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Dressage, Naturally

with Karen Rohlf

Creating healthy biomechanics and stronger partnerships through combining natural horsemanship principles with the art of dressage... photo: Terri Miller

never underestimate the potential for harmony & lightness to improve in ways you cannot yet imagine

Welcome back to the Temenos...

Sometimes the further away you get from something, the more clearly you can see it.

Temenos is an ancient Greek word. It refers to a sacred space that has no limits, where special rules apply and extraordinary events are free to occur.


Upcoming Clinics:

Clinic schedule: CLICK HERE

This Month: • Student feedback, and Q & A • News, including a contest • Atomic

• Tips on successful Gymnastic exercise

October 3 Private Lessons at Temenos Fields Contact

October 4 Open Format Workshop at Temenos Fields Contact

October 12-17 6 Days at Temenos Fields FULL, closed to auditors

Novemeber 1 - 6 6 Days at Temenos Fields FULL, closed to auditors

Auditors Welcome!


FROM STUDENTS Hi Karen,    I was wondering...  When you are training a new horse or one that you are bringing back, do you work the natural horsemanship or the dressage training first or both together?  If you work the natural horsemanship first then how do you recondition or keep you horses conditioned during this time?                    Sincerely,                                Courtney Hi Courtney, I think it is a matter of keeping the big picture in mind, as far as the priority in training. For example, foundational issues must be in there first... the basics must come before the advanced. But the reality is, especially with horses that have had previous training, sometimes you have to stop everything and ‘install’ the missing pieces and sometimes you don’t have to stop everything... you can continue and blend... I think, any horse needs to be in a calm, responsive state of mind in order to do anything, so if that isn’t there, then that is the priority. Then they have to understand some basic communications, and if those aren’t there they need to be addressed. Things like the Responsibilities of the horse and human are a top priority for me. Then, if you think about the Big Picture as I outline it in my book... you add on conversations about Relaxation, Energy and Balance in order to find a good biomechanical way of going, and then do exercises for Flexibility, Mobility and


Collectibility as you go along with the dressage development. For any horse, if they have the prerequisites, you can advance... Some relatively young horses may be ready ‘ahead of schedule’ in some areas, if they are talented, and easy, Some horses that need rehabilitation may need to step back. But the more experienced you get, you will realize how to put those prerequisites in there relatively efficiently, and it goes pretty quickly. If it doesn’t, it is easy to be patient when you realize that taking the time to ‘go back’ is actually progress!

Karen's teaching was so inspiring and interesting. I have bought her book and DVDs and look forward to studying them. What is also very remarkable is that a back condition affecting me since last winter finally began to subside markedly during this clinic. I think it says a great deal for the depth of Karen's biomechanic understanding if a mere spectator can feel so relaxed and benefitted from her presence and example. Please could you thank her for this. With best wishes Diana H

Dear Karen, You can keep them conditioned by Just a line to thank you for a great clinic last week. I have had dresexercising them well during the positive moments. The Parelli pro- sage lessons in the past from time to time and have frequently struggram as it is known, remember is gled to grasp what the instructor a people-teaching program... and has been trying to get across. I ofpeople learn relatively slowly! ten got the impression that the Horses tend to get the hang of 'school master' horse I was riding things much faster, and so it doesn’t necessarily have to be the was all too familiar with the script and that I had little more than a case that a horse hangs out for years before there is enough good walk-on part. When one has a young horse that doesn't know the foundation in there to go on with plot, let alone the script, the need their progress. for clarity from the rider becomes paramount. In my experience you I hope this helps a little! are peerless in your ability to ex~Karen plain the concepts of dressage and to apply them appropriately to I was fortunate enough to be present as an auditor at Karen's the horse and rider in front of you. I found the three days in Wiltshire clinic at the JR Foundation last to be engaging, educational and month. enthusing. You are an insightful It was a throughly enjoyable oc- and inspirational teacher of a demanding subject. I applaud and casion in so many ways. The thank you and look forward to seehospitality and the venue were both excellent, as was the com- ing you again next year. My best wishes, pany, both human and equine. Paul. (there is a photo of Paul on pg 4 of this newsletter!) copyright 2009 Temenos Fields, Inc August

News, etc. OPEN FORMAT WORKSHOPS & PRIVATE LESSON OPPORTUNITIES This fall and winter I am continuing to hold Open Format Workshops once a month. In addition, the same weekend as the Workshop I will do a private lesson day! These workshops have been incredibly fun and successful the past few years, and I am happy now to also have this chance to also get some individual time with people. As you can imagine, spaces are limited, so if you are interested, or have more questions, please email Karen Jones at: The focus will be on the material of Dressage, Naturally. Discounted package prices for signing up for multiple sessions. Auditors are welcome and encouraged for the workshops and the private lesson days. we love to have you join, and there is opportunity for Q & A with Karen. The Open Format is two 3-hour sessions, per day. You can sign up for one or two sessions/day. The time is yours, you can use it as you like, bring a couple horses! There will be no formal presentation, but each student has the chance to get feedback on exactly what they are playing with!

CONTEST! In the 3rd DVD in the Results in Harmony Series, there is a scene where you see a clip from a movie being played on my TV. Can you identify the movie? If so, email me your answer... All correct answers will go into a drawing that will be held on October 1st, 2009. The winner will receive $100 credit in the DN web-shop and one free shipping! NEW DVD ON TROT LENGTHENINGS almost ready!!! The new DVD is almost ready! It is in post production and should be available for purchase at the end of this month. We will send a special notification out when it is ready, as well as a discount code for the entire webshop, so stay tuned!! REQUESTS FOR DVD SUBJECTS? I have a lot of ideas for more DVDs in the Results in Harmony Series, but would love to hear from you as far as what you would like to see, to help me decide what order to make them in! Please email me at to let me know. UK and SWITZERLAND CLINICS

I just returned from clinics in UK and Switzerland. The UK clinic was hosted by Parelli Instructor, Lyla Cansfield, and took place at Parelli Instructor James Roberts Foundation The schedule is as follows: Station in Wiltshire area. Parelli inOctober 3 - Privates structors Alison Jones and Sally Brett October 4 - Open Format Workshop participated also. This was my second time teaching here... It was a wonderNovember 21 - Privates November 22 - Open Format Workshop ful group of riders and an enthusiastic, supportive group of auditors. The December 19 - Privates facility was excellent, with homeDecember 20 Open Format Workshop made food being cooked by the owner, Joanna. We were truly spoiled January 9 - Privates (especially when a silver January 10 - Open Format Workshop tray with yummy meringue February 13 - Privates desserts were brought out February 14 - Open Format Workshop to the middle of the field where I was teaching)! I also had the treat of staying with a local artist while

copyright 2009 temenos fields, inc August

I was there. Judy Boyt was finishing up a larger-than-life sculpture of a bull, and I was there for the completion of it! Click on her name above to see her work. A big thank you to everyone involved in creating such a lovely experience. Then it was on to Avenches switzerland for a 5 day clinic hosted by Parelli Instructor Carmen Zulauf. I have been to Avenches I think 6 times now... So it was so nice to see the new as well as the familiar faces and all the improvement. I was so proud! It was held at the IENA in Avenches, where Carmen is based. This is a state of the art equestrian facility that needs to be seen to be believed. Here I learned that if you can’t find chocolate croissants, you can just take fresh rolls and put bars of chocolate inside and it is totally ok to have that for breakfast! There are a few photos on the next page. We were lucky to have professional photographer, Claire Spelling in the UK, Please visit her website for more images. THE ANSUR SADDLE I recently decided to become a distributer of Ansur treeless saddles. I did this because I am so happy with mine, and I found myself recommending it a lot, anyway! I will have some different models at my place in Florida this winter. If anyone would like to try them, or has questions, please feel free to contact me. And remember, no saddle is perfect for every horse or rider, so I am not saying this is the only answer, but I can say that I love it! Check out the Ansur website, and of course tell them that I sent you! ;-)


UK & Switzerland Clinics

UK group

Paul in UK

Lyla Cansfield

Victoria in Switzerland

Switzerland Group 4

copyright 2009 temenos fields, inc August

Atomic: A Big Horse in a Small Package

Atomic is my wild child. Perhaps you have seen the video of him playing with a huge soccer ball?

trust-worthy until I trust him. Not always easy when his circling game often feels more like he has be surrounded!

I bought him sight unseen for almost nothing as a ‘toy’ and I right away realized he is a pretty special character. He is the smallest one of mine, but he thinks of himself as top dog and is ready to fight for the position. My first attempt at catching game with him ended in about 30 seconds with me running out of the paddock, swatting my carrot stick behind me in selfdefense. More recently I have needed to develop a technique for preventing myself from being bitten while I ride him!

But he is so smart and he is coming along beautifully now. I am at the point where I need to stop telling his ‘old story’. As much fun as it is to tell of his wild, aggressive beginnings, he is not that horse anymore.

But he certainly has a right to express his opinion! I have needed to learn a lot about the delicate balance between being clear in defining my boundaries and getting his respect... and being careful not to give him something to cause him to think he needs to defend himself. I also really needed to remember that he cannot be

My goal is to keep his spirit and his pride, but make sure he is also confident and calm about our relationship. The past 6 months have felt like he finally looked at me exhaled and said: “You know... everything is really ok!” I think I have finally figured out what kind of leader I need to be for him. I am sure I will share more about our progress in the future, but for now, here are some photos to enjoy. Photos: Dana Rasmussen

Even though I aim for the higher position as far as leadership... I still like him to feel like he is the big man on campus. copyright 2009 temenos fields, inc August


Some tips on Gymnastic Development I wanted to write a little about one aspect of the process of learning gymnastic exercises. There are several stages and steps involved, and if you aren’t aware of the steps, it may lead to frustration or doubt. The main stages are: Picture It Prepare the Ingredients Build the Movement Practice the Movement Gain the Benefit

Picture It: Before you ask you horse, it is important to have a picture in your mind of what you are asking for! This may seem like an obvious point to make, but it is often overlooked. Even when doing basic yields, it is helpful to have a picture of the advanced maneuver you would like to do later, so you better understand the ingredients you are creating now.

movement. Staying with the shoulderin example, you can practice transitioning into standing still in the shoulder-in position, taking as much time as you need to find the position, then move briskly forward out of it, and repeat, until you and your horse have gained the coordination to find it. For lateral movements like this, I love to begin with these transitions into the position at the halt, it really gives me and my horse time to feel comfortable in it, like a shoulder-in friendly game! What I am looking for, though is that we get so good at it that we are able to establish it in a split second... that we just land in that position, and there is no delay when I ask to move out of it. I am looking for: First Step - Best Step. Since I am not asking the horse to sustain it, I don’t have to feel too guilty about being so particular. I will work hard searching with great curiosity to figure out what i need to do to not have to work so hard to fine it! Practice the Movement:

Now that the horse and I feel confident to give the shoulder-in a try... and we know we can find it immediately, then the horse is giving me Prepare the Ingredients: permission to sustain it. (I love the Once you know what you are trying to general idea of only sustaining something my horse already says is easy create, you can begin to realize the and he understands). necessary ingredients. For example: To do a shoulder-in, you need to be While I am building our stamina, I am able to: yield the shoulder, influence also staying curious and making little the hind-leg, be flexible enough to adjustments to try to find the best bend, keep your line of focus, have sweet spot for this movement. At this self-carriage, energy and relaxation. stage we are increasing the number Make sure you can talk to your horse of strides we can sustain the moveabout these ingredients in general, to ment with quality.. a high degree of quality. If they are difficult to do by themselves under Gain the Benefit: easy circumstances, it makes sense After we have spent more and more that it is not fair to expect your horse time taking quality steps of the to do them well under the challenge of movement, we will begin to reap the a more difficult movement! rewards! Every gymnastic exercise Build the Movement: has a benefit and a reason for doing it. Every challenge will also develop Now that you know you have the inyour horse. gredients at your finger tips, you can begin to combine them to build the 6

The benefits often must be waited for... Like making small investments in the bank; it will take a period of time before you get the big pay-off. At this stage it is important to not only have the picture, but to understand the reason and the benefits of the exercise, so you will know when you are heading in the right direction. For example, the shoulder-in has a few benefits: • To increase engagement • To lighten the forehand • To increase bend-ability • To supple the shoulders If you have this in mind, you can ride the shoulder-in in a way that looks for these qualities. You can go sideways on three tracks for years and only get a fraction of the benefit if you are not doing it in the way that you are searching for these qualities! So in conclusion, take the time when you are not riding, to really think about the movements you are practicing. Find good examples to watch, read about the theory and reasoning behind the exercise. Then you can practice with intention. I hope this helps!

~ Karen

Shelby practicing her shoulder-in at a clinic at Temenos Fields. copyright 2009 tmeneos fields, inc August

Visit the Web shop Instructional Book / DVDs


T-Shirts & Riding Pants


Dressage Naturally... Results in Harmony: A Guide to the Basics of Dressage from a Natural Horsemanship Perspective. A result of Karen Rohlf's combined experience as a dressage professional and her immersion in natural horsemanship, this book/DVD bridges the gap between these two worlds. The material will take every horseman on a practical and philosophical journey to create healthy biomechanics and stronger partnerships through combining principles of natural horsemanship with the art of dressage.

DN Reins: The best of both worlds! These reins have the elegant look and quiet connection to the bit of a leather dressage rein, but the 'live feel' of a rope. They are hand made from quality yachting line and leather. Available in 10 and 12 foot lengths

Organic Cotton T Shirts Available in Women’s style in Chocolate and Black Unisex style in Black

Sonnenreiter Riding Pants ON SALE! A limited number are left... Buy now before we stop carrying them!

Spiral Bound / Hard cover 184 pages 59 Exercises Forewords by Anne Gribbons and Linda Parelli 53 Illustrations by the author Almost 3 hours of DVD


Results in Harmony Series 4 DVDs so far! Subjects include: Riding in Connection with the reins, Developing Mobility. & Playing with Posture I & II. copyright 2009 temenos fields, inc August


Aug '09 Newsletter  

Creating healthy biomechanics and stronger partnerships through combining natural horsemanship principles with the art of dressage: Dressag...