classical riding polo as pictured below by email to crptruerider@yahoo.com.

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To advertise a product or service over my website write to me at warneyswhip@gmail.com

ReinerKyra

Letting Go…

Letting go has been a theme in many of my articles.

http://www.eurodressage.com/equestrian/2012/09/23/classical-training-art-letting-go
In fact it has become a theme in my riding and outside life. One of my greatest weaknesses as a rider, and as a person, was that I couldn’t let go of things. Things that I knew weren’t good for me, or that I couldn’t change.
I have chronic pain, and I have discovered that the only way to ease the pain, is to forgive myself, to be kind to myself, and to forget about yesterday, and tomorrow.
On the horse, there are so many elements we must let go. I have never been a patient person, but this injury has taught me many things, most importantly, about strengths that I didn’t even know I had.

Letting go of the thought “I should already be doing this”, Or “my horse should already be here”, or my position should already be better than this”. Thoughts that don’t help us.

Letting go of people for me is even more difficult. Mainly because I used to be a people pleaser and I worried what people thought of me. I don’t anymore.
A second theme in my articles is on humility and accepting and asking for advice when you need it. I have been accused of doing what people tell me to do, but the truth is I only ever ask advice from the people that I know will tell me what I already know to be true. It sounds strange, but if you have people in your life that you love and trust enough, then what they tell you is typically a reflection of what your own mind has already told you 1000 times.
Bottom line is it’s easy to take advice when you know what advice is coming. Much harder to follow that advice even when you know it to be true.

In dressage, you must trust your trainer, so that the advice they give you, is the advice you believe in.

There are always those “dressage critiques” who will give you advice without you asking, or even hinting at asking, but I just nod, and say thank you. Arguing with those people is fruitless, and you mind as well “save your breathe” as mum used to say.

In dressage, letting go is everything. Letting go of what you can’t control, and learning to reward and cherish the things that you can.

I realised recently, that I am happy with every part of myself. It took me 30 years to get here. But it really is a bloody nice feeling to have. I don’t envy anyone else.
I can’t imagine a better life, and yet I’ll never stop dreaming about what more I could be….

To support my articles order a classical riding polo by email to crptruerider@yahoo.com.

To advertise a product or service over my website write to me at warneyswhip@gmail.com

Posture and Horse Riding…

 

I was reading an interesting blog recently by the “Core Trainer”  79that talked about posture and how often people come into the gym complaining about the way they look in the mirror, their stance.

On a horse, it’s ten times more difficult, because even if you correct yourself when you are walking, on the horse you have 1000 things to think about, and the first thing you forget, or that naturally goes out the window, is your posture.

The photo above was taken 4 years ago. It is a beautiful photo, but I hate looking at it, because my neck is almost stuck so far forward it’s coming off my body.

I had a terribly weak posture, due to a longterm illness, and I knew that i would never look good on the horse until I began to correct it off the horse. I worked with the Core Trainer, and began exercises to teach my body to move back into a stronger position.

I think the biggest mistake people make when thinking about posture, is that they want a quick fix. Truth is it takes work, patience, and a lot of mental effort, to correct something that has happened, usually over a long period of time.

4 years later, and I was proud to see this photo this year…

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My position is by no means perfect, but I have worked hard to correct my forward neck, and finally it is natural for me to be in the right neck position, and I know because in competition, when I cannot think about my head, it was finally in the right place! YAH

To find out about exercises for posture go to the below web address or email the core trainer at contact@thecoretrainer.com

http://thecoretrainer.com/forequestrians/

That one horse that changes you

3 months ago, when the pain in my hip got too much for me, after a tendon injury, I made the decision to stop riding for a while. For me this is like giving up breathing, and I spent the last three months feeling like, well shit.

I stayed in Portugal for Christmas, and spent the day alone, but it was my decision, because I knew that the trip, (24 hours on a plane), could add months to the recovery.

I watched Batialo during this time, and no-one will believe how different he was. He usually looks at me like I’m a giant carrot angel, excited, and childlike.

The last three months he looks at me for a second, and then looks away, like “yes I know you are here, but you are not wearing riding pants, so bugger off”.

He didn’t eat all of his feed during the day, and when I walked him he stopped paying attention to where I was, and would sort of just walk off like I wasn’t there.

Two very talented male riders have been helping me, and as I watched him with them, I thought “oh man, if he does that with me I’m screwed”.

He leapt and spun, and cantered whenever they wanted trot, and I felt very very worried, and I admit it, scared to start again.

I have ups and downs with my confidence depending on how bad the pain is (chronic injury) and right now I’m at an all time low.

Truth is, if you suffer from chronic pain, or you have a boisterous horse, or you are human, you can lose your confidence, and you have to work hard to get it back. It’s a constant battle, and you have to be determined, and 100% sure that you want to do this, to keep going.

Today I got on Batialo for the first time in 3 months. I’m still in pain, and he couldn’t be lunged and I was bloody nervous, and trying to convince myself I wasn’t. He went into the indoor, which sounded like a space ship about to take off, and trotted off and was quite simply, amazing for me.

A horse reared at the side, and he did jump, which does still hurt, and I just trotted off and he said “oh ok, off we go”.

Some people say that the horse chooses you, and I know I’m going to sound like a soap opera drama queen, but sometimes I truly believe it.

Mum said to me, “he will be good to you, he likes you riding him”, and I know it to be true.

Thank god for horses. They make us better people. They make us understand ourselves. And if you find the right one, they change your life.

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