Zhineng Qigong since:
Energetic interplay between humans and animals.
It’s Wednesday morning, the sun is shining and together with our photographer Jan I drive to the farm of Susanne Neall. Susanne I met at my Zhineng Qigong evening classes and a while ago I received from her a link to her website www.neallhorses.com. I walked around for a while with the idea to interview participants of my classes to figure out how they intergrate Zhineng Qigong into their lives. Susanne seemed the ideal person for the first interview.
We drive on the path to her farm and I feel a great tranquility. The picture is serene, clear, almost mystical. Susanne receives us with an enthusiastic smile and shows us her stable. Wow – words cant describe this. Four beautiful horses look at us with big eyes. They are magnificent. So beautiful and pure. Susanne starts with taking Royal out of his box and brushes him. A pleasure to observe this interaction between man and animal. They reinforce each other, make each other even more beautiful. And we may enjoy this all. What a privilege!
Susanne Neall is the founder of Neallhorses. She began at an early age (6) with pony rides on her pony Polly. It soon became clear that Susanne quite easily could teach horses things and from a young age, she has been paid to start the ponies of local owners under saddle and train them further. She also regularly joined the farmers to purchase young ponies. After she finished high school at the Lyceum, she was approached by the owners of the stables where she rode as a child, asking if she wanted to teach there.
Neallhorses strives to find an optimal balance between on the one hand the natural needs of a horse, and on the other hand, the athletic and mental development which is needed to be able to function as a sport horse. This means that Susanne sees it as her job to take care of the horse as well as possible and to train systematically according to the classical method (Skala der Ausbildung) so the animal can perform his job easily, enjoyable and stress free as well is happy and content . Peace, mutual respect and trust are the key herein.
How important is it in the collaboration to value and respect a horse?
I find it very important in contact with a horse or any other animal that there is mutual respect and trust, without any coercion. Only then an animal can be open to actually learn something. Only then humans and animals have a natural flow together.
You began working with horses at a young age. Why did you feel so attracted to this world?
In my childhood in England I was always busy with animals. Nature and the garden were my playground. As a child I had several animals, including a large rabbit and a turtle. I was often outside, drawing and painting and in their company I felt in my element. Later the horses came my way and never left me. A horse is a very sensative animal. Because I’m highly sensitive myself, I can easily tune into them. I love working with sensitive horses. We opperate on the same frequency .
You are well known in the “horse world”. What makes it so that you are successful in your work?
I do not see myself necessarily as successful. I just know from experience that my method works and that I do not have to prove myself herein.
Peace and understanding are elements that are important in my work. These are the ingredients of “horsemanship.” I can delve myself well into the essence of a horse because it is completely in my system. Horses hold a huge mirror in front of you and tune you into the present moment. A horse can not be fooled by you pretending to be different then you really are. They understand you immediately. I’m still learning every day from their precence and intelligence.
By this pleasure of working you connect to the universal creative energy that gives joy. If you then link your goals with this enjoyment, working will be a treat every day. I therefore hope to inspire others with my work in order to enrich their lives.
At a given moment you came in contact with energetic work –among other things – with Zhineng Qigong. How did this impact your life?
I had a strong feeling that I got stuck and that there had to be more. My high sensitivity often got in the way in contact with others. During my Reiki training in the Helios Centre it became clear to me that it can also be an advantage to be so sensitive. That was an eye-opener. Since then I can look differently at it by accepting it and put in the positive.
That’s been an intensive process of several years. And now I feel that I am on the right track
You come every week to Zhineng Qigong evening classes. What does the qigong exercises do to you?
Zhineng Qigong is very grounding for me. After the exercises I feel more centered in my body. I find myself in it and it gives me enormous peace. Sometimes I do the exercises in the stable with the horses and then I feel much better in balance.
Do you have a kind of ‘before’ and ‘after’ Zhineng Qigong practice experience in a situation with a horse?
Yes, sometimes in the morning I have the feeling that I myself am too restless. I prefer to go to go to the “Wezepse heather” to walk, meditate and do Zhineng Qigong. Away from my workplace and my own environment. When I come back I feel the peace that I need to work with my horses. A world of difference!
Riding a horse one might describe as a partner qigong? Do you agree?
Yes absolutely. The first 10 minutes I’m riding the horse I allow it to do what it wants. So I wait, without judgment. Usually all kind of things happen. After some time you come to a point where you become a unit. I feel my legs, make contact with the earth through the horses legs. Like being inside the horse instead of on top of the horse. Then there is a strong connection and it seems like everything comes naturally. That gives a huge thrill. Time and form no longer exist. You’re together Qi.
If you look around in the world of horses what would you want to share with your colleagues?
People should unwind more and make time for the horse, but also for each other. Less commercial and private interests and give working with joy and passion a more important place.
Peace, respect, joy and enthusiasm herein are the keywords.
Text: Anne Hering
Photos: Jan Paasman