There are two stages – two completely different stages – that we need to consider when we want to end up with poetry in motion like Cavalia’s Frederic Pignon or Alizee Froment with Mistral or any of those other world class horse and rider combinations that you admire. And believe me you CAN have that with your own horse – even if you are just an ordinary rider.
I couldn’t ever be that good
Jeez I can hear some of you now “I couldn’t ever be THAT good.” Well yeah, you might not ever be as good as Pignon for example because of his athleticism and the sheer weight of his knowledge and the experience that comes from working with hundreds of horses over the years (although you could have fun trying) – but you CAN – you utterly and completely CAN – be that good with your own horse AND have a lot of fun getting there.
It’s FEEL that is the foundation to being that good.
You can love them to bits, but to achieve that level of excellence (and the fun that goes with it) we have to have Feel for our horse. And Feel is what we’re VERY good at teaching here. I am famous for saying that I can teach anyone how to find it – I haven’t found an exception yet.
Then we have to use that Feel to listen to our horses and help them to live the routine of their life without fear or anxiety. That generally produces our horse to be DESIRING to look after us too. Our actions in connection with our horse, produces a willingness in them to reciprocate. And this flows into a mutual love and trust and delight in each others company that is a foundation for everything else.
But does this mean that the job’s finished? Does that lovely connection by itself produce confidence together in all circumstances and the poetry in motion that comes from that?
Our horses DESIRE to look after us and their ABILITY to look after us are two different things
The next thing we have to consider if we want the whole package of magic with a horse, is to know that our horses DESIRE to look after us and their ABILITY to look after us are two separate things.
We have to do all kinds of things to help them to BE ABLE to look after us – to be able to cheerfully deal with external things in their environment like motor bikes and tractors, a hat that blows off in the wind, an umbrella, plastic bags blowing past and dogs barking. We want our horse to be able to follow our lead when it comes to high energy things happening, to know how to use excitement in their bodies and not buck us off with it, to be able to have something scarey happening and not flatten us in their need to get away from it.
And you need to have all kinds of tools and techniques and skills to achieve that – you have to take the time and do the tasks in the right kind of way, that keeps that delight in each other’s company that makes the whole journey itself so precious.
Just imagine that your horse looks to you when they’re scared of something
This is what we do with our programs so beautifully – EVERYTHING is about a deeper connection with your horse, EVERYTHING is about helping our horse to live the routine of their life in a feeling of well-being , releasing old fears and tensions and then helping them to find a place where they look to us when something scarey happens.
Just imagine what it feels like to have something frightening happen and feel your horse look up at you and ask “Is this OK?” And you relax your butt and say “Yeah that’s just a kangaroo behind the bushes getting ready to jump out – nothing for you to worry about”. And your horse says “Whew! Thanks” and walks on calmly and looks with interest as the kangaroo jumps out.
Most people don’t even realize that this reaction is possible – most people think that it’s “just a horse being a horse” to be scared of things. Yes a horse WILL always be a horse. There will always be a possibility that they should jump and leap away from something they are frightened of – they are not a motorbike – but if we’ve done our job with all the routine things that they can expect to come across in their lives, that possibility is massively reduced.
Even at over 60 years old (still riding, still learning) I want that confident, connected feeling of heaven on earth that comes from my horse’ s DESIRE to look after me combined with their ABILITY to look after me and the confidence that comes from that and I’m not willing to settle for anything less.
Frederic Pignon said “When I’m with horses I have no ambition, I have a dream.”
I too have a dream – horses and people, all over the world – ordinary people being extraordinary with horses. Ordinary people with their horses loving them and their hearts filled with joy.