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Women & Horses by Mary D. Midkiff - horseback riding fitness techniques for women

Women & Horses, knowledge for the female equestrian; female equestrian fitness training and riding tips

Letters & Emails

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Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2002
Subject: Thank you

Mary: I finished reading "She Flies Without Wings" yesterday in tears. It is rare when a book touches my heart such as yours and I offer you my heartfelt gratitude. My relationship with horses has always been sacred, one of mutual love and respect and without question honor. Since a child, their beauty and grace has always been a part of my life. They have been my friends, my companions, my soul mates. We have seen each other soar, laugh, and cry, experience joy and pain, and I have held them in my arms upon their death. You have allowed our relationship to yet a deeper level with greater understanding of not only my own feelings, but of theirs.

While I haven't ridden in many years (mine are miniatures) it is, in part, because of your book that I long to feel again the horse underneath and have taken steps to feel that once again. Each horse has their very special and sacred qualities, and while I long to fly over jumps again, I'm just as content watching my mares play and my stallion in his majestic 28" body let me know that he is perfect in his own right.

It is with tremendous respect that I offer you my heartfelt thank you. I do strongly believe that your book should be mandatory reading for any equine education program, even to men I feel it offers a deeper understanding of the women they choose.

Again, we thank you.
Nanci Wallace
Keeper, Dolly, Shadow, Maripoix, and Benna
YellowRose Minis


Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002
Subject: thank you

Dear Mary, Thank you for writing your book, She Flies.... I can't articulate what a profound effect it's had on me and how I now view my relationship with horses. I never rode much--I took lessons as an adult for about 10 years but never conquered my fear of horses. Now I know why. It was all that power, both psychic and physical, that I simply didn't have the confidence to partner with.

Yet those years have served me well. I applied everything I knew about training for dressage to rehabilitating a fear biting Scottish Terrier into a competent and confident show dog (obedience and agility) and proved a lot of "experts" wrong. So I really appreciated your point about training methods, styles and philosophies rooted in the male psyche. Sure, we've come a long way, baby, but we aren't even half way there yet. Your book is a milestone along the way!

Judy Larson
San Antonio, Texas


Sent: Thursday, March 21, 2002
Subject: poem

I wanted to submit this poem to you for possible publication on your website. I rode as a young girl and did not have the best of experiences. I was constantly thrown, bitten, kicked and stepped on. I became terrified of riding, going back every few years for another go, usually with a disastrous outcome. Needless to say, I grew up and my awe and admiration for horses creeped back from some dark cave into my life. After having not ridden in over six years, last May I decided I wanted to learn to jump and began taking lessons at a local stable. On well trained horses and with patient guidance I have made a comeback and 20 years since my first experiences as a girl my fear has turned to respect. In December I bought a 10 year old Thoroughbred named Sailor. The trainer at the stable where I ride brought him in and the first day I rode him I knew we were a match. Although he is a bit high strung, he is an automatic jumper and needs no pushing, he sails over two foot verticals and cross rails at well over three feet, and while you may say he is too much horse for a new jumper those that see us ride can not deny he takes care of me and I of him. In January I rode him in our first show and took second place. (To read the poem, click here)


March 2002

Dear Mary,
I have just read "She flies without Wings", and I can relate to your story so well. I also have a mare, who, without realising it, told me she was ill. This was a few years ago, when I was not the kind of woman who followed her intuition then, or even realised what it was. I nearly lost Melody because I did not insist that the vet check her, I listened to the person in charge who told me my horse was fine. She nearly died, but pulled through, with an astronomical vet bill.

I have come to realise that we are not taught to listen to our intuition, or "feel" what our horses are telling us. This has resulted in a very sad state of affairs. Especially in countries such as South Africa, where it seems basic human rights are only barely met. Horses are seldom the beneficiaries of human compassion and wisdom.

I hope that from authors and woman such as yourself, your message does spread the world over, and that the horses of this planet are the ones that benefit from such wisdom.

Good luck with your work, and thank-you for sharing a story as inspiring as yours. Regards, Colleen and Melody, South Africa


February 2002

I must say, also, that I asked for and received your book, She Flies Without Wings, as well as giving it to this same girlfriend that I previously mentioned and I have to tell you that it is a wonderful book. You really express and bring out the same emotions that I feel owning a horse. I just bought a mare last May and I really appreciate her even more after reading your book. I would never have thought of my mare's moods and temperament as being such a gift if I had read your book. She has a wonderful personality, is very sweet and loving. Most people shy away from buying mares, but I literally fell in love with her at first sight and haven't been disappointed since. I look forward with great anticipation to your coming visit in March and to any more books you might be thinking about writing. Please add me to your e-mail list if you have one. I would like to hear from you regarding any other clinics you might be holding that would be possibly me near me. If you are not planning to come to Idaho, please let me know that too. Thank you very much. Shadow Schrock Boise Idaho


December 2001

Hi Mary, I enjoyed reading about the mouth massage techniques and I wanted to send you mine. In addition to the gums, my horses really appreciate having the corners of their mouths rubbed. This is great especially for those in dressage training where a horse is asked to maintain contact for long time periods. I recently read your latest book and it often gave me chills because I could relate to so much of it. I grew up in NYC, riding at Claremont Academy where you rode through traffic to reach Central Park. I was horse-deprived until I was 35 and living in California (this after a 12 year stint in Boulder). Since my first horse I have added 2 more and can't imagine life without a horse again. Thank you for your writings and teaching this softer way of being with horses. They They are truly the most generous souls and forgive so much human abuse,intended or just misguided. Happy Holidays, Liana Moor


Hello Mary,

I listened to you speak at Equitana in Melbourne, and finally heard someone who actually knows how I feel on my horse! Thankyou for helping people understand that women have special needs (and are willing to spend money to fill those needs!), and helping us be better riders. I have bought your books since then, and find the exercises really helping me. My horse is more relaxed, also, and I feel that it is because I am better balanced and fitter as a rider. I would like to be on your e-mail list for updates and info. Many thanks, Jenny Moncur, Victoria, Australia


November 2001

Dear Mary,

My name is Kathleen Peck and I attended quite a few of your talks at Equitana Asia Pacific in Melbourne. You probably don't remember but one of the questions I asked was about Pilates.

I live on the far south coast of New South Wales on 40 acres near a little town called Moruya. Luckily, our local physiotherapist (also a friend) is a horse rider and is really into Pilates. Boy, have I got some work for her when she gets back - also from Equitana.

So I just wanted you to know that your words were not just disappearing out into the ether, that some concrete action has resulted from your talks. My instructor is a woman and, as I already had your first book and have read it a number of times, I will take it along to my lesson today for her to read.

You may also be pleased to know that on my first day back on my first ride out along the beach I did my pre-ride stretches and exercises and concentrated on my posture. I think it made a difference. After 10 days of lush Spring pasture and no riding I was expecting my gelding to be full of beans and a little scarey to ride - he usually is. But we were incident free today and I was more relaxed and enjoyed it more.

So thank you for your advice. I now have your second book and am looking forward to curling up this evening and devouring it. Thanks again, Kathleen Peck


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