13 Photos | Updated March 22, 2015 | By Lynn Elston
Hunter, the 11 year old pony
Karen brought her adorable pony, Hunter, for us to play with. Hunter was a rescue, and still acted like one around the food bowls...he was very wary and would not come in close to Nancy and the bowls. This surprised Karen, who said he was not like that with her. Nonetheless, this was the pony we had today.
Hunter making his choices
Nancy did a wonderful demonstration of allowing Hunter to work through his reservations about her proximity to the food he wanted. She did a lot of pan rattling and waiting, while he'd come close, but then lose his nerve.
Interesting to note that he was not so worried about Nancy hand feeding him the treats...it was when she offered the bowl that he demurred. Possibly because Karen carried the treats on her???
By the end of about 45 minutes, Hunter had made his choice and was "daring" to come in for his treats, with more and more comfort. At the very end, he even got a little pushy...yay!!! Just what we were waiting for! Once he's learned that being around Nancy means good stuff for him, once he wants to be there, she can then shape his behavior, without having him dash off.
The sun came out for Part Two!
The weather smiled on us, and we were able to move up to the big pasture to demonstrate how the Bond can work, once the horse and human are both committed. Spring green grass and all!!
Would you leave your luscious grass for me??
This was our horses' third day on the new Spring grass and Nancy, Brenda and I were all delighted to find that we really could get their attention and their feet to come with us!!!
Shilo and Brenda play in the bond.
They'd companion walk for a few steps and then Brenda would tell him "Head Down" and enjoy his grass with him.
Thrilled with Yogi out there!!
All the time and trials I have been putting into Yogi over this past year were really paying me back in spades that day!!! He was SO right with me...what the picture cannot show is the jig I was dancing inside myself!!!
Playing the whole herd
We brought out a bowl of LMF Senior feed and Nancy began to direct whichever horses showed up as to who could eat from the bowl, and when they had to quit and back up. I brought Yogi over and joined the fun, so we could see how the horses reacted to two of us owning the food. Order and respect reigned!
Liberty walk from pasture to arena
We moved the Liberty action back to the arena, asking the horses to walk with us. While there was some discussions about having to go visit the new horse, we got to demonstrate how to get your horse back when he's decided to leave. Just outside the arena, Yogi was with me enough to ask him to show off his new ability to get all four big feet on the elephant stand!
And into the arena
Yogi's ready for play time!! (There are a lot of photos of me and Yogi, cuz the photographer was my new Barn Manager, Christian and he LOVES Yogi!)
CJ braves the huge tarp to stay with Nancy
This was a great thing to watch as he'd get his feet caught and himself totally engulfed in the tarp, but just kept going...that's a strong bond!!!
Moon and Yogi's grooming fest
My boys decided, towards the end of the session that they just HAD to groom each other and they really went at it! After letting them enjoy it for a while, I asked them each to come away and do something with me...just something short and easy, then I let them go back to each other. A new reward for them!!
4 Photos | Updated January 25, 2015 | By Lynn Elston
A Sweet horse and a Proud horse...two totally different Liberty approaches for us to experience.
Cathy's Arab mare, Zee, already an "in" horse
Cathy and Zee already had a nice relationship, though things tended to be more on Zee's terms than Cathy's. But, overall, Zee was respectful and caught on to Nancy's (friendly rules) without resistance...see how respectfully she waits out there for Nancy to invite her in for a treat.
Cathy learned about the use and giving of treats...
Cathy lets the mare have one of her treats, as long as she is respectful. Nancy also helped Cathy use her energy and body language more clearly, so the mare could companion walk in easier sync. When it worked for Cathy, the two of them were lovely to watch together.
Bill's Tennessee Walker wanted nothing to do with Nancy or her treats!
Next up was Jack, a 14 year old TWH who had a lot of presence and not much use for the humans around him. He was happy to help himself to the treats, but left each time Nancy asked him to just step back a bit, or to stand in one certain spot. He clearly displayed that he would prefer to go run the rail and worry about his mare-buddy, out in the roundpen. Nancy would succeed in getting his attention for a "Hello" and maybe two or three steps in sync, then he would leave. So, Nancy made herself a bit more interesting and brought a bowl of treats out with her as she sat quietly while he ran up and down.
Connection established...but not maintained.
Once Jack discovered Nancy and her treats, she'd give him one and then pick up her chair and move somewhere else. At first, he would not follow. But, slowly, he spent less time pacing the rail and more time approaching her and getting paid. When the time was up, we had seen him connect a few times, but he still returned to his railwalking. This horse will need a lot more of this kind of session to extend his trust enough to allow himself to come "in."
26 Photos | Updated September 19, 2014 | By Lynn Elston
Demonstrations all involved horses and humans who have been practicing Liberty for a while, so a good, basic relationship was in place. Now Robin could take them, and us auditors, into the nuances and subtleties that create really GREAT relationships...and produce "foal-face" on our horses!! Just what we've been waiting for...it was fantastic!
Circles in the Sun
Robin shared inspiring music that gave the feeling of "stillness" which worked as well as any meditation. Our Circle exchanges went deep and brought much knowledge, comfort and connection.
Our Robin is back and better than ever!
Sharing, smiling, swearing, story-telling...we were all re-kindled by her presence!
Our Nancy was there, with her Bionic Arm
Nancy and her sister, Janet, in from Boston, to be chauffeur and two-armed help while Nancy heals from her fall from a horse. Body compromised, but her spirit stays strong! And you should have seen her directing the car parking, one arm and all!!!
Cathie and her new(ish) mare, Nika
Already practicing Liberty, all three of our horse humans had very nice, established connections...so Robin could take them, and us auditors, into the subtleties and nuances of the bond. Cath and Nika needed a little more enticement for Nika to want to be with Cathie more than anything!
Gail and Brooklyn
Gail is fairly new to Liberty Training, but she and her mare were definitely in each other's worlds...but more on Brooklyn's terms, than Gail's.
Shina and Cody
A lovely soft bond between these two, Robin suggested they could expand the range of their relationship through emotional plasticity.
Demos in the pasture
We worked, mostly, in the Dorm pasture, where the horses were in a more natural environment and their desire to be with their human could be challenged by the grass and other diversions.
Robin and Nika
Robin lets Nika discover who and how she is, describing to all of us, how she goes deep inside to become present to herself...so she can be present to the horse.
Nika accepts Robin's presence.
Notice how grounded and unhurried they both are together.
Auditors chase the shade
Both seminar days were hot, so we auditors kept moving our chairs to follow the shade. Robin spent only a little time with each horse, then she watched and gave suggestions to each of the humans.
Cath and Nika getting grounded.
Cathie's relationship appeared to have a lot of "doing" involved in it, so Cath practiced some lovely "not-doing."
Gail asks Brooklyn for more respect.
Brooklyn was fine with Gail being around as a devoted serving wench, so Robin had Gail up the ante and make some corrections to wake her mare up a bit.
Gail liked this better, wouldn't you?
Shina and Cody worked in the arena the first day.
The two of them displayed a lovely, soft relationship...Cody was very connected and in. Now, robin suggested, they could go for adding in a little more sparkle and pizazz!!
2nd Day Dancing Fools
Our 2nd Day's Circle went until almost Noon, and no one got itchy...there was so much learning and experience sharing going on. We closed with Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" and I just HAD to "Prancercise" across the lawn!
Emotional plasticity for me, too!!!
Not my usual demeanor, this felt wonderful, got everyone laughing and most folks up and dancing, themselves...from serious and deep in the Circle to silly and fun. Perfect!
Of course, Robin joins right in!
And then everybody danced...
in their own way!
Cath and Nika-second day
Cath now gets some things to "do" with Nika to help the mare decide that Cathie is just the best thing, ever!
Reasons to follow me!
Games and treats, in full play mode, had Nika totally in with whatever Cath was doing.
Look at her perked ears, her soft, curious eye, this is foal-face...the sign that the mare is utterly focused on and tuned into her human... hooray!
Gail and Brooklyn come together, too!
Gail route to Brooklyn's heart was very different than Cath's...but it brought about the same, soft, perky-eared, IN face! Double hooray!
Shina ramps up her energy with Cody...
and gets THIS!!!!
Cody began to give us wonderful displays of bucking and rearing, as he was sent away...then he'd go hide in the trees, until Shina asked him to rejoin her. His joy in his BIG movements was contagious!!! A great way to end the day, and the seminar.
37 Photos | Updated August 20, 2014 | By Lynn Elston
August 2014 Retreat
Sacred Sharing Circle
Each day of our Liberty Retreat began with a circle for grounding, meditation and then sharing. We all felt closer to each other's hearts with each passing day!
Taking time to connect
On the first day, we started very slowly, with horse owners just sharing territory with their horse, allowing themselves to feel the connection that is so often lost during our busy daily lives.
Connection felt, action arises
Once the connection was affirmed, owners could experiment with movement within the "bubble of two." Companion walking, scratching, playing...
Day 1 afternoon - expanding the bubble
After a delicious lunch, we put the treats outside the arena gate and played with what happened when this element was added to the relational mix. Various things came up: Elise and Apple ended up discovering how to walk together, without leaving or getting left behind. Diane learned how to use her energy to push her horse backwards. Vicky and Shina both got reaffirmed in the loveliness and strength of their horses' bonds to them.
Morning 2-with FTMF herd
Guests experiment with their connection skills by relating to the Farm's horses, in their pasture.
Nancy and I observe the fun!
Vicky companion walks with Yogi.
Diane and CJ discovering each other.
Elise connects with Shilo...
and takes him to yummies!
Shina and Yogi say Hello.
Vicky hangs out with Moon.
Shina and CJ walk together.
Elise and Yogi getting it on!
Vicky and CJ stepping out.
Day 2 afternoon...lessons got more specific.
Vicky brought both her 2 year old, Charly and her steady Eddie, Harry, down for a joint lesson. Harry learned how to get treats by doing fun obstacle stuff!!
Nancy and Vicky got Harry to step up!
Doing obstacles is a way to practice breaking things down to little, tiny "yeses" until the final "goal" is just the next little step to the horse's way of seeing it.
And Vicky makes it worth his while!
Charly and Vicky
Charly got his turn and did a great job of paying attention to do the pool noodle car wash!
Diane finds her energy!!!
Look at that transmission and reception...Summer is NOT going to move!
Diane is happy!!!!
And we were so thrilled to have witnessed this beautiful coming together!
Apple and Elise play the Initiative Game
In order to get more participation out of Apple, Elise threw all sorts of fun toys out into the arena and just waited until Apple touched something, then treated. Eventually, Apple stopped waiting to be told what to do and began to initiate actions on her own, to get herself some treats!
Shina and Cody work on his self carriage
Shina and Cody trotted between two feed bowls, with a quick Whoa at each bowl, so Cody could get his rear end under him more. We added a couple steps of back-up before treating, to get him even more on his butt!!
Day 3 - Treasure Hunt on the Farm
We all took treats and bowls of feed and "salted" the property all down through the woods and behind the Mainhouse. Each person took their horse on a different route, so it was just the two of them discovering their connection outside of the arena's wall.
Elise and Apple down by the Compost Bins!
Vicky and Charly..
As a very young horse, just walking about, on line, was enough of an adventure and test of their connection.
But they found it!
Di and Summer
Really "with" each other!!
Shina and Cody
He's so IN!!
Day 3 afternoon - individual lessons again.
Shina and Cody continue their beautiful dance as she leads him to discover obstacles.
Look at that connection!!!
Vicky was thrilled!
Diane and Summer play the Initiative Game
They found their strong connection, now both Diane and Summer played inside of it.
Playing with toys together
Vicky works with both her horses
Establishing her leadership over the feed bowl, she was able to get them eating, together, out of one bowl.
Elise and Apple do the obstacles.
Apple began to find that being with Elise was a really fun thing!
26 Photos | Updated June 22, 2014 | By Lynn Elston
The pictures are better than words!
Robin is BACK...
Ruth gives Robin a great big, satisfying hug, as did we all, throughout this magical weekend
and she's better than ever!
Robin was as thrilled as all of us that she was able to teach both days of this workshop without over tiring or stressing herself!
The magic continues
Robin has learned so much from her past year of healing and dealing with brain injury...a deeper understanding of stillness, a personal concept of how easily overphasing can happen and how nothing can continue until balance is restored. All of these precious knowings are now driving her teaching and we and the horses are loving it!
Circle of Strength
Morning Circles went deep and were full of gratitude and love...we were all feeling like we had "come home!"
Dogs liked it, too
The Farm dogs, Monte and Cookie, were both enjoying the comforting energy created by our Circle.
Sharing and Caring
There were many Robin Alums plus some wonderful newcomers...everyone shared pieces of their hearts, and everyone listened with respect and honor. Such a wonderful way for the entire group to come into relationship to study horse-human relationship!!
Cathie and Unica
Cath and her new mare, Nica, moved deeper into leading from stillness.
Beautiful...can't you just see the cord of connection between these two?
Robin helps bring action to stillness
Playing with a hula hoop, Robin guided Cathie and Nica into a closer working bond.
Still our Robin!!
Robin's sense of humor and amazing presence are better than ever...her hubby, Neal (in the red cap) and the other auditors agree!!
Learning by watching
Two of the horse demo owners watch and learn from another demonstration.
Our apologies to Maggie, we were not able to photograph either of her sessions with Robin, since she went right before lunch and we were up in the Mainhouse, preparing food. What I did see, though, was an amazing difference in both her youngsters' bond with her, even since this photo was taken at the May workshop.
Robin and the auditors
Robin could take a break from standing in the arena when one of the Alums was playing with their horses or when Nancy assisted her.
Jeanne's Shilo with Nancy
Shilo was able to overcome some of his fears and insecurities when given enough stillness...Nancy kept the bar really low and just allowed him to come back to himself and her.
Jeanne and Nancy share stillness
Can you feel the ripples of Shilo's pond smoothing out as he stands amidst the calm, breathing stillness that Nancy, Jeanne and the entire audience were emanating?
Robin deepens Shilo's bond through anticipation
Robin guides Jeanne and Shilo from stillness to very slow, very simple asking and rewarding. Shilo continues to say "yes."
End of second day, Shilo definitely did NOT want his halter back on. Robin and Nancy brought in treats and headed him into seeking mode...but, he decided to leave the arena, by jumping the fence. Very dramatic, skinned his shins, but his point got made. Nancy and Brenda worked with him in the pasture he ended up in, got the halter on and led him back to his stall. Definitely something big needs to happen for this horse and for Jeanne, to bring them both together in harmony.
Nancy and Rosemary's Holly.
Nancy and Holly have been working together on Liberty for a couple of years. She remains somewhat aloof, though much better than she was 2 years ago. Robin helped Nancy to add even greater stillness, less busy-ness, to keep Holly "in."
Rosemary joins the fun!
Day 2, Rosemary decided she would take a turn in the arena...to everyone's delight! She and Holly were such fun to experience!
Robin and Rosemary
Robin helped Rosemary feel how to companion walk in connection with her horse...who came along for the ride.
Three caring mamas!
Then Nancy joined the group and Holly had a great time with all of them...and her treats!
First Day Evening
Robin and Neal had enough energy to join us on the back deck for pre-dinner chatting...something she was often too wiped out to do when she was teaching here before her accident.
Nancy's new pup
Another guest for pre-dinner chat...Nancy's new, 9 week old Shiloh Shepard, Phaelyn. Aaaawwwww!
Day 2 Circle...Robin and Neal
Bright eyed and ready for another day...Robin and Neal shine in the second day's morning circle!! Much gratitude was expressed to Neal, for doing such an outstanding job of caring for Robin throughout this ordeal.
End of the workshop, Penny and Neal together in a satisfying hug. A great symbol of how much we all appreciate him and the part he plays and has played in Robin's life!
Come join us in September!
Robin will be back to teach the September 13-14 Workshop. Come for the fun, come for the learning, come for the magic, come for your horse, come for yourself!! See you then.
20 Photos | Updated May 5, 2014 | By Lynn Elston
May 3-4 workshop.
Nancy and Dante
Playing with bowls
Nancy and Dante
Taking it all in
Janelle and Dante
Moon and herd
Energy work 2
Moon and herd
Savoring the moment
Nancy and Gowi
Nancy and Wes
Riding fun 2
Nancy and Wes
Riding fun 3
Nancy and Wes
Savoring the moment 2
Nancy and Omael
Nancy and Omael
Nancy and Omael
Sandbox fun 2
Nancy and Omael
Hanging out 3
Kathy and Chief
Playing with something new
Kathie and Chief
Enjoying the cookie bar
Listening and learning
Nancy, Janelle, and Dante
Enjoying the sandbox
Listening and learning 2
Nancy, Janelle, and Dante