Richmond Vale

One Day out of My Life as a Working Student by Michelle

One Day out of My Life as a Working Student by Michelle
With this blog I want to share one of my days with you. This way you get a look inside. Tuesday 14 February 2017: I woke up at 6 o'clock in the morning. Today is laundry day, which I started early because I need to dry my sheets before evening. There is a schedule and everybody has one day a week to do laundry. I planned to bring Jack and Spirit to the field below, near the beach. But when I got outside I saw a small yellow airplane flying very low. Today they're opening the new airport so I assumed it was because of that. Because I wasn't sure how the horses would react I decided to wait. In the meantime I went to "the fruit forest" to cut some Moringa. I brought it to all four horses and hung with them until they were finished eating. [caption id="attachment_10456" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Star fruit trees Meanwhile the airplane was gone so I took the halters and went to Jack and Spirit. I called them and they came to the gate. They were very polite and focusing on me so I put the halter on and walked them outside. When I started walking I noticed that I had just started walking instead of first asking the horse to come. So that was already a good lesson to start with...
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Richmond Vale

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?

Why should you feed your horse with moringa?
[caption id="attachment_10058" align="alignleft" width="320"] Moringa forest My daily task in taking care of the horses is to feed them moringa. Moringa, also called The Miracle Tree, really is a miracle. It's a very healthy plant that can be eaten by humans and animals and it's very easy to plant. Almost all of the parts of the tree are edible, raw or cooked. It contains an incredibly high dose of vitamins, minerals and proteins. At the academy we eat moringa leaves in our salad and drink it in tea. The horses and the pigs eat the whole branches. Raw it tastes a little bit like radish and cooked it has a mild neutral taste. At Richmond vale is a forest where they plant the moringa. There is enough and it grows very fast. For the horses I cut the whole branches. New leaves will appear in several days. If you love horses it's a great joy to spoil them with moringa. They're really fond of it. They know exactly when I'm going to the forest and waiting for me to come back. They're looking with the prettiest faces ever and calling for me. They immediately start eating and won't stop before they are finished. To get the moringa, it is also good exercise and keeps me fit. I cut as many as I can carry. The branches...
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Richmond Vale

Communication with horses

Communication with horses
Most of the time when people communicate with horses it's just one-way. People do speak but mostly fail at listening. When you want to accomplish something with your horse without force it's important that you can understand each other. Communication is speaking and listening. Stina told me that it’s important to take time, wait and listen. Think about what's going on in his mind, where is his attention? To understand what the horse is saying you don’t need much knowledge of horses. Just some good sense and lots of interest will manage. Be curious, when you focus on details it becomes very interesting. It's like communication with people. How often aren't we just listening to confirm our own thoughts instead of being interested in what's going on in someone else's mind? Now I become more aware of how often I ask something while the horse is still processing or focused on something else. Stina taught me that it's not that the horse doesn’t want to listen. It’s just that he can't hear you. When the horse is distracted, wait wait wait. If necessary ask for his attention and then ask your question. Repeat this every time you ask something while the horse is distracted or isn't reacting directly. You also will notice that the horse tells a lot himself, mostly when you are not aware. He...
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Richmond Vale

Compassion

Compassion
I have been working with Stina and practicing "basic" exercises with her four horses: Jack, Spirit, Elena and Magic. Through this it has become more and more clear that there are just a few essentials to build up a real connection with horses. These are: lots of fun, be open minded, enjoy every single step, and be full of life. But the harder I try, the further it goes. I think this happens because we learned to stop listening to our true selves. We all have different kinds of needs. Sometimes there is a need missing and there appears a feeling of displeasure. A long time ago people started teaching each other to get rid of this feeling as soon as possible. That's why I think our mind (ego) is ingenious to come up with all kinds of strategies. It's an external process what makes us dependent, it can easily come and go. It makes us vulnerable because we aren't in control of it. To accomplish what I think is needed is awareness. To develop awareness you need lots of compassion. Compassion is an internal process. It's about allowing everything that’s going on inside to happen. To me it means that it's okay to feel displeasure, just feel it. It’s okay to invent strategies, just let them pass. You even can practice strategies, just be aware of...
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Richmond Vale

Awareness

Awareness
I came to St. Vincent horse school because I want to learn how to develop a real connection with my horses. After just one week I have learned already so much! I have two miniature horses. Every day I spend lots of time with them to provide in their needs, but I'm missing something. The first lesson with Stina was all about social behaviour and politeness. When I met her horses I saw something I had never seen before. Very polite and well-mannered horses but still pure and natural. Not drilled by training but more like they had a lovely nurturing with very clear boundaries. The perfect environment where everybody is allowed to speak but also listens. So I realized my minis aren't polite at all, they behave like spoiled kids. To accomplish this kind of environment you need a whole new mindset. You can't use ego, productivity and focusing on results. You need the whole process to grow and for that you need awareness. To develop awareness it's important you learn to listen to your intuition. Your intuition can tell you exactly what your boundaries are, what you need and how you can react in a very clear and peaceful way. But this is not so easy. My mind is struggling because my ego really wants to interfere. The biggest challenge for me is, even...
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