Even as a high school student, Peggy Cummings knew—experientially and intuitively—that something was keeping the school horses she rode and worked with from expressing their innate curiosity, trust and freedom of motion. Although she often heard the words “lightness and ease” from her instructors and in classical texts, and had the opportunity to ride high-level horses, she saw that many horses were shut down and lifeless, going about their work in a mechanical, stiff way. Helping her first horse King regain his trust, playfulness and self-carriage became the foundation of a lifetime of dedication to helping horses and riders achieve freedom from bracing patterns, tension, and shut-down movement that so often dampens the joy that attracts us to horses in the first place. As she began traveling and teaching clinics, Peggy was beginning to chart her own path, teaching her students to ride with more awareness, lightness and softness in their bodies. Her mentors, Sally Swift and Linda Tellington-Jones, further helped Cummings shift the riding paradigm from “cramming and jamming” to a new model of horsemanship—one that honors horses out of knowledge and balance rather than fear or force. Today in clinics worldwide and through her Web site and books, Peggy helps countless students discover their own “aha” moments, helping horses and riders get “unstuck”, regain their elasticity, and learn what it’s like to move without bracing patterns, compression, and counterbalancing. Thirty years after Peggy learned how to influence her horse King without even sitting on him, Connect with Your Horse From the Ground Up became her answer to this universal riding dilemma. In this long-awaited volume, Peggy describes the essentials of her groundwork along with over two dozen illustrated exercises to help horses and their handlers find a reciprocal connection and then “remember to remember” the connection that is continuously lost and regained but rarely acknowledged. These exercises—done both standing still and in motion—will change the way you see and feel your horse and will improve how he moves, responds and goes about his work. Connect with Your Horse from the Ground Up prepares you and your horse for whatever you want to do each day. It is both a journey and an end in itself, one that rewards the reader with a new conversation with horses that ultimately becomes a dance to celebrate their connection.
By Peggy Cummings