Good horsemanship facilitates self-awareness, presence, and the integration of body, mind and spirit. Horses astutely mirror our mental, physical and emotional states so riding or working with them provides invaluable feedback for personal growth and learning. There are few activities quite as rich in opportunities for stress reduction, mindfulness, physicality, and Fun! Please contact Gail for availability and pricing.
Integral Horsemanship draws from the best of many theories and practices to find what we like and what works for horses and humans alike. We love to learn from and integrate these disciplines: Natural Horsemanship | Dressage & In-Hand training | Kinesiology, Biomechanics & Fitness Disciplines | Body- Based methods - Alexander Technique, Feldenkreis Method, and Sensory Awareness | Mindfulness Meditation | Yoga | Principles of Experiential Learning and Neuroscience. We ground all this in our everyday observations and experiences with each individual finding what best fits them.
Lessons with horses are offered by appointment and tailored to your objectives. Most students are just beginning their journey with horses, some are returning to an interest in horses later in life, while others already own a horse and want to improve their skills. With older clients who foresee riding into their 60s, 70s, and even 80s, safe practices are particularly important, as is fitness. Students are guided through the basics of being with horses on the ground, work at liberty, and riding. Mounted work progresses from the round pen to arena, and eventually riding out on the farm and addressing obstacles in woods and fields. Classes are kept small and form as individuals are ready to work together in a group setting.
"At Galleywinter Farm, you will learn to be safer and more confident with horses, and much better prepared to proceed with whatever goals you have for your relationship with the horse. And it's not just your relationship with the horse that blossoms, it's your relationship with yourself too."
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Courses weave together groundwork, mindfulness practice, journaling and group support to enhance self-awareness, confidence and horsemanship skills. We begin by developing a safe container from which to explore the fascinating world of the equine-human connection. The weekly sessions encompass the language of the horse, their herd behavior, developing manners and safety, engaging with horses at liberty and experiencing the magic of the round pen, halter work, and getting saddled. All the activities are integral to getting mounted and riding, should that be your goal with horses. No experience with horses required.
"We ride as we are" (Barbier) so what we do on a daily basis - our habits, posture and way of moving - all influence our horses on the ground and while riding. Being with horses can make us more aware of how we show up in our relationships and inspire us to better fitness - our thinking, alignment and balance. Check out upcoming Yoga for Riders, Strength & Fitness Coaching for Riders, and Mind-Body Programs for Horsewomen.
The Blue Ridge mountains are easily accessible from Galleywinter Farm, offering great views, varied terrain, and opportunities to test the foundation we build with our horses at the farm. For some, the attraction of trail riding and sleeping out under the stars is what motivates us to develop our horsemanship. To experience the peace of nature with our equine partner is a dream come true. OK, let's be realistic; sometimes it's not so peaceful. Riding out and facing challenges can sometimes push us past our comfort zone, but there are magical moments that can't be described. Being with the horses for a chunk of time, away from cell phones, cooking on an open fire, and tucking into an old canvas bedroll .... nothing really compares to it!
If you decide to buy a horse of your own, we can help you locate an equine partner that fits you well. See more in Consulting Services. We save space at Galleywinter for horses that belong to horsemanship students.
Working with horses so beautifully illustrates the principles of behavior change that it's become a valuable adjunct to my health and nutrition counseling. Whether it’s embodying with the horse the qualities we want to cultivate in the rest of our lives, having “ah-hah” moments of seeing cause and effect, or making the connection between what works for the horse and what works for us – horse work helps us embody the concepts and practices we discuss in the office, taking them from discussion into action. It also gets folks out in nature where learning can flourish.
Consider the possibility that you could find role models for health, well-being and presence, that you could help a horse be healthier and more at ease. Move off from self-negating habits and addictions, come back to yourself, and embrace your power, love and kindness by working with horses in a mindful way. Others have done so - through the ages and here with the horses at Galleywinter.