Besides blogging about horses and horsemanship I also am an artist. Right now I’m in the midst of a project entitled “Big Idea 10+” in which I draw a sketch that somehow builds off of the one just prior to it. Because I recently attended a clinic in which we focused on balance, energy, impulsion and other aspects of riding integral to optimizing the partnership, those topics entered into the flow.
So I’m including them in this blog.
#31 Rounded + Relaxed; Energized + Inspired
A horse that moves well and with energized athleticism is a desired outcome of initial groundwork.
#32 The Swingy Tail
He’s not wringing it, nor flapping it about, but the energized, balanced horse will have tail movement that’s swinging rhythmically from side to side in a pleasing manner.
#33 – The Exaggerated Seat
While being lunged on our own horses our instructor, Shelby Hume, asked us to try out bending ourselves into a very exaggerated version of what we consider a habitual bad posture. In my case I tend to grip up in fearful moments and act like a “Scaredy Cat”. Then we were instructed to invent an exact opposite of the bad habit pose which in my case was the “Sky Flopper”. Then we moved in between each posture – one into the next and lo, petunias, as we did so we flowed through the perfect balance spot – our “Sweet Spot”. I found this to be an excellent way to find this optimal position – quite unlike trying to just go about correcting from the sort of ratty looking one I sometimes adopt.
#34 The Sweet Spot Rediscovered
From that ugly low crouch through to the floppity backwards pretty unstable opposite there’s this beautiful balance point that just feels so right!
#35 – Your Core – The Physical Manifestation of Your Soul
I’ve heard several excellent clinicians talk about ‘riding from your core’ as well as ‘riding with intention’. Intuitively I think I know what they’re talking about. So I spent some time with the concept and worked on this image to help me visualize it. I have done extensive reading through the materials available to laypeople on the basics of both quantum physics and intentional living. As an artist I work with and revisit concepts time and time again in all the media I play with. It is no wonder I would do the same with my own horsemanship.
#36 The Quantum Physics of Riding
Your core, being the physical manifestation of your soul and its intention creates a flow of reality into which you then travel. Horses being the willing spiritual partners that they are pick up on this sort of thing with ease. It is from this created ‘reality’ that they mythic is then called into being. Your intentions are the root of what we think of as the magic of Pegasus.
#37 Becoming One
As we progress with riding from our core, it’s sort of like our legs disappear and we take on a new shape with our equine partner. This isn’t accurate because it’s kinda freaky – but it’s also kind of sweet and looks a lot better than a horse body with 2 human heads.
#38 Physically You’re as Minimal as Possible
Karen Rohlf likes to have her students imagine for a second that they have very long arms and can connect ever so gently to the sides of a horse’s mouth with their fingertips. This is how she invites you to think of the bit and the reins. I extended it to also be available for rear end urging if was really true about the long arms thing. Tap tap tap. That’s it. And even that becomes unnecessary the better we get with the above riding from the core stuff. This is for emergency reminding only.
#39 Invisible to the Untrained Eye
What you co-create with your equine partner may be completely unseen during the ‘down’ or unmounted off times. Then again, hints of it are obvious. For example, the horse is happily next to his rider, not turned away. Both are relaxed in each other’s company. This sort of stuff is meaningful and adds up.
#40 Strangely Beautiful Math
When mounted all the pieces come together for the nicely balanced partnership. The core pf each join into a quantum bond that creates a being that exceeds the mere math potential of the individuals. 1 + 1 = 2+, where the + is the quantum.
These sorts of partnerships can’t be forced. They are co-created by the horse and the human working in congress. You can see evidence of such partnerships in some high level competitions, but you can also see examples of exactly the opposite in such places. What you look for is a relationship between horse and human that seems healthy and unforced. Look for happy expressions, signs of camaraderie and appreciation and an ease with each other that is inspirational. You’ll probably also be spellbound with their accomplishments and think it’s all so easy because you’ll be observing two partners who have a high regard for the other and that type of relationship often seems effortless.
You can find them on the trail too. Watch people as they tack their horses, there’s a lot of information about a partnership in that process. Heck look for how a horse comes in from a turn out! Something’s right when he comes running in – regardless of food opportunities, lol.