“Let a Horse Be Your Teacher”
Mandala Riding & Awareness Center
Mandala Riding & Awareness Center is situated on the North Mountain between the Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy. The beauty, tranquility and empowerment of Mandala’s 75 acres provide the perfect setting for learning a new awareness.
Mandala is dedicated to developing:
Mandala offers a variety of programs:
Programs are facilitated/taught by Olga Comeau and her Icelandic Horses. Those with * are co-facilitated with experts in those areas.
“Let a Horse Be Your Teacher”
Olga Comeau’s empowering, holistic approach to riding and being with horses will allow you too:
“ Let a Horse Be Your Teacher”
The horses at Mandala are considered co-facilitators/teachers of all the programs. Interacting with horses brings a balance to our lives, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. These four areas of balance are interconnected and changing or improving one area affects all the others.
Being with horses opens an opportunity for personal growth. They build our self-confidence, develop our awareness of self, and allow us to reintegrate mind and body. Horses are highly developed and sensitive creatures and communicating with them helps us to develop our intuitive abilities and trust our sixth sense. They help us develop patience with ourselves as well as others. From them we learn to increase our assertiveness skills and at the same time to recognize the importance of letting go of control. Relationships and partnerships form. They teach us to trust.
Horses help us to develop our communication skills, verbally, through body language and even telepathically. They improve our focus and let us see the need for flexibility. They show us the need for awareness, intent and clarity. They give us courage and let us see the need for humility.
Horses, like all animals, especially prey, are highly aware of their own energy fields or auras and also of the energy fields of the humans that they come into contact with. Because of this, horses are aware of our emotional state long before we come into physical contact with them. To develop a relationship with a horse you need to be very open and honest about your emotions and feelings.
Despite the bad treatment from humans that horses have often had to endure they face life with grace and dignity, accepting their higher role as our teachers with patience, humility and love. Can there be a better example to emulate?
In the competitive horse world, riders are often taught to dominate their horses, to always be “in charge” and totally in control of the decision making process. The horse becomes a means to an end and is replaced when he does not obtain that goal. The horse often lives in an atmosphere of physical and emotional pain, never able to achieve the goal that the species strives for. Many have just shut down. At Mandala the horses are all allowed to be themselves, to express their individuality. Clients attending the workshops are encouraged to be present with the horses, to approach them with respect and friendship, and to come to really know them. Learning to “listen” to another species and trusting your own intuition can be a wonderful experience.
The retired elder horses at Mandala are cared for with love and joy and are an integral part of the programs at Mandala. They are respected as wise teachers and offer workshop participants a deep level of communication and connection.
“Let a Horse Be Your Teacher”
Self-awareness means to really know your mind, body and spirit and to understand the relationship between them. A deeper self-awareness allows you to make a deeper connection with your horse, both on the ground and as a rider. Developing self-awareness will increase your sensitivity and your intuition. “ Allow” and “let” will become important words in your vocabulary, replacing, “make” and even “try”. You will discover an inner balance (mind, body, spirit) that will enhance your riding and please your horse! Good breathing creates relaxation in both your body and your mind. It brings in life giving oxygen and expels carbon dioxide and other impurities. Focusing on your breathing will help you to become aware of the energy flow through your body and allow you to become aware of areas that may be blocked The flow of energy in your body is greatly affected by your breathing. Deep, abdominal breathing will allow the energy to flow through the rider’s body and connect with the horse’s. Horse and rider will flow together and communication will be deepened. Energy blocks within you will create energy blocks within the horse. What will cause the energy to get stuck? Tension, stress, past injury (memory), and a lifestyle that causes you to shut off parts of your body will all create energy blocks. The horse that you ride will be affected by these blocks and may develop comparable blocks within their bodies. Horses are wonderful “mirrors” and reflect back to us very clearly details that we might not notice in ourselves.
How does all this affect your riding?
Shallow or “chest breathing” makes for a shallow connection with the horse. You will not feel deep or centered in the saddle. Shallow, rapid breathing creates erratic, not flowing, movement and affects rhythm. This will cause nervous, rushed or spooky behavior in the horse. You will feel tension in your body and tire more easily. Deep, abdominal breathing promotes relaxation, rhythm, and focus. Deep breathing will soften and widen your hips and allow you to sit deeply in the saddle. It is a huge component of “power position” and centering.
Much attention is being focused on “ horse whispering”. Olga Comeau is a true “ horse listener”. “ So often horses have been desperately trying to tell us something is wrong, but we don’t hear their whispers. Its only when they begin to shout (bite, kick, display behavioral problems etc.) that we pay attention. And too often that attention is in the form of discipline or reaction.” Workshops will allow you to discover Olga’s “listening” techniques, so that you can become an active participant in the horse’s well being, not just a reactive disciplinarian.
Working with our horses requires that we be “in the moment”, 100% present with them and with ourselves. Put at least 75% of your attention on yourself and only 25% on your horse. Look to yourself first if things are not going well. It is very easy to blame the horse! Look at your emotional state…are you being totally honest about how you feel? Be aware of tension in your own body. Check your breathing. Do you feel grounded? And if something is not working, do not be afraid to change it or to stop completely until another day. Strive towards being equal partners with your horse. We all know that horses are large, and safety is always an issue. It is much safer, for all concerned, to work in a cooperative partnership, with a heightened self-awareness and a deeper understanding of a very special species.