In April I did a demo with El Blanco for Noora Ehnqvist's Sensitive Group from Finland.
It was a real honour and a privilege for me to welcome Noora's students into the wonderful world of straighness training!
We started the demo with the story how El Blanco had truly guide Noora and me together since he is a horse who could do everything physically, but whose spirit was not understood enough.
El Blanco is a fine example of a horse where you should aim for balance and well-being in all four areas of straightness training: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
During the demo I could show the healing and growing path I've had and have with him.
Meet & Greet with El Blanco
We, Noora, Sinikka, Jaana, Kerstin, Sanni, Kerstin, Maarit (from Finland) and Marina (from Russia) started the afternoon with visiting El Blanco in his pasture with his buddies:
Then we asked El Blanco to join us:
While grooming he was very interested in all these nice, warm-hearted people from Finland and Russia 😉 :
Demo with El Blanco
Then we continued with the demo, but the demo was not really a demo, rather a regular work out that everyone could attend and a regular training goes like this.
We start to do some longeing in walk and trot first:
Inner calmness, heartfelt trust and deep understanding are important keyswords while being together with him and El Blanco should always feel and experience that his need for self-expression is met.
After the relaxing longeing work I could ask for more collection:
In between my requests I give him long breaks and comfort and during these breaks I leave him alone so he can express himself and can digest in the mind what just happened. This way he start realizing that training can be okay, even if I bring him out of his comfortzone into the stretchzone, to develop his muscles and to teach him new things. And most importantly, it keeps him out of the stresszone and his mental state and his spirit stay in balance.
After the groundwork I put on the saddle and El Blanco stands free so I really can see if he accept what I am doing. He was with a completely accepting expression all the time.
During mounting he stays relaxed:
Also right after the mounting he stays concentrated and open to communicate:
During riding it's very important to move with the head and neck in a low position in the beginning, so he can relax physically and mentally. El Blanco always decide how long this phase will take and we move like this as long as he needs it to feel 100% comfortable.
From this complete relaxation I can ask him to do some exercises that bring him into the stretch zone, first in walk:
Then in trot:
And again, long breaks in between and he appreciate also a reward from me when I'm riding him, that reassures him that he's doing fine and everything is okay.
After dismounting his openess and softness is still there so he stays together with me:
We continue in liberty where he can express him self and he can decide if he wants to stay or not:
We also do some straightness training at liberty and there he realizes that I don't want to make him do it, but that we can do it together like in a dance:
Noora after the demo:
"It was so fantastic to witness the wide wisdom and understanding of Marijke and the progress El Blanco has taken!! El Blanco has taken leaps forward in his spirit. Was truly fantastic to see! And my students are forever impressed by your respect and sensitivity, patience and willingness to truly listen to him, and how then straightness training and physical strength can bring the best out of the horse. Such a perfect example of that! ! !"
Demo with Romanesque
We continued the demo with Romanesque, and I explained all training components of straightness training:
Noora: "With Romanesque we saw an amazing level of movements. That's where Straightness Training can lead with dedicated work. For my students it was great to see that immediately after taking the gear off her horses wanted to join Marijke in Liberty and had soft eyes. My students are not seeking for significance but honesty and they were all touched by the openness of the horses."
Noora and Prince Elmelund
Then it was Noora's turn with her big friend Prince Elmelund.
It was a real pleasure to see Noora Ehnqvist and Prince Elmelund in such great harmony and joy together. Two highly sensitive beings moving together in a harmonious dance!
Noora always says that she's entering the "energy university" when she's together with Prince Elmelund.
Noora about the lesson: "It's such a pleasure to be together with Marijke's Prince Elmelund who already knows how to use his body and is willing to be guided by people. We also enjoyed honest and free liberty together and many soft moments among and after the more precise working moment. That's a way of combining the physical development and intelligence to warm-heartedness, authenticity and spirit. It's a combination I truly believe in."
After the demo it was time for a group picture with the Noora's wonderful Sensitive Group! From left to right:
Jaana, Sinikka, Kerstin, Noora, Marijke, Sanni, and Maarit:
Noora: "Thank you my friend Marijke de Jong for welcoming us! We were all touched and inspired by your sensitivity, respect and willingness to listen to the horses, while also believing in their potential. It was a magnificent day that changed something deep inside of my students!"My greatest thank you Marijke for your amazing inspiration!! My students are forever impressed by your respect, awareness, softness and deep understanding, combined with mastery high level and skill! What an inspiration to see willingness, soft eyes and free spirit in a supple and proud body. Super!"
And behind the camera with his Texas-look: Marc Marsman. He is the man who makes many things possible!
Marina Krasilshichikova from Russia also joined the afternoon and it was just super to be together with such inspirational friends!!
Looking forward to our next meeting! 🙂