After living and working in Saint Lucia for a number of years, we decided to stay, build a home and expand our family of dogs, cats, and horses.
Starting out with one horse and becoming six in a short span of time, it soon became clear that our growing family of animals needed a place of their very own. Finding the right location was not easy, but eventually, we found our own ‘Nirvana’ at Cas en Bas. Along with our equine companions, our family of canines was also growing. Sad but inevitable losses have been countered by new arrivals at the gate* and seem to keep the number of canine friends at around 16. All of our dogs are rescue pets – some have crossed our paths, others fate led to our door.
- A number of our dogs simply appeared out of the bush at our gate as puppies. They would just sit and look sorrowful until allowed in as new recruits. It is as if there’s a message going around that this is the place if you are homeless!
Hi Sandie, I have been reflecting on my experience with you and it was so profound and revealing! I have been working on my confidence experimenting (and often watching YouTube clips). Natural Horsemanship is so enlightening!
Thank you for offering that gift to me.
Juliet Muchenje, USA
I visited St Lucia on holiday for one week. During this time, I visited Rainbows End twice. Based on my observations Sandie is a very knowledgeable and experienced horsewoman and an excellent teacher of the principles of natural horsemanship. During my visits I thoroughly enjoyed my time learning natural horsemanship, horse care, and stable management skills in St. Lucia at Rainbows End. Since returning to the UK I have found it difficult to find a facility that teaches horse care and stable management locally to a similar focus and standard unless I was to enroll in and commit to taking full BHS
(British Horse Society) exams.
Becoming disillusioned with traditional riding and training methods studying natural horsemanship was a breath of fresh air. Instead of trying to achieve results by more intensive tack, endless mindless lunging or trying to get a horse to do something it clearly wasn’t happy about I learned how to use psychology to communicate with my horses. Imagine being able to ‘talk’ to a horse in its own language. Suddenly a whole new world opens up. No longer is it a case of ‘I want to do this so you have to’, it’s a partnership, a two way street where we can turn things into a gameplay and have fun and still achieve all the things I want to; but through a partnership, a team where my horse does things for me because he wants to and I do things for my horse, not to him. Wow, what a difference that makes. Achieving goals whilst maintaining the dignity of the horse.
Does the same thing work for every horse; no it does not. Like people with all their different likes and dislikes, horses have the same. Learning how to read each individual horse is where the real skill lies; knowing what to recognize, why he/she does something. To the unskilled eye, certain behavioral traits can easily be misread or even missed completely – how many times have you heard someone say – that horse is rude, or that horse is crazy. Learning how to read a horse opens up a whole new insight into its psychology – just as some people are right brained or left brained horses are the same. When we know what a horse needs from us – comfort, safety, enthusiasm or whatever else it is, then we know how to bring out the very best horse that is inside the one standing before us.
Once you start to follow the journey of natural horsemanship it becomes clear that this is not just something you immerse yourself in when you are spending time with horses. Following this programme will overlap into your own personal development. Horses are wonderful teachers and you will learn about yourself, about communication, about leadership, about truthfulness and about consequence and responsibility. Moreover, you learn about love and imagination. The horse becomes the animal that tells you the truth about yourself in all these categories.