Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy

Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy


It's a official! I've taken a while to post this as I've wanted to be sure all paperwork was in place and I'd finished teaching my last clients.

Tomorrow I move back to the UK and will be bringing 18months worth of full, intense training knowledge with me.

It's been an incredible time, meeting the most beautiful souls, both 2 legged and 4 legged. I have gratefullness oozing out of me as I am so privaledged to have met such individuals and shared such great times.

I have learnt a HUGE amount in every aspect of my life.

So now, we move down to my beloved South West (Devon/Cornwall border). My horses will have a holiday with great friend Olivia Buck, while I teach for a week and then give myself 6 weeks break from training and learning to walk the South West coast path with my Olive dog.

There are a huge amount of thanks to be given which have been doled out at our little party on Wednesday, but I have to say again thank you HUGELY to Marina Knupffer and Alex (I dont know what I'd have done without you both) for hosting and supporting me and my training and the many conversations over wine. And of course Olivier Puls who has given so much these past 18 months and to finding Isa Danne whose aided my training further.

Thanks also to Olivier Rembert for making my horses feet AMAZING and to Karen & Martin Douglas for being you guys and showing such trust and dedication with me.

I will of course return to teach, so those that I've not mentioned....I will be back advising you soon lol.

Merci beacoup France and look out UK haha 🤣🇫🇷🐎🇬🇧🙏
It's not rocket science. Treat your horse well, with compassion and empathy. One wouldn't treat a fellow human like this- athlete or not.
This video maybe of interest. It shows what issues can arise due to ill training, tack fit etc. However I would be interested to see the same examinations done on more "native" breeds. I fear the focus on breeding warmbloods has become so fixed on elasticity that hypermobilsation can then occur, especially when training starts too young, and strength is not there to stabilise the joints and so build an aligned horse BEFORE suppling and adding power. I'd be interested to see if these issues arise in "stronger" breeds who have not been bred for so much looseness and "shwung"....
Thank you Demelza for your brilliant instruction and encouragement for riders in our clinic/test day here on Vancouver Island. You made even the most nervous riders feel at ease, and everyone came away with nuggets of wisdom to improve their riding and relationship with their horse. I hope you have some free time to explore this wonderful part of the world, and that you come back to visit. All the best to you in your travels. Angie Szokol/Courtenay CADORA
A great image to help riders understand the use of BOTH contacts when turning, as well as seat and leg aids. One simple idea is to imagine your hands, relating to the horse's shoulders directly. Use both with adequate pressure and you will prevent losing the outside shoulder as well as then losing power and balance, resulting in the horse falling on the forehand for the next straight line or corner. Preparing for each stride is necessary, POINT! Therefore preparation becomes more important than the action, as the action will flow beautifully and appear effortless. 👌
Learning how to stand is vital. Even more so if you are a rider or athlete. If you are rider, how you achieve and maintain your basic standing posture effects how you will communicate and balance whilst training your horse. As well as how well you breath.

Learn how to be better positioned on your horse with my Yoga Sports Science techniques and you will see and feel the effectiveness of your aids improve, as well as your results, and the happiness and health of your horse.
I am lucky enough to be able to help athletes along their path to success with YSS techniques. Of course my specialisation is in equestrian, however I have techniques and insights for all sports. Pain management and using it as a guide is a key element for equestrians. Never underestimate how far you're pushing yourself further into injury....especially if you work within the equestrian industry physically as well as competing. Correct breathing may sound too simple....but consider, were you ever taught how to breath at school, being both efficient and economical??? If you're "relaxed state" breathing is not correct then how can it be efficient when asking more from your body and mind when training, riding or working?
Where are you holding the yoga classes in Launton and at what time, date and price?
Thank you Demelza Hawes for the fantastic yoga and dressage clinic at Hallsannery Farmhouse yesterday. The ladies all loved it and are feeling the benefits this morning!😀😅🐎💖 xx

Holistic, ethical training and coaching for horse and rider. My classical, academic and competition education affords you the opportunity to learn in all areas of equestrianism.

Supportive and proactive service. Professional Dressage rider/trainer. Capable of training from foal to Inter II, currently training my two homebreds to Grand Prix. Competing at Inter I and soon to reach our goal! All achieved by love and attention to detail with lots of motivation and dedication!

Operating as usual


This is Ozzy.

We started rehab on him just over a year ago.

His owner was close to sending him for early retirement after a number of suspensory issues and just never coming sound over an extended period of time.

I began gymnastisizing him, bringing him to awareness of all his body, especially his naturally powerful backend and true to type pulling forehand.

Once all four corners (ie limbs) were acknowledged by him the strengthening could occur, then lately some suppleness was introduced in terms of reach and suspension which of course unifies the back end to the front, and the front to the back, therefore strengthening and flexing the all important back in order for him to carry rider happily and for his two “ends” to communicate.

Never has he been over bent, over stretched, over worked or overwhelmed mentally or physically…hence we now have a horse like this!

Balance upon every training scale is aimed for throughout the process…this is where intelligence and feel are required from me, as well as a supportive crew of owner, physio, dentist, farrier, yard owner, physical therapists etc etc.

Rehabbing, just like all training must have a general method or “model” then the uniqueness of each character must be taken into consideration upon each unique day, within each unique situation.

This work is purely a pleasure!

@sarah_.grant @motionvetphysio
#rehab #equinerehab #classicaldressage #ethicaldressage #correctdressage #correctnotperfect #alignment #balance #dressagecoach #yogacoach #equestrianneeds #eachunique #daybyday #trainingmodel #joyinwork

Photos from Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy's post 07/09/2021

Having returned from my Scotland trip last night, after slowly winding my way down this beautiful country we live in, my first priority was my girl Diva!

She has been forever in my thoughts as has my beloved Fry these past days.

This mare-also homebred- is a lesson to me on so many things. She’s lost her bond partner of all her life; now has been parted from her French friends that now have relocated to Scotland and she’s been separated from me for over a week while she is cared for elsewhere, albeit with familiar horses and humans.

She is changed by her loss, but I think rightly so…I am too. Her eye is different and her demeanour more subtle. She still has her spirit within but it’s not so overt, which I guess sounds similar to me.

Today we had a glorious time together in the September sun. Ridden in the school, galloped in the field and showered in these last days of summer. I can’t deny there weren’t tears but things are shifting. Ideas are forming. The future is beginning to look possible with just the two of us and little Olive together.

This life is not perfect and thus seeking perfection is a thankless task. Endeavouring to do the most correct thing possible at each given opportunity is the only thing we have, so listening, watching and sensing any cues for change is now the preoccupation. Like this I hope we can achieve whatever it is that’s needed, and give to others what we are here to give.

Having the time to stop and stare. Is this not all we need?

#dressage #horses #westphalian #dressagecoach #yogacoach #traineepsychotgerapist #septembersun #travels #insights #loss #grief #renewal #horsesasteachers #grateful #change #listentowithin #stopandstare #honouringself #ideas 🙏🏼 @kin.ship @isobel.mckenna.7 @motionvetphysio

Photos from Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy's post 31/08/2021

This week Olive and I are up in Scotland.

Harry and Ush have been with me since mid July and I’m now taking them up to bonnie Scotland where their owners- close friends of mine-have recently moved, from France.

It’s been so lovely having them at the farm and I’ll admit, they helped give me focus after losing my boy Fry. And they helped soften the blow to Diva.

One could say I’m practicing the yoga philosophy of Seva - “selfless service”. I’ve spent six weeks training and tinkering with them and now I’m having a mini adventure taking them north.

Seva or Karma yoga is the process of acting or giving without the need to see results and thus without expectation or reward. As Krishna says; it can release us from anxiety and anguish, and propel us towards a life of purpose and enlightenment.

It just feels good to help someone, not least someone you really care about.

“There are two ways to lead a fulfilling life:
the path of knowledge and the path of selfless action.
You have a right to perform your duties,
but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions”.
#travels #scotland #seva #karmayoga #classicaldressage #yogacoach #traineepsychotherapist

Timeline Photos 23/08/2021

Very important base of training which should be applied at all levels. The rider must always essentially be responsible for their own body’s balance and effectiveness, ie not hanging off the horses mouth to gain balance, and then over using the leg as a consequence of the horse not being able to go forward.

This in turn enables the horse. The horse can be responsible for his own movement and balance (they know how to move unless the human has over time destroyed their natural movement) and then condition the musculature etc to also deal with the added weight of the saddle and rider which is an encumbrance.

"Descent de Maines et Descente de Jambes"

Dressage Today: January 2010 Issue
Explaining the French Terms by Pierre Cousyn

Q: What is meant by “descent de mains et descente de jambes”? Should I incorporate this into my training?

“Descente de mains” or “descente de jambes” are techniques riders use specifically in French classical dressage training. Trying to translate it word for word from French to English does not make sense. However, the terms can be defined as when the rider stops using his aids at a particular moment, leaving the horse alone to continue what he is doing.

“Descente de mains” is specific to the hand aids. It is when the rider stops using his hands when the frame, the balance, and the contact are correct. The horse continues the exercise without the support or direction of the rider’s hands and remains soft and light. You should feel only the weight of the reins in your hands. By allowing the aids to rest, the rider verifies and rewards the correctness of the frame and balance.

“Descente de jambes" is specific to the leg aids. It is when the rider stops using his leg aids when the horse has the correct amount of impulsion. By resting the leg aid, the rider verifies and rewards the consistent and generous production of impulsion from the horse.

During lessons, clinics and competitions, I see many times riders overusing their aids. I notice riders pushing every stride and maintaining a strong contact for far too long. Depending on the sensitivity of the horse, the overuse of the aids can have very negative effects such as creating tense horse, or the opposite, a lazy horse.

Too much use of the hands can provoke resistance, pulling, tilted head, tongue out, above or behind the bit, or a loss of balance. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, there is no evenness and lightness in the contact, no steadiness in the connection, no quickness to the response of aids, no proper rebalancing, self carriage, or throughness.

Too much use of the leg also has a negative effect, as it will teach the horse to be on “life support.” By this, I mean the horse moves forward or executes a movement only if the rider pushes at every stride, and if the rider stops, the horse slows down or quits. This tiring way of riding is not fun for the horse or the rider, and it is not correct. Not only is the slow response to the driving aids not effective, it is impossible to have a beautiful, efficient, quiet and elegant seat when you are pushing at every stride.

Here are ways to apply this concept:

1. When you execute a movement like shoulder-in or half pass, first you need to prepare the horse by establishing the correct amount of impulsion, balance, frame, etc. Then, when you feel the horse is ready, you ask him to do the movement. As soon as he is executing the movement correctly, you leave him alone with your aids. You just follow him with a supple seat, in the middle of the saddle, trying not to disturb the movement. You enjoy the ride!

2. If, during an exercise, your horse loses his balance, you make a quick rebalancing correction with your restraining aids (seat, upper body, arms, hands). As soon as the horse comes back and carries himself again, you release your restraining aids and leave him alone with a soft, light contact.

3. If the horse loses his impulsion, you make a quick correction with your driving aids (seat and leg). As soon as he moves forward again, you stop the use of the driving aids and you remain quiet and light.

By teaching “descente de mains” and “descente de jambes" to your horse, he learns to be responsible and perform with minimum aids. When the riding becomes effortless and easy for the rider, the horse is much happier. The horse can then express himself which produces magical moments and pieces of art. This is a perfect example of “less is more.”

Photos from Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy's post 22/08/2021

A little trip out today with @isobel.mckenna.7 to a @holly___barber working equitation clinic, hosted by @organisedequestrian .

I’m possibly considering venturing into this field of equitation…if Diva let’s me!! 😂 She’s competed PSG and we tinker with all sorts at home, and luckily both of us are born and bred on a farm so hey maybe the cowgirl idea could come to fruition 😂 we have the cows and gates are everywhere around here!!

I remember watching the WE in Portugal at @golega_feira_do_cavalo and loving it as well as seeing that it gives the “because” for classical dressage.

So, having learnt more on the format today I think I will gather and make some obstacles and see what happens when we have a practice at home. Happily Diva has lots of the foundation already and most of the movements so hey…let’s play…some more than normal 😆

Big thanks to the organisers and Holly, as well as a friendly bunch of people, all very open and genuinely having fun!
#dressagecoach #classicaldressage #ethicaldressage #dressagetrainer #yogacoach #workingequitation #horses #clinic #fundressage


Excellently articulated about how the movement must go through the rider in order to achieve the total cohesion together that makes all seem effortless.

“Lo primero que un jinete debe aprender si aspira a convertirse en un “artista”, es el arte de la relajación. Esto significa desapego, disfrute del trabajo en aras de la belleza, despreocupación por el éxito o el fracaso, la alabanza o la crítica. En este sentido – el poder de concentración total de la mente en los sentidos- el jinete relajado puede convertirse en el eje central del movimiento del caballo, una parte integral del caballo y todas sus reacciones serán tan sutiles e inmediatas, que eludirán la mirada del espectador más atento. La armonía total del movimiento entre dos cuerpos, es la esencia de este arte. Pero lo primero que el debe aprender, es el dominio total de la técnica y solo después de años de aplicación, descubrirá no solo la capacidad de seguir sin esfuerzo cada uno de los movimientos, sino también de sentir cada impulso del caballo fluir a través de todo su ser.” Udo Bürger.


Great to be teaching over at Letcombe Regis today.

Working on position/posture placement and effectiveness as well as collection work using groundwork assisted exercises which ultimately finish in Piaffe steps after time.

Had to take a picture of this where the arena is. It belongs to the village and members can book and use the communal arena as and when needed-if only all villages could do this, it would really help bring community together as well as - from my point of view - get riders used to riding with others. I’ve noticed over the years that as more people have their own arena they then struggle when at a competition warm up for example as they are not used to judging space and time and momentum of others around them.

Riders need to be able to adjust speed and pace accordingly and be exact about where they place their horse in a certain area. It all adds to both parties learning.

When I trained in France at the ENE we regularly had lessons with our Prestige riders who often they themselves were practicing their Reprise (so were under instruction) for the Spectacles they gave each day. Often times some 40 riders would be present in one arena - everyone had to be aware of themselves and each other! 😉

#dressagecoach #letcomberegis #letcomberegisridingclub #yogacoach #classicaldressage #notjustdressage #training #coaching #learning #awareness #riderawareness #traineepsychotherapist #ene #wantage #oxfordshire #freelancecoach #freelanceequestrian #wiltshire #buckinghamshire

Great to be teaching over at Letcombe Regis today.

Working on position/posture placement and effectiveness as well as collection work using groundwork assisted exercises which ultimately finish in Piaffe steps after time.

Had to take a picture of this where the arena is. It belongs to the village and members can book and use the communal arena as and when needed-if only all villages could do this, it would really help bring community together as well as - from my point of view - get riders used to riding with others. I’ve noticed over the years that as more people have their own arena they then struggle when at a competition warm up for example as they are not used to judging space and time and momentum of others around them.

Riders need to be able to adjust speed and pace accordingly and be exact about where they place their horse in a certain area. It all adds to both parties learning.

When I trained in France at the ENE we regularly had lessons with our Prestige riders who often they themselves were practicing their Reprise (so were under instruction) for the Spectacles they gave each day. Often times some 40 riders would be present in one arena - everyone had to be aware of themselves and each other! 😉

#dressagecoach #letcomberegis #letcomberegisridingclub #yogacoach #classicaldressage #notjustdressage #training #coaching #learning #awareness #riderawareness #traineepsychotherapist #ene #wantage #oxfordshire #freelancecoach #freelanceequestrian #wiltshire #buckinghamshire

Photos from Demelza Hawes Dressage, Yoga, Psychotherapy's post 12/08/2021


The cycle of depression as explained by @thehumangivens makes perfect sense and is completely logical therefore it is positive to find a route out of it and not rely on medication.

Medication can help at stages of extreme symptoms, often at the outset however they must be checked regularly and should be combined with some other form or talking therapy or art therapy etc.

This Great article in the Human Givens journal explaining the link between depression and excessive REM (dream) sleep which results in exhaustion when experienced over a long period of time. A lack of motivation to fulfil the needs that normally give your day some meaning and moments of joy then ensues. Leading to further worry and introspection.

Therefore discounting the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory that has been presented since the ‘50’s.

Put simply if serotonin levels are low, one has to look at why. Which usually leads us to our needs not being met. Meeting those needs in a regular day would usually keep serotonin levels on a balance.

Our needs
*️⃣Meaning & Purpose

We have resources to help us get these needs met and we also have the capacity to learn ways of getting needs met, all of which I’ll cover in another post.

#humangivens #depression #feelinglow #mentalhealth #humangivensjournal #wellness #howdoyoufeel #mentalwellness #wellbeing #awareness #needs #traineepsychotherapist #dressagecoach #yogacoach


This is well written and so worth the read. Bringing your “best self” to the horse is paramount in my mind and always has been since a child struggling with my own family difficulties. In doing so we learn a lot!

I love the phrase “there’s only one of you that’s allowed to ‘freak out’ in a situation. Hint, it’s not you!”

Being grounded and aware has to be our start point of neutrality or homeostasis if you like. Taking that time to listen to your breath for a few moments and actively exhale any ‘baggage’ away before interacting with your horse (or a person) will ensure a much healthier and respectful relationship that progresses over time and becomes a joy.

Okay, I would like to talk about having a therapy horse or donkey or mule. Heck, this works for other household pets as well. Anything that has a sense of empathy.

I do not believe in bringing my problems to my barn, or my animals and expecting them to deal with them or "cure" me. I know, you might be shocked. I will tell you why.

I work in equine assisted learning and therapies for a living. Besides donkey training, I teach at two PATH International centers as a CTRI with Equine Specialist Mental Health and Learning. I have been working in this field for the last 20 years, and I have learned a few truths about Mental Health, Education, and Equines.

We come to our animals, oftentimes, with a lot of baggage. We feel a sense of relief when they carry us, either emotionally, metaphorically, or physically through trauma, grief, sadness, stress. While many animals are empathetic, and truly do care about us and what we are feeling, to a horse or other equine, this can be extremely stressful. Heck, it can be stressful for the humans in our life as well, which is why having a network of people who care and can listen, and with whom we reciprocate, is so important.

Above all, our horse is seeking from us balance, consistent, kind, direct understandable communication, and security/safety. This is why equines are so effective in helping people regain a sense of balance in their life. In order to be the person that our horse needs us to be, we must allow ourselves to be in the moment and shed our insecurities, problems, and any other emotions not useful to us in the situation while handling our horse. As the funny meme I've seen on Facebook says: "while riding horses, only one of you is allowed to freak out at a time. Hint, it is never you!"

In effect, our equines force us to be the kind of person who can manage and control ourselves, despite what is going on around us. They make us regulate ourselves in a way that we often forget we can do through the struggles in life. They demand that we are responsible for our own actions, emotions, thoughts, and feelings. They make us find our grit.

When going out to my own personal barn on my property, I often take a minute to simply take a deep breath in and let it out slowly before unlatching the front door. I make sure not to bring any of my stressors, problems, or any other thoughts except to those pertaining to my animals into my barn aisle. It does not mean that those things do not exist, or that I should not deal with them in a productive way. I am simply not putting any of that energy into my animals. I am coming to them with a blank slate mind, and even if that hour that I am caring for them is the one time in my day where I am truly aware, grounded, and present, I have done both them a favor and myself. I have worked on emotionally regulating myself in a way that I need to in the rest of my life when things go wrong. I have worked on becoming a better human being for myself, for those around me, and for my animals. I have practiced training my brain to reroute away from old, unuseful patterns of worry and instead be mindful.

And if a good release, a good cry is absolutely necessary, and my equines feel like being near, I give them that option. If I simply need to let go, the barn is a safe place. If my equines choose to be near, they can be. I do not force myself on them, but rather sit in my truth and allow them to decide if they want to be involved. If they don't, it is simply a reflection of them preserving their boundaries. I allow them that.

Instead of asking my animals to carry my sorrows, my stresses, my grief, or my emotions, I instead gift them the "best me" possible, and practice being so in a way that allows me to carry that self into the rest of my life. This, is the best way that one can engage equines in therapy. This is also ethical to the utmost. This is what I strive to teach my students, and this is what I strive for myself.

So take a moment, breathe, let it be, and see how your interactions improve with your equines. They will thank you, and you will thank yourself.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk ☺️

The only thing I'd add, but not entirely sure how to word yet, is that some of my students need to get help from the horse and do bring their "stuff", whether that be trauma, emotional issues, stress, etc to the horse. It is REALLY important if you know your client needs this in particular at this point in time, to be extremely thoughtful about which equine you trust to be able to handle those emotions and potential instability. It is also important to work towards a more balanced, reciprocal relationship with their equine in which the client or student gives to their animal in a meaningful (as in meaningful to the animal, not anthropomorphically) way.

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