Wednesday, December 9, 2015

When You Feel Them In Your Heart

"When you feel it in here (your heart), 
when you feel for him, 
when you feel of him; 
the confidence can go down through that body, 
or you can take it out.” 
- Ray Hunt

This quote spoke to me today, especially the first half of the line, "When you feel it in here (your heart), when you feel for him, when you feel of him..."

I didn't have that feeling for Leah until I started riding her.  It's one thing to be on the ground with a horse (and I don't want to take anything away from that), but it's another thing to be on your horse.  

Last year, I did an interview with a wonderful horsewoman who advocated no riding, and since then, I've mulled it over and over and over...while continuing to enjoy riding.

I have to say, I think my horses enjoy it, too.  

Last Saturday my husband and I went on a trail ride, and when we got back to the trailer, Cowboy wouldn't approach it.  He pulled me away from the trailer and back onto the trail.  We just started to laugh--this crazy horse wants to keep going!  So, we obliged and went back on the trail.  Penny was also happy to move back out again. 




Horses are curious, athletic, sentient beings.  I know they enjoy the new scenery, the movement, and the fellowship as much as we do. 

Yesterday I had another lesson with Leah.  I'm so proud of her. She's come a long, long way--further than I have, I'm sure!  Most of what we did was me sitting back and quieting my legs at the back up, walk forward and turn--getting her to round her back a bit more and put more purpose and energy into her step.  For the turn, I was to use my own purpose--no steering and no leg--and she was so sensitive--picked right up on those subtle cues. In fact, I'm not sure what the cues were.  Regina told me to think about turning, and Leah turned.  I imagine my body was turning a little when I thought about it, and that's what she perceived.

The stop work was interesting, too.  I was to sit back and gather up alternating reins a little at a time until she stopped.  It was important to stay quiet and not pull back, just these gentle gathers of the rein until she figured it out.  Then, when she stopped, I backed her up and moved her out again.  After a few times, she was really picking up that those gentle gathers meant to stop.  

I'm not sure where all this is going, but I'll let you know when I do.  

I find myself daydreaming a lot about Leah now, and wishing I was with her--Beautiful Girl, too, who is still in a stall and gets special daily attention.  And, of course, Cowboy.  

I feel them all in my heart, as Ray Hunt would say.






15 comments:

  1. What a pretty picture of you & Cowboy in front of the river. I love how you say that you are daydreaming of being with Leah, that's wonderful (for you both)!
    I don't know that I've ever heard of 'using your own purpose' before, but I *think* that I understand what you're saying.
    I sometimes think my gelding reads my mind, but I'm pretty sure he's reading my body language (even when I don't know that I'm 'talking'). Whatever way he's receiving the message, he very rarely reads me wrong. I find it very rewarding that he tries so hard to please.

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    1. She didn't use the word "purpose" in the lesson, but she told me to turn her without using my legs or reins, which took a great deal of purpose on my part. I guess by that I mean really thinking about where you want to go and feeling it in your mind first, then body. (Body language,as you said) As I thought about turning, and looked where I wanted to go, I was twisting.

      Yeah, when you start to daydream about your horse, you know they've got you hooked.

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  2. I love Ray Hunt. What a horseman.
    It would break my heart to give up riding. Not that I don't find joy in other parts of being around horses but when I ride my heart sings. Leah sounds like a sensitive, trying soul.

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    1. That's a good way to put it, mine sings, as well!

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  3. I laughed about Cowboy wanting to keep going- Beamer is loke that. Going away from the farm he is all eager, head up, reins swinging, going in that incredibly fast walk that little round quarter horses don't normally have- ans as soon as I turn for home, he slows right down, as if he wants to savour every moment of the rest of the ride.
    I remember Rio and Kai both loved to be ridden- as soon as the ground work was done and either Shayla or I got on, the softness would come into their eye and you could just feel that they were proud and happy to be ridden.
    In your journey to softness with Leah- have you thought of getting into Cowboy Dressage with her? There is a lady at Sagle Idaho; Jenni Grimmett who teaches clinics, I plan on getting her to do one here next year.

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    1. I'm happy you brought up the "pride". I've seen that, too. When we saddle Old Red for the grandkids, he looks so proud and noble. Leah seems to also take great pride in our work and seems so soft and relaxed afterward. And I've already told the Cowboy story. I think horses are programmed for performance, if it's done in a cooperative, respectful, ultimately loving, way.

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  5. I've enjoyed all the groundwork with Gambler, but I have to admit that during the few steps I "rode" him I felt closer to him than I ever have on the ground.

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    1. I don't know what it is about riding, maybe a mutual trust between each other? Not sure, but it's magical.

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  6. Looks like a fantastic ride!! You look so happy...
    God bless Ray Hunt - I sure do miss that man!! :)
    He was so very wise.

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  7. Oh, one more thing! I love that you're "thinking" about what you want to do, before anything else. Sometimes our horses are so sensitive to us, and our slight body movements, it really is like they're reading our minds. Good stuff!! Tom Dorrance once said, "once you get to going good like this with your horse, it's almost like you could point them at that telephone pole, and they'd really climb it for you". :) Now there's some kind of partnership to aim for!

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    1. Maybe that's what Regina is trying to accomplish--to get me to think about what I'm asking for and where I want to go. Tom Dorrance is a wise man--and that is definitely a partnership to aim for. I have a new goal now!

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  8. To me, the best part of riding is that unspoken communication. Riding from thought. Mark Rashid teaches along the same lines -- and I think that the best dressage riders do the same.

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    1. It makes sense. My instructor is mostly an English /Dressage trainer, but can do it all. Riding from thought, huh? I'll have to read more about it. One more reason I'm happy to be starting Leah with the help of a trainer, otherwise, I would be reverting to my bad habits.

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  9. I have to say I don't mind ground work and find it a very useful training tool but riding is better. There really is nothing closer than the communication between horse and rider than being one with each other during a ride. It makes both of us feel good in my opinion.

    Love the picture of you and Cowboy. What a gorgeous place to ride.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.