Accessing Expression

I often missed seeing the context in which I experienced and shaped how I related to the horse. I did not realize how my background influenced and created blind spots in my present life. I did not understand I was accessing my interpretation of the horse and its actions through a lens of human unconsciousness.


Yet the horse is a fully conscious sensory being who is of another nation and its language is not of human creation.

As my journey into a new understanding of the horse began, it became very evident that being extremely humble and opened, created a soft path of discovery for me. I observed and felt the horses expression on a deeper intricate inner level.

And so it is with being human, we often create conclusions based off of assumptions with the horse, (human assumptions) as the horse does not function in these areas of the human psyche.

Inner reflections will alter the very nature of our understanding. This then can replace the humanization of the horse, allowing the equine its freedom to initiate, a willing guidance in us …the human.

Inner reflections 

Self nurtured understanding 


By Donnette Hicks

Eclectic Horseman Magazine Subscription



Eclectic Horseman Magazine Subscription
Click on magazine cover to go straight to EHM site. 

You’ve just found Eclectic Horseman, the bi-monthly magazine dedicated to educating horse owners of all skill levels and disciplines. Eclectic Horseman is filled with solid information for horse owners of every skill level and takes a balanced approach to your education.

Every issue features detailed how-to articles from a number of top trainers and clinicians as well as thought-provoking philosophical stories. Eclectic Horseman is different from any other horse publication on the market.

How-To Articles With:
* Descriptions from the best in the business.
* Detailed step-by-step articles teaching readers how to perform specific tasks or accomplish certain goals with their horse.
* Articles covering a variety of levels, one for beginners, one for more advanced riders.
* Easy to follow photos layouts and diagrams for you to follow.

* Exploring how craftsmen create the equipment we use on our horses and ourselves.
* Looking outside traditional understandings: biomechanics, body movement, holistic medicines.
* Studies and reprints of ancient horsemanship texts to learn from the masters of the past.

And Philosophical Articles Exploring:
* Anecdotes from talented horsemen that teach a horsemanship lesson or experience.
* Explanation of why horses have certain reactions and why some methods are more effective.
* Stories that teach how to build a better relationship through understanding and communication.

Reflections on Equestrian Art by Nuno Oliveira

#4 Reflections on Equestrian Art by Nuno Oliveira

Click on book cover to go to the Eclectic Horseman Mercantile for purchase. 


Oliveira Reflections on Equestrian Art was first published in France, 1964, at the request of some of Maestro Oliveira’s pupils. It was translated into English in 1976 by Phyllis Field.

Since then, Nuno Oliveira has taught in the United States and further afield in Australia and New Zealand. In 1987, he held a Master Class in England as a guest of the Association of British Riding Schools. Skill, artistry, total dedication and absolute brilliance have earned the maestro international recognition.

Nuno Oliveira has been described as one of the last great international riding masters and this important book affords an opportunity to study a master at work. As the author, he reveals much of his own personality and philosophy in his writing, examines and explains classical techniques with clarity and brilliance. Throughout the book the emphasis is on lightness and harmony, the whole reflecting on a deep love and respect for the horse.

Times change but classical principles remain the same. Over two decades have passed, but Reflections on Equestrian Art remains one of the most relevant and true descriptions of Nuno Oliveira’s work.

(hardcover, photos, 118 pgs.)

Excerpt from the book:

“Observe, and reflect!” (Beudant)

I have made countless errors in the raining of literally thousands of horses.

Luckily I am aware of these faults, for otherwise I would never have made further progress. I know that I still have much to learn, and will go on learning until my dying day, not only by riding, but by studying, thinking deeply, and observing.

The study and meditation of which the great masters have written must be carried out in the riding school, which is the equivalent of the architect’s drawing board, and therein every good dressage trainer must prepare a programme in advance for his pupil, deciding one by one the steps to be taken in order to overcome the difficulties as they arise.

“It is the lightness of the horse which gives great cachet to advanced dressage, and at the same time expresses the indubitable talent of the rider (ecuer).” (General L’Hotte)

More often than not, it is we ourselves who keep a horse from performing an exercise correctly, and classically, by incorrect use of the aids, and by a poor seat.

Evidence-Based Horsemanship

Evidence-Based Horsemanship by Dr. Peters and Martin Black

Click on book cover to go to Eclectic Horseman Mercantile for purchase 

Evidence-Based Horsemanship by Dr. Peters and Martin Black
Evidence-Based Horsemanship is based on the Scientist-Practitioner Model. It was developed out of a collaboration between Martin Black and Dr. Stephen Peters who felt that the public and their horses needed a source of accurate information.

“Real information” gathered by observation, tested in the field and validated by science.

Evidence-Based Horsemanship involves assessing and integrating scientific findings to inform decisions and to create “best practices ” in all areas of horse training and care based on empirical outcomes (i.e., what “works”).

It allows us to ask the question, “What does our current scientific knowledge of the horse, when applied and empirically observed, show me about getting the best outcomes possible for me and the horse?”

Soft Cover, photos, 90 pages


Think Harmony with Horses by Ray Hunt

Think Harmony With Horses by Ray Hunt

Click on book to go to the Eclectic Horseman Mercantile for purchase.









“When you ask your horse to do something it should be his idea… he wants to do it, he understands how to do it, and he does it. ” These words are typical of the way Ray Hunt expresses his philosophy of the ideal relationship between horse and man. That philosophy is discussed in this book, in a manner that makes the reader feel as if he is listening to Ray talk. It is persuasive talk — gently persuasive; this man’s ideas make a lot of sense, and the success he has achieved with those ideas is impressive.”

What Appears Beautiful & Effortless

“What appears beautiful and effortless, is in fact an achievement in art, feel and athleticism requiring years of quality development for both horse and rider.”

Jim Hicks

“I think most people don’t really understand all that it takes to stand on your toes, and to be able to jump and land without any noise, or for a male dancer to be able to lift a girl. All of these things look so effortless, but there’s an attention to detail and years of training, as well as being able to transform into a character and being able to meld all of those things together.”

Misty Copeland








Holding Hands by Dallas Sweat

When you hold hands with your horse and he holds your hand back, to me that’s true connection and harmony. My students often hear me say when you hold hands with someone it doesn’t feel good to hold an empty hand , it doesn’t feel good to hold a strong hand, just hold hands.

By Dallas Sweat



Developing a Path of Understanding Before Attempting Shoulder In

“It is very unfortunate that so much ring side coaching is laden with  “use more leg and ride more forward” as the always fixed answer.

I received a thought provoking text one morning as I was driving into work. The content of the message was advising me that I needed to walk like a penguin when traversing the Sage Creek parking lot due to its having a layer of ice covering it.

I instantly recognized that the advice was simply about adjusting to shorter steps to create the balance needed to walk safely on ice.

Likewise when a horse has tension from balance issues, influencing smaller steps will help the horse have freedom and lightness in the front end while allowing him to re define his needs.


Attempting a shoulder in or any of the movements for that matter, will result in an unproductive inept mess if you are not able to influence the length of your horses steps.

There is no way to have success in lateral movements if you do not understand how to support your horses needs.


When the rider does not have a concept of the length or activity of his step to be able to balance and bear more weight on the horses hind end. They are truly lacking in building the athleticism needed in the development of strengthening muscle, while allowing freedom and energy to flow. The goal is to not subject the horse to physical stress on his tendons, joints and emotions.

Before any of this is attempted a defined riders position with balance, feel and timing while maintaining energy is a good place to start.


Donnette Hicks

Advancing Through Uniformity

Knowledgeable horsemen who teach are often profoundly committed students who seek coaching for themselves.

Wise educators will work with those who can shed light on blind spots, as well as be willing to receive wisdom from those who have a map ahead.


If a teacher is not humble or seeking to develop their personal journey with the horse. It becomes difficult to accept what is being offered. It is not only wise to not ask a self taught uneducated doctor to perform surgery anymore than seeking the same from anyone lacking real knowledge as an equestrian coach. Who suffers the most in this situation is often the horse.

A fundamental good example of why a coach will seek to continue receiving information. They understand that humans have to constantly choose to not get lost in the reaction of  life’s challenges. Shedding light on the habits we have and how they effect our relationship with our horse is essential. This takes outside input.

Fundamentally there is hardly a person who’s body is balanced in their physical or emotional self carriage. The ability to stay symmetrical, gets lost in our reaction to life’s worries and concerns, resulting in unbalanced movement patterns which in turn become  unconscious habits.

Once physical and emotional imbalances have been dislodged, advancing through uniformity with a coach becomes a tool where progressive layers of refinement successfully comes into play.

Seeking  a teachers mirror, brings the human horse partnerships into balance.  The personal commitment to growth and learning opens and allows the horse in the end to become our greatest teacher and mentor.


Donnette Hicks


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