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Being To Doing With Horses In Bozeman, Montana

IMG_0335 Bozeman, Montana Early snow IMG_0365   IMG_0354 (short video below)

What are mindfulness and awareness? Probably opening a big topic with lots of different ideas with that question. In the pilot Equine Awareness and Mindfulness Retreat, Selfseeds and Refined Performance Horsemanship were combined to provide structure to the retreat’s focal points of being, doing, and the transitioning between both while executing tasks as individuals and with the horse . Mindfulness and awareness are both useful tools in this inward based training ground.  Selfseeds was used as the self inquiry template for understanding how to observe and work with being and doing as a human.  The personally examined states were then expanded to work with horses on the ground and under saddle while developing discernment for when the rider becomes separated from being present with the “grass eating” state of the horse. The horses are remarkable mirrors for when the rider/handler looses focus by exhibiting nervousness, loss of focus, pulling away, raising the head, increasing breathing, and many other outward behaviors that diminish safety and performance.

The challenge both Karen and I often face as horse riding/handling instructors is how to help the human to focus and “be” at the level the horse requires.  Horse most likely exist at a lower vibrational frequency (prey and herd based instincts) than humans (predator and higher intelligence/reasoning capacity), so horse’s instincts often rely on noticing this inward change.  Two-leggeds evolutionary step into complex civilizations has often diminished the need for sensing awareness.  We decided to try making the entire pilot retreat based around this point of separation between “being in the doing.”  The participants were hand picked for their openness to explore ground-breaking awareness/mindfulness techniques.

The approach was three steps: Selfseeds, ground work exercises with horses developed through Refined Performance Horsemanship, and riding.  The outcome was remarkable to watch, experience, and teach from.  We often examine the practice of stillness-being-presence with a vague knowing of something inward.  How were we going to “capture” the state of being like capturing a rare, nocturnal animal in the thick of the jungle?  We all know there isn’t going to be a concrete, guaranteed outcome, but we may get closer to something that opens the door for more successful communication with the four-legged.  At least that is the motivational endpoint for this retreat.

Using Selfseeds as a menu for recognizably, useful components for “snaring” being, a kinesthetic reference point was created for the riders and handlers as they became distracted or separated from their horse partners. (Thank you Hans Laxholm for the amazing resistance band feedback system you developed for world class ballroom dancers to better understand how to connect the core  through the extremities and into movement with a partner.!!!!!)  It was incredible for both Karen and myself to use the menu of Selfseeds for constant reminder points that were based on feel, timing, alignment, and sensing. We were able to help facilitate more accurate and lasting changes.

On a personal note, at the deepest point of knowing myself, this is where I would like to focus on teaching and can feel an ease to step back in the horse world from this point of view.  The energetic outcome from aligning to this point for 5 days without separation was life altering.  It felt like a functional level of being at the ashram, but in the practice of doing.  People often think that you cannot function effectively from the point of stillness, but it just takes practice.  It is always there, but it is often difficult to reach or unknown.  After 2 and 1/2 intense years of single-pointed focus on inward being, I am at a new starting point.

Looking forward to the next 6 months of  travel to New Zealand, Australia, and Jaipur, India.  In April, Karen and I are looking at continuing this walk together in some capacity, no expectations, no preconceived ideas, just walking and opening to new possibilities.

A big, big thank you to the open and inquiring participants, the generosity of the horse facility owners to open their doors for us, and to Karen for aligning in a way that I didn’t know was possible with another human–no lint was created.)


(short video below)


Lovely mindfulness read.
Useful tips for developing a meditation practice.
6 Tips for Choosing a Meditation Practice Huffington Post (blog) When I started practicing meditation in 1995, I didn’t tell too many people about it for fear they would think I had joined a cult or turned into some kind of new-aged oddball. If I mention it today, however, I’m more likely to be greeted by comments  See all stories on this topic »
Walking meditation from my room in Jaipur, India
Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: awareness practice, being, Bozeman, community, doing, Montana, refined performance horsemanship, Selfseeds

Equine Awareness and Mindfulness Pilot Retreat Bozeman, MT

Karen has brought it all to life by renting a beautiful space for the horseless gathering, organizing a horse facility for the horse part, and rounding up a wonderful group of participants.  Thank you Karen for all of your thoughtful diligence for this to become a live event!!!  I have the easy part, just getting on the airplane and showing up!

I was sitting with Selfseeds at the gym last night and reflecting on the journey and what growth it has brought to my life. Looking forward to sharing! On one of my stops to MT, I was talking with Liz (a very gifted healer) who helped me “birth” Selfseeds while working on my horses in Southern California. We have shared a very deep connection in the horse/spirit world and she has watched my transformational growth from India.  What a “coincidence” that she will be in Bozeman for the winter–bonus to have Liz and Karen in one place at the same time!

Category: Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: Bozeman Montana, refined performance horsemanship, Selfseeds presentation

Collaboration On The Horizon


Heading to Bozeman Montana to collaborate with Karen Osaski in creating a mini-2 day retreat for riders interested in “Equine Mindfulness and Awareness.”  October 5th and 6th.  Our plan is to spend 4 hours in the morning working with riders and interested people using Selfseeds as the base.  4 hours in the afternoon working with a few riders and interacting with the auditors, so they are included in the observations and discussions Karen and I will share in a collaborative approach to ground work and riding.  During the course of the 2 days, the riders will develop a Self-map of their inner/outer awareness based on the 11 Selfseeds, ground work with the horses, and riding.  The auditors will also have an opportunity to develop part of their Self-map and learn how it influences their partnership with the horse, self, and others.  The focus is on timing, feel, intuition, and refinement in sensing; all are important aspects of subtle communication and intention before taking action. Check out Karen and Sue’s websites to find out the backbone to the retreat.  What a treat to share from the view point of mind, body, and spirit!

Excited to see Yellowstone too!!

Tentative schedule:

8-12 Indoor work as two-leggeds

2-6 Outdoor work with the four-leggeds (horses)

Evening get together to share and discuss observations.

Selfseeds Integrative “I” Band will be in presence at the retreat.  As I continue to heal and work with the Physical Therapist, he is always noting my body awareness and speed for change–I give the work with the “I” band the credit. The feedback and integrative capabilities for inner to outer extremities is stellar!!  I could give workshops and be a crusader for just the “I” band and not even get into the other 10 Selfseeds and feel like people are learning key aspects to their inner/outer Self-map.

(short video clip below)



Category: Integrative Band, Partnering, Selfseeds, Selfseeds Community
Tag: body, mind, Montanta, partnering, refined performance horsemanship, Selfseeds, Selfseeds Integrative "I" band, spirit