Tag Archives: Jane Savoie

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

At my barn the white dressage arena fence is about twelve inches high. Around that is a taller fence, about five feet high. Around the perimeter of the property is a dog proof mesh fence that’s six feet high. Wow… That’s a lot of boundaries!

There’s a saying that strong fences make good neighbors. This is true figuratively as well as literally. A strong fence can keep danger out, and/or keep someone safely in. A clear fence line makes a strong statement about where my space starts and yours ends.

Personal boundaries are like the low dressage arena fence. They may not keep things in or out, but they clearly mark a line that says “do not cross.” You just have to be aware of that line and be willing to respect it. That’s not so easy, because personal boundaries are so, well, personal!

Some people want physical space, privacy, and to take care of themselves. Others are touchy/feely folks who want to hug and snuggle, love to nurture and care for others, like lots of feedback, and get lonely when left alone.

Figuring out someone else’s boundaries can be confusing and painful. For nurturer types, being rebuffed by the strong, independent types can be painful and confusing. Nurturers tend to react to boundaries as personal rejection, and respond by being openly upset or with passive-aggressive behavior. Independent types often get irritated when their boundaries are questioned or repeatedly pushed against, and can become overtly angry or withdraw all together.

The key to maintaining good boundaries and good relationships is to realize that none of this is personal. It’s just different ways of being. Recognizing that others might have personal rules/wants/needs that are very different from your own is vital in understanding and respecting their boundaries. And if you’re not sure what those boundaries are, ASK! Nothing says “I respect your boundaries” more than directly asking what they are.

If you have trouble with other people’s boundaries, it’s likely that you don’t have a good grasp of your own. Take some time to explore where you do things you don’t want to do, say things you don’t really mean, or act in a way that internally feels wrong. That icky, slimy feeling that shows up when you’re violating your own boundaries is your inner self’s way of letting you know to stop what you’re doing. And if you don’t recognize your own alert to boundary violation, you’re really going to have a struggle recognizing and accepting other people’s boundaries.

If boundaries are an issue for you, I highly suggest you get some assistance to explore new ways of being. Horses spend a great deal of their social time exploring herd boundaries, which is why equine assisted counseling is perfect for this. Horses get it, and they can teach you! You can learn more about this kind of personal work at www.CenterforHorsesandHealing.com or by searching equine facilitated experiential learning.

I know Jane doesn’t like it when I push my head into her. Years ago, she set a clear boundary that said banging into her is not okay. So, I don’t do it. Well, unless she’s holding a carrot. Then I may nudge, just a little…

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Sometimes our biggest challenges become our greatest successes. As a Friesian, I’m not built for a good canter. My breed was bred for a fancy trot to elegantly and smartly pull buggies and carts. But with determination and proper training, I was able to develop an amazing canter! My ability to do superb one tempis is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Here in Wellington, the Para-Equestrian’s Olympic Trials are being held. Wow! What an amazing bunch of people! These are folks who have physical challenges much harder to deal with than I’ve ever had. They are a brave, talented, and determined bunch, who don’t let their disabilities slow them down. They’ve proven they can do anything they put their minds to!

Is there something in your life you’d like to do, but you don’t have the confidence to try? I suggest you Google para equestrian dressage and take a look at the many videos of what these incredible athletes are accomplishing, with challenges that are probably much bigger than your own. Perhaps it will inspire you to give your dream a shot!

I’ve decided I want to give jumping a try. I’ve always thought it would be too hard for me, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll start small and without a rider, and see how high I can go. I know if I work at it, I’ll be a success. If I never try, I’ll never know how good I might be!

What can you work on today to move you toward your goals? Do some of THAT!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Being different can be tough. While on one hand we all want to stand out and be unique, we also are programmed by our very nature to want to fit in. We want to belong. If you’re different than the crowd, sometimes you can feel left out or “wrong.”

I have a good friend in Tennessee who shared his experience in being different. You see, Chester was a very accomplished hunter/jumper. He is very brave and has springs for legs. He is also a leopard Appaloosa, so he has spots all over his body. Some of the fancier European warmbloods he met at the horse shows used to tease him about his spots, calling them “zits.” It hurt his feelings.

Chester admitted that being made fun of caused him to withdraw. He became a bit of a loner. He expected other horses to make fun of him, so to stop any unkind, snarky comments, he’d attack first. When he met a new horse, he’d immediately look for something wrong with THEM to use as an emotional barrier. Sometimes he’d make fun of anything different he could find, so the focus was on them, and not on him.

As Chester matured, he realized that this kind of behavior was not effective. All it did was give him the reputation for being a grump, and caused him to be very isolated and lonely. It took him years to realize that the spots on his coat did not define who he was. He was so much more. His natural talent for jumping, his ability to grasp and follow his rider’s subtle requests, his bravery in new situations… THESE were the things that made him a great horse.

With determination, Chester made the decision to focus on the things that made him special. He refused to listen to those who criticized what he looked like, and put all his mental energy on his talents and successes. Since he naturally got more of what he thought about, he carried his rider with great pride and confidence, and won many blue ribbons.

When Chester stopped looking at the world through the lens of being a victim of his differences, he discovered that most people and horses didn’t dislike his spots at all. In fact, his spots were one of the things about him that many found interesting and intriguing. Chester discovered that the problem was in his OWN MIND, not in the minds of others.

When Chester retired from jumping, he got a job at a therapeutic riding center. At first, he was really nervous, because it was all new to him. He withdrew inside himself and refused to interact. He quickly got labeled a “loner.” But he stayed observant. It didn’t take long for him to see that the young humans he was working with had many of the same issues he had. He saw himself in these kids, noticing that many were in a state of protective withdrawal or a state of “attack first to prevent hurt.” He could feel their fear and pain, and knew that they felt the same way he had when he felt “different.”

Chester had an idea. He realized that he could help these kids by recognizing them as perfect beings and accepting them exactly how they are. He knows they may be different from most others, but that doesn’t make them wrong or less-than, any more than his spots make him bad or less-than. Concentrating on what these kids CAN do, allows Chester to acknowledge and support more of their successes. And he found a new strength in himself. He became a favorite and most beloved mount.

I remembered how I felt about being teased about my leg feathers. Being a draft breed with hairy legs made me feel different. I didn’t like the feeling. But when I embraced my differences and took joy in my unique appearance, I felt good about myself. No one else’s opinion mattered.

Are you different in some way? How does that make you feel? Can you concentrate on the wonderful things you like best about yourself? Give it a try. How you feel starts inside of YOU.

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I was watching someone work with a frightened young pony today. The pony had never been handled before and was terrified. The person was using a clicker and treats to help him get over his fear, and was teaching him how to think before he reacted out of his natural fight or flight instincts. The scared little pony learned fast and made a great deal of progress in just one day! The trainer was training the pony how to learn and helped build his desire to be with people.

Jane’s friend, Shawna Karrasch, teaches how to do this with her clicker training programs (www.On-Target-Training.com). She learned this method at Sea World in San Diego while training seals and killer whales (also known as Orcas). When Shawna got into horses, people told her clicker training wouldn’t work with her equine friends because we’re not “food oriented.” Shawna not only proved them wrong, she created a whole industry around horse clicker training! She found that we horses are actually much easier to clicker train than the wild sea creatures she was used to. Her work has made a huge difference for many people, dogs, and horses. It’s a good thing she didn’t listen to the neigh-sayers (lol), or Jane might never have learned this terrific way to communicate with her four-legged friends!

Jane made a decision long ago to always keep an open mind. While she has decades of horse experience and is viewed as an accomplished trainer and rider, it’s her continual desire to learn that’s helped her stay at the top of her game. She expects the same from me. Even though we’ve reached Grand Prix in our dressage training, there’s still a lot I can improve on and learn.

How about you? Are you still a student? What would you like to learn today? Grab a book or a DVD, and feed your mind today. It’s as important as feeding your body.

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

A new fellow moved into the barn this week. His barn name is Joe, though his registered name is a mile long and beyond my ability to pronounce. We’ve had some interesting conversations. Joe’s been around. He’s very smart and worldly, and a really nice fellow.

Joe and I watched the barn’s farrier working on one of the young horses, and started talking about our experiences with farriers. He told me about a guy who was so sure he knew everything there was to know about feet, that he wouldn’t listen to anyone else. This farrier told the horse owners that HE was the trained professional, and they had to agree with anything and everything he decided to do with their horses’ feet, no questions asked, or they had to find another farrier.

I remembered a saying I once heard, that the dumbest people are the ones who think they know everything. When I shared it with Joe, he started to laugh. He said his owner told the guy the same thing, and then immediately hired a different farrier. While Joe’s person respected the man’s training and experience, she also has a great deal of horse knowledge and experience of her own. She was not about to ignore her responsibility of making sure that her horse had the best care possible. She would not blindly give complete control of her horse’s care over to anyone, no matter how much they claimed to know.

There are two lessons here. One: don’t give your personal power over to anyone, especially if they demand it. The very fact that someone demands blind obedience should make you suspect. Only those who are insecure about their own knowledge or abilities would demand that you follow them without question. Someone who really does know what they are doing would welcome questions as an opportunity to explain.

The second lesson is to remember to always remain the student no matter how accomplished you may be. There is always more to learn. As soon as you think you know it all, your mind closes. Remember: learning, like life, is a process and a journey, not a destination. The mind is like a parachute. To function property, it must be open!

I’m so glad my own farrier is always learning. He’s kept my feet feeling good for a long time. And, when he learns about new techniques or reads the latest research, he’s willing to share it with Jane. That gives her the opportunity to learn as well, and helps her make good decisions regarding my care.

Are you still learning? How could you attain some new information today? Make it your goal to learn something new in the next 24 hours, and then share it with me. Okay? I want to learn too!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

All those things make you feel good right? I used to think so. I used to compliment all the other horses in the barn, thinking I would be helping their self-esteem by reminding them how great they are. But new studies indicate that this may not be the case.

An article by Po Bronson, posted in New York Magazine, states that certain types of praise can have a negative effect on the behavior of people. (For the entire article, go here: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/.)

A study was done that indicated that if children are constantly told they are “smart” or “talented” or “the best,” it can create a situation in their minds that makes them “risk averse.” They become so sensitive to any task that isn’t immediately easy, that they stop trying. They won’t take risks that might prove to their parents or teachers that they don’t have the natural talent or brains with which they’ve been labeled. In equestrian terms, it takes away their “try.”

So, what should you do instead? Acknowledgement is important and you still want to acknowledge success and effort. However, you can change the way you “praise” by simply stating (with a positive tone in your voice) what action was actually completed, without the qualitative words like “good,” “best,” “smart,” or “talented.”

What’s the difference? Instead of saying something like “You’re really good at lead changes,” you simply state with a happy voice, “You did three lead changes!” It may sound like the same thing, but it’s NOT! To say “good lead changes” makes the statement qualitative and about YOU, the observer, and what the observer has just observed… indicating that the action has now been judged as “good.” But to say “you did three lead changes” acknowledges a FACT about what the person (or horse) factually DID. It’s only about the person who just completed the task. There is no judgement, no opinion, just the facts about what was done. And such a statement will automatically cause the subject to look back at his or herself, and say inside with pride, “Yes! I did three lead changes!” It feels so good to acknowledge the self without first seeing it through the observer’s point of view, that the behavior will most likely be repeated!

This subtle difference is very powerful. And it’s a bit confusing at first. Practice acknowledging your students, children (if you have them), and friends (both two and four legged), and see if you can just state the FACTS in a happy, appreciative voice. Then watch how they react. You may be able to see their attention switching to their inner self with a smile and a straightening of their posture. It’s very interesting to observe.

It is important that you acknowledge yourself this way, too. Rather than saying “I rode well today,” say “I rode my horse today, and we ran through First Level, test two, four times.” Or, “I went to the barn and brushed my horse today.” State what you DID, without a qualifying or judgment word. Notice how acknowledging the FACTS about what you did, changes how you feel inside.

I completed eleven one tempis in a row today! I practiced pirouettes for ten minutes today. I slept in the sun for two hours this afternoon. I dictated this message to you today. Acknowledging these facts gives me a great sense of accomplishment!

What have YOU done today? Just the facts, ma’am. Just the FACTS….

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

A friend of mine in Australia wrote to me this week, expressing her excitement about learning dressage after a career on the race track. She had been a bit discouraged at her progress because she was used to being successful on the track mostly by her strong will and a strong hand. Neither are very conducive to an artful picture of riding. Once she realized that she could break dressage down into small, understandable pieces that fit together like an elegant puzzle, her sense of self-worth soared. She didn’t have to force her way into success; she could gently finesse her way to success!

The level of worthiness we feel makes a huge difference in how we live our lives. It’s true that we can never rise above nor outperform our own self-image. So if you want to improve your life, the first order of business is to improve your view of yourself.

This is easy to say, but is much harder to do. Are you open to a suggestion? Find a couple of friends you trust and feel safe with, and ask them to write down all the things about you that they LIKE. No negatives here – just the things they LIKE about you. Then do the same about yourself. Write down all the things about you that YOU like. Read these lists three times a day for 21 days. Then watch what shows up in your life!

I like my long flowing mane and tail, my shiny black coat, and my ability to do terrific pirouettes. Jane said she is most proud of my one tempis and my strong work ethic. I’m going to concentrate on these things for the next 21 days and see what happens!

In the meantime, I’m going to help the young mare who just moved into the barn with her confidence. She’s a diamond in the rough, and I want to be there with the polish! How about you? Is there someone you could help today?

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Focus. It’s the most driving force in anyone’s success. Oh sure, occasionally there are successes that just fall into your lap. But that is incredibly rare. Focus is one of those things that creates opportunity. It creates a vibration of success. The energy of the Universe aligns with your vision, and you become unstoppable.

I decided I wanted to beat Indy in a race. He’d already beat me once, so I had some history to overcome. I could have wallowed in my failure, I could have given up and just accepted that he’s the faster fellow, or I could focus on a goal and not stop until I reached it. My desire to win wasn’t about Indy at all, it was about proving that I could change my experience though my own focus and will.

So I started dreaming. That’s right: dreaming. I imagined Indy and myself running the circle around my turnout with me in the lead the entire time. I imagined “that winning feeling” of joy I was going to feel when I reached the finish line first. I did the physical work of challenging myself each time I was turned out or ridden, pushing myself a little bit farther than I thought I could go, but always added the mental emotions of joy in success and winning with each workout.

And yes, the next time Indy and I raced, I was the winner! Indy was a good sport about it, but he informed me that he’s going to work on it and beat ME next time. We’ll see!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you think they will. The disappointment can be tough to deal with. When I first heard I was moving to America, I thought I’d be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade someday. But instead I’m headed to another dressage show. I could be upset, but it wouldn’t help. I just have to find a way to let go of my previous expectations, and find my joy in where I am right now.

Have you ever spent a lot of time and effort working on something that didn’t pan out the way you thought it would? Hurts, doesn’t it? But that’s just part of life. We can plan, direct, effort, and push, and still not end up where we thought we should. So what do you do about it?

There is a time for wallowing in the disappointment and allowing yourself to feel the feelings. Let them be. No matter how much it hurts, let the feelings come. Don’t resist. Give the feelings a chance to be expressed and released. But also, don’t stay there. Look at the elements of what you were trying to achieve, and then make a new plan.

What are the basic elements of what you wanted? For me it was the excitement of the big crowds of people watching me march down the street. I wanted to feel the appreciation of the public as I strutted between the tall buildings showing off my high step and shiny coat. I wanted to feel adored. I wanted to be famous. I wanted my family in Holland to see me on TV so they would be proud of me.

Getting down to the most basic element, I realized that I truly wanted was to be loved and appreciated. I get that from Jane, Rhett, and Indy every day. So, while I may be appreciated as a competitor in the show ring and not the public streets of New York, I do get appreciated. So my deepest desire has actually been fulfilled! Acknowledging that made me feel so much better.

What deep desires do you have that have already been fulfilled? Can you appreciate those today? Let yourself be grateful for what you’ve already received, and make a new plan from that place. Starting from a place of gratitude, your next goal will have a running start!

Say, will you come to the dressage show and cheer for me? I just love an adoring crowd!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Honesty is an interesting concept. Most of us horses are truly honest. We don’t know how to be any other way. But people, well, not so much.

Most people believe they are honest. But often humans are simply justifying their behavior and calling it honesty. If they really looked at what was going on, they’d probably realize they were either manipulating a situation to their advantage, or ignoring the truth of their behavior.

Are you honest? I’ll bet you are, at least most of the time. Sometimes not being honest is the kindest thing… like when your grandmother asks if you like her mince pie, but you really don’t. You don’t want to hurt feelings. So, when is honesty the best policy and when is it a matter of violating values and honor? That’s a tough question that I don’t have an answer to. But perhaps just asking the question will stir the kind of thought that’s helpful.

Do you appreciate honesty? Are you a good example for your children, friends, co-workers? A reputation is an easy thing to damage, so use your good sense of honesty well.

I’m honestly hungry! Will you bring me a carrot or two? Jane’s out of town and I want my treat!

Love, Moshi

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website
DressageMentor.com