Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Do's and Don't for Savvy Horsemen

More Notes from Leslie Desmond Clinic

For my own education in 2008 I have attended several clinics. The one that meant the most to me was with Leslie Desmond in September at Fort Collins, CO. She impressed me so much that I have been inspired to take my horsemanship to the next level. I am finally taking seriously the concept that less is more. Through paying more attention to the little things and being more careful to watch for and feel the release my horses are becoming more responsive. I have especially been focusing on two horses that I haven’t done as much with as I should have. Or maybe I need to rephrase, saying that I have done as much as I could up until this point. I am now able to do even more because of the better attitudes and feel which I am developing as a result of the education I chose to participate in.

After each educational experience that I attended this year I found myself reaching new heights in different ways with each of my own horses. Plus I discovered that I was getting results a lot quicker with the horses I am able to interact with through the clinics, camps and lessons I provide for horse lovers hungry for further growth and learning. The three colts that I have had the opportunity to start this year went quicker and better than ever. I know that I am far from the perfect artisan of horsemanship that I hope to be someday, but I have been very pleased with the occasions I have had this year to continue to learn and grow, and even more happy with the outcome. I am looking forward to 2009 with great expectations for further chances to continue this awesome journey of horsemanship and sharing my passion with other horse lovers.

As I reviewed my notes from Leslie’s clinic one more time, I found some final thoughts I believed were worth sharing as we begin to think about our horsemanship goals for 2009.

Do’s and Don’ts for the Savvy Horseman.

Do everything from the horse’s point of view.
Don’t project human qualities on a horse, they don’t wear them well.

Do live in the now with the horse.
Don’t label a horse it sets an expectation.

Do take your time, you have nothing to prove.
Don’t ask a horse to make the change; you must make the change first.

Do give the horse time to take a break if he wants to, it doesn’t do any harm.
Don’t rush a horse. You can’t go slowly enough for a horse who doesn’t want you up there.

Do support your horse for being who they are.
Don’t stifle the curiosity in a horse or destroy his dignity.

Do work slow and accurate because it is the key to speed.
Don’t be late, you must read the intent of horse so corrections can happen sooner.

Do get physically and mentally fit, this is a thinking/acting person’s game.
Don’t forget to breath. When you breathe out it will release the horse.

Do blend with the horse.
Don’t stand in the way or get in the way of the horse’s movement when riding.

Do take care where your body position is at all times in relation to the zones of the horse.
Don’t stand in the blind spot, or create a blind spot.

Do realize that a horse moves from back to front, using diagonals in all gaits.
Don’t take away the diagonal, it causes bucking.

Do give more line to the horse by opening the lead hand for more speed.
Don’t liven’ a horse up in a short rope.

Do remember a good back up is the secret to a quality stop.
Don’t push or pull a horse back, instead lift and release to back.

Do keep the horse in a learning frame of mind; this is not the same as submission.
Don’t introduce too many new things at once, because you won’t be able to keep the horse with you.

Do ride a horse as fast as they can run.
Don’t shut down a lively horse, it is easier to collect him because of the life in him.

Do know the difference between taking and receiving.
Don’t think that trust is more important than respect.