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Posts Tagged ‘Cavalia’

LovevLimits-horseandriderbooks

I think it is Buck Brannaman who has often likened working with horses to parenthood. And, as a horse person and a mom, I concur it is strikingly similar. Loving someone and yet setting limits and saying “No” can be an exhausting act of balance. You don’t want to err too soft or too hard…and even when you think you might have it right, you cringe when you see that look of hurt in your child’s eyes after he’s been remonstrated; you feel badly when your horse sulks a bit after you push his nose away from your pocket.

Faced with this challenge, many of us wonder how the “magicians” of the horse world do it–how those who so obviously have close connections with their horses manage to find that balance between love and limits.

In GALLOP TO FREEDOM, the book he wrote with his wife, Magali Delgado, renowned horseman Frédéric Pignon explores this topic at length. And seeing as his spellbinding liberty acts were what made the original rendition of Cavalia an international phenomenon (he and Magali toured with their horses as part of the original lineup from 2003 to 2009), you have to think that maybe he’s got something in the mix about right:

I allow absolutely no biting or jostling: this is a rule that I start establishing with a young horse from the first day I work with him. In fact, with one that I do not know, I impose a strict limit as to how close he approaches me. No two horses are the same but as a guide I would suggest a distance of a forearm. Confidence breeds respect and vice versa. In liberty training, if there is mutual confidence between us, I can allow myself to tap the horse on his legs with my whip without causing him to run away—but only if my action is a justified reaction to something wrong or disobedient that he has done.

A common mistake is to do too much “snuggling up” to a horse from the beginning. You should keep the distance appropriate to the stage of your relationship. I don’t immediately let a horse invade my space. Quite apart from the danger of being bitten, it puts you on the wrong footing. Once there is total confidence and respect in both directions it becomes another matter.

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It is not easy to define rule making. It may seem from what I have said that there are few rules and that the horse is encouraged to take the initiative. However, it is the case that rules are not only essential but that the horse functions the better for accepting certain guidelines. Here is the crux of the situation: you must not impose unreasonable rules that the horse feels he cannot accept with a willing spirit.

Man has deprived the horse of his natural state; the horse has been dragged into the world of humans and therefore it is the foundation stone of our relationship that we earn his respect before anything else. He has lost his freedom but we can give him protection, security, and respect. In return, he will give us respect and affection and recognize the behavioral limits that we set together.

In order to become important to a horse, we cannot remain neutral. I have to impose laws and make it absolutely clear what is not allowed. At the same time, I know that horses often crave reassurance even more than liberty so I must provide this. I have to encourage this craving and convince them that I am the person to satisfy the need.

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It has always amazed me how quickly a good chiropractor or osteopath convinces a horse that he is important to him. The horse understands in no time at all that the osteopath will relieve him of his aches and pains and therefore accepts him as a friend. This is why I think it is so important to spend time reassuring a horse and helping him relax rather than treating him with rewards. I often spend a quarter of an hour in the company of a horse, either in his stall or in the field, without asking anything of him. I just rub him gently and caress him and try to show him that there is all the time in the world; I am not going to rush him and I’m not going to make unreasonable demands.

If one of my liberty horses gives another a nip. I give him a tap with my whip. He knows he shouldn’t bite another horse and as long as I tap him with the right amount of strength, he will accept it; he will even put his head on my shoulder as if to say “I know, I know.” But if he only “looks” as though he is going to bite another horse and I give him a sharp tap instead of a warning word, that is not fair and he knows it. He runs away and this time I have to make it up to him by going to him. Even after an hour’s work I may still see in his eye that he is hurt and depressed.

The secret is to deploy the right amount of warning signals when I see a horse has something naughty in mind. “Don’t even think about it,” is a common enough warning between people and I have to find the equivalent for the horse, but it has to be one that he associates with his intention. He then says in effect, “Fair game.”

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For more on Pignon and Delgado’s ideas about establishing a balance between love and limits, check out their bestselling books GALLOP TO FREEDOM and BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER: YOU AND YOUR HORSE.

CLICK HERE for more information.

And, don’t miss your chance to train with them in person! They are doing a limited number of clinics in the US in March, or you can join them at their farm in Provence in May for a special retreat experience. For more information CLICK HERE.

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small business based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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fandtemp

When you truly love someone, it isn’t just about holding on. It is also about letting go. This Valentine’s Day remember those who are no longer part of your life, as well as those who now fill it. Be thankful for the time you’ve had with every human, horse, dog, cat, or other being that was special to you in some way.

In BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER: YOU AND YOUR HORSE, Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado, the original stars of Cavalia, focus on the evolution of the relationship you can have with your horse. As thrilling as the beginning can be, there is still, most always, an eventual end. For Pignon, his most heartbreaking loss was that of his beloved Templado, the gorgeous and rebellious stallion who many around the world witnessed as the soul of the original Cavalia show, his white mane so long it touched the ground, his eyes never leaving his human partner as his hooves danced across the stage.

Here is the letter Pignon wrote to Templado in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER…a love letter that said goodbye:

It was the evening we got back from Spain after two months of Cavalia shows. As always, you were waiting for us and I spent an hour with you, telling you how great it was that you were still holding on even though your health had been deteriorating steadily for some time. But on that evening, you did not appear to be too bad and you were clearly glad to see us. I felt anxious despite your good humor so I followed my instincts as always and went back after dinner to spend more time with you. Next morning I gave you a good wash down; I don’t know why but I felt you had to be clean. You let me do it with patience even though you had long since gotten bored with showers. I called Magali to come and see how long your mane was now: it touched the ground. I let you out into the back yard to graze and then visit your friends whom you enjoyed irritating a little. It made me smile, but underneath I knew…. The sun was climbing into the sky: it was going to be a hot July day. At midday a friend came to see me. It was as if I were waiting for a bus: was it coming or not? Doubtless he could feel my anxiety.

Sipping coffee in the house I had one eye on you as you grazed in the garden. Suddenly, you lay down. I knew the bus had come. I ran outside to get you up: it was not good for you to be lying down in that merciless sun. You obliged and followed me to your stall where you lay down again. A sense of panic continued to rise in my throat. I knew the moment I dreaded had now arrived. I admit that for a second or two I wished I were miles away but your calm restored my reason and I knew you needed me to be there. We had to live this moment together: you to leave, and me to accept your going.

I came near you. I felt your warmth as you began to breathe deeply. I laid my hand on your head as a mother would on her child’s. You were perspiring and growing frailer by the minute. You tried to get up a few times perhaps to look out at the meadow where we had run and played together so often. You seemed to accept that it was time to leave and that there would be no returning. At the end you looked like a foal who had just been born and I was trying to tell myself that this was but life’s cycle: the coming and the going. Your strength was failing. You made a little movement of your head and then you lay still.

I understood at a profound level that life goes on: this last page had turned and the great book of your life had shut. I felt that nothing would be the same again for me. We had drunk the nectar of life from the same cup. You taught me so much and now being with you at your death the experience had helped me to understand life at its most intense.

Templado, I feel your energy around me; it radiates from the walls, the ground, and the longeing ring where we lived so many intimate moments together. I think of how sometimes a little white butterfly would circle about our heads. Chiefly, I think of you, my beautiful white horse, I picture your mane flying in the wind, and I smile….

 

We are all so lucky to have horses in our lives. Today, hug your horse, thank him for being there for you–a constant friend, companion, and inspiration.

 

Trafalgar Square Books, the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, is a small company based on a farm in rural Vermont.

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F&MClinic2016

When Cavalia—the amazing equestrian-themed spectacular that has now toured North America for over a decade—first dazzled audiences in 2003, few people knew of Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado. But the whole world was soon abuzz with talk of the display these two remarkable individuals and their unparalleled cast of beautiful horses provided their audience.

“With his wife Magali and her sister Estelle, Pignon is the key to Cavalia,” said Jacki Lyden on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

“Pignon engages in a scene of blissful play with three beautiful white stallions…the impression is one of an intense bond between horses and man—the most emotionally charged moment of the show,” raved Don Shirley in the Los Angeles Times.

“I believe that Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado are two of the finest horsemen in the history of horsemanship,” affirms renowned behaviorist, trainer, and founder of the Tellington Method Linda Tellington-Jones.

Now, for the FIRST TIME EVER, Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado, authors of GALLOP TO FREEDOM and BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE, are coming to the US to teach their methods and share their ideals, and YOU can join them!

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MARCH 19 & 20, 2016

Presented by Firehawk Ranch

Held at the beautiful Valhalla Stables in Aubrey, Texas

Frédéric will guide attendees interested in connecting with their horses at Liberty, and Magali (a Grand Prix dressage rider as well as performer) will share valuable dressage principles.

Liberty with Frédéric is $400 for 2 days, 1-hour private lesson each day.

Dressage with Magali is $350 for 2 days, 1-hour semi-private lesson each day.

Auditors (limited seating) is $75 per day if confirmed before February 19, $80 per day after.

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The application and video submission deadline is February 15, 2016, and we understand the clinic is already almost full, so hurry to be part of this amazing opportunity!

To apply to train with Frédéric and Magali, register to audit, or for more information, CLICK HERE.

 

The bestselling books GALLOP TO FREEDOM and BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information about Frédéric and Magali’s books.

 

Have you seen Frédéric and Magali’s newest show? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see it tour North America?

 

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Photo by Gabriele Boiselle from Building a Life Together--You and Your Horse by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado

Photo by Gabriele Boiselle from Building a Life Together–You and Your Horse by Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado

The sun changes this time of year…the light feels softer, pensive, less insistent. In many places this signals a shift of routine with our horses as competitive seasons wind up and our partners get a few weeks of well-deserved turnout before the frosts hit the late summer grass and fallen leaves hide any remaining morsels beyond reach of all but the most insistent grazers.

It is a good time for deep breaths, deep thought, and a few reminders of what this horse thing is all about. Here then are three messages from TSB authors to carry with you to the barn this week:

 

“On numerous occasions I have been confronted with the intelligence of horses in the course of their training. They rewarded the patience with which I tried to understand their characters by giving their best, just as they manifested their unwillingness when I demanded too much or had been unjust or too fast in their training. These are the moments of truth when the rider has to pause and reconsider his line of conduct. Whenever there are disagreements, it is best to seek the fault in oneself.”

–Alois Podhajsky, My Horses, My Teachers

 

“The art of training young horses is learning how to be fresh every day and not let their problems overwhelm your own spirit. Good training exalts the horse and the rider. When you realize how lucky you are to live the life of a horseman, there is nothing about the lifestyle that should be constantly depressing. Any authentic life will have some rough patches…You cannot control fate, you can only control your reaction to it. Training horses gives you chances to practice this every day.”

–Paul Belasik, Nature, Nurture, and Horses

 

“Everyone wants instant results but horses have their own rhythm, closer to nature, and at variance with any ideas involving deadlines, profitability, or even over-enthusiastic pressure toward some goal. Whether it concerns a horse being prepared for a show, or someone who has invested in a Grand Prix horse, or just an amateur rider with one hour per week to spare, there is only one rhythm to work to and that belongs to the horse.”

–Frederic Pignon, Building a Life Together–You and Your Horse

 

Find more horse wisdom from Trafalgar Square Books in our online bookstore–CLICK HERE TO VISIT NOW.

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“At the outset of any new relationship, there is the joy of getting to know someone and of doing things together. A horse develops his interest partly because he likes to play or just hang out with us. With very shy horses, a glance is enough to tell me what I need to know: I get an idea of his nature and want to make contact even if it is not in the way I had originally planned. If there is a certain spark that tells me he wants to make contact, then I know I have enough love and patience to create the right working relationship and achieve a good conclusion—even if it takes years.

“It is precisely this preparedness to devote hundreds of hours of work over many years that is important. If you have not felt this divine spark and do not believe strongly enough in the journey to devote all the time and love that is required then it will only be boring—both for you and for the horse—but, if you have felt the spark and have faith, then it is my conviction that the horse will always do his utmost to work with you and win your love.

“When I have found myself just assessing a horse’s merits rationally, the relationship has always remained platonic. This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable basis for a good working relationship for some other people, but not for us. It would not be satisfactory either for us or for the horse. In order to be properly content, a horse must have a real attraction and be in the position to forge a firm bond.”

—Magali Delgado in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

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CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

“Ethologists hold up their hands in horror at he concept of anthropomorphism, but I am convinced that you have to put yourself into the horse’s skin if you are to gain an understanding. This does not mean that you can assume the horse will react to every situation similarly to a human reaction. It is more a matter of being aware of the difficulties the horse experiences in communicating with a human and sometimes of the conflicting demands made upon him.

“What is evident and causes problems is that a horse has a developed sense of fairness and justice. We have to be fair in the analysis of a situation and in our actions that result from this. Some horses will rebel against what they perceive as unjust. They notice immediately if their own signals have not been received and decoded, but react wonderfully when they know they have. It is not a matter of giving in to their wishes but of acting justly and taking into account their interests, their comfort, and indeed ours at the same time!”

—Frédéric Pignon in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE

 

Magali and Frédéric gained international fame when they toured North America and Europe as the founding stars of the hit show Cavalia, from 2003 to 2009. They are currently performing a new show in Europe, with a hand-picked cast of 50 horses and 30 performers. Check out EQUI:

 

 

Both BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE and GALLOP TO FREEDOM by Magali Delgado and Frédéric Pignon are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT US

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We all crave that special connection with our horses.

We all crave that special connection with our horses.

 

We all crave “connection” with our horses—you know, that special “something” that made The Black follow Alec Ramsay off the island and swim out to the ship that would “rescue” them both from the lonely beach that had borne their friendship. Perhaps you spend hours trailing your horse around his pasture. Maybe at night you fluff up the shavings in the back of the stall and make a pillow for your head (you figure you need to be up early to feed anyway).

Our best horsemen give us some rather more practical tools that really can help us attain this dream. And how do you know when you’ve done it? Here are 5 ways TSB authors say you can tell you’ve truly connected with your horse.

 

1  It takes the slightest shift of your weight in the saddle, or the most subtle variation of thought to get your horse to move his hind feet wherever you want them. 

In the DVD series 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN we see the very best example of this, demonstrated by Buck in front of a group of clinic attendees. “It’s not about training a horse,” says Buck. “It’s about getting a horse with you. It’s about becoming one mind and one body.”

 

2  You can ride “by the tips of your fingers.”

In THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS, authors Dominique Barbier and Dr. Maria Katsamanis say that when true “lightness” is achieved, the horse moves as if on his own, without the rider interfering. “I use the idea of holding the reins only with the ‘tips of the fingers’ because it makes it impossible for the rider to be strong, to pull, or to force,” they write. “Holding the reins, like they are ‘dirty,’ like something we do not want to touch…The reins should be something we don’t want to touch unless we have to….If we ride the horse lightly, he will be light with us—as light as we want him.”

 

3  You can just “be still” around each other.

In her new book 3-MINUTE HORSEMANSHIP, author Vanessa Bee says,”Horses seek quiet thoughtful people…Most of us are so busy planning the future we don’t give the horse our undivided attention…Just ‘being’ with a horse can be very relaxing and enjoyable.”

 

4  When you walk away, your horse follows you.

In the wonderful introduction to natural horsemanship for kids HOW TO SPEAK HORSE, authors Andrea and Markus Eschbach explain that through basic groundwork, you can teach your horse to understand that when your back turns toward him, it means you want him to follow you. “When the horse chooses to come to you at your invitation,” they say,”he has accepted you as his leader…You will realize how much fun it is to play with and train your horse as the invisible connection of your partnership becomes stronger and stronger.”

 

5  You sense how your horse is feeling—you just “know” what he needs or wants.

In BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE, Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado talk about how in the company of horses, we learn to listen to our intuition because our intellect and human experience do not always supply the answers. “When Templado [the famous white stallion, seen by millions of people in the hit show Cavalia] was near the end of his life, Magali and I both had the strongest feeling on the same evening that we should bring him home,” says Frederic. “As soon as he got into his stall, he began to recover his energy and his love of life. I know we were right in what we did.”

 

Find books and DVDs with the best ways to find the connection you want with your horse at the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR STORE

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BLThere

In 2009, TSB released GALLOP TO FREEDOM, the first book from the extraordinary French horse trainers Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado. Frédéric and Magali were the original stars of the hit traveling show Cavalia, with which the couple toured beginning in 2003 when the Cirque-du-Soleil-like performance—with horses—first took North America by storm. Over six years Frédéric, Magali, and their cast of beautiful stallions performed before more than two million spectators in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Now, five years after we published their first book, the fabulous follow-up is available. In BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER–YOU AND YOUR HORSE, Frédéric and Magali offer a series of practical and ethical guideposts to help build an honest, open, happy life with horses. Hundreds of emotionally charged photographs by internationally renowned photographer Gabriele Boiselle provide deliciously enlightening glimpses into the kind of relationships we all dream of having with our horses, and with each other.

In celebration of their second book on horses and horsemanship, here is a look back at part of writer Elizabeth McCall’s 2009 interview with Frédéric and Magali:

 

Q: You dedicated your book GALLOP TO FREEDOM to Dao and Templado, two of your world-famous Lusitano stallions. Describe what each horse contributed to your philosophy.

M: For me, Dao opened a door to encourage me to work deeply on the mind and on the body of the horse. It was like a revelation every day I was riding him. It was like, “Uh-oh, there is another way to work. Open your mind. Open your senses.” Dao showed me that.

F: When I started to work with Templado I understood that he was very special. He was one of those horses who makes you understand that every horse is very unique. There is no rule. There are no mathematical ways to understand a horse. Templado was a unique personality. He was not like the hundreds of horses I worked with before, and he made me understand that when we work with a horse, we have to adapt ourselves and even adapt everything we’ve learned [before] to this new unique personality. He taught us a lot, but the way he opened my mind…about working with a new horse using all we know and trying to learn more. When you work with a horse, I think it’s important to realize that he could probably teach you much more than you already know.

 

Frederic, Magali, and Dao on the beach in Malibu, California.

Frederic, Magali, and Dao on the beach in Malibu, California.

 

Q for M: There are some incredible shots of you on the beach in Malibu, California, in the book. You were galloping Dao without a bridle in Paradise
Cove! Were you sure he would stop?

M: At the beginning, I was feeling like he could gallop all the way to Los Angeles and we would both be happy. (Laughs) Both of us we were so excited. It was such a special feeling to be free with him on the beach, I didn’t care if he was running fast and I don’t think he cared either. You know that feeling—the horse starts to run and you don’t want him to stop. It’s a magical moment in your life. We did a lot of cantering on the beach that day.

Q for F: The book has photos of your two Friesian stallions Phoebus and Paulus when they first arrived on tour [with Cavalia] at one-and-a-half years old. It also shows them all grown up, performing at liberty. How did you train them on tour, along with performing, rehearsing, moving from city to city, and everything else?

F: That was the difficult part of having young horses on tour. It was a work in progress. It was interesting to let them learn how it works with
music and a show, but sometimes they were like two Friesian teenagers. That’s why now, I’m enjoying the time I can spend with them. It’s much
easier, but they had good experience [on tour] and now they are very professional.

 

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Q: You always look cool and calm in photos where you’re performing. Don’t you ever get nervous when you’re going on the stage with a horse for
the first time or competing?

M: For me it’s not nerves. I’m really excited. When I have a new horse, I’m always really excited by the results of my horse in the show and to see the reactions of the people. For me, it’s like a positive energy, but I know it’s not the same way for everybody. I’m lucky. I’ve been in shows since I was very young and I know myself very well. I need that little point of excitement inside when my heart is going boom, boom! (Laughs) But I’m not afraid and I’m not tense. I’m just very focused, concentrating, and full of energy and that has helped me a lot for the competition and for the show.

Q: So that helps the horse stay calm and focused too?

M: Yes, it’s like in my mind and my body I tell the horse, “OK, relax.” I speak a lot through my body.

Q for F: How do you deal with pressure situations, like when you’ve got five loose stallions to control?

F: You have to first work on your own stress. It’s why I do yoga. We have to first control ourselves and our emotions. If you can control yourself, then you can help the horses.

Q: What do you hope that people will realize about horses after they read your book?

M: I just hope that we can help people to look at their horses differently, to think their horses can understand. I hope the stories, from Dao to Mandarin to Templado, open people’s minds. Maybe if your horse is reacting he has pain, or he needs more attention. Look in his eyes and try to come back to a natural feeling. Don’t get distracted by everything around you. You’re not focused on your horse when you’re thinking, “I have the children, my job is bad, I have many bills to pay.” Just focus on your horse—try to read him and try to understand what he needs from the moment you are with him. I hope the stories we shared about the horses that taught us so much, like Dao and Templado, can help many people come back to some basics—first let your heart speak and your feelings. Then, forget everything going on around you and just think of your horse.

F: What we tried not to do is just method. There are already lots of books on that. What I observe most of the time is that people use methods like horses are bicycles. They’re horses. A horse is a big adventure when you start to be with one. We wanted to offer some new ideas of how to work with horses. What we wanted is for people to ask questions about what they’re doing and say, “Why we don’t rethink the situation with horses?”

 

Watch Frédéric share his “adventures” with a couple of his liberty horses in this video:

 

“When it comes to horse people, Frédéric Pignon and Magali Delgado are the most outstanding souls I know,” says photographer Gabriele Boiselle who provided many of the images in GALLOP TO FREEDOM and all of the photographs in the new BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE. “The smile of Magali, the hands of Frédéric; I can’t think of anyone else with such a gift for intuitive communication and connection with horses…[Frédéric] has another wonderful talent, an ability to convey his wisdom and experience in words, in moving stories that inspire and motivate others. He is not only a wonderful horseperson, he can share that part of himself so that people understand and can try his methods with their own horses. Everything with Magali and Frédéric is about love and horses…I’m very privileged and happy to work with them both…Over time, our relationships have brought about deep connection, deep satisfaction, and deep insights, bringing us to the conclusion that what can be done with horses can best be done with love.”

 

GALLOP TO FREEDOM and BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE are available from the TSB online bookstore where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

 

Federic, Templado, and Fasto take a break in Malibu.

Federic, Templado, and Fasto take a break in Malibu.

 

 

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, TSB couldn’t help but think of two individuals who clearly love horses and how life can be fuller and more joyful when horses are part of it. TSB is proud to announce the soon-to-be-released new book from Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon, the founding stars of the hit show Cavalia and authors of the bestselling book GALLOP TO FREEDOM. Their new book, BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE is their meaningful, beautiful, and personal account of  how people can begin, and then nurture, thriving and happy relationships with horses.

 

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“For the horse and our relationship to evolve in a good way, we have to remain open,” writes Frederic in BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE. “In my imagination, I see open doors between us so that we always feel that physically and mentally we can achieve anything we set our minds to. If we rest on the principles we have been taught or learned, the relationship with the horse will stay shuttered. Every day I try to make a fresh start: this is a new day for me and for this horse I am with. What will happen? If I do not take this approach—and there are plenty of people in the horse world who do not—I shall never really get through to this horse and learn about his true nature.

“With the passage of time and all the experiences we have had, both good and bad, Magali and I gave up wanting to control everything and, in fact, we listen more and more to what the horses tell us they want to do….To me, being open means being in tune with myself and others, not having immutable principles but always having the wish to be as fair as possible. For the horse to have a beneficial effect on us we must remain open. We must entertain a sense almost of abandon so that we are always ready to be surprised and moved, and ready to question all our previous experience in order to find the true way forward.”

 

Watch Magali and Frederic demonstrate their love of horses in these spectacular clips from Equitana 2013:

 

BuildingLifeTogether

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And CLICK HERE to pre-order a copy of BUILDING A LIFE TOGETHER—YOU AND YOUR HORSE by Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon for the special horse person (and Valentine!) in your life.

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Linda Tellington-Jones doing Tail TTouches on one of Frederic Pignon's horses.

Linda Tellington-Jones doing Tail TTouches on one of Frederic Pignon’s horses.

TSB author, horse trainer, and animal behaviorist Linda Tellington-Jones sat down with world renowned liberty trainers and performers Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado during the first weekend of Equitana in Essen, Germany. Linda, Frederic, and Magali discuss the ways Tellington TTouch, the specialized bodywork that forms one important piece of the Tellington Method, dramatically reduces stress in the sport or performance horse, as well as increasing the horse’s desire to work with you, in and out of the arena.

“[Tellington TTouch] is a way to ‘think’ about being with horses,” says Frederic, who rose to international fame alongside his wife, a dressage rider, in the hit show Cavalia. “It gives you a way to find what your horse likes, so you need only a light and momentary touch to relax him in a stressful situation.”

In the Equitana presentation, Frederic shares the story of Guizo, a young stallion who appeared in Cavalia when it was touring North America.

“I worked with Frederic and Guizo in Dallas, Texas,” explains Linda. “Guizo was the youngest stallion of the three who worked at liberty in Cavalia. He performed beautifully, but was concerned about the older stallions and had a tendency to bite at them. Frederic had been managing this by keeping Guizo slightly apart on the upper stage and asked me if I had any thoughts of how to give the stallion more confidence to stop this habit. I showed Frederic how Mouth TTouch can effect the emotional behavior of a horse by quietly working the outside of the mouth with the flat hand and then slipping the thumb into the mouth. At the same time it is important to hold the intention of the behavior you want—in this case, to hold the vision of Guizo keeping his mouth quiet, breathing normally, and relaxing around the other stallions (I discuss the idea of training and riding with ‘intention’ in depth in my new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL).

“Working the lips and nostrils affects the limbic system—the part of the brain that controls emotions as well as affecting the ability to learn. It sounds so simplistic, but it worked! Frederic told me that the first evening he took maybe 30 seconds when Guizo entered the arena and spoke quietly to him, lowered his head a little, and slipped his thumb into the mouth. Guizo was able to work quietly together with the other stallions for the first time!”

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“TTouch is good for the mind of the horse, and also the body,” adds Magali. “I warm my horses up well before a performance, but then they must stand backstage and may get a little cold, a little stiff. I do two minutes of work with the horse’s shoulders and tail [Shoulder Release and Tail TTouches] backstage, and just before riding I can promise you my horse is very relaxed, his back very fluid, able to do all the movements easily.”

Linda talks about the work she has done with Frederic and Magali, as well as over 20 other top dressage riders, trainers, and horses, in her new book DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL, which is available now from the TSB online bookstore.

GALLOP TO FREEDOM, the first book about training philosophy by Frederic and Magali, is also available (CLICK HERE TO ORDER).

Check out this video of the session with Linda, Frederic, and Magali at Equitana! (Note: They speak in English and German throughout the video–there is great stuff here in both languages, so be sure to watch through!)

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Frederic Pignon, co-author of the bestseller GALLOP TO FREEDOM, with his stallions on the beach in Malibu.

“I think Frédéric Pignon and [his wife] Magali Delgado have done a tremendous amount for equestrian sport in a way everyone can appreciate. The liberty work Frédéric does is just incredible. It really does take the beauty of the horse to everyone,” said Hilda Gurney, American dressage pioneer, Olympian, trainer, and judge after seeing the hit equestrian “spectacular” Cavalia when it took North America by storm.

The beauty of Frederic and Magali’s work on stage has moved and inspired many souls around the world, in stage shows, liberty exhibitions, and through Magali’s success in the dressage arena. Their philosophy has establishing a joyful and respectful union with the horse at its heart–something we all aspire to, no matter our favored discipline or breed, no matter our riding goals or competitive ambitions.

Gallop to FreedomFrederic and Magali shared much of what makes their work with horses so special in their book GALLOP TO FREEDOM, the international bestseller full of gorgeous color photos of these two masterful trainers and their stunning horses.  Check out this excerpt from the book, which is available to order from the TSB online bookstore:

Learning to Read Your Horse

The horse makes signals with every part of his body. I have to learn to read his thoughts by watching his nostrils, his ears, his eyes, and his general attitude. His eyes are particularly important to learn to read because they are like an opening through which I can see what is going on inside his head. He is telling me with subtle signals how he feels. Is he happy? Once we start working or playing, I ask myself, is he satisfied with what we have done together? I try to remember at what moment I was aware of progress and how I achieved it.

Misunderstanding produces an even greater barrier between us than ill treatment. Understanding will, on the other hand, begin to forge a link between the two of us. I will begin to feel that I am on the same wavelength as my horse and that he is accepting me. Even at rest, you can learn much from observing your horse. Take the ears for example: what might his ear movements mean? If a horse moves his weight from foot to foot, does this indicate something? And what about when he shakes his withers? How do you interpret the look of his eye? Is it a “soft” or a “hard” eye, and what does this mean about him? How does your horse stand in his stall when he is contented? If he is unhappy, does he stand differently? If he has an uncomfortable feeling in his stomach does he not show this by the way he stands?

It would be so simple if I could give you hard and fast answers to all these questions, but life is not so simple. You could not do such a thing in the analysis of human behavior.

What I can say to you is watch out for all these indications; allow your instincts to tell you what your senses observe. Very soon you will automatically take in the things you have learned to look for and you will have the ability to look for other more subtle signs. You will also see that the same signal does not have the same root cause for every horse or even for the same horse every day.

At this point, you may throw up your hands and say that this is all too ambiguous and too much to learn. But you have already learned to do all these things with other people. When you meet with someone you know well after you have been apart for a time, can’t you see in an instant when something is wrong? Why should “reading” a horse not be similar?

Frederic and his famous stallion Templado "at play."

Frederic and his famous stallion Templado “at play.”

The Importance of Concentration

I always watch the horse with every fiber of my being: I not only try to read him with my senses of sight, hearing, and smell, I concentrate my mind on communicating my own thoughts and listening to his. I concentrate so hard that other thoughts are excluded.

People understand that there are situations in everyday life demanding total concentration; mysteriously, it may not occur to the same people that, in dealing with a horse, there is the same requirement. Perhaps someone will allow himself and the horse to be interrupted by a phone call, which not only breaks the person’s own concentration, but that of the horse. When you work with a horse you ask him to leave whatever he is doing and pay attention to you. You are trying to reach the same wavelength as that of the horse and, if you allow an interruption on your end, you are being disrespectful to him. We humans may be able to switch on and off, or from one subject to another, at the drop of a hat but a horse is not so flexible. If he has decided to give you the benefit of his full concentration, and you lightly drop it because something more important to you crops up, he might not want to risk giving you the same degree of attention again.

I often use breathing to relax both the horse and myself, and to help develop concentration. I breathe out in a way the horse can understand and copy. All my horses learn to do this even if, like Guizo, it takes a long time. With him it took me a whole year but as soon as he understood and began to breathe with me he became much more relaxed. When I am doing this work, I like to be alone and not have other people present or watching me.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER GALLOP TO FREEDOM NOW AND HAVE IT IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

“Frédéric and Magali exemplify the art of humane training and illustrate the magical results of what is meant by the human-animal bond.” —Karen Rosa, Vice President, Film & Television Unit, American Humane

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