Mediterranean Work is a fundamental cornerstone of how I work with horses. It is the basis of the great mindset shift between how I learned to ride as a child and how I choose to interact with horses now.
Asking not telling, conversing not directing, listening deeply for the answers and finding the humility and laughter in repeatedly asking questions which don’t lead to anticipated answers- this is the Mediterranean mindset. Kindness is also key.
But its all very well intellectualising working with the horse, where does that leave you when you’re in the middle of the arena and things are happening faster than your can gently mull over? How can the Mediterranean work be applied where its really needed- in the moment with your horse in front of you?
It is all about noticing where you are in space, where is the horse and what is the quality of the space between you.
Sometimes when I’m teaching someone the start of the work in hand they don’t notice if they’re walking forwards or backwards. Sometimes we don’t notice when we’ve held our breath for nearly a minute. Sometimes we don’t notice that while the front legs are moving how we were hoping for, the hind legs are also moving as the horse finds an easier solution to the question you asked. Sometimes we don’t notice that our horse is leaning on us where we would expect it (in our hands) but we do find that we get an itch of irritation, frustration or despair which links the loss of physical balance to our emotional balance.
These are the things the Mediterranean work helps with. Learning the art of noticing. Of being really present with our horse. By practising the touch work and allowing the shift in mindset to slowly unfurl, the moments between touch and non-touch, motion and stillness will become more perceptible to you. And they are delicious.
My introductory course Foundations for work in hand is being released on The Equine Academy this month. This self paced course covers the Mediterranean work.
Sign up with this link to receive a discount code for the course.
And if you want to delve deeper into this fascinating work I am teaching both on line and in person, click here to book a free call to see if we are a good fit.