© CarolLynn McArdle - Tir na nÓg Dressage
There is a great wave of ideas flowing over the world of training today
which is centered on the words “Natural”, “Kind”, “Gentle”, “Respect”,
With the animal in mind”, etc. etc. and many people are marketing on these
words as if this is a revelation, a new idea to be kind and respectful to
the horse.

Although this is a wonderful direction in the approach to training, I just open
here with the idea that there exists some of us for whom this is not a new
idea, but a way of living which permeates all aspects of our lives.
Tir na nÓg is such a place, and I have lived by these principles all my life ...    
“All animals are fellow beings traveling with me on this road of life, and
whenever I meet another life, it is My responsibility to learn Their language
and respect them for who they are.”

My sisters and I grew up in an animal family. My parents were such animal
lovers that it was never a question of persuading them to let us keep a
stray, or orphaned or injured wild animal ... they practically insisted! When I
was young my father built our home around a tree so my falcon could sleep
“naturally” in my bedroom. One always had to be careful to look in the oven
or furnace room as there might be a nest of baby birds or bunnies, or some
injured animal keeping warm. Each time we moved to a new home or
country, we quickly became known as “the place to drop off found animals”.
We would often return home to find a box at the front door with some
animal in need, and my parents would quickly take it in to heal or recover,
or whatever.

Because of my parents deep love of all animals, and great reverence for
nature, it was of course natural that we had many pets including horses. It
was my parents firm belief that raising children with animals taught a deep
sense of responsibility for the care and nurturing of “others”... a sense of
“Stewardship for Nature”. Obviously along with this philosophy was a
gentleness in the handling and care of all animals.
I lay this foundation of my childhood as a way of explaining my approach to
riding and training horses. I grew up with an approach to riding and training
which has always centered on kindness and a deep knowing that it is my
responsibility and my responsibility only to learn the language of the animal,
and try to communicate with it, not to try to make it learn My language.

My philosophy is based in the principles of absolute respect for the nature
of the horse. This concept is not based in only one aspect of that nature,
but the understanding that the horse is a multi dimensional animal, he has
an instinctive nature (natural history & behaviour), an intellectual nature (the
natural way in which he learns in his brain), and a physical nature (basic
biomechanics). As a student of life as well as a student for life I have spent
my life in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of not only training
methods, and training philosophies, but a respect for these three “Natures”
of the horse. As a result I use a very methodical, natural approach to
training inspired by the great masters of old as well as recent masters who
also have respected the horse for who he is. As one who is a student of
and for life, I am always open and ready to learn new ideas and reevaluate
what I think I know, through continuing education in areas of riding, training,
anatomy, biomechanics, ethology, balance, physiology, and more as I am
learning daily.

My teaching is centered on not just teaching riders to ride a horse that
someone else has trained, but teaching riders to train their own horses.
My approach is a methodical, progressive way, and teaches students to
learn to ride and train in the most efficient manner which puts the least wear
and tear on their horse in order to prolong the working life of the horse, as
well as deepen the relationship of the rider with the horse.

I welcome all to come to Tir na nÓg to watch us live with our horses, and to
join us if you think it would enhance your own life with your horse.