Manolo Mendez

The words finally showed up to express how I felt getting to watch a portion of the Manolo clinic at Se Raeda Ranch last May, so here we go.

Last May I had the opportunity to be part of the auditors for a week of Manolo and Jillian Kreinbring and I knew it was going to be amazing. What I didn’t know until I got there was that it was the exact medicine my soul had been seeking for a very very long time. The equestrian world is filled with many ways of doing things and when I set foot within the viewing area to watch and witness Manolo work with the horses, it was like coming home. I didn’t realize I had been searching for that feeling until that moment. The ease and grace with which these two wonderful humans interact with the horses filled me with so much hope.

Manolo and Jillian have an immense ease and grace about them when they are in relationship with the horses. There is no doubt that the horses know that they are there to listen and witness them. It’s a thing of pure beauty. Over 5 days I saw seven horses transform, transmute and translate their experience of their mind, body and soul. And the most beautiful part of all was that it was all achieved via coming back to the basic concept of making sure that the horse is comfortable, safe and able to thrive within themselves and their environment. My favorite sentence that Manolo repeated was “my job is to make the horse comfy.” So simple and yet so refreshing.

Each horse was met exactly where they were at and guided gently back to a neutral baseline where their spine could rest with ease in relation to all their limbs. Instead of being in a place braced above and within their body, they were able to find a place of rest, of ease, a place to yield fully into their center. This facilitated rapport and safety and created an environment where they could trust Manolo to guide them further with their experience.

From this place of safety the horses now had capacity to be more adaptable, playful and curious in their experience. They started to explore different options from this place of ease and realized that they were much more capable than before because now their body was able to move from a more connected origin. It was beautiful to watch their unique characteristics and ways of being start to come alive. There was one horse that the moment Manolo started to engage with him with the bamboo. His entire way of orienting to the world shifted and he came alive. Prior to this he had found more ease and capacity but was still missing that little bit of spark. When Manolo picked up the bamboo it was as if he was transported to a previous life where he worked with the bulls and he knew exactly what his purpose was. His entire posture changed and he had the most beautiful buoyancy through his entire body. It was magical to witness this instantaneous transformation that was cultivated via play and curiosity. Manolo created this beautiful opportunity for this horse to fully remember who he is.

By the middle to the end of the week, the horses were so much more secure in who they are. He always made it incredibly clear and kind what he was asking of the horse by keeping it simple and only building little by little as the horse was ready. He added the next layer so gently and cohesively with the one before that it didn’t feel like a surprise or a shock to the horse, but a continued place of safety which from my perspective gave the horse a chance to be brave and try something new. And each layer was instilled from a place of relaxation. The horses were given the opportunity to explore their own balance and find their own homeostasis in each moment so that they could integrate the changes throughout their whole body. It was like he was giving their body a voice and letting it sing its song. And by doing so, each horse was so present by the end and much more comfortable in all aspects.

Every horse and rider had their own unique journey through the week, but the common thread that seemed to connect them all was that by the end of the week, their relationship with their horse had strengthened and their joy for why they originally entered into this world of being an equestrian was re-embodied and remembered. Their smiles and tears of joy said it all.

As an auditor, it was a beautiful experience to hold space for those that were vulnerable enough to ride in front of us and to share their horses with us. I have so much gratitude for them. And there was a sense of peace to know that everyone there was coming from a heart-centered place to honor the horse. You could feel that so deeply and how people held space, the questions they asked, and the gratitude they expressed for one another.

In the closing circle, everyone shared a reflection from the week and mine was a very teary hope for this way of being with the horses to become a norm and not the exception. And I know that this is becoming true because there are more and more humans that are remembering why they fell in love with horses in the first place and coming to the relationship from that place.

Thank you to Manolo, Jillian, Casey M. Jones and Everyone(so many beautiful people were working behind the scenes to make sure the whole event was a success) that made it possible for this experience to happen. It was truly magical!

If you ever get a chance to share time with these two. I highly recommend it!

📸 By Lauren Harmon
In this moment he was so excited for what the horse accomplished he hopped off right then and there. So much joy!