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December 2010 Creating healthy biomechanics and stronger partnerships through combining natural horsemanship principles with the art of dressage... Karen Rohlf

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

Welcome back to the Temenos... Temenos is an ancient Greek word. It refers to a sacred space that has no limits, where special rules apply and extra-ordinary events are free to occur.

This Month • From Students • 10-Week Intensive Photos

• Circuit of Energy

March 6-11 6 Days in the Temenos Full, closed to auditors Contact: K2@dressagenaturally.net

• Paradoxes of Connection

April 17-22 6 Days in the Temenos Full, closed to auditors Contact: K2@dressagenaturally.net

Upcoming Clinics:

April 3 - June 11 10 Week Intensive One Spot Open! Contact: karenrohlf@dressagenaturally.net

Clinic schedule: CLICK HERE

“Every situation, every moment-is of infinite worth; for it is the representative of a whole eternity” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wondering about the rest of Karenʼs 2011 Schedule? So is she! Stay tuned... Karen just needed to take a small pause to breathe a bit before booking things up. Due to the Intensives at home, there is less time to travel, but she will be coming out. Look for notices in the next Newsletter or keep checking the schedule! 1


NEWS: Hi All, Welcome to the last newsletter of 2010! It has been a busy, wonderful, action-packed year! Now that the 10-week Intensive is over (see the results on pages 5-6) I am taking a moment to breathe, connect quietly with my horses and get ready for 2011. The Video Classroom is keeping me busy an I am loving every moment of it. I still have to create my 2011 schedule and I also have some new ideas in the works. I wish everyone a wonderful end of this year. I hope your holidays are peaceful. I wish you to be filled with a spirit of hope and creativity as the days get longer here in the northern hemisphere and we can enjoy more enlightenment (literally)... ~K1

My good friend, 5 star Parelli professional, David Lichman visited the Temenos this fall and helped me with my beauties!

brained introvert, he is very lazy. Even though I play with him a little bit before I get on to try to motivate him, he is usually very sluggish under saddle. When I have a loose/Freestyle rein, he will lean down on the forehand and jog around, putting in very little effort. If I collect him into a (correct) dressage frame (gently!), he will shape his body well but his movement seems to get slower and slower. He often times will ignore my forward leg aids, and when I resort to my whip, he bucks and has a fit. This is especially true when I ask for an upward transition, mainly the canter. How should I handle these situations? What are some strategies for dealing with lazy horses? Thank you, Mallory Hi Mallory, First, remember that your horse isn't a LB introvert... He just seems to spend time there... So it is up to us to bring him out of that place when it isnʼt serving him! The key is to have: 1. effective aids (communication) about go. Go means Go. 2. making sure that he is glad he went! (or at least that he doesn't regret it) 3. creating circumstances that inspire him For sure the worst thing to do would be to teach him that 'Go' means: 'Well, sort of go, if you feel like it, well, never mind'! and to show him that when he goes he has to go forever and it will be work, and that he has to do it in the same boring place where he figures out that even when he goes he never really goes anywhere because he is always right back where he started (circles) In my book, read the section on energy (pages 56 - 63 especially) Also in the September videos in the Video Classroom there is an example of me playing with this with a horse on-line. Point-to-point exercises a-la Parelli are great.

Q & A:

You need to follow through with your communication, then follow him when he goes, end it soon so he can hurry up and rest (donʼt try to sustain something he doesn't willingly offer in the first place.)

Hello, My horse and I are relatively new to dressage. We get lessons from a trainer once a week, and I practice on my own whenever I can. My trainer isn't a NH student (I am a PNH student), but she has a very good attitude about things and respects my beliefs. The problem I am having with my horse is that, being a left-

Do your homework and be patient because as you build his ʻtryʼ and motivation you can only expect short spurts of energy. But if you put the time in... and he trusts that the sooner he gives 100%, the sooner he gets to rest.... He will soon put in greater and greater effort. THEN you may be ready to attempt to sustain that energy on enough circles to get a dres-

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sage lesson accomplished! But you need to install that communication and trust... don't expect the dressage trainer to do that... it is YOUR responsibility! Can you tell me: is he dominant or submissive?.... curious or does he tend to be afraid? is he friendly or aloof? Good Luck! Let me know how it works out! My Best, Karen In response to your questions: Woodstock is extremely dominant. He is always the top horse in the pasture, and he tests my leadership every day. Although he can be challenging for me sometimes, I know I am learning so much from him. Studying Parelli is helping me to become savvier, and we've come a long way together in our relationship. Woodstock is also more of a curious horse - he is rarely afraid of anything. He's also extremely friendly (especially when treats are involved!) I don't know the full details of Woodstock's past, but I do know that he was passed around from owner to owner, never really having a place to call home or an owner to bond with. When I got him when he was seven years old, no one ever wanted to ride him because they thought he was lazy and stubborn. Every time he did get ridden he was beaten with whips. In my heart I knew that was wrong so I left that barn, found Parelli, and kept Woodstock with me. Ever since then I've known that we were simply made for each other; we give each other exactly what we need. Other people have given up on Woodstock, but I know better. Thanks again, Mallory Hi Again,Well, according to Dessa Hockley's Book: "Is Your Horse a Rock Star?" your horse assesses as: A Reluctant Rock Star! It is a great book, I think you may find it really helpful and it is a fun read. It also layers with the Parelli horsenality(tm) stuff. You can find it and other favorite books of mine here: D,N More Resources Good luck, Karen Hi Karen, That's too funny! I was half wondering if you were alluding to that book! I have actually already read it and I agree with you that the description for the "Reluctant Rock Star" is perfect for Woodstock! It's a great book, very humorous indeed. I will definitely check out your other recommended books! Thanks, Mallory

copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


Feedback for Video Classroom, SiMoN and DVD #6:

Linda (or Dr. Burns?) says that when you first start studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship it's like taking everything that you thought you knew about horses and tearing each eleVideo Classroom ment apart and throwing them up in the I just signed up for the classroom and air. Eventually they come down again wanted to let you know that I love it!! and fit together to form a whole, but I've watched all the videos and have it will make a different picture then the learned so much already. The one one you had before.  This is such about starting the lateral positions a good description of the process!  I with relaxing in the position at the halt was a real eye-opener for me. It gave have been trying to reconcile things me something to work on with Epona that I have learned over the years from different trainers, from dressage, even while we are sitting in the mud hunt seat and natural horsemanship right now, and can't really ride normally. It was amazing how this exer- and I didn't even realize how much I cise built her confidence as she real- was ized all she had to do was assume struggling with it.  At first I could only the position and relax there! I can't accept that one method could be wait to go out and build on this! correct and the others must be wrong. Thanks for the education and inspira-  But after a while I began to be able tion! to see how the different training Stefanie and Epona methods were in many cases correct, Worth every cent. Or penny. Or what- but incomplete parts of the whole truth. ever your currency is. ~Maxine One of the things that really helped me was "the truth is in the middle."  It's been a long process, but now I DVD #6 feel like I have internalized the important principals enough that I can Loved this video! Orchestra was hitrust my own decisions and ride the larious and still made the point PERway that feels right to me.  Even if FECTLY! I have been studying with it's not precisely Parelli, or French this whole idea in mind, so to have School, or Military Style, but more you validate it (and put names to the of a combination of them all.  And conversations) closed the learning loop. I am even more inspired to per- even though I have never met you, I fect the basics and then allow them to wanted you to know that you were an important part of that journey.  So "morph" naturally. Thanks, Karen:) thank you very much, and looking forward to being in your classroom. Hi Karen, this probably isn't the correct e-mail to send you a message to, but I have been wanting to say thank Regards, Susan you to you for some time now, so I am giving this a shot.  I want to thank you Karen,  This video helped me feel more confident and focused with my for saying "the truth is in the horses as we explore and develop middle" in your book, regarding the each conversation.  I can now begin different types and methods of to be more positive conducting inditraining. vidual parts.  The orchestral visual demonstration, followed by you talkA very interesting thing has started ing us through the conversations in happening to me lately; my puzzle real life makes me feel empowered to pieces are starting to come back toplay with each horse at their ability.  I gether. I think it is in Level 1 that 3

also appreciated seeing what we might be able to accomplish some day! It never occurred to me that one could change the bend with haunches in!  I now have a picture that replaces self doubt and lets me be free to be non critical of myself and my horses as we explore this process. Thank you! ~Brenda p.s. where can I find the tour dates for the D,N orchestra

SiMoN Karen, My SiMoN (renamed SiMoNe, as I have mares), arrived the other day. My friend Julie (who had also ordered one) and I eagerly assembled them and watched the DVD.  Scales fell from our eyes as we began to appreciate where our bodies needed to be, rather than where we thought they needed to be, for the movements. The biggest epiphany was learning that bend was created with the help of thigh movement.  We had been taught about using our seat/hip, but nobody had mentioned thighs.  We have been looking at the DVD in slow motion, trying to mimic your weight shifts and foot movements for getting the positions right at the halt.  I can hardly wait to start walk/trotting the moves. The hardest for us to manage is bend in the direction opposite to displacement of the haunches or shoulders.  In fact, when I read your book I simply could not imagine how to do this at all.  Thanks for breaking it down visually. Loved the 'wild side' of SiMoN at the end of your DVD, your sense of humour and positive teaching methods make the journey so much more enjoyable...kss

copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


The Video Classroom is getting a great response! I am really happy with the feedback from the Classroom. Except for some annoying little bugs in the software that some people have experienced (Thank you for letting us know and for your patience), it has been working beautifully and I am still having a ton of fun creating the videos. Good News: You can purchase a gift subscription! Look for the form on the homepage of the Classroom. What a great gift! Good News: You can view the videos on the iphone and ipad! (There are a couple technical things left to do as this is being sent out, but I promise.. they will work soon!! Keep trying!) Watch the calendar... All subscriptions in the Video Classroom signed up for before January 1st are at the introductory price of $20 for the life of the subscription... On January 1st it goes to its regular price of $24. Already signed up? Don始t worry, your price stays the same: $20 for the life of the subscription. Not sure? The first month you sign up is always half price!

SiMoN has gone world-wide! All around the world, students are trying out their Noodle Kits for Learning Lateral Work. It has been fun to see where he has gone. Send Photos of SiMoN from where you live!

Need anything else from the web shop? Discount Code: 2010ten gives you 10% off in the shop until January 1st.

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copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


10-Week Intensive is Update! ...Well, I think we made a few improvements during these 10 weeks! I did my best to pick photos below that were indicative of the changes. The words on the ʻafterʼ photos describe each pairʼs main focus and result! I thank the students for the attention and efforts they gave. It was a mental, emotional and physical challenge for horse and human but the changes made are the kind that last! They are those investments in the gymnastic bank. They often donʼt seem like much at the time, but they add up. There were plenty of break-throughs, but the biggest gains can come from the simple practice of daily diligence. It was nice to have them here long enough to make some real physical changes. I am excited for them as they return home, assimilate the information and make it their own!

Day 1:

10 weeks later:

Anne Timewell (Australia) & Huey (owned by Trina Romeo)

“I canʼt even begin to say what I learnt over the last 10 weeks, but it has changed everything. Everything feels so soft, relaxed and timeless. Thank you for all the energy you put into me over the 10 weeks, the money it cost me does not go near the compensating you for your efforts.”

balance, lightness, connection, trust

Shelley Candelario (CA) & Isabella

balance, self carriage, softness through core strength 5

copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


Iris Kleber (Germany) & Coco (owned by Martie Burkett)

throughness, connection, consistency Susan Nelson (CA) & Ellie

relaxation, acceptance, balance Barbara Appolonia (NY) & Ponce de Leon

alignment, focus,consistency 6

copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


Circuit of Energy... Two Perspectives Youʼve seen the pictures in the text books... The ʻCircuit of Energyʼ concept is an important one when considering riding in connection with the horse, and especially with the reins. It is a description of the sensation and dynamic of total connection with the horse. I believe ballroom dancers would describe a similar sensation when performing the waltz with their partner. One thing has always bothered me about the way the circuit is normally drawn, though. In the drawings there is always a line going from the horseʼs mouth to the riders hands, thus ʻcompleting the circuitʼ so there is a big arrow pointing backwards from mouth to hand.... My mind wandered to all the times I try to explain how we want to ride in connection, ride from back to front, and how we never want to pull on the horseʼs mouth... but here in all the classical books, is this circuit, with the big arrow pointing backwards. So I took out my notebook and drew a quick sketch of the circuit, trying to see how I could remedy this... circuit of energy: Yes. Pulling backwards: No. I thought about what is actually going on: We have an idea, we activate our body to give a signal, it travels to the hind end, (or at least effects the body), then the energy travels from the hind legs through the horseʼs back to the front, up and out the neck and then..... Goes through the reins to the rider... But WHAT goes through the reins? INFORMATION! Sensory information about the whole body. “You can feel your horseʼs hocks in your hands” does not mean you have jammed his butt into his bridle, and it especially doesnʼt mean you have pulled his teeth back to his butt... It means that when the reins are there, and the horse is in balance, you can feel information about the horse, all the way back to the hocks. Information comes back to the rider, but the physical sensation is of the horse ʻfilling up the contactʼ. The sensation is more like what the mast gets from the sail. The mast does not pull the sail, but feels the sail when the energy fills it up. It is the energy traveling forward through the horseʼs body that creates this sensation. (and this only works if the mast stays attached, as one, with the sail. If there is lack of balance here, the boat tips over or the sail rips away from the mast.). Some people say this circuit cannot happen without the rider there to complete it. So, are our horses just flopping like aimless jellyfish until we arrive? (Ok, well some of them, maybe yes). But I think they certainly have their own circuit of energy even without us. The circuit of energy I described above is what WE feel. We DO something, the horse DOES something, and we receive information about it and connect with it so we can make more decisions about what to DO. The top drawing is of this. Then I thought: what might it feel like, perhaps, from the horseʼs perspective? The second sketch describes this. From his perspective: He has an IDEA, the information goes to his hind end which DOES something, sending the energy through his body out his neck, and goes back to his brain so he can make another decision. Who needs a silly human for this?! If we are lucky, we can allow the information to pass through us on its way to his engine and his brain, so we can influence it either by giving him an idea or shaping it. Our dream is to join his circuit, cause him to do things he may never have thought of on his own, so we may feel a power we cannot feel on our own. We need them, much more than they need us! A page from Karenʼs notebook

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copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December


Paradoxes of Riding in Connection with the Reins

Paradox 1: We feel everything through the reins, but we do almost nothing with them. The reins primarily are the receivers of connection, of information. There are 3 purposes for the reins; 1. Subtle communication about the position of the head and neck. 2. Receiver of information about the body 3. Another point of connection with the horse (like the frame of a ballroom dancer) If you are actively using your reins for other than these 3 things, you are misusing them, and decreasing your chances of having a harmonious connection with your horse as well as hindering his healthy biomechanics. Because we feel everything we will feel different pressures in our hands especially during different movements. But we are still receiving these pressures, not taking them! I feel my horse in the outside rein more in a bend, not because i added pressure, but because his body filled up the outside rein and I was there to feel it! Not every thing we feel in the reins must be corrected with the reins. You must learn to be an excellent diagnostician of the sensations that are coming from them. The better your freestyle, the more your reins will be free to do what they are for: The three things listed above.

Paradox 2: The horse must respect the length of the reins, but be confident and trusting of the hands enough to reach into them and establish the connection. You must be able to do these two things; 1. Be able to give one, or both reins forward in a way that puts a loop in the rein for 3-4 strides and have nothing change: Ultimate Self-carriage. 2. Be able to cause the horse to stretch and confidently take his neck longer without the rider needing to let go. The horse stays in connection all the way as he stretches. #1 doesnʼt mean he has a ʻhead setʼ and #2 doesnʼt mean he gets to pull the reins. The horse needs to be stretchable and looking to reach with his neck, yet respect the length of the reins. How can he do this? This happens by creating a balanced body (through finding the sweet spot of Relaxation, Energy and Balance). A balanced body will naturally be able to relax the top line, creating a horse who is looking to reach forward and be stretchable. The riderʼs body is what tells the horse when the reins will yield to him and allow the full stretch or whether there is a limit. Most of the horseʼs spine is in the body. The neck is just an extension. Ride the body well and you will have the neck. Be ultimately trustworthy with your hands and make sure he understands the communications that speak directly to his head and neck.

Paradox 3: The posture creates the connection and the connection creates the posture. There is a sweet spot of a certain energy, a certain balance and a certain level of relaxation where the horse can find his best healthy posture. It is different for each horse and each moment. By experimenting and being curious, we can find this sweet spot where the horse is moving in a way that allows his back muscles to move freely. When this is able to be fairly consistent, we can connect with it and enjoy a harmonious connection with the reins. A harmonious connection with the reins can be part of being able to find the sweet spot. The reins give us information and can help indicate some possibilities to the horse. The trick is to do this while only using the reins for their 3 purposes. I develop free-moving, balanced horses.... Then check that I can take the slack out of the reins without creating problems or confusions. At first, nothing needs to change when i pick up the reins... Donʼt hide, donʼt lean on them, donʼt worry about them. If I want a better posture, I talk to the body and wait. If the problem is really with the position of the head or in the actual jaw, or height/length of the neck, then i will talk to it using the communications I already established. But if the problem is in the reins because the problem was really in the body and it ended up in the reins... then I have to talk to the body. If my horse is heavy because he is going faster than me... it is not a rein problem. If he is heavy because he didnʼt turn, it is not a rein problem. If he is hiding from the contact I have to ride the body and show him my hands will not take. My hands belong to the horse, The energy must reach all the way to the front (see page 7 circuit of energy) and my hands must wait there to receive it and not block or go against it. What I do with my reins will for sure effect the posture and the horseʼs posture will for sure effect what i am feeling in my reins. 8

copyright 2010 temenos fields, inc December

December 2010 Newsletter  

Dressage, Naturally Newsletter, December 2010 from Karen Rohlf

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