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I am very sad to note the passing of one of the best ecuyers of our time. Mr. Michel Henriquet died December 8, at home in France. Debra and I extend sincere condolences to Catherine.
Michel was not only a refined rider, he was a great teacher. He was the author of many books on French Classical dressage and was an early promoter of the Lusitano in France.
After being a student for many years of Mestre Nuno Oliveira, he went on to coach his wife, Catherine Durand, and achieved some success in using and adapting classical methods in competition.
Michel and Mestre Oliveira exchanged letters for years about l’art equestre. Those letters, along with Michel’s diaries, create a day-to-day peek into the life and practice of the great teacher and an accomplished student who would become a master. He was part of an era when many disciples were passionate about the art and exchanged letters, experiences, techniques and books. Along with Dom Diogo de Bragança, Professor Da Costa, Dr. Borba and Monsieur Baccarat (who translated the Mestre’s first book) they were the core of the students who would follow the teachings of Mestre Oliveira and take that knowledge to their students via their riding practice and the books they would write. It is, sadly, the end of an era. There are very few original students left.
Sometimes I have a great deal of nostalgia (saudades, longing) for this time.
Looking ahead, as we must and as it is all we can do, we see the art of riding becoming less physical and more mental. Riders are slowly becoming more conscious of the well-being of their partners and because of this we are making some progress in the right direction.
With gratitude for all the Masters gave us in the example of their finesse and dedication to l’art equestre, we look to the New Year with renewed commitment to the health and happiness of our equine partners. Let us always have in mind these four questions when we are working with our horses:
Are we being compassionate?
Is our practice sustainable?
Is our practice honorable?
And is our practice enlightened?
Amities, and Best Wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year!
Dominique and Debra Barbier

I’ve been meaning to post this lovely email that we received for Alchemy. Better late than never, right? (I’ve blocked Linda’s email address for her privacy.) We really appreciate the email, Linda!

From: Linda Nieuwenhuijzen <linda.nxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com>
To: barbierfarm <barbierfarm@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Oct 23, 2014 3:08 am
Subject: Book ‘The alchemy of lightness’
Dear Mestre Barbier,

I am a rider from Holland and I just want to send you a message to thank you for having written the book ‘The alchemy of lightness’!

 
In my development as a horsewoman it has given me  a lot of very inspirational information to ride my horse better.
The oneness is coming closer and closer now and I appreciate my horse more than ever!
 
Wonderful book which I will cherish for the rest of my life.
 
I saw on your website that you are planning a trip to Portugal in November.  I will be in Portugal too from 9 – 14 November.
First staying a few days in Beja (visiting breeders) and then go to Golega from 12 – 14 November. Maybe we will have a chance to meet each other for just 5 minutes? It would be a honor for me to meet you!

 

Kind regards
Linda
 

 

We are pleased to repost this review from horse-journal.com. Thank you to Karen Havis for the review and to all the readers who have made this book so popular! And a special thanks to Trafalgar Square, Horse and Rider Books! Take a moment to read the review? And then order your book here, by clicking on the link above. And then….sign up for the February Classical Series Symposium. We’re taking topics from the book for in-depth discussion along with all the demonstrations, lessons, fun, food, and legendary Saturday night dinner!  We’ll be back with more news before the Holiday Season is over…but until then, peace and joy to all our readers and riders. Amities ~ DBarbier

Media Critique: The Alchemy of Lightness

Dominique Barbier and Dr. Maria Katsamanis give us the impetus we need to seek joy in our lives and in our horses.

By Karen Havis

November 21, 2014

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This article from the November 2014 issue of Horse Journal.

Dominique Barbier is best known for his doctrine of “lightness” in a dressage horse, and he makes good use of it here.  His co-author, Dr. Maria Katsamanis, brings a doctorate in clinical psychology into the mix, which meshes well with her own riding and training experience. Together, the authors present a philosophy of life and riding that is both inspiring and captivating.

Their theories revolve around “energy.”  The authors believe all living beings are connected through a field of energy, one that can cause measurable molecular changes as well as observable behavioral changes. (Think about how humans influence each other using energy from thought, love, or intent.) Frankly, training approaches based on energy are far from new –  consider Tai Chi, Reiki, Masterson Technique, and TTEAM, all popular methods.

You will find some of the hypotheses presented here familiar, such as how our mood directly impacts how we interact with our horses. Which one of us hasn’t experienced the change in our horse when we ride in an angry, tense state? The horse usually mirrors those emotions, becoming restless and edgy. And if we ride in a Zen state . . . the horse often reflects that as well.

Proper breathing is discussed here, too, with a reminder of its powerful impact on ourselves and our horses.  Short, shallow breaths cause anxiety and fear in our horse. Deeper, slower breaths can relax both us and our horse.  “If we are calm and centered, the horse will likely pass through resistance or disturbance much more easily.  He will happily partner with us,” the authors state.

Barbier stresses the power of visualization, a technique used by many sports psychologists. “What we imagine, we can create,” he states. “What we believe is happening shapes our reality.  What we visualize for our riding, for our horse, is well within reach.”  If you’re a dressage rider, you might have a vision of Edward Gal in your mind when you ride.

You’ll recognize other widely accepted terms, too, such as “clear intent” and “centering,” which are core concepts in many martial arts and in Centered Riding. And, of course, every rider learns one day how powerful the concept of “less is more” can be when trying to elicit a behavior from your horse.

But other points challenge conventional wisdom. While you may have experienced some of the concepts discussed in the book, the theories presented by the authors may surprise you. That said, they readily  acknowledge how little research is available to truly explain the connection between horse and rider.

The photography is stunning, and the pictures of Barbier riding portray true harmony between horse and rider. Indeed, he can create what he discusses.

Bottom Line: I truly appreciated Barbier’s emphasis on the importance of energy gained from  joy and happiness in our lives.  He insists we should constantly remind ourselves to look for that childlike innocence so long gone. “Horses are not intellectual beings,” he explains. “We need to be in this simpler, more innocent, childlike space with them.” Since some of the happiest moments of my life involved horses, this made perfect sense to me. And reading this book helped me think of ways to improve my state of mind and thus my relationship with my horses.

Best suited for: Those who have studied an approach such as TTEAM, Masterson Technique, Tai Chi, Alexander Technique, or Centered Riding or are open-minded enough to consider the theories presented.

You might be disappointed if: You are looking for a traditional “how to” riding manual.

A note from Dominique….the ‘stunning’ photography is by Keron Psillas.

– See more at: http://horse-journal.com/article/media-critique-alchemy-lightness-26157#sthash.rCtZ64eq.dpuf

Here is our latest email blast. Have a look….and click on all the tabs above to discover what is new here at Barbier Farms. Debra and I are back from a wonderful, though rainy, trip to Portugal to attend the Lusitano Fair at Golegã. The rain kept everyone a little wet around the edges but did not dampen our spirits. It was wonderful to see friends…all a little older (aren’t we all?) but enjoying life with the Lusitano. Debra and I hope you will join us next time for all the fun and gorgeous horses!

Remember, the February Symposium will be here before we know it! We’ll take a little time off for family celebrations over the Holidays, but will be back at work preparing for the 10th Classical Series Symposium. It will be the most rewarding event yet! Click on the tab above to register.

Finally, there is still time to order your Saddle at the 2014 price. We haven’t changed our price for years, but we’ll be forced to do just that in the New Year….so don’t delay! Contact Debra to have your dream saddle arrive! (barbierfarm@aol.com)

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Hello Friends,

Debra and I have just returned from Brasil where visited all the breeding farms and attended the International Lusitano Expo in Sao Paulo….at a new venue! The facility at the Hipica Paulista was tremendous, but it was even better to see old friends and the progression of the young horses we saw last year and the year before. Rocas do Vouga was named Best Breeder for the 5th year in a row. Congratulations to Manuel, Thereza, Raul, Carlos, Edneu, and all the team for Rocas do Vouga! 

After a clinic in New Jersey, we’ll be headed to Portugal with our guests for the Festival in Golegã! Click on the link above to see what you will be missing. This way you’ll be sure to plan to join us next time!!!

We’ve added dates in December for our clinics….have a look at the Clinic tab above. I’m looking forward to seeing friends old and new in Chicago, Colorado, and Minnesota! If you are interested in hosting a clinic for 2015, please be in touch! Dates are limited and the calendar fills quickly. And we have announced the date for the February Symposium…our 10th in the Classical Series. Click the tab above (February Symposium) for all the information.

Until then….Amities….DB

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We had the pleasure to host our 9th Symposium over the weekend of October 10-12. We had a  lovely turnout with lots of new auditors and a few new horse and rider combinations. We were pleased to welcome a group of our regulars as well and most pleased to note their progress!

Topics for the lectures included working with the sensitive horse, refining lateral movement, channeling energy into rhythm, and from Dominique’s Alchemy, greater discovery of Be, not do. We had great participation and insightful questions from auditors…and this is always the best part! Well, perhaps after the champagne reception and dinner it is the best part. We had great French Orgue d’Barbary music and some Gypsy guitars and singers to entertain us!

For our next symposium, our 10th!, we’re inviting registered participants to email their questions and we’ll devote an entire lecture period to exploring their topics and answering the questions.

Enjoy the gallery below and make plans to be part of our next event. We’ve secured great rates at the Dry Creek Inn in Healdsburg. But the rooms won’t last long. The winter symposium is always heavily attended! The dates: February 20-22, 2015. See you soon! Click on the tab above to sign up.

 

 

Click on the Symposium tab at the top of the page to reserve your spot now! Great rates are in place at the Dry Creek Inn for Barbier Farm guests…but hurry, they will sell out quickly. The Winter symposiums are always the most attended. We’ll be posting updates about topics and special events during the symposium in the coming weeks.

February_2015_Symposium

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