A Fox Point Farm, our Horse Development builds Body, Mind and Soul. We build a strong, resilient foundation in the horse both on the ground and under saddle.
We teach your horse or pony how to perform on the biggest stage and succeed! We have the keys that you need to maximize potential! Join us today!
We offer an entire program to give your baby tools to solve challenges for today and for a lifetime.
We develop Puzzle Solvers that learn to use Focus, Connection and Relaxation to solve their fear and stress puzzles.
It’s not about desensitization, it’s about truly teaching the baby how to process and solve the situation or stimulus, so it no longer creates tension, in fact in solving it, they trigger positive chemical release in the brain, rewarding them.
Learning to solve stress and fear puzzles with connection and relaxation, releasing oxytocin and endorphins, empowers your baby and builds incredible confidence.
We build Super Babies that go much further than Leading, Tying, Trailer Loading, Bathing, Handling Feet, Grooming including Clipping, Accepting Saddle/Bridle, Ground Driving, and so much more!
Every horse needs to feel confident in itself and in its person. So many have learned to ignore stressful things, and get into trouble when that stress gets too high to continue to ignore. Rewiring the way the horse sees, feels, processes and responds to stress and fear triggers is key to keeping horse and human safe.
We have a proven simple method to teach your horse a new positive way to process stress and fear, our Fear to Neutrality Puzzle. We teach the horse how to go from Fear to Curiosity, to Dominance and Relaxation, to Confidence, and finally Neutrality where the trigger is no longer scary, it becomes neutral.
How do we do it? We rewire the horse’s brain to go to Connection and Relaxation at each stage.
Connection triggers the brain chemical Oxytocin, which is super bonding.
Relaxation triggers the brain chemical Endorphins, which gives an overall sense of well-being.
These chemicals become a reward that the horse learns to access himself through posture and action.
To got from Fear to Curiosity, we start with Focus, catching the ear, then both eyes. This builds Connection and triggers Oxytocin.
Next we inspire the horse to Move Toward the stress, this builds Relaxation and triggers Endorphins.
To go from Curiosity to Dominance, we start with a Nose Touch. The Nose Touch builds Connection and gives an even bigger Oxytocin release.
Next we inspire Relaxation with the Foot Touch. The Foot Touch gives an even bigger Endorphin release.
Once the horse has learned to use Curiosity (Focus and Move Toward) and Dominance (Nose Touch and Foot Touch) to Neutralize the scary thing, he becomes Confident.
He now knows how to use this pattern or puzzle to neutralize any scary thing he encounters. This Confidence triggers a Dopamine release, a reward and motivation chemical.
Now he sees the world with a whole new perspective, things that used to either cause him to run away (flight), fight or paralyzed him with fear(freeze), now have a solution, and that solution gives him the three best brain chemicals possible! He starts looking for scary puzzles to solve bc he knows how great they will make him feel! They put him into a space for maximum athletic performance, maximum connection and maximum relaxation!
Many horses have gotten stuck in Fear and Survival, the Sympathetic side of the Autonomic Nervous System. These horses may present in many different ways initially, but they all tend to cycle between Blowup (Fight or Flight) and Ignore (Freeze). Once a horse or human gets stuck in this spiral it can be very difficult to change, and people will often feel frustration, anger, hopelessness and despair.
Until now if a horse got stuck here, there were very few options to help him find his way back into Connection and Relaxation, Parasympathetic Nervous System. The usual approach of desensitization, or flooding, tends to built the Freeze/Ignore response, with emotions continuing to built inside the horse. These emotions tend to blow at the worst time, resulting in serious injury to human and/or horse.
The other method that’s gained popularity in natural horsemanship circles, is moving the horse fast until it is either exhausted or chooses to connect with the person. Early mornings at shows are filled with horses lunging to put them in a more ’relaxed’ space.
Creating a Chase/Fight response in the horse may spike his Adrenaline and run it out for the moment, leaving him tired, but long term only reinforces the need to stay in a Surviva/Sympathetic space.
In our program we have many techniques to trigger Connection and Relaxation in our horses, and it all starts with an exercise called Playground of Safety. In Playground of Safety the person ‘holds a safe space’ for the horse to do whatever it needs to do to find Peace and Relaxation in itself.
The person picks a spot, stands relaxed on that spot, with their focus not on the horse and allows the horse the freedom to do whatever it needs to do.
This exercise sets up all our major concepts:
Leadership - human is leader, but not a tyrant
Mirroring - horses are hardwired to mirror their herd for safety. Human offers something better to mirror, they offer relaxation
Boundaries - human creates a bubble of space around them, bc leaders need space to look out for danger. This exercise establishes boundaries so the horse must deal with his own emotions/problems before connecting with human. Followers need clear boundaries.
Safe Spot - In every exercise there is a Safe Spot, a range for the horse to find where he can relax. If he knows there is always a Safe Spot, he will continue to try different answers until he finds it. It inspires, find the Safe Spot and relax.
Free Choice - Everyone learns more, learns better, if they have the free choice to try out different solutions until they find the answer. If the horse finds the answer itself, it builds its confidence.
Playground of Safety is the first and most powerful exercise we teach. It can be used in all environments and situations with just slight adjustments.
After the horse finds peace, it will start cycling from stillness to movement, to stillness again. As it goes through this pattern, it relaxes more deeply and old trauma, emotions and memories can start coming up. We just hold space for the horse to process and release these things.
Once we have a horse that feels ‘clear’
and ‘present’, we start our leading exercises. These introduce our core principles of Leadership, Mirroring, Boundaries, Safe Spot, and Free Choice in motion. These usually bring up more emotio for the horse to process.
The Leading Exercises introduce the concept of balance between the right eye and left eye, the right side and left side. This lack of balance often results in tension and getting stuck in Survival.
The Leading Exercises introduce the concept of a positive Connection and how the horse needs to watch and listen to the human.
Many times going through these basic exercises will be what the horse needs to make a radical change into Parasympathetic Nervous System. Sometimes this is all you need.
Some horses are High Connection and have trouble with Relaxation. Other horses are better at Ignoring and just go through the motions, High Obedience, but low connection. And some horses are spinning in reactions from the past, or anticipating the future, they are completely somewhere else.
For horses that lack Connection, I feel they lack Oxytocin. Doing things that trigger Oxytocin, like Lateral Flexion toward the thing we want to connect to, are key. Finding ways to Inspire the horse to give you its ear, it’s focus, it’s bend/arc in its body and solve simple puzzles will do it.
Connection starts in our basic Leading Exercises, Turn Turn Turn and So You Wanna Dance. As we start to increase the difficulty level, we will often increase speed and transitions. We want the horse solidly watching us.
The next exercise or puzzle that I introduce is called I Spy or Find My Focus. It’s an extension of the Fear to Neutrality Puzzle, done with longer ropes at a greater distance. I point my eyes and belly button at an object and send the horse ahead to find it. Nose Touch or Nose Touch then Foot Touch are the answers I desire. I use a ‘hotter/colder’ game, sending the horse back and forth to find the target.
I Spy is excellent for horses that get in their heads and are busy pushing back and resisting the person. its also excellent for horses that go though answers mechanically, not really feeling for their person. It starts setting up the horse for riding by getting its head, neck and shoulders out ahead like it is when we are mounted.
The next big exercise we use is called Belly Button Connection Circles. It looks much like lunging but has a completely different feel to the horse. All upward and downward transitions, plus steering are directed from your belly button. The horse must feel for the person and stay really listening to catch the cues. It’s excellent for explosive horses especially.
We use the belly button to initiate all changes bc the muscle engaged when activating the belly button, the Transverse Abdomenis, is the main muscle of Parasympathetic Nervous System. You are triggering PSNS with every cue.
It also works on Draw and Mirroring, not Drive. Drive can feel confrontational to sensitive horses. This suggests and inspires, it doesn’t tell or force. The horse builds confidence in the connection bc it finds the answer since it has free choice.
Many times Belly Button Connection Circles are all you need to make a dramatic change in your connection with your horse. We often find we have been being too loud in our cues. By finding softer ways to ask, our horses stay vastly more attentive and connected.
Once our horses have mastered the previous exercises and puzzles, most are radically changed, but there are a few that still have weird chaos still coming out.
For these we go to a deeper level of Holding Space in Playground of Safety, allowing the horse the opportunity to ground, and release its chaotic charge and emotions back into the ground. For many of these troubled horses, this is the key to their success.
The second tool we use is Tapping. Tapping creates a stress and waits for the horse to solve that stress puzzle with either Connection or Relaxation. Usually Connection starts with an ear flick, and develops to lateral flexion toward the person. Usually Relaxation starts with a blink, and develops to head to the ground lip wiggling in the dirt.
We Tap with Touch, Sound, Visual Movement and Energy. Most horses will have at least one of these that’s especially triggering.
First Stage Tapping conditions a connection and relaxation response.
Second Stage Tapping inspires the physical body to release brace. Brace can be physical, but it can also be a memory or emotion held physically within the body. This stage of Tapping moves an enormous amount of energy and can clear much old garbage, and bring peace to a horse that’s been very troubled.
The Third Stage Tapping reshapes the physical body and opens neural pathways to bring muscles back online that may have shut down. This Tapping Stage is empowering and maximizing physical talent and ability.
If a horse has a deep issue, we must dig deeper to build even more Connection and Draw and even more Relaxation and Trust.
We will often continue these exercises at Liberty, with the horse loose. Some horses shut down when the halter is put on, or the tack is put on.
For these horses we do our best to remove any equipment that may be intimidating the horse. Sometimes that means a bigger area, whatever the horse needs to feel like it has free choice. Free choice will show you, is the horse inspired to be connected to you? Does the horse feel safe and trust you?
This concept may go all the way into riding. Riding Bareback or Bridleless is sometimes what is needed to build back the desire in the horse to connect and relax.
When your horse understands all these patterns and puzzles, it’s time to transfer these to riding. These aren’t games we do to fill time, they are patterns that efficiently and effectively build a better riding horse. It’s like we have taught him a new language in the classroom, now we get to take it out for a purpose.
We first connect the Belly Button to all upward/downward transitions and steering. Your whole cue system starts in the belly button, hands, arms, legs, feet are all supporting cast.
We have a pattern of simple foot positions for the rider to easily help the horse do correct upward and downward transitions, with precision leads and gaits. The downward transitions from the canter are especially fun and easy. The foot positions can help every horse interpret the difference in Canter/Trot, Canter/Walk, Canter/Stop instantly. It’s like God put these buttons in the horse and we just learn to use them.
Our last big riding piece is the Four Major Body Parts and how to use them to influence your horse’s balance, speed, length of stride, everything! We teach the horse to respond to small changes in our body position. It’s amazing how much you can do with a tiny change.
Lastly we show you how to use and apply all these techniques in the real world to solve your issues in real time.
We sit down with you and develop strategies to solve potential challenges before they snowball.
How you use Playground of Safety to set your horse up for deep relaxation before you tack up and ride.
How you use I Spy to build Confidence in unusually spooky jumps or trails.
How to use the Riding Techniques to maximize your horse’s quality of movement and jumping style.
We will build you a system to set you up for the greatest partnership and success you’ve ever had!
Groundskills and Riding $1500/mo
This includes training plus care/stall/turnout. Clients may bring their own feed and/or hay if they prefer.