I’ve just returned from a 10 Day Intensive in Aikido and Horsemanship school in Colorado. Part of being a horse person, in my opinion…is continuing the education of getting better at my job. If I ride lighter and create less stress for my horse then he will be healthier and happier. So will I.
This horse is Dash. He is related to the famous quarter horse, Dash for Cash and you can believe it by his size. We used him as a ranch horse in the film I wrangled on last summer, Out of the Wild. The screen play was written by his owner and my teacher of the last two weeks, Mark Rashid. He and his wife, Crissi teach all over the world and I was fortunate to have joined folks from Austria, Germany and England…well, the states too…for an education that would be hard to explain. Hard to explain in that so much of what I learned had to do with energy…the energy that comes from my core, not something outside of myself. Some disciplines call it Chi, the natural energy of the Universe.
So in my Aikido classes, we learned to go with force, rather than brace against it but we also redirect it to create boundaries of safety and harmony, blending with it in a way. I told you it would be hard to explain…
The important part to me was the new perspective gained. Maybe more of a horse’s perspective, in that I now understand from the experience that even the slightest touch can elicit a response if we are patient enough to wait for the horse to understand.
I found myself thinking, “stop” and my horse would halt. It was a beautiful halt as well. Balanced and relaxed…no head tossing or agitation. Same with stepping over on the front end or back end. I felt like I was riding a cloud at times. As one of the instructors reminded me though, I still had to ride my horse. In other words, I couldn’t just sit up there thinking!
This is Benny. He is new to this way of being with a human. Used pretty hard as a ranch horse, roping, gathering cows and the likes…his old job was a day of reactions to a rider bossing him around. He has since learned to think. Patience on his new owner’s part has given him a safe place to learn a new language, the language of softness. I’m a new student as well.