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Four Months No Gym Fitness Integration Challenge

Four months and no gym, so hiking, walking, bicycling, riding, and body weight exercises are the focus. Power walking is incredible for integrating the body, cardio, meditation, and proprioception. It is so easy to lose sight of something so simple!

Category: Balance, Fitness, Flexibility, Integrative Band, Rhythm, Selfseeds, Stillness
Tag: bicycling, fitness, hiking, power waking, riding, Selfseeds fitness

Selfseeds Awareness


Fun to develop riders working with their Selfseeds awareness. Feels like a deeper more direct access to each person’s awareness, so the application of techniques is applied more effectively.

Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: horses, rider, riding, Selfseeds awareness

Teachers Past and Present–Thank you!


Jaz, the horse who led me to India. His intelligence and sensitivity left me without answers in the horseman’s world.

1. Horses have been the binding thread that have kept me in my heart and then led me to go deeper.

2. My teacher in Portugal (1989), Master Senor Luis Valenca, showed me a possibility for patience, humility, passion, and integrity towards training horses that I never found again.  Upon reflection, this may have been the beginning of what eventually led me to India.  I recently heard a video by him giving well wishes for 2014 and was struck by the same sense I experienced 25 years ago.  The spiral staircase working its magic of life–how lovely to visit this felt sense from a man with a passion and vision for horses.

(video below)

Christmas wishes from Master Luis Valença

3. The book project of Nancy Kasovich’s life growing up with a master horsemen in the US has answered the questions I left Portugal with. Yes, at one point, the US did house Master horsemen. Her husband, (Bob Smith who is not living) and Master Senor Valenca probably would have shared the same heart and passion for horses. Here is an excerpt from the book. What she learned from years with a master horseman and carried on with in her own walk.


“Simplicity. So much today is based on devices, in order to train more quickly. Simplicity is a lost art.  Animals are very simplistic and a point for us to learn from.  The modern world provides us a constant challenge to stay in touch with this more simplistic aspect of being.  As humans, we need to move towards the horse’s frequency for contact and not expect them to reach towards the human frequency–a good horseman understands this instinctively.  He or she examines the core of the horse, takes the temper out without losing the spirit, builds trust so the horse goes to the rider for guidance as in a true partnership, and makes corrections without emotion, so the horse learns and accepts the corrections. Training is applied for the horse’s development and not for the sake of the trainer’s ego. A good horseman recognizes that the primary layer must be made of calmness, willingness, and obedience–and this takes time. The horse may go on to be trained for a more specialized purpose or event, but that is an additional layer added to the basic foundation. Short cuts just don’t work!” 
The book title “Through The Eyes Of The Horse,” is the epitome of what Nancy believes to be a doorway into the heart and soul of the horse. “To teach oneself to see life as horses do is a huge step forward in a lifelong quest to truly understand and be one with any horse you handle or ride. It doesn’t happen over night and possibly never for many. The old expression, “He/she can really read a horse,” refers to seeing things as they do and reading the body language which follows. To become one with the horse is a goal most people want to attain in whatever discipline is pursued, but it requires patience and observation that starts with quiet time on the ground. You are studying them and they are studying you. Again comes the word feel, you are reaching into the horse’s mind for that feeling of calmness and potential unity.  Riding is no different.”
Bob Smith in action on the polo field
4. Gurudev. The Master of all masters–the Spiritual Master.  Fourth only in the chronology of my life, but probably not to be found in a form again.  What I have learned about life, humanity, and my self has been worth every step of pain and confusion. Will I return to horses? How remarkable is the journey.
Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: distance riding, dressage, horses, India, masters, path to Selfseeds, Portugal, riding, spiritual, teachers

Selfseeds Virtual Riding Program Emerging

Heather is a rockstar once again–she has pulled together Selfseeds Virtual Riding Program.  We are in the process of refining the details and then we need a few volunteer test people to work with the templates.  Please let me know if you would like to help in the “birthing” of this stage of the program. Twenty-first Century technology at work!!

I have been practicing videotaping a friend jumping her horse, so I am in the fire with the learning curve of videotaping, exporting it to the laptop (and a non-Apple laptop), storing the clips in a file, and cheerleading my friend to put them on Youtube. I will be sharing this adventure as well!  Videotaping with a tripod is HIGHLY recommended. By day three, I was starting to get the hang of following the horse, zooming in and out, and starting/stopping at appropriate places. More practice in order, but the eye-hand coordination was beginning. The camcorder I am using is a new one, so I just plugged it in and it created a conversation with the laptop.  We ended up using Quicktime to play them from the laptop.  My friend created a Youtube account and proceeded to load the clips.  I have had the best luck moving them to the desk top and then uploading them to Youtube. Even for the Daily Selfseed videos this process has worked the best.

Heather and I plan on creating support information and videos for this part of the Selfseeds Virtual Riding Program development, but input where people are challenged will help us to help you.  One test person sent short clips from her iPad which worked great!

The current group of assessment videos–a preview of what is to come.  Not all of the assessments are required, but it will provide a library from which we can chose from to better design your personalized program.

Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: horses, Insights, inspiration, Instructions, Observations, Rider development, riding, Selfseeds, Selfseeds Virtual Riding Program

Successful Partners: Consciousness in Being

While searching through my other blog  I found this article that I had written some time ago for a riding publication.   As I was reading it, I was stirred by how relevant feel and timing are for all partnerships whether with a moment in time, an object, nature, or others.  See what you think.

One Form of Partnership

Successful Partners:  Consciousness in Being

After 17 years of ballroom dancing and 40 years of riding, key ingredients to a successful partnership have crystallized.  Feel and Timing. In dancing or riding, these two very simple concepts are married together like the Yin and the Yang if the partners are working to create a three-dimensional relationship:  physical, mental, and sensing.  The concept of a three-dimensional partnership is a more complete pairing than simply two physical bodies moving together. I view the relationship in three layers:  1) the bones/skeletons as a moving X-ray creating stick figures in action, 2) two minds so the stick figures have communication and the possibility for developing synchronized movement, and  3) sensing which is the unspoken part of the partnership– the impression of magic in watching a dynamic, expressive partnership. As a rider and dancer, it fuels my enthusiasm for mastering shared harmony in motion.

Feel and timing are the key ingredients for synchronized movement, but they are also familiar aspects of our daily lives whether we are unloading a dishwasher, parking a car, or navigating a forkful of food into our mouth. Everyone moves through life with unending opportunities to feel. What one feels and how one expresses the feel are personal. I distinguish “feel” as both a receiving or inward sensation and an “expression of feel” as a giving or outward action. A very clear example of these two ideas is in a handshake. In the moment of contact, their is a ‘feel” of the hands, communication begins with each brain analyzing the experience. The handshake can stay at that level as a personal inward experience or it can go farther.   Perhaps, the greeter moves the hand toward the other person, not really pushing but expressing positive intent and the receiver acknowledges the action by meeting the contact with a matching action– both creating an “expression of feel” radiating through the hands.

Some people believe that it is not possible to teach feel. I don’t believe developing feel is a case of teaching, (since feel is already a part of us from before birth), but a case of waking up and refining what is already available. Touching a hot stove (experiencing pain) is a very severe example of waking up a particular area. Dancing and riding have obvious requirements for feel.  There is an initial contact moment when the feel becomes conscious, but how the dialogue continues is the challenge.  Interpretation of the feel, clarification of the message, and consciousness presence each moment is the challenge as the sequence of movements unfolds.  Being fully alive in life requires this same consciousness to what is present in each moment–there really isn’t anything else other than the moment we are in.

After the initial contact to an object, an impression, a scene, or a partner, there is an adjustment to the new awareness–timing.  Almost instantly following the initial assessment there are a series of adjustments created to work with these differences. The adjustments are a combination of conscious and/or unconscious actions–the language in the conversation of timing.  Using mounting a horse as an example, consider the moment a person settles onto a horse’s back. The horse can be confident of this intruder’s action and remain steady and unmoving. Or, the horse can become unsure and draw upon unconscious moments of survival and activate the flight mechanism . Likewise, the rider can sit astride the horse immediately creating a centered, appropriately-toned position, allowing the horse to be minimally disturbed.  Or the rider can brace, stiffen, and clutch, provoking the horse to feel attacked. As riding readers, you instantly begin to feel these different scenarios, leading to an internal reaction, and the brain starts to develop the options for timing and feel to work with the situations at hand.   Non riding readers can also get an emotional and physical glimpse into how easily the same starting point can end up in such different action:  there may not be as much kinesthetic basis for the reaction, but it is visceral.

Feel and timing are a part of every moment of our day.  How conscious we become of these two qualities is personal, but the first step is being present in the moment that is at hand.  The only moment. Partnering will take on a new depth to the experience whether with a moment in time, an object, nature, or others.

Category: Partnering, Selfseeds
Tag: consciousness, dancing, feel, partnering, riding, timing

5 minutes (or more) for yourself

What absolutely invigorates you?  What calms you down and helps you to find inner peace and balance?  What place do you want to find within yourself that feels stress free?  How do you get there?  Do you practice finding that destination on a regular basis?  What happens when you don’t touch into that place?  The Selfseeds personalized 5 is a vast section in itself.  At some point, I would like to create a place that people could submit their personalized 5 minutes to help grow creativity or inspiration for others.  The more I learn how to live in the moment, the more all minutes become personalized 5.  Here are a few that stand out for me.  What about you?



Observing nature


walking behind an elephant





Category: Personalize 5, Selfseeds
Tag: activity, dance, inspiration, joy, motivation, music, nature, riding, senses