I am so grateful to have a loving daughter.

Marissa Isgreen Creations

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Today I’m thankful for the fortunate life I live. As a college student, I’m lucky.

I’m thankful that I am not over my head in debt and that I’m able to pay my bills each semester with only the help of subsidized loans. I’m thankful for parents that help me pay for college each term. I’m thankful for the generous CSU alumni who have donated their hard earned money to provide scholarships to students such as myself.

I’m thankful for my employers. In today’s day and age, people struggle to find one job and I’m lucky enough to have two. And furthermore, they are both jobs I love and enjoy. (on a side note, as someone who works in retail, I ask you to please not going shopping today. Wait till FRIDAY to do your Black FRIDAY shopping).

I’m thankful for the roof over my head– even…

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Preview Opening to Benefit Animal House Rescue in Fort Collins this Weekend

The paintings are framed, the labels printed, the food ordered, and music confirmed.  Be sure to come out Saturday, Nov 30th from 2-5 PM for the preview showing of HIGH POINT, The Art of Showing Horses…acrylic paintings and found metal sculptures by Barb Haynie…watercolor paintings by Cheri Isgreen.

Creekside Gardens & Gallery

1224 N Shields St. Ft Collins, Co      970-482-0667

Enjoy holiday snacks that will please you and your horse.  We will serve carrot cupcakes, oatmeal cookies, hot apple cider, and peppermints, so put something in your pocket to bring back to the barn!  Kurt Isgreen will play solo guitar selections of jazz, gypsy, and swing for your enjoyment.   Sales of artwork will benefit Animal House Rescue;  give the gift of life.

New works by Cheri and Barb


















And don’t forget the greenhouse will be filled with poinsettias, wreaths, and fresh Christmas trees.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Pushing Hands

Pushing Hands is best known by tai chi players.  It’s also important for riders.  We all know that contact comes from giving the rein, so the horse can reach into contact, as opposed to taking the rein or “taking contact,” which is an oxymoron.

At the dressage clinic yesterday given by Deb Hindi, she said something to one of the riders that really grabbed my attention:

“You can’t push hands with your arms; you must engage your core!”
pushing hands

pushing hands

The goal to pushing hands is to influence your horse to lengthen his neck which allows him to really step under his belly and  reach over his back.  Here is a picture of Monarch & I pushing hands.  There is definite contact between his mouth and my hand, but it is light and giving.  The weight is in the elbows, not in tight arms or tense joints.  Even though the rein is relatively short, his neck is long and his stride is open, reaching.   I am following his motion (which is quite alot in a canter this big), but I think he is also following my motion.  (This is the second, grounding beat of the canter stride, which is the deepest.  After the third beat, the inside fore, we will be air born.)

Rhythm, Relaxation, and Playing Games

Today I received a post from my tai chi teacher about rhythm & relaxation.  The post could have been written by Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere , the 17th Century French riding master, who is the father of classical horsemanship.  The post is the seed for this post.

This weekend, Deb Hindi is coming for a clinic; Monarch & I are signed up for both days.  We are working on the suppleness that allows true communication.  Though rhythm is at the bottom of the training scale, Monarch’s rhythm is quite good, so we focus on relaxation in the warm-up.  Along with developing suppleness, his rhythm gets even better.  When I shorten him longitudinally, he doesn’t get slower, and when he lengthens his frame, he lengthens his stride without speeding up.  Before I can do this work, I have to get him relaxed enough to allow my inside leg to come into his bend.  This is slow, meditative work.  We begin at the walk, matching his lateral bend with the line of the circle.  As the circle gets smaller, his bend increases, until he is walking on an 8 meter volte without losing rhythm.  From the volte, we leg yield out to the large circle without losing the bend or the rhythm, then change direction.  From walk, we proceed to sitting school trot and finally to canter.  When we started this work with Deb a month ago, Monarch would not let me in.  Deb said, “he doesn’t want to dance with you.  He is saying, ‘just sit up there & look pretty; I’ve got this covered.’  You must first establish an inside rein.  When he gives you an inside rein, then you can develop the inside leg.  From the inside leg, you will get an outside rein.  Then finally,  you will have the outside leg.”  Today, Monarch is a different horse.  Through this work, he invites my leg into his bend through softening his whole inside, which has increased our communication and bond.

classical training scale

classical training scale

After developing rhythm, relaxation, and contact, (the base of the training scale), we used transitions to develop impulsion and shoulder-in and counter canter for straightness.   Monarch was so tuned into me, I decided to play Follow the Leader.  Cantering down centerline, we would halt, then I would ask him to”listen” to my body to pick up a right or left lead canter.  Canter depart from halt on the centerline requires the horse to focus on the rider’s aids.  The horse cannot anticipate the lead from a circle or coming out of a corner.  Working from the halt requires him to also be attentive and in front of the leg.  Monarch loved this game.  He was animated and very collected with a light, raised wither in the depart.  He correctly responded to each request by focusing on what my body was saying.  Though eager to jump into the next canter depart, I felt his mind and body were both relaxed, yet energized.

Monarch is the quintessential “forever horse.”  He picked me as I entered his field of untouched yearling colts, by approaching me and laying his neck over my shoulder.  I was at his farm to buy a “going” horse.  He repeated this behavior over the course of 3 days, until I knew I had to take him home with me.  He has been a perfect gentleman, willing student, and wise teacher through our eleven years together. Even before this recent breakthrough of a soft inviting inside, Monarch has been my willing partner.  We share much joy; he enriches my life.

Monarch, my muse

Monarch, my muse


Preview Party for High Point, the art of showing horses

“High Point, the art of showing horses”

High point- the horse with the highest average placing in 1 year of competition

High point- a high altitude place with a beautiful view, often found in Colorado

High point- the best part of an experience; as equestrians, it is that feeling when the connection between horse and rider is elegant & sublime,  becoming the high point of the day.

“High point” …a show for art lovers, artists, and equestrians

We look forward to seeing you at our Preview Showing for High Point!

We look forward to seeing you at our Preview Showing for High Point!

Click on the invitation to enlarge.

The pleasure of your company is requested for a preview showing of “High Point, the art of showing horses,” to celebrate our equestrian art both in the studio and on horseback for 2014, The Year of the Horse.  This show will be a benefit for Animal House, a rescue center in Fort Collins, CO.

Featuring acrylic paintings and found art sculptures by Barbara Haynie and watercolor paintings by Cheri Isgreen.  Refreshments include human and horse delights.  Bring your horse to the show, or take him back some goodies.  Music by Claire Clemmens and Joe Vigil, a piano & guitar duo.  The Gardens will be open with a beautiful selection of poinsettias and other blooming Christmas plants,  fresh wreaths & Christmas trees, and garden-themed whimsical gifts.