I said, be careful what you wish for. After freezing my tail off the past few weekends in Minnesota, then Massachusetts, then Colorado, today we had triple digit temperatures here in central California. While most everyone in my horsemanship clinic was thoroughly disgusted by the unseasonably warm temperatures here, to me it was a nice change of pace. I actually enjoyed the heat and the sweat, although at times, when the wind died, it was a little intense. My arms, having not seen the sunlight for the past eight months, currently look like> boiled lobster.
My favorite part of any clinic is the beginning, when everyone introduces themselves and talks about how important it is to learn. It is very motivating to me when I am teaching to someone specific goals rather than force feeding the information I think they need. But it funny that no matter what people seemingly varied and individual issues are, it always boils down to the same few subjects leadership and authority confidence, effective communication, better riding skills and finding the right amount of pressure that motivates the horse to change. If these things do not ring a bell, you might want to spend a little time browsing through my website. The other thing I like about the beginning of the clinic is that I always give a talk about horse behavior, my favorite subject. From understanding the difference between learned behavior and instinctive behavior, what the instinctive behaviors of horses are, how the human mind is different than the horse mind understanding herd hierarchy and the communicative behavior of horses there’s so much to learn.
I’ll never tire of talking about it and sharing what I have learned by research and through a lifetime of observation and it is a bonus to me when the clinic participants get into the discussion and I see the light bulb go off over their heads. They have a better understanding of their horse and their own interaction with him. After the behavior discussion, we head to the arena for ground work and put the new-found awareness of the horses natural behavior to a practical application learning to control the horse space and actions learning to control his entire body from his nose to his feet, from his shoulder to his hip. We work through specific exercises that help you establish more authority over the horse, gain his focus and respect and develop a line of communication so that he is looking to you for directives. After a much needed lunch break in the shade, everyone saddled up and went to the arena to work on riding skills. No matter how much ground work you do; no matter how well you can think like a horse; the horse can only rise to your level pf performance when it comes to riding If your lack of riding skill is getting in his way, he cannot do his job no matter how strong his desire. No one ever reaches a level in her riding where she doesn’t have to work on it anymore. No matter how good you are you still have to hone your skills. You always have to work on better balance, better rhythm and better communication with the horse. So at the end of the day, no matter that the clinic is full of varied individual horses and riders, each with their own set of issues, we always return to work on the same fundamentals.
Another day, another dollar. I have enjoyed blogging, though I started it to appease (yes, I can use that word without rebuttal) my aforementioned slave driver. I suppose it is a bit like writing in a diary something I have never done in my life. The weird thing about blogging is that it seems like you are talking to no one. Just writing into thin air, yet it is being released to the whole wide world. I don’t have anyway of knowing if anyone is actually reading my diatribes-except for the two that have bothered to respond food-line-man and my sister thank you, if there is anyone else out there (or if the two of you have other comments), please let me know. Tomorrow is my second favorite part of the clinic, the end. As much as I hate saying goodbye to everyone, it means that soon I’ll be headed home. And as my friend Polly always says, on Sundays, I am like a trail horse turned for home, with a new found energy to get to my destination! Tomorrow they are forecasting double digits instead of triple and I’ll have plenty of sunscreen on hand, so bring it on Please visit Goodnight’s sites for more information and training tips: