The magic and skill of Tanja Kraus, where do I begin?
3 years ago became the “lucky” rider of a 16:3hh newly started 4 year old warmblood (not started by Tanja I may add). She was my teenage daughters horse but the horse had some dangerous habits like throwing her head down and galloping to any fence and usually falling over.
My daughter stopped riding and I decided to work with the horse…. I was scared, she was big, I am short and 55. I started taking the horse to Tanja’s clinics…. From the first clinic I was in love with the training and advice given. Tanja helped me to see it from the horse’s view and that great results occur when you slow down and listen to the horse. Training is done with great respect for the horse and well explained for the rider.
After every class at the clinic I would feel happy and relaxed and so was my horse (a huge difference after years of dressage training that left me feeling inadequate and frustrated).
At the clinics I have discovered a whole new level and approach to working with horses (I have ridden for 50 years) it has also been a self discovery journey about how I react to myself and my horse. I have met hundreds of like minded people from many disciplines at Tanja’s clinic and we have formed get together groups for social outings with our horses, we have a lot of fun. I am eternally happy and grateful that I went to that first clinic it changed my life and my horses.
As for my big horse, she is beautiful, reliable, calm and we have a great partnership, one based on trust and respect, we go on trails and beach rides, do Working Equitation competitions and in the paddock she follows me around for a scratch and a hug or just wants to hang out with me. It really doesn’t get better than that does it?
Deb Hatley, Bellingen, NSW, Australia.
I first came across TKH in 2014 whilst participating in my first Working Equitation training day since my motor vehicle accident only 8 months prior. I had sustained a broken neck, crushed vertebrae and a broken sternum in the accident and although my mobility, strength and range of movement were dramatically reduced, the pain of not being able to ride my horse was more devastating than the physical injuries incurred in the accident. Now more so than ever before I needed to be VERY careful about how I approached my horsemanship. As it was I carried nerve damage and discomfort from 13 Hernia operations in previous years. This history was effecting my future.
Why am I bothering to mention this history? The answer is simple…. I was scared!
Having only commenced riding as an adult a few years prior, there was very little experience to lay claim to or fall back on. I had no idea about TRUE HORSEMANSHIP and even less about riding. If I were to continue this journey then I had to be smart and above all, I had to feel safe. So I decided to invest in a TKH Foundation clinic with Tanja Kraus.
I remember the first clinic very clearly. I arrived carrying more than my fair share of emotions. Constantly hounded by physical discomfort and tormented by emotional baggage the lesson began with introductions and I was feeling emotionally charged, I found it difficult to speak without emotion and embarrassed. But before long what I noticed that there were others commencing the journey for the very first time experiencing their own emotional surges. All of a sudden and with constant interaction, my horse and I settled into the lesson. At first everything seemed to go over the top of my head with information overload. My horse though seemed to be responding willingly and the change in his attitude was evident. For the most part my techniques were clumsy, my timing off and my understanding of the techniques vague. In spite of all this internal struggle, I felt relaxed within the group and welcome. There is a bond that forms between not only rider and horse, but amongst students. We were all working together and yet on our own, returning to the centre periodically to interact and reflect on each technique. By the end of the foundation clinic my mind was overloaded. But not just from all that I had learnt or experienced but by being awakened to the opportunities that avail themselves when we commit to effective, peaceful and natural horsemanship. I walked into the clinic feeling like the horses butler and I left with a taste of feeling empowered by leadership.
Perhaps 18 months later I feel more committed to my horsemanship journey than ever before and that is because I put myself out there as daunting as it was. Tanja has this incredible ability of teaching the human how to teach the horse. Her horsemanship is inspiring, her skill is calm and calculated. A woman who is as humble as she is intelligent and energetic. Always evolving as a rider, teacher and student, passing down to her own dedicated students the skills and philosophies of mentors she understudies.
I now live my weekdays waiting for the weekends. I live my weekends now in a way that empowers me for the working week. I experience that enrichment as a direct result of my horsemanship journey. I attribute that growth to Tanja Kraus and her commitment to her students success. Learning a new skill can feel scary. Committing to learning can feel overwhelming, but experiencing the euphoria when something falls into place is priceless. Soft feel, collection, rhythm, balance, CANTER are not just terms, they are incredible experiences that energise the soul. Who would have thought that getting a canter could result in a wave of tears? We are all nervous, some of us are new to this and some are quite experienced and yet are searching for a BETTER WAY for themselves and their companion. The anxiousness of feeling like a passenger on your horse will never exceed the joy of feeling like a leader with your horse. If you really care for your horse, if you really want to experience the connection that horsemanship can bestow then commit to a TKH clinic.
Brett Austin, Coutts Crossing, NSW, Australia.
Well I have been to a few horse clinics over the last ten years. . . and I have a fair idea of what I want out of my clinician.
- It’s fair to say that all of those instructors at the clinics I attended were all good horseman/women.
- In varying degrees they were good teachers.
- In varying degrees they were good showman, in that they would make the clinic interesting.
- In varying degrees they knew their craft and were able to carry that across and teach it.
- Most of these clinicians were good in that I would want to attend another clinic but it was soon apparent that they had a ‘fixed program’ and taught basically the same thing to each rider/horse.
- As I grew more as a horseman, I, as many others very quickly out grew those clinicians.
Not with Tanja.
Firstly she is all the things required to make an excellent Instructor.
Great ‘Teacher’ – she expresses herself well, with humour and can demonstrate each technique or exercise in such a way that it is easy to learn. Her knowledge seems to be like an elastic band, it just keeps stretching.
She is a great ‘Showman‘ – her witticism and outgoing nature makes the clinic one you want to attend, nothing like being back at school at one of Tanja`s clinics. Tanja makes you feel good about yourself and your horse.
Tanja knows her craft – it doesn`t take long to realise that Tanja`s repertoire covers a lot of disciplines and she has formed all her knowledge into a wonderful ‘program’ ( for a better word) starting from Basics to Advanced horsemanship.
Tanja`s instructions are never static, she often says she keeps learning and changes things when she realises that a more improved way can be had.
There isn`t much standing around waiting patiently whilst Tanja focuses on one student as in a lot of clinics. Nothing loses a student more than sitting on your horse for a long time waiting whilst the instructor sorts one rider and horse out . . . but when Tanja needs to focus on one student it becomes an interesting and rewarding experience. We often learn from these one on one situations.
That`s what I love, that I feel, that I know, that I can go on my horse journey with Tanja Kraus knowing I have years ahead of solid, continuing learning with my horse. That this is the best way to improve my relationship with him and learning new skills which is so rewarding for myself and my horses.
My horse is so happy that I am ‘getting it’ and as Tanja often says ‘The Horse Comes First’.
Mandi Skillen, Mid North Coast, NSW, Australia.