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Kjrsos, our spelling of a word from a long-dead language that was the beginning of hundreds of languages that we use today. A language that is still a part of all of us today as it lives on in the words that we use every single day. Before English or French or German, before Latin or Greek, this is one of the words that we used to represent the idea that was the horse.
Imagine for a moment the feeling of Joy, the feeling of power as you murmur 'Tu est Magnifique' your heart flying, feeling so incredibly blessed to be within this moment of time, as haunches bend, the front end lifting, powering up, as your mount swings through the corner of the arena facing outwards, trotting or cantering sideways, her body placed with the precision of the hands of a clock, yet at the same time as free as a bird, as you share this moment of perfection with your horse, if only for a few strides.
Kjrsos is to be in service, sharing knowledge, supporting, healing the voice and body of the horse, us and the earth, thru sharing the lessons of the spirit of the horse, of Kjrsos, becoming whole once again and fulfilling our own potential of what we are capable of becoming.
Bringing forward ideas, questions, concepts and asking ourselves can we do better? Is there something that we are missing? Agree or disagree, we hope to inspire the conversation. Here at Kjrsos, we live in a constant state of discovery, where we challenge ourselves every day over everything, everything we ourselves thought or ever believed to be true. Because that is what the horses have challenged us to do.
Asking why do we need level arenas?
Do you have any idea why riders insist that they need perfectly manicured arenas'? Why they complain about stabling facilities with uneven arena's?
We see riders blame uneven arenas for horses that trip. They blame it for horses not picking up their feet. They blame uneven arenas for not being able to make perfectly round circles. They blame it on their horses having problems doing shoulder-ins, picking up the right canter lead or an inability to switch leads. The problem is 'always' that dang arena footing.
How could they possibly expect to be able to work with their horses if the arena surface is not level, not absolutely perfect?
And in some ways, they are not wrong.
I have spent countless hours struggling with terminology, with those silly things that we call words, and nowhere more so then what to call those who we would typically call Instructors/Teachers or Students/Riders.
If for no other reason that not everyone who participates is a rider. Many of the programs that we present here we use the horse as a facilitator, knowing how in his presence, we have a powerful tool that provides us with so many opportunities, especially in a mindfulness program. And those that participate may never climb onto the horse's back.
So if you are not on his back, you are what?
Most would say that is not what I would consider a rider.
The Lie: The Horse is Resisting You
What is Resistance of Weight Anyway?
A resistance of weight is that experience that we feel sometimes when we take up the rein, and we feel this ponderous weight on our hand, a resistance to the rein, which can feel like a lack of give from the horse to us. But it is probably a mistake to call it a resistance. Although that is what it is. Just take a moment to note that what we speak of next is not just the rein but the lead rope as well.
Kjrsos is… realizing there is something more. You cannot separate who you are, what your beliefs are, and your place as part of this amazing world that we live in - from your horsemanship. To think that horsemanship is just about when to apply an outside leg or to judge if, at this point in time, a direct rein of opposition, a leading rein or an indirect rein would be more effective ~ is to just not get it.
Yes, technical knowledge is important, but these are just tiny pieces of the whole. It is what you bring to the table that means more, that will make the greater difference. Because you are relating to and interacting with something that is alive. Something that thinks, feels and will react to your every emotion, your thoughts, to who you are.
We can teach you the tiny pieces, the differences between the six different rein aids and when and how to apply them. How to organically bring about a piaffe through systematic training, the importance of the engagement of the haunches and head position, how the different leg aids affect your horse. Yes, there is a wealth of information that we are happy to share, but these are just bits and pieces of the whole where there is so much more that we should be thinking about.
Knowing how to change the oil on a car is satisfying but probably won't change you, nor will the car be watching you, trying to decide how much to trust you, trying to figure out who or what you are. Nor would anyone expect it to. Your attitudes, your beliefs, your feelings have little effect on the car or the oil, on the dipstick or the other technical aspects of changing the oil in a car. And that is the point, this information, these pieces of knowledge while valuable, are just technical aspects of horsemanship. A few facts that are just a small part of the whole.
Taking the connection away. Loosing the rein effect from the horse's body
What happens when we take a connection away? When the effect of a rein is disconnected, removed from the horse's body?
It is funny how we don't see our own false logic sometimes. We work with a creature of motion and movement, one that we have treasured for thousands of years because of that very ability, because of that power, because of that speed. The horse was the backbone of our civilization. And yet we constantly dismiss or don't see this creature of movement as a creature of movement. We became swift and could travel great distances when we were on their backs. On our own two feet, we would have never been to accomplish the amazing things we did with them. And yet, we still keep thinking somehow that when we are on our own two feet, we can keep up with them. That somehow what happens when we are on their backs is going to be the same when we interact with them on our own clumsy, two feet. That things will even be the same when the horse is stationary as when he is moving.
Why do I say that we think these things? Because that is the only conclusion one can reach if we examine on how we interact and how we try to train our horses. Beginning with their reaction to the reins.
Throughout the centuries horse master after horse master has looked for ways to have the horse as well trained as possible before anyone even climbs on their backs. We have come up with all sorts of systems and methods from long lining to flexions so that we could start training the horse from the ground. Never questioning how that may change things.
And it does, it changes so much. The force that we excerpt is exponentially more, our reaction time is toast, our ability to work in time with the horse is abysmal, and when we work with the horse at a halt, we disconnect aids from their true purpose. Let me explain.
A Crisis of Faith [Click Play for Music]
What the heck is going on and why isn't this working?
These were the two questions I had when I started.
We have built a world built upon the concepts of science. Believing that knowledge holds all the answers. What we can prove has become our new god.
So then why wasn't this working?
This was the question that drove me mad wondering. Because knowledge is worthless if nothing happens afterwards.
I thought this was how you changed things. I thought if I dedicated my life first as a teacher and then later as a publisher, bringing the best information from all around the globe to those who I knew loved their horses, that things would change. I was sure that you just had to explain things. That with enough detailed information backed as often as possible by the science that I adored, that would make the difference. That things would get better for everyone. And they did. Get better. For some. But nowhere near enough to what was needed. And I watched as horses continued to suffer under the very hands of those that said they loved them. And my heart broke... and I finally realized that facts and figures just wasn't enough. I was completely wrong. I felt like my entire lifetime had been wasted. And I didn't know what else to do. I was out of answers.
"My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth."
Can you imagine a world, a planet without the destructive forces of war? A world where children can one and all go to sleep not afraid that in this moment, a bomb will come roaring in to take away a limb, a life, a mother, a father.
I can stand behind this quote. It is something that I would be happy to share and see others sharing as well.
I would, of course, attribute the quote to George Washington, letting everyone know these were his words. I think it is important to let people know these words, that exact sequence was not mine, although I could have said it, might have said it, in those exact words myself actually at some point in time, or at least something quite similar.
Now let me make it clear though I don't believe in slavery. You might be wondering why I felt it necessary to say that last bit.
Necessary because that is where it went so wrong before.