Connected work improves everything we do with horses.
It takes you from a language of concepts, to sensations of feel.

January 2017

...pushing on...into the LIGHT
Susan Cook
The Labyrinth--Why is it part of our logo? What is at the beginning? What is along the path? What is at the end... or IS there an end? See story on page 4.

Our cover photo:
This is Peggy Cummings entering the labyrinth, ...pushing on...into the LIGHT. Thanks goes to DeWayne Brown for allowing us to use his photos.



Peggy Cummings

  Calendar        web
Susan's Notes      2
    2017 focus
    Sharpen the Saw
What's Hot!        3
    101 Courses
        Instructor WS
     NW Horse Expo  
Labyrinth story    4

Article Well        5

Past Newsletters
   Rider Quiz
   CR/SCR expo

 Hello Connected Riders. 
Why a Labyrinth?
     We chose the labyrinth as our logo symbol because it represents the process of Connected work. Each person is entering as a seeker of knowledge. Each is asked to release pre-conceived notions, and to allow the internal journey inward of self-awareness. 

     Through this awareness process, we become more sensitized and observant of how we connect with our horses and how they connect to themselves and to us. 

     Our travels into the labyrinth and back out again are our ongoing cycle of learning. As we become more aware in the moment, we realize how we learn at different pacing at different times, releasing our judgements when they greet us time and again.  

     The  cycle continues as we push onward into our
 en"Light"enment of learning!


"The horse is a mirror to my soul
Do you choose to look at the image and go inside  where knowing, feeling, and intuition provide answers?
Or do you look for others to tell you how  you are supposed to know, 
and feel, and be?"

-Peggy Cummings


From the desk of

...pushing on...into the LIGHT
      In addition to developing our teacher training within the Connected Riding organization, we are reaching out to our riding instructor colleagues, too.  
     The School of Connected Riding is offering our first workshop exclusively for all riding instructors next month, on Friday, February 17th! Our purpose is to invite and include riding instructors from all backgrounds to come together and share ideas about how and what we teach. Peggy Cummings, Deb Davies, Diane Sept, and Julie Staub will all be presenting short presentations on the various aspects of riding teaching, and training, prompting discussion with the workshop audience.     
     There will be morning lectures, hosted luncheon, and horse play in the afternoon. 
     We plan on offering other such workshops around the country and creating a collegial space for sharing information and camaraderie with other riding instructors. We would like to be a source of support and inspiration to a group of people who give so much, and are often unsung heroes for many people and horses.
       Be sure to send me your riding instruction feedback (see "Sharpen the Saw" below) as it will be a topic of conversation at our conference! To see the Workshop flyer, click here...

Sharpen the Saw
     One of my interests and passions about working in the Connected Riding business is working with riding instructors to "sharpen the saw" of their teaching craft. I come from a career background of counseling, educational psychology, sales, and teacher training. All of that experience involved either being trained or training others to learn some type of skill. As we all know, learning is a complex skill, and teaching people (and horses) to learn new things is even more complex. 
     With that, Peggy and I have always been committed to supporting, the best we can, those who choose to teach Connected Riding. We have always felt there was much more to do, and this year we are devoting more focus to developing aspects of our teacher training.
     You can be a part of helping us in that regard! Send me a short comment about what you find most helpful in riding instruction (in a lesson or a clinic), and what is least helpful to you. For example, as a riding student, positive encouragement as well as time to organize myself during a lesson helps me learn best. I also need to ask a questions during a lesson. I get easily lost and overwhelmed if the instructor is just talking at me the whole lesson, "tmi" (too much information all at once). How about you? Send your feedback to

t hank you!  

Susan Cook

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead


"Everlasting impact with compassion and kindness is called love." 

(Note on a tea bag)

What's Hot.

Workshop for Riding Instructors 

February 17, 2017

Sherwood, Oregon

     Riding instructors - this workshop will help you enrich your program!

   Two things that we'll be highlighting in 2017 will be a specific workshop for all riding instructors and a targeted invitation for all riders at the intermediate and advanced levels.
     Instructors will learn tips for supporting students' balance and position, among many other aspects of teaching.
     Riders will have an opportunity to see what Connected Riding has to add to their performance. This coincides with the development of our SCRT 200 level curriculum.
Contact us to request an Instructor Workshop in your area:

Click Here To Register & For More Information

Our 101 Courses
Open to all riders who want more for themselves
and their horses. 
We have re-tooled our SCRT 101 course to be just a bit easier for
folks to access, both time and money-wise. It is very different than a regular riding clinic type of learning, because it is much more intensive, step-by-step specific sequence. 
     This is designed for people who want to know why and how Connection works, and how to take it back to their horses and students and have a place to start making changes. 

Oregon 101 ~ April 7-10, 2017  ~ Limited Space 
101 Course in Spain

January 27-30, 2017 

March 24,25,26 2017
Albany, Oregon
Peggy is a keynote clinician doing 3 lectures and 2 arena presentations with Diane Sept, senior CR instructor and a team of practitioners from Oregon. Visit our booth and get balanced on the saddle stand.
With years of classical training, riding, teaching, and research, international clinician and author, Peggy Cummings has developed the Connected Riding® methods. Connected Riding® techniques support conventional riding methods by adding biomechanical tools that reduce the bracing patterns in horses and riders. Riders learn how to use their own bodies in new ways to enhance the performance of their horses, ride pain-free, and without resistance while having more fun doing it!  
Friday Lecture:   
Ready or not?   How do we know when our horses are ready to work?  
Learn some critical tips for  "warming up" your horses that will make an immediate difference under saddle.
Friday Arena demo:  
Are you and your horse ready?  
Watch strategic exercises prepare horses and riders together, and see if you can tell when they're "ready" to go to work.  3 different horses, same exercises - watch the progress and notice the differences.
Saturday Lecture:  
Discovering what's "Real" about the "Feel" of Riding
What is feel?  Learn how to become more sensitized to the wave of your horse's movement and be more in sync!
Saturday Arena demo
Found in translation- putting words into feel.  
See how  translations of certain riding concepts either help or hinder how the horses perform.  Audience participation in q and a welcome. 
Sunday Lecture
Support for your riding and horse work:   
Bring your questions and issues to Peggy and her team for specific and hands-on conversations to address the issues you're having with your horses and your riding.   Take away tips and exercises to try at home to have a better connection with your horse.
More (CR web site calendar)



 edited  by Judy Good
...pushing on...into the LIGHT!

Why is it part of our logo? What is at the beginning? What is along the path? What is at the end... or IS there an end?

the Labyrinth.

At the beginning.
1. Seeking, Releasing, Allowing 
and Traveling Inward.
The labyrinth is designed to help us find our way - It has only one path - from the outer edge into the center (of ourselves) and back out again. The labyrinth represents a nonlinear supportive structure that encourages a sense of surrender. This sense of surrender aids in letting go of old unwanted perceptions and patterns.
We learn the language of Connection, and become proficient with the Connected Groundwork exercises. We learn to accept and reciprocate contact on the line (working in  Connection ). We gain a heightened awareness of postural patterns of horses and people, and learn to assess our horse before every session. We begin a program of personal physical awareness to work through our own pain, and our postural and bracing habits. 

Along the path. 
Becoming Aware 
and Realigning Ourselves.
Through the act of trusting the path, of giving up conscious control of how things should go and being receptive to our inner state, we can be opened up to a whole new world of possibilities. Somehow this process quiets our deep inner being so that we can hear our own profound wisdom and receive it. In this state we are able to realign ourselves for change. This is where Connection happens.
Traveling further through the Labyrinth we become proficient at finding and staying in  Neutral Posture,  and letting go of habitual bracing patterns. We begin to vary our routine of Connected exercises, knowing each one is a tool for a more dynamic, creative, and intuitive dance. This takes more focus and coordination.

At the end... or IS there an end? 
3. Applying Our Wisdom in the World.
Returning to the outer edge of the labyrinth with our new awareness, alignment, and tools, we integrate our new patterns into our daily lives.  The "labyrinth experiences" are cumulative; with each repetition we gain confidence, knowledge and mastery.
We have a habit now of noticing how our horse moves each time we work with her. Our awareness is so heightened that we can evaluate the subtle changes that take place during the exercises and through time. As we near the Labyrinth exit we "remember to remember" to pay attention to posture and breathing, and remain aware of releasing any tension in our and our horses' bodies. We re-visit sections of the Labyrinth as questions arise, and as we guide others through,  ...pushing on...into the LIGHT!

A Labyrinth story.
[Note: page numbers and exercises in italics refer to the book 
Connect With Your Horse from the Ground Up by Peggy Cummings]
Case Study: Hunter
with Connected Riding Instructor
Trisha Wren

Study Length: One-and-a-half years


Hunter is a 12-year-old Standardbred gelding. He raced a couple of times (trotting), and when taken off the track, did some trail riding. He has a fantastic temperament and is very easy going, but deep down he is a bit of a worrier and was quite spooky at first.

1. Seeking, Releasing, Allowing and Traveling Inward.
Presenting Issues
Hunter had fairly typical Standardbred conformation: He held his head in the air with a bulging brachiocephalicus (the muscle on the bottom of the neck where it meets the shoulder); a dip in front of his very prominent withers; hollows behind his withers; a hollow neck; a weak topline and back; a hunter's bump and pointed quarters; and legs that went "all over the place." The general issue was Hunter's extremely high head carriage, hollow back, and inability to use his hindquarters correctly. He was extremely "stuck" and stiff in his neck on the right side; when ridden he felt very unbalanced (he "motor-biked" --leaned-- around corners, particularly to the right). When asked to back up, he dragged his hind feet.

"The farther off from England, the nearer is to France, so turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance."
Lewis Carroll
Becoming Aware and Realigning Ourselves.
In the time I worked with Hunter he had (at least) two stretches of about three months off work for a variety of reasons, mainly time and weather related. We also had to sort out some dietary issues and some general physical discomfort he was experiencing.
     At least 80 percent of the work I have done with Hunter has been Connected Groundwork, and the balance Connected Riding. The groundwork was comprised initially of exercises designed to increase his body awareness and help him to let go of the tension and bracing patterns he had built up. Exercises included lots of Caterpillar (p. 64), Chin Rest (p. 69) for his high head, Cheek and Shoulder Delineations (p. 62 and 67), Heart Girth Press (p. 78), and Wither Rock (p. 80) to get him "soft" and bending through his rib cage. The Tellington Method's Back Lifts and Pelvic Tilts brought his back up and improved his awareness of his back and hindquarters. A year after beginning, I incorporated Drawing the Bow (p. 49), lots of one-line work, and Tail TTouches, which helped connect his back end to his front.
     I didn't do any trot work for the first year, as Hunter was still so unbalanced and high-headed in the walk. Once he finally started "letting go" and stretching down, I introduced trot on one line. He is now able to trot in good balance and rhythm. As yet he hasn't managed to translate that to a balanced soft trot with me on his back, but he will get there.

3. Applying Our Wisdom in the World.
Hunter's body has improved dramatically: his back has filled out and strengthened, as has his neck; the lower side of his neck no longer bulges unless he gets really worried; his hindquarters have rounded; and his hind legs are coming under his body more usefully. His temperament has also changed: when he was a little standoffish before, he now comes when I call and enjoys attention.
Article Well

Notice how horses move.

Notice how your horse moves.

Notice how you move

Rebalance your horse.

Rebalance yourself.

Ride in balance & connection .

We hope you enjoy our growing selection of Connected Riding (and related) articles. The topics are divided into the six sections, as mentioned in our Newcomers Document. Click on the little labyrinth images to go to pages of related articles. Then click on the article image to go to the entire article. At this time only # 2, 3 and 5 have articles. Give feedback here .

"WOWWY! This first edition is awesome! Nothing was "new" and yet everything was so incredibly helpful! It crystallizes all the dimensions and main points of the philosophy, and connects (no pun intended) all the dots - the horse, the rider, the teachings - so it makes clear how "Connected Riding" can and does fit into all riding! So well done! And I LOVE all the pictures with descriptions that show "this" and not "that" for each point. I think anyone that reads this will come away with a very clear grasp of what Connected Riding teaches and what they would learn at a clinic. 
KUDOS! " Sally Patton

Thank you Sally. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn Connected Riding more deeply by creating this newsletter for you, and I am grateful for you. 
With much love, 
Judy Good, editor