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Susan Hopf Mindful Equitation-Natural training

Questions and answers about natural horse training

with Susan and Nancy-

*Q Nancy--What is your background, training, personal style on horse training/instructing? Where can people find you?

A- Susan First ride was on a pony at Coney Island – poor pony – round and round he went all day long. As a teen I belonged to a 4-H club, did gymkhana and western pleasure. Not at all like it is today – no peanut rollers – much more natural head position and much more freedom for the horses. When I came back to horses after 12 years as a Veterinary Technician I was appalled at the way horses were made to ride. So educating myself was paramount to serving the horse population in which I was entrusted. Classical Dressage and Combined Training started this re-education and it continues today with biomechanic and kinematic studies through Jean Luc Cornille’s Science of Motion. Those that come to me here in West Walworth, NY do so because their horses have been lame with unsuccessful treatment as well as to fine tune their understanding of a real partnership with their horse – you cannot achieve true harmony unless you have some understanding of the actual functional anatomy of the horse. This is particularly true of trainers and instructors - when students ask me questions they get real answers. *Q- Nancy What is your barns style like and how does it differ from typical training/boarding barns?

A- Susan My barn is a bit different as I do not stress competition – in fact I am rather opposed to competition. Too often the judging standards are based on fashion rather than the development and preservation of our horses. My clients come to me in order to advance their own education regarding the functional anatomy of their equine partners. I believe that all horses need help to achieve their true potential and it is the human half of the relationship that is responsible for doing so. I also believe that each horse’s best trainer is their rider – I teach people to train their own horses. *Q- Nancy What can your students count on learning with you.

A- Susan My approach is unique in that most students begin by working in-hand ( a very specific method of walking next to your horse’s shoulder so that they can feel your energy, spinal position and presence in a positive way). This new schooling method helps on many levels but most importantly gives both human and horse a base for re-setting their schooling – re-setting their brains as well as how each step needs to be thought about rather than allowing past compensation and ideas interrupt the progress. It is precise and controlled but as one gets used to this distinct approach becomes freeing and very intimate – it is truly a fine-tuned and deep relationship between horse and human.

Q- Nancy * How does natural horse keeping impact you and your horses?