Talking about the Good old Days, this one is really old! My Classical Equitation trainer Craig Stevens has been working with an Italian Nobleman called Pucci, who is bringing a centuries old method of training horses to the world from the island of Sicily. Sicily was a melting pot between the east and west, and has retained this method of developing trust with humans. It is done from the time the foal is weaned, and involves the gentlest touch and the lightest pressure you can imagine! You and the horse become mesmerized by the swaying motion, and slow movement of the hands. They do not ride the horse until it's four years old in this method, and by the time you ride, the horse knows all the rein aids, lateral movements etc., You use your hands mostly, and ask the horse to shift their weight - before they even move a leg. You have no goal in mind, just peace and trust. You learn to breathe deeply and not rush anything to happen, and it happens faster! This is like a meditation and yoga class with your horse, and I can tell you the results are amazing! Humans need to learn how to use their energy with horses, and be aware of the emotion you are feeling while working with your horse, especially those that have been abused or badly trained using force. It is crucial to be "tuned in, tapped in and turned on" while doing this. I have been using some of the basic methods with older horses who are headshy and have different issues related to bad experiences and fear, and I tell you - the results are amazing and I can hardly wait to learn more! You need two things though - a large dose of Patience and an ability to put your ego on the back burner!!

We at Wit's End will be hosting a Mediterranean Horsemanship clinic with Craig in July, and for more info on this training check his website: I am thrilled to be part of this "new, old stuff" as there is too much violence in horsetraining these days, too much use of gimmicky equipment that no one knows how to use, and some are actually detrimental to the horse's body. Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's DVD "Tug of War" is something every horse owner should watch, as his animations and understanding of the biomechanics of movement is incredible and very graphic. Classical riding and training is in harmony with the horse's body and they will stay sound forever! That can only be a good thing! Once again, the Horselady.

If any of you are interested, I will be interviewed on blog radio on Sunday March 28th at 10 am Pacific Standard time. Here is the link:

I will hopefully soon be starting my own Internet radio show, so look out for it in future postings!

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Comment by Gretchen Austin on March 29, 2010 at 10:53pm
What a wonderful post! I tried to get Craig to tell me more about MH before I left, but I guess a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and I will have to try to attend a MH clinic some day. Reading your post gives me a very good idea of what is involved. Craig did talk a bit about touching horses in a way that would be pleasurable to them, i.e. starting with gentle touch even in a massage context, until relaxation is observed, and then moving into more massaging techniques. He was talking to a lady whose horse has stringhalt (Jackie, owner of Whiskey, in case you might know her), and I had the great benefit of standing nearby so I got to hear his talk. Now I am thinking of taking a clinic with Sidonia, to get a better understanding of massage helping horses. I am just finishing Functional Anatomy course from U of Guelph Diploma in Equine Studies. After this only four courses left-yeah! Then maybe I can have my own horse again. Cheers,
Comment by P.Ann Turner on March 16, 2010 at 10:43pm
Hello there,

Well you never know, you can get Craig to come and give a Mediterranean horsemanship clinic over there, and I will travel to give clinics too, so anything is possible, thanks for the comments, cheers, Ann.
Comment by Jackie Cochran on March 16, 2010 at 7:57pm
I am very interested in this, but you are at the other side of the USA from me. ANYTHING from ancient (pre greek) horsewomen, yes, lets see another way of doing this.
Yup, turn on (your mind), tune in (to the horse), and drop out of all the patristic BS that may have come from using the early domesticated horse mainly for war. I know, the Amazons fought on horseback, but the early peoples did not tame domesticated or feral horses, they tamed WILD horses, a whole different deal and a lot harder to do, and it may have happened a century or so before someone got the bright idea to use the horse as a better way to kill someone else.

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