UNBRIDLED The Heart of Graceful Horsemanship
When a person and a horse come together, in harmony, with grace and ease, what is experienced by horse and human is pure connected joy. In this place, all things are possible. Both the horse and the human try to fulfill their part in the dance or the construction of the song. They both want to contribute all that is available in the present moment.
To get here, we need to be honest with the horses and with ourselves. This honesty can and will be cultivated by both parties. We may need to learn about our bodies – how they move, in what shapes, measures, and notes. Our emotions — what happens before what actually happens? Our thoughts — the lyrics! Are we thinking in pictures, words, a hierarchy, in harmony, or in leadership?
Think of a herd of horses running out, moving together…
They want to be together, move together, and run together. In fact, they are born to do it! This is the very nature of being a herd animal: being and staying together by choice. This is harmony, grace and ease, pure connected joy, and if we want this kind of seamless movement with horses, we need to learn it. And if we are going to learn it, we are going to do some personal growth along the way.
Improvisation is a way to interact, in the moment, free from worry about doing anything wrong. This freedom can help foster play and ease of movement in us, which transfers to our horses. The very nature of improvisation is that no prior preparation is needed. The hard part is when we have information and rules that get in the way of our ability to say “YES” to our horses offers.
Saying “NO” to our horses in words or in body language has a place in our horsemanship when human life is in danger. However, perceived danger and actual danger may be different things! This is where observation, uncollapsed with interpretation, is so valuable. While NO creates clarity, NO also creates blocks in many areas in our relationships with our horses. Perhaps we need to rethink the use of this way of communicating and redirect instead of blocking.
When we have an attitude of YES, combined with the clarity of observation and a basic understanding of the geometry of moving with horses, we can begin to shape space, together with our horses, keeping everyone safe and creating an environment of harmony, that creates want to in our horses such that they say Yes, and what else are we going to do? There will be an absence of hesitation, an absence of any thought of leaving,