A. No, it is none of the above. Anna’s approach applies to all riding disciplines; focuses on working with the horse’s mind and seeing things from their perspective. Riders have reported improved marks in their dressage tests and they note that the behaviour of their horse changes when they change their approach and offer the horse something different and better. Anna’s approach is a practical common sense approach, helping the horse to have a relaxed state of mind. A horse, like any other animal, learns more effectively when they are not tense or worried. No matter what your discipline, Anna puts great emphasis on the horse carrying itself in a weight bearing posture. It is important that they travel with a relaxed and responsive mind coupled with energetic and expressive movement. This benefits the horse by reducing the tension and strain on the horse’s physiology.
Q. Anna trains in America so is this western riding, Parelli or Natural Horsemanship?
A. Absolutely. We all know horses are flight animals and they have developed tried and tested ways of escaping danger and expending unnecessary energy. When horses have an established behaviour we are inclined to think that it can’t be changed. Once a horse has learned something it does not forget it but by changing our approach and offering something different, a new and more positive behaviour will become established.
Q. Do older horses benefit from this approach
A. The following provides examples of some of the ways a horse benefits.
Q. How does it benefit the horse?
Clarity - It offers the horse a kind and consistent approach.
Relaxed State of Mind - This is necessary for a horse to learn effectively.
Suppleness - Born out of a relaxed state of mind.
Physical Strength - This is achieved through travelling with correct posture and movement.
Mental and Emotional Support - A horse can rely on the rider for guidance and leadership which also extends favourably to their social behaviour within the herd.
Reduces Conflict - Horses are searching for quietness and understanding between us and them, resulting in a partnership.
A. This very much depends on the individual and their motivation to practice, observe and learn. Many people worry about making mistakes but with practice and by watching the horse’s response, an individual will be able to improve their ability to read their horse, understand it better and respond appropriately.
Q. How long will it take me to learn the basics?
A. People who have ridden for years say they have gained a greater insight into the correct way that a horse should move and why a horse behaves the way it does. Anna takes the time to explain the reasoning behind her approach and riders report this gives them greater clarity and improved results. Her patient teaching style also greatly benefits the novice rider and they experience increased confidence when handling and riding their horse. Learning how to reassure the horse, breathing techniques and subtle changes in a riding position can have a huge effect on how a horse responds.
Q. How will it benefit the rider?
A. Anna says, “My aim is to think something and for the horse to feel it and respond with me immediately and seamlessly. This degree of responsiveness is a unity of two minds, two emotions, two bodies, ours and the horse's. In this unity there is no space for resentment, because both minds are working together for the benefit of the whole. True unity is free of anxiety of the mind, free of dictatorship and so also free of tension in the body for both us and the horse. With this degree of unity we and the horse hold our own bodies in a weight bearing posture, because we are ready to respond softly at any moment in time. Only then can the horse be as healthy as possible, mentally free from stress, stress which transfers to the physical body as tension which can lead to illness and vets bills. This is a unity which is beyond just the want for obedience and submission. Only aiming for obedience can dull the horse's spirit which once again causes tension from oppression, which can contribute towards mental and physical ill health”.
Q. Why follow Anna's approach to training horses