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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: Dana Rasmussen

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.

Clinic schedule: CLICK HERE Upcoming Clinics:

This Month:

Dec. 13 Open Format Workshop

• I’m sorry that I missed last month’s Newsletter... but am happy to tell you about everything that has gone on this month!

Temenos Fields, FL contact: K2

• Holiday Savings at the web shop: Q: When is seeing the number

Temenos Fields, FL

I have another discount you! See Page 2.

code for 2 a good thing?

• Dressage Naturally T-Shirts are here! See page 2.

• 2009 Clinic structure described • Student ‘s Q & A

Jan 10 Open Format Workshop contact: K2

A: When it means that the secJan 25-30 ond DVD in the Results in 6 days at Temenos Fields Harmony Video Series is (Full) available! See page 2 for details.

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New Items and Special Discounts! Organic Cotton T-Shirts available in Women’s style in Chocolate and Black Unisex style in Black Front (all shirts): the horse illustration that is on the book cover plus “Dressage Naturally... results in harmony” Back (all shirts): these words: ---> They come packaged in their own 100% recycled paper

Women’s

Unisex

bags (no plastic!)

Results In Harmony Volume 2: Developing Mobility Ovation continues to develop his gymnastic skills! Here Karen shows the intermediary steps between basic foundational yields and mobility exercises (lateral work) both on-line and riding. This DVD is 50 minutes (20 minutes longer than the last one...) at the same price!

Special Package The Book/DVD plus volume 1 & 2 in the Results in Harmony DVD series at a special savings (10% off)

PLUS: A DISCOUNT CODE -- HLDY08 for an additional 10% off everything on my website, just for you, my newsletter subscribers. This code is good through JAN. 31, 2009. The code is: HLDY08 (as in Holiday ’08) And yes, it takes an additional 10% off even the Special Package shown above! Remember, in order to get the discount, you need to enter the code when prompted by the web store! PLUS: for the month of December, only, all orders over $100 will get a complimentary Introduction to Dressage, Naturally DVD! 2

Visit the web shop at dressagenaturally.net

Copyright 2008 Temenos Fields, Inc Nov/Dec


There is going to be a new structure for next years clinics. Instead of having clinics for ‘new comers’ and clinics for ‘people who have ridden with Karen before’, there will be 2 curriculums. Students should decide which one to take, based on what is appropriate for them/their horse. Please take a look at the information below. There are links to videos showing the prerequisites. This information can also be found now on my website in a link from the Clinic Schedule page.

Relaxation, energy and balance in the horse and human The focus of this clinic will be to learn: • Basic theory, principles of Dressage, Naturally • How to develop an eye for healthy biomechanics, including the ‘let loose’ posture. • The Athletic Rider: How to improve your own relaxation, energy and balance • How to develop and expand your ability to communicate about relaxation, energy and balance • To use these conversations in order to find the ‘sweet spot’... the best way of going for your horse in order to help them be the best they can be. • The basic theory and techniques for riding in connection with the reins Format can be a mixture of any combination of: • Theory, discussion • Simulation • Large groups online, riding • Small groups online, riding • Individual sessions • Demonstration Prerequisites (all of the below): • Independent seat. Able to ride freestyle (without reins) and walk, trot and canter • Impulsive, emotional issues resolved, or able to be handled independently without interrupting the group, or putting yourself or others in the group in danger. • All basic yields (forehand, hindquarters, sideways, back up) understood at a light (no more that ‘Phase 2’) possible

copyright 2008 Temenos Fields, Inc May

It is very possible that the first session of the clinic will be a group session where participants will be asked to show her the above prerequisites in order for Karen to make the best plan for the rest of the clinic.

• Large groups online, riding • Small groups online, riding • Individual sessions • Demonstration

First session assessment skills:

• (The same prerequisites for the Sweet Spot course) • Have taken the Finding the Sweet Spot course or any 3+ day course with Karen • Have a range of conversations about relaxation, energy and balance at walk, trot and canter • Can demonstrate a positive soft touch (can take the slack out of the reins and nothing negative happens with horse or rider) at walk, trot, canter • Can demonstrate a let loose posture, (spinal stretch) on line/riding at walk and trot

• Show a circle game online with transitions, walk, trot, canter and back up. • Ride all basic yields freestyle from a stand still • Ride a circle, or use whole arena showing walk, trot, canter with long reins (freestyle) and with the slack taken out of the reins (soft touch). Click Here to see a video of the minimum prerequisites for this clinic

Exercises for Flexibility, Mobility & Collectibility

Prerequisites (all of the below):

It is very possible that the first session of the clinic will be a group session where participants will be asked to show her the above prerequisites in order for Karen to make the best plan for the rest of the clinic.

The focus of this clinic will be to learn:

First session assessment skills:

• How to take the ‘sweet spot’ of healthy biomechanics forward, and gymnastically develop your horse. • Theory, principles of gymnastic development • Continued refinement of rider’s athletic seat • How to use patterns and the arena to benefit your training in a way that makes sense to your horse. • How to diagnose and apply specific exercises for Flexibility, Mobility and Collectibility • How to ride so the connection with the reins is positive and beneficial

• (All those for the Sweet Spot course:) • On-line, show how you use conversations about relaxation, energy and balance to find a sweet spot and be able to describe what you are doing. • Riding, show how you use conversations about relaxation, energy and balance to find a sweet spot for your horse and be able to describe what you are doing. • Show transitions flowing from walk to basic yields.

Format can be a mixture of any combination of: • Theory, discussion • Simulation

Click Here to see a video of the prerequisites for this clinic


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Question about Pictures and Postures From Denise Sergeant

Hello Karen,    I have a few questions and one discussion opener.     1-What size is the round pen in your newest dvd?    2-Which horse/rider combination (past or present) would you name as an ideal image of dressage perfection.  Also, maybe you could name a particular rider and a particular horse which are ideal images as well, even if one side of the equation isn't ideal.  i want to implant in my mind some examples of dressage perfection (in a zen-like fashion).     3-I've had a concept develop in my mind lately.  My current coach is very focused on my inner body awareness (seat bones, individual back muscles, stomach 'on the bit' etc).  I've actually been with her a couple years and I suddenly had an 'aha' moment this summer.     'Perfect posture' is an integral part of riding in connection with your horse.  We all hear:  sit straight and heels down, but my big 'aha' has to do with our 'cores'.  I audited your clinic in the Guelph area last fall ('07), the one where Zettl came to watch as well.  It would be my observation that both of you have excellent posture.  Is that natural to you? or is it something you work(ed) at??     I think the general population (myself incl) have an awful tendency to roll our shoulders in and slouch our tummies forward, this sort of leads to the fetal position when riding.     In all my study of horses/trainers etc i've never heard much about this (maybe sally swift)....  Yet until i focus on keeping my 'core' in (i.e. tummy sucked in) anything i'm trying to do in a session with my horse is undermined.     Anyway, I just don't think this is talked enough about in the current available riding literature etc.  Yet, going back to my 2nd question, i have a feeling the riders you mention will be ones who stand erect in even the most informal situations.....    The beauty of this realization i've had is that i now practice riding at virtually every waking moment.  i have gotten into a habit of constantly checking my shoulder position, my core position.  The interest4

ing thing too, is that when i hold what i deem as excellent posture and walk, the impetus for the movement comes from my butt and thighs (my 'hind' end.....exactly how we hope our horses will move when they are practicing 'perfect posture'.     Anyhoo, I was hoping you would dialogue some on this topic if it connects with you in some way as well.     Thanks, Denise Sergeant.  

denisesergeant@yahoo.ca Hi Denise, Thanks for letting me answer this in the newsletter. Here are some answers... 1. My round-pen is 75’. Small enough to keep things focused and I don’t have to run around too much, big enough to allow the big horses and horses with big bubbles to have some freedom. 2.Oof, what a question! But I do always emphasize the value of having a good ‘picture’, so I like how you are thinking! In my mind I am always aware that no one person or horse can embody everything... and we can never duplicate it because every horse, person and horse/ person combo is different... I like to have qualities floating in my brain and allow them to fall into place as

is appropriate... if that makes sense... so I may have many different ideal pictures for different horses and moments... (Karen-Land can be a blissfully confusing place!). But taking into account your question number 3, and the specific field of dressage, today I think I will give you the picture of Mr. Philippe Karl. He has a video series that is difficult to find in the USA, but you can go to this website: www.pferdia.de and look for them, they do come in an English translation... the process is interesting, but the real gold for me is the videos of him riding his older horse, Odin, (who he had 13 years at the Cadre Noir... to me a picture of classical dressage with ease and graceful power). Also a man with a strong, easy posture.... also check out these you tube videos below... but the Odin footage on the DVDs is simple elegance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPBET2 Nb5Pk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g63g9r9_ N3Q&feature=related (continued on next page...)

copyright 2008 tmenos fields, inc Nov/Dec


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“Quality is not a thing, it is an event.” ~Robert M. Pirsig But as I said, that is just one picture... And take from it the qualities that you like, without getting so stuck on it that you stop seeing equally valuable qualities in even a seemingly opposite picture...No one thing is every thing. Is that zen enough for you? ;-) 3. I love how you are thinking (and thank you for the compliment on my posture). Is my posture natural? Well yes and no... Genetically I come from a posturally average family. But I do have some strange twists in my spine and crookednesses... I once had an X-ray of my spine at a chiropractor’s, and he ran next door to get the other chiropractors saying: “you’ve got to see this!” Without going into the details, lets just say I am not the most symmetrical person out there, and growing tall quickly caused me to tend to slouch. But thank goodness for dressage because it really caused me to figure out how to function symmetrically. And that is the key. The ‘proper’ riding position is based on healthy functioning. That is why I don’t really teach about getting in a particular position until we are getting down to details... it is too static... what is important is that you find a position that functions well. Specific maneuvers,

From: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance transitions, lateral work, etc will be challenging enough to require you to be balanced and athletic. Functioning well also should be healthy; meaning it will prove itself by less chronic tension and soreness in your body.

human and that will always benefit riding. Perhaps some sports may tighten muscles that we need to be long, etc... but the martial arts, ballroom dancing, yoga, tai chi, pilates.... are all good examples.

And yes, the muscles that are designed to be postural muscles are the big ones that are deep in your core, aligning your spine (instead of holding legs back through tension in your legs, or holding shoulders back by tensing shoulder muscles, which will only tire quickly and then contortion will creep in). All of this will interfere with optimum total body functioning, for sure.

And you mentioned one of my favorite hobbies, which is thinking about my posture when not riding... You can become symmetrically neurotic like me, too! Notice how you stand in line at the grocery check out, how you sit on the couch, how you walk... Just training yourself to be aware is huge progress. And the hardest time to think about posture is when you are having to think about anything else... so don’t wait until you are having to concentrate on your horse. Your horse will love it if you practice it away from him so you are better with him.

Also I have done many other experiences such as ballroom dancing, Tai Chi, yoga, rock climbing... and I noticed that there were many benefits (I always find something valuable for riding in just about everything I do!) They all talked about certain pelvic and spinal alignments, balancing the spine, toning the core in order to free the limbs. By the umpteenth time I hear the same thing coming from a different source I figured I better pay attention! So actually, there are many many ways to practice being a balanced, centered, athletic

Then, you can practice switching your attention while you ride: think about you, then think about your horse. When the horse is in a nice moment, immediately think about you again. When you are good, then think about your horse... until you train your brain to keep a floating awareness of everything. There actually are some books on yoga for riders, pilates for riders, tai chi for riders, a google search should give you a good start. Also stay tuned, I was just outlining a new DVD on just this subject with some interesting exercises for this! Thanks, Denise for some wonderful things to think about!

Students at Temenos Fields experimenting with different movement patterns! Photo: Dana Rasmussen copyright 2009 Temenos Fields, Inc Nov/Dec

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“They always say ‘time changes things’, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ~Andy Warhol photo: dana rasmussen

We are approaching the shortest day of the year... The sunset of 2008 will lead to the bringing of more light into 2009. It must happen this way, right? Well, as Mr Warhol said above, only if you actually make it so. Otherwise the days go by, and so do the years and we easily find ourselves in the same old place. Why is it we so often wait until absolutely necessary to make the changes we need to make? Does our brain tell us we can’t? Do we think there always will be time later? So what is this essay about? Well... it is about fire: the kind that gets lit under your butt, or in your heart... or where ever you may need it! This day pictured above isn’t going to go out with a whimper, but with a full blaze that somehow says: ‘you think I’m done? You ain’t seen nothing yet!” This month I had a fire lit under my feet, and I’m not just talking about my resurrected trail running discipline... I walked on 2000 degree red hot coals. I’m not mentioning it to brag (although I am rather impressed with myself!), but instead to just share the experience of it... the knowing that the impossible is often more possible than we think. Now, I was not surprised that I did it... I was excited to do it and I’ve pushed myself before by doing limit-expanding activities, but what my little scientific brain was amazed by was: although it could understand blocking out pain and fear, it couldn’t understand how it prevented my flesh from actually burning. My tender little bare feet were on coals that can melt steal and vaporize paper... it made no sense. I guess my brain is not so smart after all!

light your own fire inside you, and let it give you warmth, peace, motivation... what ever you most desire!

I will never look at a fire the same way again. It will remind me of Just how much power I have. Ok, and maybe I will also look at it as the gateway between me and the perfect S’more, something to cuddle in front of, something to be grateful for on a cold night in the woods. I guess it can be what ever I want it to be... just like anything in life, I suppose. So for some of you , this time of year means many cold days with limited chances to play with your horses... OR, it could be a motivation to study and practice other parts of your horsemanship. Can you keep your fire lit? I had a student in my clinic who just finished a round of chemo and radiation, but she participated fully... she has a fire in her heart that makes my hot coals seem like a bed of cool moss. No more waiting for time... what will you change now? What fire will you light?

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Copyright 2008 Temenos Fields, Inc. Nov/Dec


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Claudia... You totally rock! It was such an inspiration to have you fully participating in the 6 Days at Temenos Fields this November You accepted the diagnosis, but not the verdict... You embody determination and inner fire. We look forward to seeing you and DuelN in the next clinic

Claudia Milton and DuelN CMilton@dadeschools.net

copyright 2008 temenos fields, inc nov/dec

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Wishing you all a free and easy Holiday Season, full of spirit, laughter and peace.

Photos: Dana Rasmussen

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copyright 2008 temenos fields, inc nov/dec


Nov/Dec '08 Newsletter