Learing How to Create Harmony With My Horse--2016

by L.R.
(Thornhill, Ontario)

Sometimes in life you learn something without realizing it. You have an interest; an itch that needs to be scratched. In a perfect world, you find where you need to be and your journey begins.

And so I came to Saskia Bremmers at Harmony Ranch to learn to ride horses. More specifically, I wanted to learn Western riding. As an outside observer, I liked the whole picture of what a western rider embodied: the relaxed nature of the horse, the easy-going attitude of the rider, the jeans and boots and cowboy hats. I longed to ride off into the sunset, just me and my horse. And while that all sounded wonderful, I soon learned that my way of thinking about riding was too self-centered. When I mentioned to Saskia my dream, she responded by telling me, “If you think riding off into the sunset is easy, you have a lot to learn about horses.”

She was right. Saskia has since taught me not only the fundamentals of riding, but more than that she helped me understand my horses as sentient beings. She taught me about their physicality, their emotions, how I evoke certain feelings through my posture, and about their ailments and their preferences. Her commitment to teach me to see the world through my horses’ eyes, to understand what motivates them and to make each of them a partner rather than a servant has changed my views on what having a horse as a companion is all about. I got it … Harmony Ranch! Saskia was guiding me through a process of harmonizing my feelings and my horses’ feelings as one.

Recently I started hearing about a new western riding discipline called Cowboy Dressage. After viewing videos and reading up on it, I realized that all those wonderful things that Saskia had been teaching us is exactly that. Putting the horse first, riding with a soft feel, creating and building upon the partnership between rider and horse … I’ve been learning all this since the beginning. And now it’s been given a name!

See? I learned the cowboy’s version of dressage without realizing it. And in my world, I found the perfect place in Harmony Ranch and the perfect teacher in Saskia Bremmers.

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