Josef and Doris Freese
For a long time now I have been wanting a way to share with you all a very great man who is not overly well known but deserves the same focus and spotlight as everyone else.
A man who taught me not only the patient building blocks of a Dressage horse and rider but the encouragement and dedication it takes to be a teacher of horses and riders.
He always went above and beyond to teach me as much as he could during the time I worked as a part of the Freese team.
‘Geht nicht, Gibt’s nicht’ was the stable motto – There’s no such thing as I can’t.
He gave me confidence in my abilities and helped me believe in myself as a trainer. He saw me at my best and at my worst – in character and in riding. He never judged me or held me back.
Riding is one of the only sports that develop areas of the brain that connect with intuition, awareness, instinct and feel. When you rely upon forms of interference within your own body as well as the horse’s body, you cut off this ability to intuit what is happening. You cut off the most powerful form of growth available to us with horses – awareness.
Today we have a never ending supply of tools that are not only taught to us by our trusted trainers but in many places they are the only option given to us either forcefully or with the use of ‘law’.
Just under 8 yrs ago, I sat and watched the shock and horror on the face of a truly gifted woman playing a huge part in my then business and Dressage Training stables, Equinoxe Equestrian, when she told me that I could NOT use the word Spiritual in the new brochures! She was afraid that we would lose all the clients from the equestrian world and sure enough, she was right ;-). I didn’t however lose the clients who were benefitting from me fully embracing the truth of who I am and what I believe my Soul came here in this life to be and do. Those clients are still friends today and have become great teachers and riders themselves.
Have you ever wondered why certain behaviors happen with your horse? Maybe a situation in your life is effecting you or repeating itself?
Life is like riding, you will only have harmony once you stop fighting it.
Mainly during my first years of riding as a young teenager but also during various places and stages in the past, I attracted often the ‘bolter’ horse that is sensitive, very electric and always running away. This was a strong connection of who I was at the time. It was a reflection of issues that I was learning from and working through in how I dealt with my own life – flee, run, don’t reflect on things just quickly get to the next place. I was afraid of confrontation, scared and with a belief that I was somehow wrong no matter how much I had come to learn from experience and others.
From left: Marvin Engels with Böckchen , Me! hehehe, Kerstin Isabel Kutting with Jerome, Wolfgang Kutting and Kristina Alina Kutting with Smarty
It was to be the first of its kind. The focus was on the 7th neck vertebrae and its problems stemming from a widely chosen form of training with Dressage and Showjumping horses at the moment. Firstly a biomechanical riding and judges aspect of the damage of Roll-Kur, a veterinary explanation of the health damage and well then came me – the Spiritual side.
The night before, our participating vet called to inform us that she was extremely sick and would not be able to join the seminar. So it was now up to Wolfgang and I to provide as much information we could ourselves to cover the afternoon ahead of us.
That turned out to be not a problem!
On the 12th of October in Milan, Italy, a day for us all to remember for a very long time was in the making. The night before, after receiving some information as to why the majority of these men were in prison, due to my own inner fears of not being able to be present without judgment, I woke up in a panic at 4am thinking that I really should not go. I did go and I would not be who I am today if I didn’t. Here is a small expression of a day in a prison made of light and its profound healing it brought to us all.
People had been asking me for a long time before my visit ‘Why was I going to a prison?!’ For me it was very simple –
I believe we all have a responsibility in this life to help each other in whatever way we can.
I went into this place knowing nothing of who these men were, their pasts or their futures and only was told statically what most of them were in here for but I did not know individually. I had to go in with an open heart and let go of any judgments or perceptions of who I thought these men were. If you can look beyond your own ego it is easier to look beyond the ego in others and here is where we can see the truth of each others pain. I ended up spending 8 hours there with this extremely wonderful group of inmates, program leaders and their horses.
Catherine Louise Birmingham with the remarkable stallion Gato. Photo taken by the talented Nabila Putri Shariva.
Not long ago I published an article with LinkedIn on the ego in our industry and if our love of horses could overcome it. I wanted to share it here but with some more detail and personal additions to it.
Slowly the equestrian world has begun to part waters and form a rift between two worlds – one of professional sport and the other of naturalists and therapy work.
I believe in both.
The rider balances the horse the horse does not balance the rider, the horse becomes an extension of the riders body.
Your position in riding is everything. It will either allow things to eventuate through training with ease or it will create repeated struggle.
Just Be You – Transformation and the Gift of Fear
By Catherine Louise Birmingham
Now available for pre-order with Amazon.com in Kindle edition. Will be released Jan 1st 2015! With a foreword from Wolfgang Kutting, here is a short excerpt….
When riding, the front is a mirror reflection of the hind. In life what is happening outside of you is a mirror reflection of what is happening inside of you.
When something is showing up in the front when riding, that you wish to change, you can’t change it through the reflection, you must go to what is creating the reflection.