Page 1

July 2012 “Creating stronger partnerships and healthy biomechanics by combining the principles of natural horsemanship with the art of dressage.”

Karen Rohlf Upcoming Clinics: For full schedule, click here July 20-22 Embro, Ontario, Canada Upward Spiral with Karen Rohlf

August 15-17, 19-21 Sweden taught by Karen Rohlf Contact:

August 27- Sept 2 Hippisch, NL Contact: Oct. 5-7, 2012 Midway, KY Upward Spiral Contact:

Welcome to the July 2012 Newsletter! In this issue: • Join us at a clinic! • 2011 Classroom DVDs are here! • Send us your video! • Q & A: Dip in Front of Withers

Oct 19-21 No. CA (venue t.b.a.) Upward Spiral Contact:

2011 Classroom DVDs Available Now! See Page 2 for details

What is a ‘Temenos’?

Oct 28-Nov 2 6 Days in Temenos Full, guest auditors only

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.


Nov 15-19 Austin, TX Finding The Sweet Spot Contact:

Quote of the Month: “We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand” ~Eric Hoffer


copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

2011 Classroom AVAILABLE on DVD! This 6 DVD set includes 12+ hours of lessons! Karen Rohlf’s Video Classroom has gotten rave reviews from around the world, from D,N students of all levels. The Classroom videos include discussions, simulations, on line, and riding. See a range from basic exercises with young horses to advanced dressage movements. These videos are the best way to keep your D,N practice alive and inspired. The on-line Classroom & it’s student Forum are on-going. Sign up now to get the most out of your Dressage, Naturally education!

Non-2011 Subscribers (& everyone else):

Available to 2011 subscribers at a low cost!

The full 2011 archive (12+ hours) is:

Were you a Classroom member for more than 9 months by the end of 2011?

$450 with free shipping within the USA ($15 shipping internationally)

You will be able to purchase them for:

$55 with free shipping within the USA

Not sure if you qualify for the discount?

($15 shipping internationally)

Aren’t currently a subscriber, but still qualify for the discount?

It is our “Thank You” to you for being a long-time subscriber! Sign into The Classroom to retrieve your Discount Code.

Send us an email, we are happy to check for you!

Enter that code in the web-store when you place your order to immediately receive your discounted price.

Being a subscriber to The Classroom still gives you the best value. As a current subscriber you enjoy the most immediate viewing of the videos, as well as access to The Forum and Archives... Still, we are so excited to be able to offer this to folks who have been unable to access the videos on the internet.

Login to get your subscriber coupon

Or, go directly to the web store to purchase


D, N Video Classroom D,N Web Store copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

News... Karen featured on When I was in the UK I was filmed for the website: The first of the 3 videos I did is now published and can be seen at:

UK and Poland Clinics The clinics in UK and Poland were a huge success! It is always so rewarding to travel so far and see such eager, talented students and happy horses practicing their Dressage, Naturally! In UK, Stephanie Gaunt did a fabulous job hosting the clinic at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre. In Poland, Beata Filonowicz also did a fantastic job hosting. I am personally in awe of people that can organize that many people! ;-) During the clinics, Dana was busy capturing many excellent teaching moments for the Video Classroom, so we were fortunate to have professional photographers at each clinic to capture still photographs of riders and teaching moments. You can see the photos from both clinics at the links below. Thank you Claire Spelling in UK and Pawel Siwek in Poland for the beautiful clinic photographs..

Pawel Siwek’s Poland Photos Claire Spelling UK Clinics: Look for the Karen Rohlf gallery

EPM research In case anyone has a horse that has EPM, there is an excellent resource at” It is written for veterinarians, so be warned! ;-) Dr. Ellison happens to live very close to me, is a lovely person and I believe has created a very effective and affordable (not-yet-FDA-approved) treatment plan based on her research and clinical trials. Contact her if you are in need of a better treatment for your EPM horse!

Video Call to Action!

Chance to win free year of Video Classroom!

I would love to hear and see your stories, so am calling all you students of Dressage, Naturally to

make a video that explains how D,N has effected you and your horse Anyone who sends us a video will be sent a D,N Big Picture Poster.

The most compelling video will win a year free subscription to the D,N Video Classroom • • • • • • •

(a $288 value) Create a video no more than 8 minutes long Upload the video to youtube (make it ‘public’ or ‘unlisted’ (not ‘private’) Send the link to us at: Include your name and mailing address Submit it to us by Sept 15, 2012 and we will announce a winner October 1, 2012! Don’t worry about fancy editing... Just speak from the heart! By sending us the link you give us permission to share your video

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

Some Photos from Poland: By Pawel Siwek

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

‘Dip’ in Front Of Withers... How do I get It To Go Away?


I am helping many horses right now and have noticed that the 'dressage' trained horses have a dip in front of the withers. I have noticed as I play with them on the ground with relaxation and stretching techniques it has gotten better on all of them. However, it has not completely went away. I have started to notice it appearing as well on my personal horses as I ride them more in collection. I am 'guessing' that either 1-They are not completely aligned (straight) OR 2-They are not coming completely over their back. (Energy stopping at the withers) OR 3-both. Could you help me by letting me know which of these it could be and some ground techniques (ie-driving reins, watching for absolutely straight..... etc) that may help. Or things to 'watch for'? Also, I have 'observed' that it does not seem to happen on western (reining) horses. Could it be because they canter with the head really low? Or really concentrate on absolutely straight?

Area of the ‘dip’

I really am at a loss here and have read and re-read everything I can from Dr. Deb Bennett and others on the subject, but it doesn't seem to make sense or translate/ correlate for me. You, on the other hand, have an amazing gift to make things make sense :) I would really appreciate your help with this. Thanks, Niki Wilde

"Only a life lived for others is a life worth while." -Albert Einstein


I have not done exhaustive scientific research on this, but here is what I can tell you that I have observed: It can be due to conformation, posture, training, or any combination of those… A horse with a high wither and a low set neck will be more prone to having this dip in front of the withers… Even if they have not been ridden at all and even if they are trained well. If a horse has a natural posture of high headedness, it can feed into the problem. (See photo of Atomic as an untouched 3 yr old at the end of this article). But even with these horses that dip should 'fill in' or at least head in that direction if the training is done very well.

Horse with high withers, low set neck in a moment of notexcellent posture... This would exacerbate the development of the dip.

Training-wise, it can be caused or exacerbated by riding a horse with a contracted neck… This can happen due to many things, including as you said, from them not being properly aligned, and/or not coming through their backs. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways to get it wrong, including; hands that pull, horse not ridden in a balanced posture that allows the top line to be stretchable, upper suspensory system not in play (read Gerd Heuschmann's stuff), absolute elevation (neck raised disproportionally high relative to the body). Training elements that would need to be going well in order to help fill in here would be throughness… the horse operating with a stretchable top line; a neck not being held in contraction. One would need to make sure his neck was operating relative to his body (relative elevation). This is, of course, the whole key to dressage, and one of the harder things is to get this right all the time throughout their training progression. Ideally the horse is carrying with his hind legs and lifting through his core and carrying his neck up and out of his withers from the base of the neck…

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

‘Dip’ in Front Of Withers... How do I get It To Go Away? (cont’d) So how this is accomplished with any particular horse is, well, the game of dressage! Here is a checklist of things to keep in mind:

Endorsed D,N Instructor, Breanne Peters and her horse, Mira demonstrating a posture that could create a ‘dip’ over time

Find the best natural balance for the horse without need of support from rider and where rhythm can be maintained. Often this will be with the poll the highest point but not necessarily 'round'… neck long and reaching forward

Find stretch-ability… through alignment, energy, etc … the sweet spot stuff!

Be able to elongate the top-line and the stride independently

Make sure that you add collection gradually and through movement in a way that the horse can both carry behind in consistent rhythm AND keep his neck reaching out of his withers. It is easy to get one or the other of these, but to have him able to reach out of his withers without losing his balance in his body, and be able to stay 'uphill' and collected without contracting his neck is a delicate balance!

You check things with transitions… between gaits and within gaits. Can you lengthen / shorten the top line? Can you lengthen / shorten the stride? Is your horse asking for a stretch? Is he still in self carriage? Is the rhythm able to be maintained through movements? Can you transition easily from one gait to another? Every step of the way we need to test the functioning of the posture we are riding our horses in. Take video and photos because sometimes you can look for the little triangular muscle on the top of the neck just in front of the withers to see if it is activating. When it activates in will look alive, full and pulsing a bit as it contracts and relaxes. Look for this also in your stretches… Sometimes horses are just 'putting their heads down' and not really doing an active, engaged stretch. Look for the tube of muscles to go all the way from head to withers! You can have it activating, yet still the horse may have a dip when he stands still, but at least you know you are on your way!

Breanne and Mira showing off their excellent healthy posture!

When a horse gets a good quality stretch, you will see a 'tube' of muscles on the top of his neck, and the bottom of his neck gets 'empty' looking. The horse has 'let loose' and is, (sort of) suspended from his nuchal ligament… (not an accurate technical way of describing it, but it works for me). When the neck comes up, the horse has to develop muscles in a way that actively keeps the body carried in a way that was accomplished passively by the nuchal ligament.. So it takes time to develop this. Why you aren't seeing it so much in reining horses? I think one reason is that they are choosing horses with typically lower withers, and they don't have the challenge of needing to collect AND keep them in a stretchable top line! It's easier to keep the top line healthy and correct in a level or stretched posture without contact than it is in collection with a lot of contact. Its a big subject! So thanks for asking the question, and now I have something for my newsletter! ;-) See the following page for more photos

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

Photos for:‘Dip’ in Front Of Withers... How do I get It To Go Away?

Atomic in a high-headed pose when he was un-started. Notice the distinct dip in front of withers.

The mane is giving an optical illusion, but you can see his musculature is better, and the dip is filling in.

Atomic last year in his still-favorite high headed pose, but the dip is lessened

Ever-beautiful Monty showing the ‘tube’ of muscles along entire top of his neck, and the ‘empty’ lower neck as he stretches

Ovation’s white spot highlights the area of muscles that develop with correct posture in collection.

Atomic today, showing his beefy beautiful neck!

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July


The Art & Science of Dressage, Naturally... Prints, tote bags, and mugs as well as all the instructional materials are available in the web shop! All artwork by Karen.

Web Shop

copyright 2012 Temenos Fields, inc. July

July 2012 Newsletter  

July 2012 Newsletter from Dressage, Naturally

July 2012 Newsletter  

July 2012 Newsletter from Dressage, Naturally