I started my journey by seeking answers to problems
When I first became interested in training horses, I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of horsemanship; I was looking for answers to problems. I would go to clinics, thinking maybe this person will have the answer, but my horse didn’t always respond the way the horse at the clinic had. I began to understand that these clinicians had something I didn’t.
“As I became aware of horsemanship, I could see there was more to it then learning a certain technique.”
Different techniques were needed to fit different situations. I thought that horsemanship must be the ability to know which technique to use. With that in mind, I set out to developed a large tool kit of techniques gathered from different sources.
I developed a large toolkit of techniques
I went to see well known clinicians whenever they were doing something in my area. I studied their books and video tapes, along with other books and tapes by classically trained authors. I applied these techniques to a variety of horses, in a variety of situations. As valuable as I found this tool kit of techniques, what helped me understand horsemanship the most was being introduced to the idea of actually communicating my intent to the horse.
I learned to use images to communicate my intent
On page 16 of his book Dressage for the New Age Dominique Barbier describes it this way,
“Visualization is similar to you and your horse watching television. Visualization is the rider bombarding the screen with pictures—clearer ones every time. If you are not transmittiong or sending the pictures that appear on the TV screen, and the horse is putting them there, you are in big trouble. If the screen is blank to begin with, the horse is going to fill it up by sending his own pictures.”
Sally Swift, in her books Centered Riding and Centered Riding 2 Further Exploration teaches riders to use mental images; including images of energy beams and energy bubbles.
In two years of study in Larry Napier’s Rediscovery of the Heart Institute, I learned:
- The language of our heart is images.
- Images control everything we do.
- We can choose what images are on the screen of the “image maker” in our heart.
The Third Factor
Communicating through images, and controlling energy with images does not take the place of having the horse in the proper shape and balance, or your feel, timing, and balance. It is a layer we can put on top of the best mechanical work to make things much softer and subtler.
“”I believe this is a large part of the third factor Tom Dorrance was referring to on pages 9, 14, and 15 of True Unity when he said,
“I will mention the need for self-preservation; this to me includes the physical and the mental—and a third factor. I’ve been trying for some time to think of words to get this third factor to where it comes to light; to show how it blends in with the other two—the physical and the mental. It is the least mentioned, but I am beginning to believe it is the most important factor to recognize…. I didn’t used to elaborate on the third factor, spirit; I only just mentioned it. But I’ve begun to wonder about it in the last few years. Maybe if people got to realizing the importance of that part of the horse, they could get more feel and understanding from right in the horse’s innards…. Mind, body and spirit is what we are talking about here.”
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me say for this to work you need to have the right attitude, and think of your relationship with the horse in the right way. It is your attitude and relationship that opens the door for this type of communication with your horse. A lot of what I’m going to be talking about is the attitude and relationship with your horse you need to get this working for you.
I invite you on this journey with me to discover the attitudes, images, and energies at “The Heart of Horsemanship.”