Staying in harmony and unity

Hi. I'd like to start off by thanking you for all the emails and messages you send. I'm often inspired by the wonderful stories and indeed was moved to write this following an email from a lady called Liz. Liz has what I call a true partnership and if she wrote a book, we would all benefit from it. Her experience with horses is the formula in how to have a great connection and partnership with horses. It boils down to heart, caretaking leadership, experience and education. I was especially moved by Liz's letter and pictures because it reminds me of my own personal journey with horses in my life. Liz has the right education and a natural gift with horses. It is the secret in getting along with them. I believe that most people who are drawn to horses, who understand caretaking leadership, can have this kind of relationship with a horse with the proper training and experience. Liz has put in the time and been educated in a proper manner.

Most people today do not put enough thought into becoming educated and matching the horse in their life with their ability. Once you have had enough experience in harmony and unity, in riding and connection, with proper guidance you can be the rider with the partner of your dreams like Liz.

The message I am conveying is that riding horses is an art and needs to be approached in this manner. There are too many people who do not put in the time to learn horsemanship, do not choose the proper horse to fit their abilities and do not learn what it feels like to be in harmony and unity with a horse on an everyday basis. Everyone in Liz's life was there to support her and her desire to have Mars for her riding horse. Mars choose Liz because they were matched. Liz had the heart that Mars was looking for and needed and the experience, which is most important. Thank you, Liz, for sharing.

My last word is that the journey you take in staying in harmony and unity is the secret to being a great horse person and having the connection of your dreams. You can be a great horse person today by allowing harmony to lead the way for the journey ahead on an everyday basis.

Till next week, I'll leave you with Liz's story below. Best


P.S. Mark asked me to mention that as the Waterhole Rituals Insider Circle Program starts this Sunday, the Box version ($117) will not be available after this date, so you only have till then to join us. Here is the link to find out more Coaching Programs or you can just use the button here:

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Liz and Tess

Liz and Tess

I am a ponyclubber who started out taking English riding lessons once a week as an eight year old girl. My first mare, Tess, the wonderful packer that every kid dreams of became mine as a thirteen year old. My parents agreed to pitch in what I raised so that I could have a horse and I worked and worked until I had one thousand dollars. We wanted something attractive and trained, a nice pony club mount that would put me in the ribbons. This was not Tess, at least when I got her. She was seriously neglected and abandoned. When I saw her, her head fell limply, her lovely flaxen chestnut color was a grey brown, matted mess, she was infested with worms and was 6 months overdue for a trim. Her eyes were swollen from conjunctivitis and had so much eye mucus that she could barely open her eyes. She didn't care about life, she looked as though she wanted to die right then and there. My Mom wasn't sure and neither was my trainer. Her background was sketchy.

Being a rescue, all we knew was that she had been locked in a stall with a round bale for months at a time, rarely getting water changed and never getting her stall cleaned out. So I told my Mom, she was it. I looked into those swollen red, mucusy eyes and I just knew it was up to me to give her life back. We kept her barefoot, with the softest of bits (a rubber dee snaffle) and very, very quiet, kind handling. I used soft trail rides and kind words to encourage her to have fun. I never pushed her and watched her moods. Others, "professionals", would try to ride her and even though she was only 14-2, she would dump them off in five minutes. But if I approached, her ears would perk and she would stand quietly for me to get on. This abused mare turned out to be one of the greatest little pony club mares ever. We evented without ever having a refusal, stop or poll. We had excellent dressage scores and made it to first level. In two years! But what she accomplished was not why I love her so much. I love her because of the friendship and trust we built. That second year, I rode her almost everyday on bareback trail rides in the famous Hitchcock woods. We jumped three foot steeplechases bareback and gave those fancy hunters and their warmbloods a run for their money - bareback and shoeless! :D She started to age as I grew and we retired her out with her pony friends, where I visit her often and play with her in the field.

Liz and Mars

Liz and Mars

Then came Mars... When I first got Mars, he felt isolated, unwanted and used. He had been shipped all around God's green earth from Ireland to England to California to Massachusetts and then finally to my home town, Aiken, South Carolina. Mars was extremely standoffish and would pin his ears at any passer-by. Yet he was so beautiful, everyone said so. Mars had been ridden in a very uncaring manner. They were good riders but they didn't care about him, he was a ribbon maker and a sales project, always. Mars never knew humans could care for them. All he knew was that they shipped him off in scary boxes to unfamiliar people and places, only to keep him in more small boxes, added to which were also rigorous training and showing schedules.

So there I was, looking for my next horse, a bigger pony club mount. I saw him across the barn aisle where he was obviously glaring at me, ears pinned and eyes squinting menacingly. I was looking at the sales horses and my friend had noticed him first, remarking that he was vicious. I looked at his glare and saw something else. He was the horse I requested to ride first, but of course, they put me on the sweet thoroughbred mare, a flashy uncomplicated pony club horse to try. But all I could think of was not messing up with Mars. I wanted my parents to like him, not be afraid for my life on him, so as I rode the mare, I thought of strategies I would use on Mars.

After much begging, they finally let me get on Mars. He was put off and volatile as I predicted. But as I rode his body softly, using a soft whisper and stopping to pat him every five minutes, he started to come out of his shell. His ears perked up and his stride opened, he wasn't quite as defensive as when I first got on. I didn't feel satisfied at our mediocre performance, because I knew my parents wouldn't be impressed at his unwillingness to be ridden. But I also knew the diamond in the rough these people had on their hands. I requested to ride Mars the next time around and he didn't glare at me. The next day, he actually looked kind of fondly when I came out and began petting him. A stablehand working there said that he had seen me ride Mars and was worried that I would get hurt trying to ride him but said it was the best he'd ever seen Mars go. He added that, in fact, Mars was always trying to buck people off.

So, after a long process of winning my parents and my trainer over, I ended up getting Mars. I made riding fun and always asked his permission with everything. He is now barefoot and I often ride him saddleless with a bitless bridle and we are doing third level dressage, training level eventing, and 3'6" jumpers. We rarely show now, we mostly just play in the pasture or go on quiet trails or practice "dancing to music". Recently, he underwent colic impaction surgery by accidentally being fed the wrong hay. Athens GA hospital is 3 hours away, 6 hours there and back. But for two weeks, every day I went and visited him for an hour, getting back around 11 o'clock and getting up at 5:30 to go to work so I could pay for him. The last three months of rehab, I've tried to go out twice a day, everyday, to go on long walks in the woods next to him. I put the halter and lead on for show (the barn manager won't allow it differently) but in the woods, I don't hold on. He doesn't want to go anywhere but right next to me. I would do anything for him and he would do anything for me. He is my best friend and no longer lonely, angry and depressed, but a sweet, loyal, happy friend.