Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Harmonious Goal

In response to my post What if I Never Rode Again?, Linda suggested that I watch a documentary called The Path of the horse.

So, I did.

The funny thing about the documentary was that I was familiar with all the sources mentioned.  It starts with an interview of Mark Rashid -- whose clinics Brett and I have both attended.
Tex and Mark Rashid

There was a shot of a pile of books and I laughed -- I recognized the covers of all that I could see.  I've read them all over the years.  I guess this search for a harmonious interaction with horses has been at my core for, well, as long as I've been riding.

There was a woman interviewed who works with horses at liberty in California.  I had actually emailed her when I first started working with Tex.

Is this serendipity or what?

The part of dressage that has always attracted me most is the invisible dance that occurs when horse and rider are in sync.  The feeling that you are riding from thought and everything else just follows.  I've never been on a journey to Grand Prix, I've been on a journey of harmony.  The horses I have most enjoyed riding are the ones where I was able to achieve that connection: Starman, Jackson and Lucy.  Even though Auke was tremendously talented, riding him felt like a battle of wills rather than harmony.  And Winston, who was also very talented, was not at all interested in anybody's agenda but his own.  I think both horse and rider have to want that connection.

I think Tex wants connection, at least some of the time.  It will be interesting to see where things go with him.

For those of who have seen the show, Cavalia, you know what I am talking about.

There is also the French guy who runs around in the south of France with his horses -- he gets it too.

Of course, I have no intention (or the talent or balance or fearlessness) to do these amazing acrobatic feats, but the connection is what grabs me.  The horses, at complete liberty, who chose to engage and play.  How awesome is that?!

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for those thoughts. I am going to watch that video.

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  2. Glad you watched it! It's nice to hear someone else's thoughts about it. I forgot Rashid was in there, too. It's been a few years...need to watch it again. I was surprised that her journey has taken her away from riding completely, but I understand it.(Did she mention that in the documentary? I interviewed her afterward and I can't remember if it was during that or during the doc that she said she wasn't riding at all.) I agree with you that some horses seem to like the togetherness that riding provides. I know Cowboy does, but then again, I've never been competitive with him--just easy trail rides. And, though I have aids, I don't use them. Cowboy knows how to go down a trail on auto-pilot. I don't get the same feeling with Leah yet, and to be honest, that worries me, but I'm slowing things down a bit and I'll see where that goes. The documentary certainly demonstrates pretty well that horses don't need the riding relationship--or, if there is one, it can be much different than what we're used to.

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    1. She did mention that she wasn't riding anymore in the video -- I'm not sure I'm ready for that. Lucy enjoys it -- but the focus is on connection, relaxation and having fun rather than training for a show. For us, riding is part of the connection. It sounds like you and Cowboy have the same. Some horses are more aloof and sometimes its just personalities. I'm making progress with Tex, but it isn't the same feeling of him preferring to be with me than be alone.

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  3. I understand what you mean by having harmony and connection. I had it with my first horse Erik and with Dusty too. Blue, not so much. He sounds like your descriptions of Winston and Auke. Since he's the only horse I have left to ride I'm searching for ways to connect with him.

    Love those videos. I'd never try it but it nice to watch.

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    1. I would never try it either. I think once we've experienced the connection, like you had with Erik and Dusty, its hard to be happy with anything less.

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  4. I loved this video! Had never heard of, or seen it before, but it was amazing. This is what I've been striving for ever since I met Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance many years ago. It was my first exposure to something that I've thought of as pure magic, and I've wanted that kind of connection and harmony with my horses ever since. I don't think it's something I will ever achieve, but it is my journey and the more I learn, the more I love it and believe it to be the only way. It's not an easy thing because it involves so much change within myself, and learning to accept my horses for who they are, changing my priorities, how I think, just about everything. One thing I know for sure, is that the change has to come from me, my innermost being. Not very easy, and sometimes all I can do is breathe deeply and try to keep my mind quiet. One time Tom told me that when the connection or "feel" was strong with our horses, "why, you feel like you could ask them to climb right up that telephone pole there, and he'd do it for you, because you asked him! Not that you would, but that's how it feels." I've never forgot that because I've had glimpses of what he was trying to explain, and I'm always looking for that feeling again. Good stuff! Whether I continue riding or not, horses will always be a big part of my life. I can't imagine it any other way. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. I think you hit on why more people don't work with their horses this way. Its really hard work; and by that I mean really hard work on ourselves. Its much easier to blame the horse, or the saddle or the trainer than it is to admit that our inner energy needs work. I tend to be driven to the future and super goal oriented. I'm learning how to be in the moment and let that stuff go -- and it isn't easy for me. But, oh the rewards!

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  5. The first time I saw the video of Lorenzo and his horses working together in the natural surroundings of The Camargue, I thought that the only way he could have achieved such connections was by time spent together with his horses.

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  6. An American in TokyoMay 15, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    I just wanted to say that I'm also on a journey such as yours and wonder if I need to ride. I am also seeking the connection you mention! I enjoy your blog very much and look forward to hearing about your progress with Tex!

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Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.