Wendy has a blog!
Read her posts on 'The Classical Fehr Way'
Wendy Fehr will be expanding her business to include Working Equitation! She is currently the Manitoba Representative for Working Equitation Canada. If you have questions, or would like to learn more please feel free to contact her! She also welcomes anyone interested in lessons, both for the obstacle course and the dressage portion of the sport.
June 16-18 2017: Bar W Stables recently hosted a Working Equitation clinic with Kim Jungman. Thank you to everyone who participated for a fun and educational weekend! We all learned a lot about this exciting sport. Stay tuned for more information!
Below Right: Wendy and Josh work through the speed round at the Intro to Working Equitation clinic at Bar W Stables. Josh was a natural, loving the tight turns and the fun obstacles. The two ended up with the fastest time for the speed round!
"Ride up In Heaven not down in hell " Walter Zettl
Walter Zettl is one of the world’s most accomplished classical dressage masters. Walter has spent his life as an advocate for the horse's well being. Zettl spent three days at Pineridge Equine Park teaching students from morning until the evening. His approach to each lesson was soft and geared to the horse's mental, physical, and natural state. Each horse was approached with all the experience that Walter had to offer and the main focus was to install or enhance the horse’s confidence in the rider while following a similar but slightly different lesson layout for each horse; he encouraged everyone to
"open the door" and allow the horses forward. Whether that meant just cantering around the arena on the buckle or spending time teaching the rider to allow their horse forward and not restrict their movement by holding the head behind the vertical. Walter told some riders in a bold but true catch phrase to ride their horses "up in Heaven not down in Hell". This is a strong statement that paints an image of a horse taking his rider around in beautiful self carriage versus another rider pushing another horse around as if they were no more then a soulless slave.
Walter also explained to everyone that a horse needs their head and neck for balance and that those who who ride their horses short and deep in the neck or behind the vertical create tension in the horse's back and the hind leg can not carry weight but only push. The bottom line is that you can not use force with such a majestic animal but work to build a language between you and your partner that runs on love and trust.
During this weekend I had the pleasure of watching my coach and friend, Wendy Barnett, ride her two amazing horses, Josh and Anja, with Walter. Walter asked her to ride both Josh and Anja forward, finding their individual rhythmic tempo. It only took minutes for Walter to see just how many hours of classically-geared training Wendy had put on these two different but very accomplished horses. Both horses went around evenly through all the aids and they both were on the bit and chewing calmly with their nose just reaching in front of the vertical. Walter was impressed and acknowledged many times throughout the three days “what super horses” she had.
It was the second day and Anja’s debut in the clinic where Wendy truly stole the show with her long time partner Anja, a mare who is truly one of a kind. After working with and getting to know Wendy and Anja, Walter takes a moment to applaud the great ride she delivers and says what a fine horse she has. Walter then continues to ask how long she has owned Anja and asks who trained her and Wendy responds to Walter and explains that she has owned the mare since she was six months old and has trained her alone. Walter, quite impressed, then takes his hat off to Wendy and says “you have my full respect”. He then turns to the audience and points out how the horse trusts her rider and does not feel trapped between her aids. And Walter takes another moment to tell Wendy what a super job she has done and tells her that he loves that she is not wearing a noseband. Some may not understand why Wendy does not wear a noseband but Walter acknowledges that a horse does not need a noseband when the rider is not hanging on the horse's mouth. The horse will not have the urge to open the mouth and stick the tongue out when the rider has a soft hand because nothing of self carriage or contact is obtained by pulling of the hands, but only the driving of the hindquarters with impulsion coming over the horse's back, through the reins and into the rider’s hand. Wendy made a choice to ride Anja without a noseband many years ago and this choice only added to why she has built such a harmonious and strong partnership that everyone was so in awe of that day.
This was one of the best clinics I have ever been to and I am blessed for the moments that I was allowed to spend with Walter. Bar W took the time to come and support Wendy all weekend and we as a barn could not have been blessed with a more knowledgeable coach, and Walter with all of his accomplishments and years of experience is still such a humble and kind man that I truly hope we have the pleasure of learning from again.
At Left: Anja says thank you Walter!!
Bar W was at the Pineridge Equine Park Ice Breaker Dressage Show with Wendy and Josh winning first prize in the Second Level tests and becoming the second level high point champion! Riley (with rider Jordyn), and Ebony (with Rider Ainsley) enjoyed their first dressage tests as well. Way to go everyone!
Wendy and Anja are also preparing for the Walter Clinic at PineRidge Equine Park on the 5th, 6th, and 7th of June. If you'd like to audit, please contact Bar W for details.
Lovely Ebony, pictured at 5 years old is a Canadian warmblood, and is training at Bar W Stables. Ebony came to Bar W, from Ravine Farms, when she was 2 years old. When she first arrived she was a very spirited lady! Her owner, Ainsley, remembers those early months with Ebony as a bit stressful. It was hard for her imagine that, someday, Ebony would become a horse she could ride and enjoy. Wendy assured her that with time and patience, Ebony would become the horse that Ainsley was dreaming of. Ainsley settled in for the training process. As much as she would have liked quick results, she followed the training program and understood that it shouldn't be rushed.
Ainsley's willingness to take it slow and respect her horse's timetable, has been rewarded. Ebony has blossomed into a very talented horse with a lovely attitude. Ebony is steady and dependable. It is truly a treat to watch Ebony go. She is supple and her gaits have a beautiful rhythm. She is gentle and willingly accepts new passengers who are lucky enough to beg a ride off Ainsley. She is now 7 and continues to impress! She now is working at progressing her lateral work and strengthening her canter work.
I lost Royal Blue 2 years ago now (it is May 27th 2016 as I write this), and I still miss him everyday. He was my war horse. I paid nothing for him, he was given to me after an injury ended his racing career at the age of 3. I was told he was 'ugly but quiet'. I couldn't have disagreed more! I thought he was beautiful beyond words and we clicked instantly. Maybe Royal wasn't much to look at. He had huge withers, a long weak (and low!) back and a upside down neck. But with time, and training Royal blossomed! I never let him think he was limited, and he never would have believed it anyways! One clinician commented as I led Royal into the arena for our lesson "now this horse will be very limited in what he can do" only to trail off as I warmed him up. He didn't say a word, until I had ridden for a while, showing off Royal. Then he apologized, saying "what a cool horse! He is not limited in any way!"
Royal hated bugs, heat, cold, and jumping!! But he spooked at nothing and tried everything I ever asked of him. Riding him on my front lawn was so joyful I often had tears in my eyes. He was amazing and light, often reading my thoughts and doing what I wanted before I asked. His lateral work was soft and flowing. He had a humongous trot for a little guy of 15.2, but the most amazing canter! I have yet to find another horse with that canter! He survived an ulcer (fresh off the track) that led to numerous colics, and at the age of 7 a major surgery to remove a bladder stone the size of a pool ball.
The year he left, we had spent the summer training canter half pass (zig-zags-his fav!) tempis, and canter pirouettes. He was amazing.
His last colic was bad right from the get go. And as I said goodbye to my soul horse, I felt a part of me die with him. He taught me so much. I owe him the world. And i miss him still. He was just 14.
May you all have one horse that touches your heart, your soul like Royal touched mine.
Pictured above: My second farm located just outside of Morden. Prep work is basically done and we will soon begin building our new barn and outdoor arena and pastures. I have 40 acres of pasture, including my beautiful naturally fed stream (pictured right). I continue to travel from Morden to Winnipeg 4 days a week.