History of Holistic Horses
Currently Holistic Horses is a student
focused company offering 'whole-istic' learning skills to enhance your
relationship with your horse. We use leading teachers in each field to
help you achieve your dreams... but this is not how we started!
PLEASE NOTE HOLISTIC HORSES NO
LONGER OPERATES AS A RIDING CENTER.
My life with horses began at the age of 3 when I was sat upon my sisters horse, Sunset. The smell of summer ponies has never left me and my enthusiasm for these four legged friends was instantly created. I spent most of my teenage years with my dad taking me to show after show and jumping course after course. I was lucky to have a sensible dad who bought me old ponies who knew their job. They were cheap and cheerful types but genuine and great fun so we won lots and jumped everything in sight. My confidence was brimming so I often got to jump everyone else's ponies too.
Following my A levels I searched for a course in horse psychology but there were none so I went to Wellington Riding to do my BHSAI. I qualified and taught at Wellington for a while but I was always envious of the head girl who got to do all the vet jobs. She had studied at Witney college & on hearing this I was off to complete a 3 year National Diploma course in Thoroughbred Management. That was my introduction to yearlings, stud work, thoroughbred, the sport of Kings ... namely horse racing.
My twenties and early thirties were spent working 13 days out of 14, early mornings, three lots a day, twisting doorways, sweeping yards, brushing sweat off horses, driving lorries to the races, plaiting, racing, late nights, great parties followed by more sunrises, waterproofs, chilblains, champagne, galloping, schooling over fences and all the other joys of working in Racing - it was great fun, I learnt loads and I have some great friends from my racing days.
During this time I continued to teach and worked as an assessor for the British Racing School.
Lisa's story of Holistic Horses - an equestrian centre with a difference:
In March 1993 Holistic Horses was created - a small, friendly licensed riding centre with five horses.
We offered adults meditation and relaxation rides and lessons followed by an hours holistic massage. The business soon grew and by 1995 the yard was a 30 horse strong equestrian centre. The massage became a distant memory and all sorts of fun weekends were created - a tepee weekend, nervous rider clinics, racehorse experiences and full days hacks from Avebury.
Some great names came to teach including some of my friends from Racing - Stan Mellor, Richard Dunwoody, Hywel Davis and Colin Brown. And my good friend Patrick Print FBHS (the chairman of the BHS at the time) kept his horses with us and taught regular clinics including summer camps.
I (Lisa Venables) was always interested in the mind body relationship while being around and riding horses. Running the yard was a fascinating playground to interact with all sorts of different people, horses and their individual personalities. I spent those years viewing peoples energies and reactions around horses and studying responses to different styles of teaching.
I always claimed those 6 years were my University of Life. However, it seems that it's only when you leave University and get into the big wide world that you can really study and apply what you have learned.
I was lucky to have been around some of the greatest horsemen and teachers of horsemanship during those years, but beyond that, the lessons for life that could be learned from them were second to none. All the successful people were positive thinkers, open in their opinions looking at both sides of the coin and very humble in their teaching - always putting the clients at ease, explaining techniques and aiding learning and knowledge of horsemanship.
As mentioned I was always interested in the mind body
experience of teaching, so I taught the extremes - from
nervous rider clinics to the Ultimate Racehorse experience. With my
teaching of nervous riders I would look at the mind and how it affected the
muscles of the body and how that then affected the horse.
During one of our Nervous Rider weeks I employed my NLP trainer to do an 'Alexander Technique' session with my riders. I was amazed in the first 5 minutes of watching a lesson. I instantly knew that this was going to offer me a chance to continue with my research but add to my library of knowledge while deepening my understanding. All that FM Alexander had discovered was totally relevant to riding and our own ability to consciously control movement, fear, reactions and use.
In June 2008 I moved from our lovely 30 box yard in Kingston
Lisle to an 11 box yard
in the neighbouring village of Sparsholt. I was planning to downsize
to allow me to study The Alexander Technique, a 4
year course which I began in the September 2008.
I am now a fourth year student of the Alexander Technique and I will qualify in June 2012. I am so enthused by this educational tool branded by Carl Hester as "one of the most valuable tools a rider can possess" that we have set up clinics working with two of the most experienced teachers in the field of the ITM Alexander Technique... Tracy Gil and Simon Gore.
We also offer clinics in Neuro Linguistic Programming with a certified NLP expert Andy Atwood BSc CTNLP.
I now teach freelance as well as running clinics and specialise in , freedom of movement, confidence, relaxation and re-training ex-racehorses. The emphasis is always on having fun while riding your horse. This teaching is effective for all riders from the nervous to the competition rider. I am also a huge fan of Parelli and have been studying levels 1 - 3 with my horse Russell.
Historical articles on Holistic Horses
Paris the Perfect Pink Pony - 93