no halter, no whip, no saddle, no treats
A first introduction to the Surfway method. During a two hour session you’ll learn the basic techniques of freedom based being with horses. By the end of the session you’ll have a better understanding of reading and sensing a horse’ body language and facial expressions. This course is for all ages and all levels.
Cost: € 40,- euro per person max 6 persons in a group.
During 3 sessions of 2 hours you’ll explore more deeply the art of ‘being’ with horses. Also if you are afraid of horses and you want to overcome this fear this option is a good choice. By the end of the course you’ll eel much more at ease in a group of horses as you’ll better understand the group dynamics.
Cost: € 110,- per person (minimal 2 and max 6 persons in a group)
During a 1,5 hour session children from 4 to 12 who would like to ‘be’ with horses in a friendly ‘non dominating’ way are welcome to explore another way of being with horses. During this session we will brush the pony and make a little tour on a pony with or without a saddle. This session is very good for children who are a bit scared of horses or who do not have an advanced level in horse-riding.
Cost € 30,- per child
My name is Saskia Relker. Horses have been a part of my life, as long as I can remember. I started riding when I was 6 and had my first horse when I was 12. I learned to ride the 'classic' way and participated in many show jumping and dressage competitions in the Netherlands.
I always dreamed about having a horse galloping towards me, the moment he saw me. A horse that was as happy to see me, as I was happy to see him. But in reality, my relation with horses was mostly based on food or dominance. If they were given a free choice, they would mostly prefer their peers over me or continue eating grass.
A few years ago I decided to stop riding the 'classic' way. I had learned "you have to show them who is boss" "If they don't listen, just make them listen" But it just did not feel good to me anymore. I love horses for their energy, their beauty and the feeling of freedom they give me. But instead I was controlling my horse with a bridle and a whip.
It was as if I love the ocean for it waves, yet I try to tame it by building dams until the waves are gone. But than I have a lake and regret the waves are gone.
So what if, I could ride the waves and enjoy them without trying to control them.
For a long time I was discouraged. I did not want to work with horses the 'old' way, but I did not have a good alternative. I learned about many different 'horse whispering' methods. I looked at Klaus Ferdinant Hemphling, Monty Roberts, Natural horsemanship, clicker training and positive reinforcement, but I did not have the magical connection they seemed to have and the first time I had my horse in the round pen he jumped over the fence. Positive reinforcement was no success either. My horse started biting me, demanding for more treats. He refused to work with me when all the treats were eaten.
Also most of these techniques still require a certain dominant presence where I had to act as a leader in order to be taken serious. But often I did not feel like being dominant. I was looking for companionship not leadership.
If only I could have a relationship with a horse being me, and not pretending someone I was not.
And then I participated a course in Portugal from Elsa Sinclair on Freedom Based Training. It is based on understanding the intrinsic motivation of the horse and work from there.
I immediately realized that this method would not only be helpful in working with horses but is equally helpful in building and strengthening human relations.
Finally I had found my new way of being with horses. Around the same time I was taking surfing lessons in the Atlantic Ocean. After one week of continuously falling of my board into the water, the second week I suddenly managed to stay on, and from there a little longer every day.
The joy of being able to spot the wave and ride it even for a short moment is indescribable and that is where the idea came from to combine the two. Being with horses became surfing without waves. And if you like to learn this too you’re happy to join.