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In Hand Coaching Across the Continents

It's a small world! Modern tech allows Kimberly Ashbach in the US to have a lesson with Dressage in Hand by Josepha Guillaume in Belgium. Josepha kindly donated this lesson to Kim as the winner of our In Hand Class in our ODI Winter Championships so we caught up with Kim to find out all about the experience.

"What happens when a “high achieving” person, a doer, has a “high energy” horse, a worker bee, and those forces swirl together into a riding lesson? Enter Josepha Guillaume.

We started with the story of my old horse La Scala leading to the purchase Lucy and I promptly became choked into tears, that the universe has once again offered me a special horse. Josepha brought a lovely calming energy, with a beautiful French accent to sooth us into the work, and to allow us to be sad and happy at once without judgment. C'est formidable.

She asked what we needed to work on, and I replied that we have a lot of energy between us, and that Lucy tends to anticipate and get ahead of me. More properly reported, I tend to send busy energy to Lucy who wants to show that she “knows” the ask. So the rhythm/learning of the day was that we learned to vibrate on a lower energy field together, so not to be as overheated molecules, bumping together in space in the “doing.” The beauty, Josepha pointed out, is in the waiting space, in the “transition,” where energy is present and available yet undeployed.

We worked on small steps in the Pluvinel circle, managing the number of steps before a halt and rebalance. She quickly understood to move with purpose and waiting, rather than “showing” what she knew was being asked of her and taking over. We had great moments on the wall of “shoulder in” with intention, moving to “haunches in” then halt. There is a poetry in the flow.

Our happy moments were bouncing the circle of energy up to trot, staying in rhythm and then bouncing down to halt. Counting steps and not allowing energy to dissipate. The beginnings of piaffe in the collected motion. Josepha realized how proud and happy she was in the “playful” activity, with full knowledge, experience and love of this breed herself. So once again my heart is full and I remain in constant gratitude for these windows of opportunity blowing open to us, and our dance through the open window to whatever is next. Do not miss an opportunity to work with an expert in this craft. . . . you need only a wireless, a “meet” connection and a wiliness to surrender to the space provided."

If you'd like to avail of a lesson with Josepha, drop her a message. You don't need to be particularly techy and the benefits of in hand work with your dressage horse really are unparalleled. You can also snap up her book for some dressage homework: packed full of tips and exercises and the perfect way to cement your relationship with your horse, whatever your level.


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