4-7 December 2009 – Cambridge
11-14 December 2009 - Waitoki, Auckland
Didn't make it? You missed 2 amazing clinics! I aim to post some before and after photos of each rider on here, to show you the huge progress each made over the very intensive 4 days. (NB: photos are on the Connected Riding Facebook page.) Meanwhile, here is some of the rider feedback. ps Peggy will be back same time next year; start paying your instalments now!
What a fantastic clinic! The structure of the clinic each day was excellent: beginning with working on our own posture and bodies, to working with human partners and experiencing what our horses feel, to finally bringing it all together and working with our horses. Being able to experience what our horses feel when we work with them in certain ways was a real eye opener – things like “meeting and melting” and “equal and opposing” – things that are so subtle and gentle, and yet so powerful. Observing the difference the “neutral position” made to our own bodies as well as to the way our horses moved was fascinating, as was learning how valuable groundwork is for our horses.
Before the clinic, I had made up my mind to sell my mare, as we didn’t seem to be clicking or bonding. I am so glad we went to the clinic as I would never have discovered what a really amazing pony she is or experienced the fantastic partnership we are now building. Even on our first ride after the clinic, the difference in her confidence and responsiveness was so noticeable, and we are now having so much fun on our rides together. There is still so much for us to learn and work on, but I am really glad we have started on the Connected Riding journey. Thank you so much Peggy and Trisha, for your ongoing support. I can’t wait for the next clinic!
The Connected Groundwork encourages the horse to build topline and softness in a non-aggressive way. The clinic has expanded the mind and body of this horse and rider.
Well worth the time and money. Fantastic. Learnt how to unlock the potential of my horse so that she will be a joy to ride. Great instruction, clear and concise, made you think about what you had to do and why. Definitely continuing our education with Connected Riding! Lots of work for myself first – learning to be a better rider. The journey has just started!
Less is more! How soft can you be?
Sometimes the small changes make a huge difference!
Oscillation and changing direction really helps with achieving the stretch.
There really is no need for spurs, contraptions of any kind – I know this, but it has been reassuring to learn it again.
Great clinic. Realising that my horse’s explosions were a result of being stuck has made me more confident to let her go forward.
My ‘Oh really!’ moments:
Giving my horse support by having a strong steady connection seemed to reassure him so he moved on more steadily.
I was thrilled to feel my horse lift when I ‘zipped up’ and hugged his barrel.
Lack of contact does not equal lightness.
As the clinic photographer over the last two days I was lucky enough to observe what was happening in more detail than I normally would have been able to. The last photo's of each horse on the last day told a huge story. Every one of them, regardless of what they had been working on, had the expression of quiet peace and silent thanks. Those pictures are truly worth 1000 words.
The other thing that struck a cord was the image of the "on the forehand vortex" . I was riding this morning and my horse got concerned about the silage bales that weren't there last time we rode that way (these things appear from nowhere, it's really quite confusing). As her head come up and neck went rigid, I just keep thinking "move, blow, breathe, zip up & rotate, meet & melt to stay out of that vortex, don't let it suck you in to going rigid too" I have been doing the breathe, rotate and meet & melt since I started connected riding with Trisha, but the added image of the vortex gave it an extra dimension & purpose. Thank you :)
I realised that all my effort and trying was achieving the opposite of my intentions. I didn’t need to try harder; I just needed to do Peggy’s simple things instead. It was easy. Less effort, more float, melt etc.
This way of riding (and the groundwork) means long term soundness for my horse’s body and my own body, when previously I’d thought I’d have to sell him because “I” couldn’t ride him correctly.
It broke my heart to realise that I hadn’t been a sensitive dance partner for my horse, but we soon found a rhythm in the connection and then the joy came back.
I was really disappointed when I came back to horse riding after a 28 year break and my idealistic hopes were dashed by horsemanship trainers telling me to “get tougher” / “don’t be so soft” etc. Peggy has re-inspired me to aim for a beautiful soft connection.
I rode in both clinics. I learned a huge amount at Cambridge. The group of riders all had some level of CR experience and the clinic moved a lot faster. The Auckland group had done comparatively little CR and so we went back to basics much more. That helped me to remember things I had forgotten or that I’d not ‘got’ in the first place, and brought a new layer / level of understanding. It was not just ‘rinse and repeat’; I needed to remember those basics to progress and unstick some of the deeper seated ‘stuckness’ in both my mare and myself.
Especially eye-opening (just as last time) was being re-balanced in the saddle and then feeling what that allowed and opened up in my mare.
It was also fantastic to have a smaller group and have Peggy / Trisha ride almost every day; to get on the horse every day yourself and feel / see the changes.
The groundwork allows my horse to learn what she is capable of, unlock what she is holding / bracing, and unstuck where she is stuck, so that when I get on she understands.
Putting together all the little pieces and feeling what the horse can do… I did this. Even if only one millisecond. It gives me a feeling of what we can achieve, what exists in the horse.
Connected Groundwork has shown me how to work with my horse without pushing and pulling! Every other technique, every other (non-connected riding) practitioner has taken me into a tug of war. I now feel that I have learnt the right way to work with my horse – Connected Riding and Groundwork has put the joy back in the journey!
My back’s been really sore since the clinic, but because it’s going right rather than going wrong. I popped in to see my osteopath and he was quite impressed with the change! He said Peggy must really know her stuff!
The clinic’s just been an absolute revelation to me, I am SO happy and relieved and overjoyed and inspired about what I learnt that I’m finding it hard to put into words. My horse seems to be on Cloud 9 too, he keeps dashing to see me when I go down to the fields, and he’d taken to merely wandering over in the past couple of years. It feels as though the magic of the bond we’d had in the earlier years is back.
I think the biggest thing for me was gaining an understanding of the fact that the things I was doing in between our lessons with you, (some common natural horsemanship practices and just riding in a way that was preventing my horse from working freely), were in fact undoing lots of the good work and were making it hard to get good hindquarter engagement and top line stretching. And the realisation that, yes, my horse is a reflection of me and my body, but that does not mean that my limitations (mild scoliosis) prevent me from being a good rider and getting the best out of my wonderful horse. This style of groundwork and riding is so accessible, so effective; those four days with Peggy have finally shown me that I can handle my horse and ride him lightly, softly in balance and harmony; despite working with numerous trainers this small wish had begun to feel like an impossible dream.
I came to my first Peggy Cummings clinic looking for a way to go forward with my young, freshly started horse. The ground work has given me the tools to help my young fellow learn how to use his body and legs correctly.
I now feel I can go on and ride this horse. I have also been given tools to change my posture for the better, for riding and day to day life! I can start to let go. I also feel I have a more positive outlook.
Thank you Peggy!
Connected Groundwork gives you the ability to access and become aware of tightness and bracing in both horse and rider.
Utilising the Connected Riding techniques minimises these barriers and allows movement to flow between horse and rider as it was intended.
I get off my horse and am no longer so exhausted; I can actually think about what I am trying to achieve.
For me not only a couple of light bulbs lit up but it was more like a firework of light bulbs.
I noticed my horse being more relaxed in the paddock and had a softer eye overall.
I am glad that I am finally starting to do effective rotations.
It confirmed that the horse reflects the rider and that it is the rider’s responsibility to get his / her body correct.
Doing the human to human work was invaluable and the sense of being a team and helping each other was great.
I realised this weekend that there is no point in learning other people’s training methods if a) I don’t understand the meaning behind them and b) I don’t pay attention to what I am doing with my body.
I am not going to progress with my horse unless I can balance my body and understand how that influences his body.
I realise how much I have switched my horse off through what I have been doing with my body. On day 1, I was worried that I wasn’t capable of changing it, but by the end of the clinic I realised that I will be able to.
The groundwork has made me aware of how much more effective I am when I use core strength and stillness rather than pushing and pulling!
Less is more!
If my lower back is released and in balance, everything else just starts to flow on from that. Really?!
I was considering giving up riding because I was so stuck it was no longer enjoyable for me and I was aware enough to see that my horse wasn’t enjoying it either. Now I feel I have a way forward, which is very exciting but also very hopeful and a great relief.
I attended my first Peggy Cummings Clinic because of my highly beneficial personal encounter with Feldenkrais 'Awareness Through Movement' classes. I travelled to these amazing experiences in the company of Trisha Wren, a Connected Riding instructor, who talked about how this approach to connecting with your horse incorporated Feldenkrais for horses. My attendance to the next Peggy Cummings Clinic was motivated by the deeply loving (almost spiritual) relationship I have developed with my horses simply by using the exercises as detailed in Peggy's book 'Connected Groundwork 1'. I'm not sure what the benefit for my horses will be this time apart from continual improvement in wellbeing. For me the recognition of the intent and sensitivity of touch displayed by Peggy's interaction with the horses was staggering and I'm sure my technique will improve as a result of this greater awareness. I impatiently await the publication of Peggy's book Groundwork 2.