An Introduction to Horse Dance
What happens during a Horse Dance workshop?
We meet the Heartshore Herd and connect with the horses. Often, a horse will decide whom they wish to partner with.
The horses' background and his or her story will often resonate with the person they choose.
We dance inside and on the land, working with earth connection, body articulation, grounding and spontaneity. These are all essential and useful practices when working with horses. Horses are already grounded, earth connected and spontaneous, and sometimes we have a bit of catching up to do! It is extremely freeing and enlivening to move outside on the land under the vast skies of Heartshore stables.
All levels of movement experience and abilities are welcome, you do not need experience of horses or movement to benefit hugely from this retreat. And if you are experienced we warmly welcome you.
We take time to prepare the horses for the ceremony; we paint them and weave flowers into their mane and tail. We sometimes apply paint to ourselves and prepare together. This is a very nourishing activity and brings with it an ancient, tribal and timeless quality.
It is rare that we ride the horses as part of the ritual, but sometimes it feels right. We endeavour to bring mindfulness, presence and respect to each and every interaction we have with the horses. Some of the work can take us into deep relaxation and a dream-like state with the horses.
As evening comes, we sit around the fire─drumming, singing and laughing together, as well as spending time reflecting on the day.
We endeavour to invite the sacred in─as part of our day to day presence on the land─with the horses, with ourselves and each other, as well as during the ceremony itself. Our work with the sacred is all-inclusive and is spiritual rather than religious.
Dancing has always been a huge part of Dawn Morgan's life and with this love of movement, she went on to learn the 5 Rhythms method of dance, which she also teaches. Dawn has an MA in Dance, Somatic Movement & Well-being and she is also trained in Pre and Perinatal Psychology. You can find out more about Dawn Morgan here: www.shapeshift.co.uk
Dawn Oakley-Smith has spent a lifetime alongside horses. Her sensitive, therapeutic approach is the total opposite of traditional horsemanship methods which makes her an unusual horsewoman in the Gloucestershire landscape.
Dawn works with horses from a healing perspective, taking into account the journey of each and every horse she meets. This way of being allows Dawn's horses the freedom to choose, surely something Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty and 19th-century champion for the welfare of horses, would be proud to witness. Dawn sees the soul connection in all things.
For both women, the bringing together of horses and dance seemed like a natural combination and something that will have been done centuries ago when horses were seen as creatures to worship, to seek guidance from and to respect above all things.