by: Safia Khider
The reason: it’s not just about learning horsemanship, it’s also about getting life lessons! How can I tell you this after only 2 weeks in Colorado and one into the HHC Part 1? Let me unfold it.
My journey with horses started when I was a little girl, totally drawn to horses, feeling a connection beyond words. Living in Morocco for most of my childhood, I was totally horrified by the way horses, mules and donkeys were treated and the contact with them through a horse club did not please me at all. Something in me was screaming it was all wrong.
Before stepping onto a communication professional path, I had this dream of learning the “psychology of horses” (as I verbalised it at the time)… Although working in an office in Paris, I found my way into “natural horsemanship” thanks to special connections that led me to Saskia Machaczek, a talented horsewoman who had learnt everything from Pierre Blin (great French horseman). Building strong ties with her made me realise that you can work differently with horses. Totally drawn to this work, I decided to move out to Marrakech, change my lifestyle and hopefully get to work with horses with less force and more softness.
A horse club owner, Radoine Elhaoussa, very generously gave me permission to ground work any horse. I realised quickly that the toolbox learnt with Saskia was not enough for me. My interest in horse coaching helped me understand that the horse mirrors that we have inside demands congruency and authenticity. I could see Saskia had it in her: clear intention and control of her energy. So that left me with one question: “how could I get there?”… I was offered to work as a groom and junior riding instructor at that same horse club; a 2-year experience that confirmed what I felt deep down: we have to give the horse a voice!
How to? That question brought me to Anna Twinney. Her story, in the book “Horse as teacher”, left me breathless. I couldn’t read further and mailed her. I felt the urge to learn from a teacher who had that same compassion for horses and the skills to teach true horsemanship. I felt I had found it all in Anna, who very kindly offered to come and make a demonstration in the horse club in Marrakech. She then, also very generously, offered that I come as an intern in her ranch for 3 months, a way of sponsoring me to do the HHC! A unique opportunity, a special and kind offer as it is the very first time an intern would get to stay at her home.
The chance of my life! Why? Because I feel no one incorporates all that is needed with a horse like Anna does. She’s experienced in the body language communication for 20 years. I realised there was more to it, that it was also about adjusting your energy since horses are masters at reading energy. This first week of HHC has shown me that a lot of the “natural horsemanship” seen so far is still about dominance. HHC is about shifting the mind set, reconditioning it to do what’s right for the horse and get this partnership we’re looking for.
Do we need more time to get results with Anna’s unique method? No! There’s no showmanship; it’s not an ego trip, and it’s not about appearing great with the horse. It’s about making it right for him, asking not telling, and having constant awareness of oneself. Intention, alignment of mind, heart and body are crucial.
My wish is for the people in Morocco to start feeling what I’m feeling with Anna’s guidance and the horses. A lot of the people in Marrakech are interested in knowing what will come out of this experience. So my goal is to get prepared as much as possible to get Anna’s method known in Morocco so it becomes a better place for horses. My current blog on this unique journey so people can follow me is: seconnecteraucheval.wordpress.com