control personal energy
HISTORY This activity is unlike any other a person has tried because you are partnering with another living being.

Students find that they have to learn how to use their body differently in order to properly communicate with/control the horse. As they
begin to learn this, they find the horse mirrors their emotions, both positive and negative.

The human, children especially, comes loaded with emotion - both positive and negative, which can get in the way of being successful with
the horse. The secret is to work from a place of energy that is calm and balanced.

I write up the stories of successful NRG REDIRECTION on Facebook. If you click on this link,
you to that album so you can get an idea of the situations students have faced and dealt with successfully. There are times that very
stressful and unexpected situations occur and the child handles it well. The album
THE COWBOY WAY has those stories.

As the years have rolled by, it seems that people dealing with the energy issues taking lessons has increased as has the need to work
through those issues. As a result, I have developed the following program in order to reward those who are able to stay in balance
regularly AND reward those who are making the journey toward personal balance.

In training horses, the new horsemanship encourages rewarding for the slightest try and making sure that the horseman sets the horse up
to succeed. That is what I try to do with the students and their energy.

The horse gives immediate opportunity to work on any personal issues the rider might have. I try to give tools, both personal and
horsemanship, that will work with each individual (just like horses, one approach doesn’t fit all).

All I ask is that they TRY to do as instructed and try to manage their personal energy. The outcome with the horse may not be what we
planned, BUT if the rider tried to the best of their ability and managed their energy then I consider that THEY SUCCEEDED BIG TIME. The
rider will always get immediate feedback from their horse so they know if what they are doing works or not.

NRG INCENTIVE PROGRAM To reward “Horse Energy” as demonstrated by the human (Personal Energy Control)

Any student can enroll in this to earn certificates. Please know that even if a person doesn’t enroll for the certificates, we will deal with
energy issues and lesson progress every ride.

What is “horse energy” for the human? It is the ability to go to and hopefully stay in a place of energized calm appropriate for being with
horses. We expect the individual to be in and demonstrating horse energy as soon as they get out of the vehicle. The vehicle is the last
moment to get it under control before their energy is being counted for NRG. I do expect HORSE ENERGY demonstrated the entire time a
rider is here.

Out of balance with personal energy The purpose is to make the rider aware that they MUST control their energies in order to learn and
have a good ride. Until that happens, learning will not be as effective as it could be. The student learning to consciously control their energy
and balance and either go to or maintain the calm center is an active part of the lesson.

Balanced personal energy Many show up who have learned to control their personal energy and I think that too needs recognition. We are
so quick to point out what people do ‘wrong’ that I would like to focus on what they do right. NOTE: This is a time to focus on the effort and
energy, not empty praise.

An example of what I consider ‘empty praise’ is when the rider is complimented for ‘looking good’. Almost anyone can ‘look good’ on a
horse in a few minutes. If I tell a person they are looking good I may have seen them go from lack of confidence and a little scared to being
more comfortable with what they are doing and that does deserve praise. I also share with the parents what I see in their child as they ride.


HORSE ENERGY is relaxed energy without emotion such as frustration, tired, I can’t and all the negative excuses we gather along this line.
When we focus on what we can’t do or don’t know it puts a huge barrier in the way of doing or learning to do. I think of it as a ‘business
energy – I have a plan and this is what we are going to do.’ I will implement my plan in leadership energy rather than boss energy. Horses
follow a leader much better than a boss.

Too much happiness or excitement and anticipation of a future event can cause a person to be at a silly stage in their mind. When they are
in that place mentally, they are not able to focus on the horse and ride nor are they able to execute clear instructions for the horse.
Redirecting their energy to HORSE ENERGY helps the person learn how to really be in the NOW and make it a really good experience.

HORSE ENERGY is awareness of what is going on with you and around you. You develop reasonable caution (not fear) and learn to be
responsible for your own safety. The more knowledge and understanding you acquire the more comfortable you become.

HORSE ENERGY is being happy and cheerful and focused on what you are doing.

When a person is in HORSE ENERGY their energy has a feeling of kindness and empathy to it. It is not a ‘poor baby’ type of thinking and
approach but ‘I understand and feel for what is happening but we are going to do what we should be doing”. Understanding what the other
(horse in this case) may be feeling and thinking can go a long way in accomplishing goals. Consideration of others is always an energy that
promotes teamwork.

HORSE ENERGY is being courteous to all the living things, people and animals (even the bull snakes here – they have a lot to teach you
about NRG). Your voice says words that are kind and the tone is a pleasant tone.

It is keeping your physical movements at a level so the horse is comfortable with you in its space and doesn’t think of you as a predator
(which we are in their world). When you do this you are taking responsibility for your actions and the results can be really good. This is also
known as choice, you are choosing actions that will have a positive impact on all those around you. How you act and react is powerful.
HORSE ENERGY – always used for positive purposes – gives you that power.

HORSE ENERGY is making sure you meet ALL your responsibilities from the beginning of setting up tack to the end where you put all
tack/equipment away. We call this follow through. When you remember all the pieces of this process you become focused and everything
works smoother.

HORSE ENERGY For children - this means you remember the adult accompanying you is not ‘mom or dad’ while you are here but Miss
Wendy's assistant coach, your very own personal coach. You are expected to treat your coach with courtesy at all times.

HORSE ENERGY means you are listening to you instructor or coach and your horse and TRYING TO ALWAYS DO THE BEST YOU CAN
WITHOUT EXCUSES. You use the words “I’LL TRY”. You keep “I know” and "I can't" out of the way. It puts a big block in your head and
learning can’t come through. If we say and think, “I’ll try” it is like a hammer smashing the block and learning can definitely come in and be

When you are in HORSE ENERGY you are thinking ‘like a horse’ which means you are thinking of how the horse will perceive what is going
on with you and everything else around him. Thinking like a horse can help keep you out of trouble with them. We call this focus. This is also
learning how to work in the NOW. That means right now, this moment, is where I need to concentrate so I can be successful. If I am doing


It can truly take only one or two deep, slow breaths to change your energy. When you can do this you have great power because when you
are in control with HORSE ENERGY you are in control of yourself, the horse, parents and instructor and how they feel. HORSE ENERGY
is a good and extremely powerful energy and makes not only you but also everyone around you feel really good and happy. Horse energy
is only used for good things to happen.

When you feel ‘bad energy’ coming on, stop what you are doing and take a slow, deep breath in. As you do this think I feel HORSE
ENERGY and feel yourself change. As you let your breath out, think I CAN DO (whatever it was that made you stop). It may take more
than one breath and that is okay.

Sometimes the ‘bad energy’ may sneak up on us at different times. When it does, then stop, breath and go to HORSE ENERGY. The more
you practice this the easier it becomes and the better you feel and the more you learn. You are then definitely a WINNER- you have won
your own personal battle. You chose how you would feel; bad energy didn’t choose it for you.

Miss Wendy has a bit of magic that will help you get from the bad energy to NRG. You just have to listen and TRY to do what she tells

PARENTS Between lessons once in a while talk to your child about HORSE ENERGY. I have found using that term and telling them what is
expected seems to give them a visual better than just saying ‘calm down’. They buy into Horse Energy and learn how to use it. And, with
the logo, it is easier for them to visualize.

As you are driving here for a lesson, have a short conversation about Horse Energy so the child is thinking of that as they arrive. Remind
them that in order to earn the certificate, they MUST have HORSE ENERGY as they get out of the car and they must keep it the entire
time they are here at Abrazos. I will try to remember and greet the kids that are having problems with an NRG check upon arrival to
reinforce parental prepping.

As you help your child through the processes of setting up and tacking up, encourage him or her to do all he/she is capable of. Help keep
them on task by asking questions of ‘what is next’ or ‘where do you put that’ or ‘where do you go next’ or ‘what do you do next’. I find that
this helps them pull on information they have and speeds up their ability to do what they need to do. Also, remember to be on the same
side of the horse your child is on so you can see what is going on and keep the process going.

After we get them on the horse at the arena then we are into the horse as teacher hopefully. If we have to give instructions, we need to
keep it to simple information, not lengthy explanations. We need to give them DO information. If you find yourself starting your sentence
with ‘don’t’ or ‘that’s not how you do it’ the information they need doesn’t seem to get in.

Many times we only need to stop the rider close to us and SIMPLY explain and show them what we want them to do. We assume they
understand a lot of abstract ideas and theories but they don’t. When they are shown, then we can tell them to ‘put your hands in front of the
saddle like you were shown’.

PLEASE figure out an exercise to do at home to help them understand right and left. I need to reference R & L when I give instructions and
if they can’t relate, it gets very confusing and frustrating for all of us.

I have also found that things like front and back or right and left may have great meaning in another situation but not under these
circumstances. We need to make sure we are educating BUT KEEP IT SIMPLE.

If we do our jobs as their coaches and riding instructor, then the child can take care of their responsibilities.

Questions, Situations & Answers

Why is personal energy so important?
The horse ‘reads’ our energy every time we are in its space. They make their judgment about working with us based on the energy they
feel from us. They are looking for a leader, a person in control of their personal energy who can give clear and meaningful direction which
will keep them from harm. If we don’t project this energy then the horse can become extremely uncooperative and sometimes dangerous.

What happens if the kid make 3 good NRG rides then have an emotional melt down?
If they slipped, BUT got themselves under control and back to what is needed quickly and stayed in that energy, that is progress. The
points we consider will be reduced anywhere from –1 to – 5. Points taken away can possibly result in 0 score for that lesson if the
meltdown was a bad one.

Depending on circumstances and their try, they may receive an NRG redirect recognition.

Isn’t 12 times spread over 3 months too long (or longer depending on how they apply themself)?
Personally, I don’t think so. I actually think it should be longer. Setting up the program so they can continue to earn another certificate when
one has been completed should accomplish the goal of sustained control over energy and attitude.

The student can redeem their tracking form for a certificated when they have reached a total of 60 points.

I know that 12 weeks sounds like a long period of time. The rider is here about 1 hour and 45 minutes each lesson once a week if all things
work right. That isn’t much time out of a week of 168 hours. Allowing 56 hours sleeping time that leaves 112 waking hours which means
lesson time is less than 1%. I think asking for 1% of their energy to be Horse Energy is reasonable. Of course, that translates to 100%
here which is huge.

All we are really asking the person to do is get into a new habit (make good choices) which is exhibit energy that is harmonious to
themselves and those around them. We are also asking them to take responsibility for their own actions.

We tend to do that when things become hard or don’t go our way. When we can learn that we have choice and can change our approach to
something, it gets easier and can even be fun. When we focus on the excuses they simply set up barriers making whatever we do harder
and harder.

If we get on the ‘excuse train’ pretty soon we find we can’t do too much or do it well.

But this happened at school and my child just couldn’t …………….
Sorry about that. The whole purpose of this incentive is to help the riders understand that they ALWAYS have choice as far as their own
personal energy and attitude although we buy into ‘it’s the other person’s fault, they made me …, you just don’t understand…’

You can keep dragging garbage around with you and putting that bag in between you and what you want to accomplish OR you can set it
down and walk away, leave it behind, trash it and start fresh.

My child didn’t get enough sleep …..
One of life’s lessons is to learn that we need to keep commitments and do our best even if we are a bit tired. Again, this is an opportunity
to make good choices - one of which is going to bed on time. One very interesting thing I have noticed about all this is when the rider
makes a really good effort to change to HORSE ENERGY he/she actually becomes energized and has fun.

It’s not realistic to expect a person to be happy all the time.
I agree with that HOWEVER I do feel it is realistic to expect people I encounter will not bring a lot of unhappiness, frustration, anger or
negativity to what we are doing. There is a place of
simple calm without emotion (that doesn’t mean we are cutting off feeling – simply
redirecting negative destructive energy into positive and constructive energy then acting appropriately for the situation).

It is possible to deal with a negative reality without being negative.

PLEASE DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE TRUE PURPOSE OF THIS INCENTIVE. It is not to gain the certificate – it is to help the child
understand about choice and consequence, that control over self promotes a harmonious environment for all those around them, when in
the HORSE ENERGY they really can accomplish anything. They need to earn what they receive by honest effort. Just like training a horse,
if we excuse and short cut and do not expect, support and set them up to do their best then we have a horse that is not useful and no fun to
be around.

After we make all this effort, what do we get?
A personalized certificate.  A copy will be posted on the barn wall and in the NRG recognition album on Facebook.

Can we only get one?
They can only be earned one at a time. After you receive the first one then you can get the tracking form for number two and so on. The
same criteria applies each time. As you begin your next one, you might review your prior tracking notes and set goals for the new period of

Why does the rider have to bring the form and turn it in before he/she can get the certificate?
I believe in personal responsibility. This way the student will be responsible for:
Putting the form some place safe
Making the entries on a regular basis
Since we will talk at the barn, they make sure the information is what we agreed upon
At the end of the tracking time they need to bring it to initiate the certificate

This way the student will learn about consequences. Their responsible action will earn them the certificate. If they are irresponsible, then it
will jeopardize receiving the certificate.

I will check the student’s logging information against mine before generating the certificate.

It is available to any Abrazos rider. Whether or not folks enroll, we will deal with their energy and evaluate the lesson every time. I believe it
will help the kids if they do the tracking and actively work toward the certificate.

You are eligible to enroll in the program after completing your first 4 lessons. As you come on board, the first lessons will educate you as
to what is expected and how things work. I think this will help kids become more aware of choice and consequence.

FOR THOSE IN THE PROGRAM We will all track NRG each time they come. Students have to complete 60 points to earn a certificate.
This translates to a 3-month period or longer. A person may not be at the top of HORSE ENERGY every time and that is okay.  They will
earn points each time they come UNLESS we have a total meltdown.


The parent will be the deciding factor. Many times, the kid has convinced the adults around that they need to be waited on or things are too
confusing to deal with or the stress is too great and the effort too much.

After operating the school since 1999 and having the numerous families through over the years, I have found that the child can usually
exceed the parent’s expectations if we work to set them up to succeed. The really neat thing to see is the pride the child has when he/she
learns exactly what his/her choice brings and that they really can control that. The other piece is to see the amazement in a parent when
the child’s behavior changes to something that makes all their lives easier.

Know that you will probably go through a perios where you child tests your resolve. Remember, a meltdown now isn't worth quitting. There
have been too many success stories as students stick it out. The cool thing is after mastering personal energy, they do learn about horses
and how to ride. And that is a lifetime ability.

I will not ask your child to do something that they can’t do. We need to remember that won’t and inability are two very different things.
There are creative ways to get things done that do work.

We need you to become a coach, not a dofor. I know this is hard. It is a lot quicker just to do it for them rather than step back, guide them
and let them tackle the process. Once in a while, when time is at a premium, I will even step in and do a piece but we want that the
exception, not the rule.

As a coach you will encourage the child as he/she goes through the different processes needed to have a lesson.

You will guide and direct, not do for them unless absolutely necessary. You will learn the difference between the slight assistance as
opposed to doing the entire thing. The more often the child is guided to physically perform the process him/herself the quicker he/she will
learn and remember. Even the really little ones are capable of a lot more than we think. (And they are so cute when they succeed)
Repetition threads all the pieces together for the person. If we step in and take parts of it, then it becomes harder to put it together in the
right order and to remember all of it.

Parents remember, if you are a "do for" it will negatively impact your child's points for the lesson. Find the balance for coaching.

In the beginning we keep actual instructions to a minimum. Sometimes all they need is a word or two to direct them. We will fill in with
reasons as they continue lessons and can handle more information.

The quicker they become responsible for things such as talking when around horses and looking where they are going, not at the horse, the
safer they will be.

We want them to tune in to their horse and learn to listen to what it is ‘saying’, This will help your child be more in tune with his/her
surroundings and people with whom he/she comes in contact.

You may need to remind them to focus on their ride in the beginning. Unless it looks like there will be a disaster, allow them to learn about
making decisions such as avoiding other riders and objects.

There are horses that are difficult rides in the beginning. These are actually the ones that will teach the most if you can hang in there when
your child complains and it may not necessarily be the most fun. I try to alternate horses so that as they are starting they have an easy ride
then a more challenging one. How they handle the challenge tells us a lot about the rider. When they come in and request a hard horse,
then you know they are making personal and horsemanship progress – a good thing.

There will be times (sometimes a lot of them) when the child is less than cooperative and even a down right embarrassment with their
behavior. It simply reminds me of the young horses I have worked with and those moments don’t last forever. These are really the golden
opportunities for them to understand and practice energy redirect. Remember there is a really cool kid on the other side of the tantrum.

This program has evolved to help the child learn to redirect negative, sucky, uncooperative energy into - at the very least - a neutral energy
where they can do what is needed.

The best we can hope for is they learn to redirect that unpleasant energy into actual positive, happy and cooperative energy.

And this, energy redirection, is where parents need to hold tough to see if the child will make the choices we encourage.

On the flip side, there are the kids that are able to maintain their HORSE ENERGY from the beginning and they need to be recognized. It is
possible that the program will help reinforce the idea that they are already on the right track in life. These kids will be able to gain the
horsemanship knowledge more quickly since they don’t have negative energy to deal with AND they are rewarded every time they ride by
the horse.

Please do not excuse the child’s behavior. When they become adults they will have to deal in the world of a lot of things that will make them
unhappy – if they choose. If they can learn early that although they have to deal with things they don’t want to it doesn’t have to be a bad
experience – it really is what THEY make it.

In order for them to earn the recognition for their NRG they really
only have to do one thing and that is arrive and stay in HORSE ENERGY
for the duration of the lesson as has been described earlier in this document.

I structured the comparison of what HORSE ENERGY is and isn’t with the idea that the child will have to know behaviors that don’t fit. BUT
I put opposite behaviors that are what we desire so I would like you and your child to focus on what they can do. Keep them reminded in
‘do’ language of what we expect.

Do not assume they understand what we mean when we are going through this. Ask them if they understand and even have them say it
back to you. This will help greatly down the road.

Finally, when we do the points review for tracking, be honest. I know you want your child to get to the certificate as quickly as possible  
Just like horses, they progress at their own pace. There will be back slides which are normal – don’t become upset. Focus on the positives
and what good habits are developing – focus on the dos not the don’ts.

Another thought is when we ask a child to do something they may not accomplish it. A common situation here (depending on the horse) is
trotting. That is not really our focus. We want to see the child try to follow directions, use the cues that are taught, steer, consider space if
other riders are in the arena, keep the horse moving (even if it is just at the walk) and maintain their HORSE ENERGY; no meltdowns, I  
can’ts, tears, sit and sulk. If they can accomplish the dos, even without the outcome of trotting, they really had a super successful lesson
and will have learned more than when they ride a horse that goes easily for them.

This is going to be a personal thing parents and kids
will do. At the end of the lesson, we will touch base
about the entire lesson. You can click on the form to
print your own.

There is a guide that will help you accurately
evaluate your lesson from start to finish. You can
click here to access the guide.
Evaluate the Ride

The form for logging is at the left.

HORSE ENERGY IS you need to keep all these going and
not do behaviors on the blue list – Do all of these each time,
and you keep the 5 points you start with
HORSE ENERGY ISN’T doing these behaviors will take
points away from the 5 you start with. You can wind up with
a 0 for the lesson if things have gone really bad but you can
try fresh next lesson.
Energy with happy feelings
Melt down – no matter how short              -5
Listening and doing    
Pleasant tone of voice
Normal tone of voice        
Screaming or extremely false, high pitched
Smooth energy
Jumping, kicking dirt, running, banging, throwing anything,
Courteous toward others
Smart aleck responses to anyone
Tears, sad
Doing what is asked to best of ability
Not doing what is asked
Following instructions
Doing ‘own’ way
Words - yes, I'll try
Words – I can’t, I won’t, no
Trying to do whatever is presented
Giving excuses
Responding when spoken to - by anyone
Ignoring - anyone
Focus on horses and lesson
Visiting others, not paying attention
Work in the now – focus on what is happening here and how
to get done what you need to – give the horse energy it
needs to work for you
Thinking about and talking about a future or past activity that
is/was fun (acceptable AFTER the lesson is complete –
includes put all things away)
Calm and try applying all that you have been taught – ask for
help and new ideas
When the horse doesn’t do what you want get angry or
Let Miss Wendy know and visit with her about how to make it
more interesting for you – horse may be bored too – take
responsibility for your learning
You think it is all boring so you don’t try
Visit with Miss Wendy on being creative – that means making
it interesting for you and the horse  
Letting the horse do what it wants to
Redirect energy to HORSE ENERGY Miss Wendy will help if
Don’t feel well, throw up (in summer the heat can get to the
rider usually after the ride)
Redirect energy to HORSE ENERGY Miss Wendy will help if
Don’t want to come – excuses
Redirect Energy -Think about the next rider and how nice it is
to have everything where it belongs and secured properly –
you are investing in your next ride when you do things right
Don’t care how I put things away at the end
Buckles and snaps don’t matter
Being respectful and responsible of another’s property
Helmet out of box onto head
Helmet off head into box
Place helmet gently into box
Making sure space available for helmet box
Use two hands to carry box  
Dropping equipment
Taking helmet off without being at box
Walking around holding helmet
Dropping helmet into its box
Being careless holding and transporting helmet box
Takes all appropriate care of helmet
Dropping helmet results in payment for new one
You perform all the tasks that you can by yourself - set up,
tack up, untack, put away
You ask/let someone else do what you are capable of doing
You are responsible for your own safety – talk when you are
around or on the horse
Others have to remind you to talk around horses
Remember what you are supposed to do and the order it is
You have to be reminded of what to do
Look where you are going when leading a horse
Do not look at the horse when leading it
There is a lot of information but all this has been going on informally now for a long time. I wanted to
formalize it so everyone knows about it and can actively work towards personal energy control.
© Wendy Toombs 2013