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jack-stokers

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About jack-stokers

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  1. This is so wonderful. It was an absolute pleasure being there and helping out. I got so much hands on assistance I genuinely believe I can achieve my goals with horses and in life! It was so great meeting some more people from the QS community and it just makes me so happy that I am part of something with a bunch of people who I genuinely enjoy being around. Thanks again to both you and Shane for all your hard work and commitment helping us all realise our dreams.
  2. Hi everyone, It's been 2 days since I left QSE. This year I was at Shane and Merediths farm for 2 months. It was a long time to be away from my family and my farm but what a time it was. The amount of personal growth that occured was phenomenal. I know no words in my vocabulary that could truly explain how I feel but I think sharing is the most valuable gift and so I'm going to try anyway. I also believe credit is due where credit is due so thankyou to both Shane and Meredith for giving me the experience of a lifetime. No body knows and up until now I didn't either. I was really struggling with adopting the new life as a parent, partner, farmer, horse owner. In the space of 3 years I have gone from living in a granny flat out the back of my parents place in the heart of sydney, to owning a 200 acre farm in Northern NSW. I have 5 horses, a dairy cow and an almost 2 year old daughter. My life is everything I have always wanted, manifested in the shortest period of time possible. How I got here is a story in itself and I think I'll save that for the book I'm going to write one day (a best seller of course ). What I will say though is it took a herculean effort, a lot of family support and the will of a man possessed by change. I will eventually get to my point here, a story I think, is the fastest way to sharing a feeling. Reflecting on when I joined the QS community, 1.5 years ago, it's unfathomable to see the change in my self. I remember the first time my partner and I left our lesson with Elise, how on the drive home it felt like new parts of our brains were being accessed. Like for once we could speak clearly to eachother, instead of the underwater babble we would always hear. I was hooked from that moment. Every challenge that has come along the way, every moment of frustration and difficulty, I know was parts of myself I no longer needed. These used to brief windows into what I hoped would be a bright future, now it is a reality I find myself living and breathing every single day. A couple of months before the QSE was a real challenge for us. Financial pressure, rushed decisions, injured animals and difficult to deal with workers were pushing our patience to their limits. The image that was our dream started to lack permanence, our animals started to get sick, and we continued with our homework and lessons less and less. I started to doubt myself, doubt my vision and my goal. To wake up and to consider working with my horses felt like I had to move a mountain. I know now, thanks to Meredith and her ultimate horse course, that it was my beliefs holding my back. I believed that everything had to be right for me to be right. I needed all green lights to step forward, it would only take one for me to get stuck on. I used to think I had to solve every single problem and as the problems keep stacking up I was drowning in responsibility for my decisions. Coming to the QSE was one half terrifying and one half relieving. Terrified because I felt like a failure, relieved because at least I was getting away from all the problems (I created) back home. As Meredith would say, this is all supposed to be easy! And you know what? It is! The level 1 camp blew my mind. Nero my standardbred had not had consistent work for quite some time, I certainly hadn't offered that to him. I thought he was a heavy, straight standardbred and he would hold me back on my journey towards level 3. A simple perception change was all it took, the level one camp made practicing the basic skills fun and exciting! It gave me the foundation to really excel in the duration of my stay. For the first time ever, I cantered Nero. The feeling I got from that first canter was as profound as many of the experiences I have had in my life. Once again, I'm hooked for good now, how could it get better? All of the camps were brilliant and without my notepads with me right now to reflect on, I wouldn't be able to do them justice. I found Nero's true forward in HiM, i bonded with him like never before in the building rapport camp, I stretched him out and got him moving more than ever in the level 2 camp, plus I finally found out how to sit on a horse that's moving. The ultimate horse course is one of those experiences that will stick with me until the end of my life. I believed that I needed to make a change in my life and Meredith gave me the opportunity to make that change. Not only were things I never really understood presented to me in a really effective format, I was also given the skills and knowledge to overcome all of my fears, doubts, frustrations, trauma, triggers and conditioning. It's not a one stop fix all camp, but it's certainly a huge open doorway for those who are willing to find in themselves something that in my eyes has been missing for a long time, joy and freedom. I have tried a number of different modalities for relieving myself of the pains of my past but the ultimate truly taught me how it was possible. It also managed to prove to my more conservative demons that yes actually i can live without them! The funny thing is that now I know everything is alright, even if it's not. I can't control the world around me and even if a small, scared and childish self of mine wants to, I'm not going to. I understand now why people in this community believe every horse comes to you to teach you a lesson, each and every one have done so for me. Your horse is your mirror, I think your herd is also. It's up to me now, and that used to worry me but thanks to the QS team and its students/program I'm ready to take responsibility for my life and make a difference.
  3. Hey guys I thought I'd share my experience so far with the ultimate. As some of you know I have been the working student here for the last 2 months, and today is day 2 of the ultimate. I am still a level 1 student, have no prior experience with horses except with Nero and QS this last year and a half. Yesterday I galloped Nero on our pattern and today I cantered bareback with 1 rein in the big paddock, just for fun. I've been thinking about it a bit and that's pretty mental really. One of the funny things about QS is that people on the outside think it's too much work or takes too much time. I personally would never have done this if I hadn't practiced for this period of time! In the grand scheme of things 1.5 years is nothing! And look what I've achieved! And that's not 1.5 years of every day practice that's on and off. The thing is you have to invest so much of yourself into this program with your horse. You have to believe in it, you have to believe in yourself. Food for thought I guess, I intend to make a big summary of my experience here this year at the end of this camp.
  4. Hey everyone! I've been thinking today about the importance of being inspired and creating inspiration for others. For most of us I'm sure each little win we get is our inspiration. Watching each other learn and progress is great. Sometimes I think though, how nice is a photo of a really elevated canter? Or how far a horse can reach during sideways. I'm thinking photos of that which really show off our feel and connection with our horses could demonstrate to the outside world (preferably unprejudiced people of the general public) how our way is not something people have ever experienced. Maybe even we could entice people to try it, to want it. I keep getting told how weird it is to ride one rein and how not many people in the traditional world ride bareback. That's stuff we should be sharing then! So I was wondering if everyone could share some photos with me, moments they think are pretty cool, moments that demonstrates the principles we stick by. I was thinking of setting up a public Dropbox or something for everyone to share into. Otherwise maybe just here in the forum? What do you reckon
  5. There are few people I have met that have the sort of determination you have when it comes to pushing your limits Marie. It was awesome to be in the level 2 camp with you and I am so stoked you got your level one with her! As for that other guy chasing the cows and running around like a lunatic, that's a different story :/ (or was that me?) haha sorry again
  6. woohoo! we knew you could do it marie!
  7. This is how I feel about 'true forward' in your horse
  8. I always seem to find myself back in this place on the forum. I think most of my posts have been after a eureka moment thinking, hey! I've gotta get this message out there... Today I rode Nero into the dam for a swim, I didn't even know horses could swim until he started doing it! The last 3 weeks have become a bit like groundhog Day. I have been in the classroom day in day out, learning, observing, training myself and Nero. There is so much joy in those windows of time where you are moving with your horse, communicating with them and bonding with them. The classroom is so valuable, getting moment to moment feedback, challenging your understandings about yourself and your beliefs, figuring out just how deep your love and drive for this way of life really is. Can you persevere through your deepest fears and your darkest emotions to see if there is something on the other side? Do you trust in your coach, in the program and in your intuition for what is right? Sometimes our compass has become so muddied by the standard practice that in moments where it's time to think like a horse, not a human, we make the wrong choices. The most insane thing I have witnessed during this time is how every horse forgives and allows you to try again, as long as you have it right in your heart. I say all this because today, we left the classroom. We rode out into the bush, like humans have for thousands of years since the dawn of the bond between horse and human. In this I found a deep longing for something, something in my DNA, something that told me I have been here before, we have travelled this road together. Hours passed in the vortex of focus and fun. We swam in the dam and we chased a herd of cows. In these moments I realised why I work so hard in the classroom. Realised the dream and made it a reality. For all the hours of frustration, fear, disappointment. For all the times I have cried, feeling the bond between me and my horses and how much slack they cut me while I learn. Like they know that one day, this guy is going to be a great leader for me and I will cut him some slack for the mistakes he makes, a phase too soon, a phase too large, we've all been there. Whenever it feels like you want to give up like enough is enough, dig in and keep trying. The greatest triumph is overcoming these walls in leaps and bounds. This morning I felt like I had absolutely no place being around a horse. But I kept my emotions in check, kept working at it and found a good place to finish on, and Nero was on point for me after that. All I can say is this, if you love it, if you can't see a world where it isn't a part of it, don't let anything or anyone convince you you can't do it or you shouldn't. Especially yourself! Jack
  9. Came across this on youtube tonight. Figured it was worth sharing, it really hit home for me and what i've found through the program :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EP3mzQD-om0
  10. dw simone bindi is well fed and watered here with us
  11. https://www.horsesandpeople.com.au/article/biological-worm-control-australian-innovation-now-reality#.W5o5KXOuadM has anyone heard of this yet? im not a big fan of newly introduced products, i always side with tried and tested because who knows what the long term affects of application could be?
  12. thankyou to everyone who has read and replied to this. i dont think ill ever be able to truly express my gratitude knowing how many people are out there who i know understand what it is to be in my situation. its amazing to receive all your kind advice, feels good to be part of something where honesty and humility is appreciated and nurtured. looking forward to speaking with you all next
  13. hey everyone its been a while since ive been on the forum. in all honesty its actually been a very hard couple of weeks here for me and my horses. nothing has gone wrong, which is half the problem. if everything is running so smoothly, why am i not able to do the thing i love most? i actually hate to use the T word (trauma) but thats very much what is going on for me at the moment. its not something im super keen on talking about, but if being open and honest about what im going through helps someone else with their story then it will have been worth it. we all have ghosts who haunt us, up until this point mine didn't affect my horsemanship. i am starting to understand that true horsemanship has as much to do about your relationship with the world and your horses as it actually has anything to do with the physical work. basically i have a new horse jack. hes a thoroughbred and he matches me more perfectly than i ever thought possible. hes scared, and honestly im scared. im not a reckless person and i much prefer the comfort zone, but im curious, curious enough to push me into the learning zones. im a dad now, i fear death, as much for the sake of my loved ones as for me. allowing myself to accept and acknowledge this fear has been so hard, i want to be the confident horseman, but im not and thats actually ok with me now. anyway, i dont need to go into everything right now, but i have my goals and im determined enough to meet them. today i felt a change in the wind, the sort of change which accompanies new growth and new patterns. im hoping to apply this new energy to my approach with my horses, an honest kind approach, where i put my trust back into my horses so they can put theirs back into me thankyou to all the amazing people in this community who support me during times of such intense change. until next time jack
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