Monday Minstrel: The Dance of Prey and Predator

Eddo Hoekstra is the living proof of Carl Jung’s phrase: “I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Yesterday I wrote about Eddo (When Life Hands You Lemons) and how he did not descend into a sludge of despondency but has made lemonade out of a particularly brutal onslaught of lemons in his life.  When I spoke with Eddo I could see why he is so popular as an equestrian clinician. Eddo’s discipline is dressage but his words can apply to any riding discipline and in fact to life itself. Here  are some of Eddo’s mottos and his explanations of their meaning.

Control less. Create more. “I ask my students to focus on bringing things to life rather than controlling the horse. Controlling is not building a team.”

If you want your horse to listen closely you’ve got to learn to speak softly.

Horses watch everything ALL the time. “This is a feature that comes standard with every horse. That is part of how  they survived. It is their survival instinct and they pay attention or they would be lunch for some other animal. We can use this feature in our training.”

Let the horse move you.  “Start with the  walk. Letting the horse move you results in a supple lower back and looser hips. This stays through trot and canter. You must let the horse move you to get in synch with the horse. When the horse and rider are synchronized that is the ‘pretty picture’.”

Do like I do not like I say. ” The horse watches and responds to your  behavior.”

Dressage is a unity of opposites. ” People want a relationship with their horse, with something that  is the opposite of a human. Humans are predators and horses are prey animals. When it is done well the results are beautiful.

Dressage is the dance of a prey and a predator. 

And finally……

Anyone can put an idea in your head but only you can put it in your heart. 



Eddo Hoekstra ( on the right) with clinician Walter Zettl



  • featured photo of Anne Leueen and Biasini by Connie Gee*









21 responses to “Monday Minstrel: The Dance of Prey and Predator”

  1. doar nicole Avatar

    If more people these days were willing to live and work as a team, less controllingly, more creatively, as Eddo suggests… I imagine quite many things would look and feel better, much easier, for a lot of people in many parts of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. heatherwallace Avatar

    I love control less, create more. I rode a horse today for the first time that would really brace against the bit, and anticipated me, even when I had no rein. He would move out from under quickly to avoid contact. Rather than try to force him, I encouraged him to do circles with a gentle opening rein and this caused him to slow perfectly and give in to the contact When he did what I asked then I rewarded him and we ended on a great note. I’m sure it look messy as anything but I wanted to create a positive connection

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      that sounds like you made a positive start with this horse. Possibly this is a new approach that he is not used to. I think he will continue to respond well. And as for messy…sometimes it is messy but that doesn’t mean it is not going toward the right direction. Thanks for this comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heather Wallace Avatar

        Thanks for the feedback! I was really happy that he seemed to understand what I was asking and we ended on a positive note.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. aHorseForElinor Avatar

    This is beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Thank you. Eddo has a wonderful approach to the horse-human relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. luckycharmsgrl Avatar

    Love these quotes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Miss A Avatar
    Miss A

    “I’m not what happened to me” – love that!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. fearlessinjesuschrist Avatar

    Only you can put it in your heart – – Amen to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dinosaursdonkeysandms Avatar

    Absolutely love the last quote! 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. luckycharmsgrl Avatar

        Me three!! Definitely my new favourite quote!

        Liked by 2 people

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