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Making Many Mistakes
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John H.
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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 07:54 pm
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On the advice of certain horsey lady friends, I have been using some random techniques of various Big Box Video Set clinicians, not on the recommended list. How do I hit reset with, and apologise to, my five-year-old BLM mare who has *no* formal training?
(("Get to a Buck clinic" is already on my list.))
If it helps, my main goal, beyond building effective communication, is developing a safe, reliable, trail horse for casual riding. No shows or showing for this guy! And preferably nothing over the reasonable speed limit. I no longer bounce well. Trail and obstacle courses might be fun though. I *think* my main challenge is learning to recognise the difference between good and bad techniques. And maybe the difference between a horses lack of interest and lack of trust.
Apologies for my continued ignorance and thanks for your responses :-)

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 08:37 pm
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Before you get too confused, you need to read Dr. Debs article in the latest issue of Eclectic Horseman titled,
"Thou Shalt Not Quilt".

One of Ray Hunt`s sayings was "The last thing you learn was the first thing you needed to know."

I would count this article as being in the category of, "one of the first things you needed to know",/consider.

It can save a person a lot of time going down the wrong road before they venture down this deeper "road less traveled" that aligns with the very nature; physical and mental, of the equine species. Then you might take it a step farther in pondering how this fits in with everything else in your life.

If you pursue this in depth, hang on, it`s going to take you to wondrous places you might have never imagined.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 12:43 pm
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John, I could hardly do better in way of a reply to you than to say that "Sunny" has told you the right things. You are indeed the perfect person for the "Thou Shalt Not Quilt" article, because "quilting" (i.e. trying to stitch one hint or pointer from Clinician no. 1 onto technique or pointer from Clinician no. 2 is what I mean by "quilting"). You will never get anywhere going about it by "trying random techniques", i.e. by trying techniques randomly. No more would this be true for you in our school of horsemanship, than it would be true for a Bereiter at Vienna, a cross-country enthusiast enrolled in a conventional riding school in England, or somebody that wanted to succeed in dressage in some toughminded government-approved school in Germany. It does not matter what school of philosophy, thought, or practice you belong to. Would you try "random techniques" to learn how to use new software in the office? Would you apply "random techniques" to hang a door good and square, or frame a wall, or lay a row of bricks? Why would the rules and norms of life be any different where learning how to manage and train a horse are concerned? You must find a teacher in whom you can believe -- you vet them first of course, according to whatever lights you have -- and then you DO AS YOU ARE TOLD. And keep doing it, until you have thoroughly mastered the basic skills. John, it is because you have not mastered those skills, and it shows, that your women friends have told you that you need to go find a teacher. They see what you do not see. And, it is also because you have not devoted yourself to MASTERY that you think that a little dab of this and a little dab of that will get the job done. Didn't your dad or a favorite uncle teach you how to pound a nail straight? This is called "living up to a standard of work."

This is Problem no. 1. I am also of the belief that there is a second problem that you need to address, John, and that is a tendency toward literalism. This plagues many people. One in particular I'll tell you about is a man who goes to my church. He's a very good guy in every way. I see him a lot at the various functions our church sponsors and particularly, I see him in the educational classes that our church puts on. Generally these are studies of different scriptures, i.e. stories or parables or historical (or quasi-historical or legendary) material from either the Old or the New Testament.

As an example, just the other day we were practicing a piece in choir -- I particularly love this piece because it speaks to me on a lot of levels. It's music that tells the tale of Ruth and Naomi, Jewish women from long ago who both lost their husbands. The lyrics to the music go, "Where you go, I will go; where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God." This needed to be said because once a Jewish woman had lost her husband, according to their traditions her husband's brother might take her in. But if there were no living brothers, or if for some other reason the brother didn't want her, she was pretty much up shit creek without a paddle. Naomi had been Ruth's mother-in-law. Ruth was in worse condition than Naomi, because Naomi's son had married her despite the fact that she (Ruth) was of a foreign tribe, not of the Israelites. That's what she means when she says to Naomi, "your people will be my people, and your God, my God." Because, to at least some degree, she had probably retained her cultural and religious upbringing despite being married to Naomi's son.

Now, a discussion arose among us choristers as we considered these lyrics, as to whether Ruth and Naomi were, in fact, real people; in other words, should we view this story as literal, historical fact? Should we view it as a parable? A metaphor? My own take is that it is a "novelization." There must have been many Israelite women who lost their husbands and were then left desperate for social attachment, not to mention money to live on. As a novelization, the story becomes universal in its messages -- which are, to hang in there even when your support system crumbles; to express true friendship and support to others who may be in the same spot; for women to hang together in solidarity to support one another; and for all of us to accept, nurture, and support immigrants who come into our communities from other countries and tribes. This is what I meant by "this story resonates for me on a lot of levels."

The point of my telling you this, is this: although I am quite comfortable regarding this story as a novelization -- so that the characters "Ruth" and "Naomi" become universal icons but are not to be regarded as real people, the nice guy I was mentioning above absolutely cannot accept any reading of this text which goes even a millimeter beneath the surface. The way his brain is constructed does not allow him to understand that "Ruth" and "Naomi" could be symbols or universal characters. For him, such a thought is very scary because then -- where would you stop? How is a person supposed to know (this guy asks) WHICH parts of the Bible are to be taken literally and which are not?

One thing that would either kill this guy, I think, or else cure him, would be regular attendance at our local synagogue. We have an excellent Rabbi who welcomes everybody, and who also gives classes around Scripture. One thing that goes on at every single Saturday service is the parsing of scripture. Rabbi begins by reading the verses for the day. Then he says, "I want all of you to be thinking about what this means for the next hour, as we do our regular service." And when the Torah has been unwrapped and displayed and read, and then covered and secured once again, Rabbi says, "OK, now who wants to be first to explain what that quotation meant to you?" You do this every week, my friend, and you will develop a new level of flexibility of mind -- a much more supple and muscular kind of mind.

So indeed, what I'm looking for this to produce in the horse arena is that you do not get the idea that you have to hold your elbow up just like Buck Brannaman does in order to be ground-handling your horse "right". You do not have to handle the flag just like Buck or Ray or Tom Curtin or Harry Whitney or me, in order to still be doing it right. So another recommendation would be for you to go buy those videotapes where Tom Dorrance is working with Harry on doing things right -- ten different ways. I rarely ever saw Tom solve the same problem twice in the same way. Every horse-rider combination is at least a little bit different. The student who is eventually going to be able to become able to train horses is the one who "gets" the heart of the matter in the same way that the story of Ruth and Naomi only becomes really useful when you "get" that it's not frozen in ice or about just those two women, but about the problems of all women who have to survive in a patristic culture. The successful student "gets" the core concept, the gist of the matter, and then is able to adapt his technique to suit the needs of a different situation or a different horse. This is the ONLY student who will ever succeed in horsemanship.

This is just a longer version of what Sunny meant by saying, "consider how this might apply to the rest of your life."

And, I will add -- the same as I subtitled the "Quilt" article, and the same as I ended it, for emphasis: Don't get discouraged. -- Dr. Deb

John H.
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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 09:22 pm
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Thank you Dr. Deb (and Sunny) for your excellent input.

To be honest, I might (and have)tried random mixing, in various endeavors. It's been my alternative to inaction in the absence of reliable resources or good information. It is, however, rather unfair when a horse is part of the equation.

My current equine partner is my second. The first was taken and fostered out to others by people who claimed I *gave* her (and her saddle) to them. Court action, with very uncertain outcome would have been required to get her back.
Her training, at least moderately effective, employed a 'method'. I'm hoping to do better this time and learn to recognise the Heart of the matter but, possibly in reaction to my prior loss (?), am very uncertain, second and third guessing, and not connecting well. My mare Niabi makes that abundantly clear (thanks for the food human, get out of my way).
I've asked around my area (north of Battle Ground, Washington), trying to find others with reasonable skill or experience working with 'listed' professionals, but with little luck.

My preference, I believe, would be to learn by doing some of the things Buck might suggest and recognise, audit a Colt Starting clinic in a month or so (assuming my work with a 5 year old mare still counts), then plan on being a participant in either a Foundation or Horsemanship 1 clinic, however embarassing that may be.

It would be excellent if, in my very limited free time, I could find someone to help me establish a healthy foundation upon which to build. I have to be cautious with funds as a near fatal colic episode emptied the savings (by about $4500 thus far).

Question: If I do find someone with excellent experience, with Harry for example, will I be likely to find transition to Bucks style of training significantly confusing, or are the core elements (the heart) likely to be similar (and obvious) enough so as not to matter? As mentioned, I've already been in mixing mode, and hope to fix that.

Please, share the name(s) of the Tom and Harry video(s) you refer to. I have seen only one (Turning Loose?) and would very much like to view them! I also hope to puzzle out where/how to view your Ecclectic Horse article, hopefully without needing to subscribe just yet. It certainly sounds appropriate.

I purchased a copy of The Birdie Book CD quite some time back, but before I could fully embrace the concept, a move or 3 has caused it to go missing. My mares Birdie is most certainly elsewhere.

Your story and analogy is much appreciated, and a philosophy I can identify with. Jesus is said to have taught life lessons through parables; who is to say the entire Bible isn't one huge story, a 'parable' designed to speak in some way to each heart.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 11:20 am
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John, anybody who can afford to own a horse can afford to subscribe to both EQUUS Magazine and The Eclectic Horseman. EQUUS subscriptions can be had for as little as $12 per year ($1 per issue). Eclectic Horseman goes for $38/year for six issues, i.e. $8 per issue, or you can I think subscribe online for less than that.

As to your question about transitioning to/from Buck (or any other clinician, recommended or not recommended): John, you will continue to have difficulty just so long as you continue to try to cheap out, to try to force things to work your way, and to insist on picking and choosing one item from one clinician and quilting it onto a second item from some other clinician. You will continue to have difficulty until you give it ALL up.

When you do that, what that means is, you will go to one clinician (and I don't even care who it is, nor do I care what school of thought it is, from anywhere in the world): and you will study with that one clinician or teacher only, until you have mastered a set of basics. It is, as I said in my post above, because you have not mastered any basics that you have little power to discern a good teacher from a poor one, or (at a somewhat finer level) to figure out why I recommend some people and not others. What is it that the ones I recommend have that the ones I do not recommend do not have? That will remain completely obscure to you until you SUBMIT.

The first sign that you have submitted will be, that when you go ride in Buck's horsemanship clinic, that you will have totally lost any sense of embarassment because you are riding in an elementary-level class. John, listen to me: all worthwhile classes are classes that teach, and encourage participants to practice, ELEMENTS. That is, the elements of horsemanship: particular skills, executed with concentration and precision, self-criticized to a very high standard, and practiced to repletion.

Another article you need to read is the one from last year's EQUUS (or, an earlier edition of the same article which appeared shortly before that in Eclectic Horseman) on "Mastery". It is a review of Mr. Leonard's book of that title. You need to read that, and especially you need to learn what he means by "falling in love with the plateau."

All desirable results are side effects. All undesirable results are also side effects. What are they side effects of??? Think about this, please.

And one last thought -- I am going to quote from Yoda: "Luke -- there is no 'try'. Do -- or not do -- but no try." -- Dr. Deb


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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 12:14 pm
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Hi John,
I am pretty sure you will find that all who are on Dr Deb's recommended list are all looking at and for the same thing. They might came at it from a slightly different angle but it is all the same language. We go see Buck each time he is close and each time I see the next layer there is to see. I have only seen some stills of Harry Whitney but his horses look calm, peaceful, balanced-- just like Buck's.

Your mare will be your greatest teacher. Read the Birdie book from cover to cover and enjoy the wealth of information its contains. There is enough in that one text to get you started. You will get heaps out of watching Buck, take lots of notes!

The web site/magazine Eclectic Horseman has Tom Dorrance's DVDs for sale or go to his web site. Buck's Seven Clinics DVDs are excellent too.

Forgive yourself for whatever has happened in the past and just start over. Enjoy your time with Naibi.
Hope this helps and welcome to the deeper side of horsemanship, I completely agree with Sunny, this is the trail less traveled and you will certainly begin a grand adventure.

Take the leap. Regards Judy

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Sat Apr 7th, 2018 06:09 pm
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John: Buck is going to be in Dayton Washington this year. That's just a few hours drive down the Gorge from you in Vancouver. Also he's going to be in Redmond too( even less of a drive) Just google up his site and the dates will display. I believe there might still be openings too. He's not coming to Corvallis this year because he only comes there every other year, and is in huge demand and can't cut himself in half to make both sites..Bucks clinics are the most worthwhile events you could imagine. Nobody else gets their horses into true collection like he does. He also has the teaching style of a master teacher and brings a couple of assistants with him in case anyone is having difficulty and needs some individual help. In addition Buck has a ton of cds' and books out which you can get used for small amounts of dough. You can google up various bookstores and order them for a few dollars. If you do as Deb has suggested you will be safer and your horse will thank you.
best
Bruce Pee

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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 09:55 pm
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Buck will also be in Spanaway, WA (near Tacoma) again Oct. 26-28, a day off, then again Oct. 30-Nov. 1. He's been going there for many years. A long time friend and student of Buck's is a host for the clinic and also has ridden in it the past two years that I've gone to watch. He is very accomplished and it is worth going just to watch him, not to mention Buck, who teaches from the back of his own horses in training. There were also several other very good horsemen and women, plus people from all over the spectrum. Buck also has his own apprentices who travel with him and help out those in need. It is a fantastic opportunity and I plan to go again this year. The facility is huge, so plenty of seating, although it gets cold so bring warm clothes and a cushion to sit on. The cook shack has been open the past two years, so very convenient. If anyone is going, it would be fun to meet up!

Last edited on Wed Apr 11th, 2018 09:57 pm by Aloha

ilam
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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 10:28 pm
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A good place to stat is Buck's groundwork DVD and/or book, then the next one would be the snaffle bit DVD. He told us that he will make some more updated DVDs. He is not fond of making them, but there has been such a huge demand and people ask him just about every clinic for new versions. He always refines his teaching style and how he breaks down the exercises, so that us hapless students have a chance to catch on some day.

Someone wrote about Tom Dorrance (a version of this article is also online), that somehow he was able to unlearn everything that he had been taught by other people and learn to look at all things with new eyes. This can be a tall order when you have spent a few decades learning things, there is a lot to unlearn, but luckily there is brain plasticity and it is possible to start over at any age. Learn to be in the Now and absorb and process it all anew.

One more thing: this is a solo journey. There are always people "looking for a trainer", but in reality, many just believe that they need someone to hold their hand. This is not how this works. You take a piece of information, and then you practice it. Observe, remember and compare. During practice, feel, timing and balance are needed, it is supposed to feel weightless, like a dance. Once you have felt it, you keep chasing it for the rest of your life.

Isabel

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 12:32 am
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Ilam: yes very much so!
best
BP

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 09:45 am
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Yes, Ilam, very good except for your report about Tom. Tom had it right from Day One. What he taught us, was not "unlearned" at all; it was and is the product of a very highly gifted animal "empath", which means somebody who has more than the usual degree of insight as to what makes animals "tick" on the inside.

Tom never showed horses except for some rodeoing with his brothers and father. This was around riding broncs and green horses. And as far as that went, as I understood it from hearing Tom tell about it, really it was his brothers, particularly Bill, who were the "bronc" riders. Bill was hard to buck off and he was famous for being able to sit on a bad bucker until it just gave up from sheer exhaustion. He was not, however, doing anything to get the horse to buck more; just waiting it out.

When the Dorrance boys were in their twenties they hit upon the "Professor Beery" subscription series. Beery's teaching were derivative of those of John S. Rarey, who lived earlier in the 19th century. The Dorrances read some of Beery's pamphlets on how to train horses to do different things, that is, how to operate the horse's mind, and realized they were not the only ones following that path to success. Note that I am not saying that Tom learned anything from Beery: he didn't, but he agreed in general with what Beery was saying.

The people who need to "unlearn" stuff are primarily people who show, and who orient on showing as their primary motivation for owning and riding horses. "Showing" means any type of competition, whether that be racing, rodeo, dressage, reining, jumping, cross-country, or flat arena shows. Rulebooks for all of these have been either written by, or greatly affected by, very ignorant people who sit on boards of directorship for whatever show-sponsoring organization. They are ignorant for two reasons: one, they are spiritually stupid (to steal a phrase from old George MacDonald) in that they are politically, economically, and egoistically ambitious; and two, because they themselves have never actually either successfully started a colt or finished a horse. The rules and requirements they write are therefore usually pure (and sometimes flat-out wicked) fantasies.

ONe of the things that a man who attended one of my clinics many years ago said to me that I think relates here is this: he said, "Deb I've finally figured your teaching out. If it makes logical sense, it's wrong!" That's funny but it's also true, because the "logic" of people who are totally inexperienced, who have never either successfully started a colt or finished a horse, is itself illogic -- but this is not apparent to them. Jesus is quoted in the Bible as having said, "The blind lead the blind and they both fall into the pit." The reason Jesus was saying this is he was trying to get his listeners to NOT do what seemed reasonable and logical to them, but simply to just DO AS THEY WERE TOLD. The few of them who had the faith to do exactly as they were told, no more, no less, no personal editing, no running the instructions through their own mental filter, but just do it -- those are the ones, and those are the ONLY ones, who find out what it all really means. Of course one should never just BLINDLY do as one is told; you vet the teacher carefully first. But once he or she passes your test for honesty, ethics, technical qualifications, and credibility, then you must treat the teacher with respect, which is shown in a very large way by DOING WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD. Jesus also said, "Why do you people follow after me crying 'Lord, Lord' and do not do as I say?" -- Dr. Deb

Kuhaylan Heify
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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 07:10 pm
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Honesty, ethics, technical qualifications and credibility rare in most endeavors and it seems especially so in horsemanship.
Deb to my knowledge your'e one of the few people who even talk about the best and highest purposes of training and teaching .
best
bp

John H.
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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 08:37 pm
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Among the challenges are finding teachers that are not only competent, but also capable of teaching effectively. It seems many well skilled people find effective teaching a challenge or an impossibility. Buck is clearly one of the exceptions. I just need to learn proper perception, then effective application.
On the other side, grasping how to recognise and communicate, to deeply understand for example, the *difference* between yielding and disengaging, between chasing, lounging, driving and sending. And probably dozens more common blind spots that, without knowlegable input, I will likely misunderstand or completely miss, is an incredible challenge.
I've audited Buck clinics before the movie. And, if work scheduling permits, intend to be auditing his
clinic in Dayton. If I can put enough puzzle pieces together by later in the year (and space is still available) I may ride in one of the Spanaway clinics.
It's understandably frustrating that I know I do not yet have the skill or knowledge to recognise if I am even close to properly applying what I think I perceive. My reasonable assumption is that I am not.even.close.
Gut and heart and intuition are useful, kinship and compassion are powerful, but I'm certain not enough without proper foundation. I am trying (I know, do - or do not, there is no try) to build well upon that presently uncertain foundation. I still feel having a knowledgeable translator at hand to point out key moments (anticipate: you are asking correctly, but do it with rhythm and proper timing, when, or just before *that* hoof moves), cause, effect and how to properly apply the skills, timing and communication... That's the miracle I hope to one day embrace. Where's Yoda when I need him?

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 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2018 12:07 am
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You have Yoda right in front of you.

Tom said that everything he learned, he learned from the horse.

You are going to make mistakes but if your heart is in the right place, the horse will forgive you. When things go south, don`t think of it as a disaster, think of it as an opportunity, ...... for most people that`s a mind shift. This is what I mean about it changing your life in places you didn`t think it would. You start being more introspective, less likely to blame others and you start to let go of your ego. (I`m not saying this about you particularly because I don`t know you, it`s just in general)

A lot of info. is on the internet and obviously you have access to it. Read up on all the Rayisms you can and then THINK about what he means; such as when he says "The horse is never wrong.

Go out in the pasture and just be quiet and observe horses communicating with each other. It costs nothing. Don`t be thinking about all the stuff you have to do at home, just BE in the present. It`s very relaxing to watch animals grazing and interacting. Don't listen to anyone who tells you it`s a waste of time.

Go to Ray Hunt`s, Tom and Bill Dorrance`s and Buck`s face book pages, they are public, and glean what you can from there. Joe Wolter has a really good newsletter he puts out that comes to your e mail. Videos included.

Go to the Eclectic Horseman`s website and read the articles, watch the videos they post. They are very generous in sharing some of the content of the magazine. And please subscribe, it`s not a fortune in dollars to subscribe and well worth it. You will hear the same things told in different ways and so you are more likely to remember. Go out with your horse and make it personal, practice what you have read. Go to the archives at Dr. Deb`s forum and read past topics.

It`s like pealing an onion. Layers start to fall away. Read or watch something, then go out and experiment.

As Ray and Tom would say at clinics. I can`t teach you anything, when you learn is when you go home and work with your horse.

It`s a personal journey. Don`t compare yourself to others.
The horses tell us if we are getting it. Reward the slightest try and learn to notice the tiniest try. "What happened before what happened happened". A thought becomes a shift in weight, which becomes movement. Try to notice when it`s just the horse`s thought.

I tell my students to remember the 3 Rs in learning this stuff.

1. Rhythm..... the horse lives by this, meaning his footfalls at each gait, he is a quadruped and being able to move is his survival. Predators watch for animals that are lame to pick off. You want to be WITH your horse, blending in. If you can follow his movement, he gets confidence in you, he instinctively knows you are not hindering him and starts seeing you as a partner.

2. Riding......you have to go practice. You actually have to be with your horse and learn how things feel from his back. Some days you will work and some days will be leisurely but all will be learning days because you just never know when something is going to finally click and make sense to you...... but you have to be present to experience it.

3. Reading...... don`t be afraid to read books such as True Unity, Think Harmony with Horses, The Birdie Book, and that includes videos too. You can listen to Ray Hunt`s Think Harmony with Horses and The Birdie Book on CD in your car as you commute. Eckhart Tolle`s books are on CD too.

I bet I`ve read True Unity probably 14 times. It never gets old.

It is a matter of priorities.

The good teachers never spoon feed their students, they set it up and let THEM find it.

How bad do you want it.

You`ve already got the best teacher of all; the horse, now go from there.

Ride A Grey Horse
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 Posted: Thu Apr 19th, 2018 11:42 pm
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John, start with "Mannering your horse," a true essential. It's groundwork you must do that is amazingly rewarding. There's a thread on it here, under some other name - see search instructions thread towards the top of forum page. And Dr.Deb has made a brilliant cd of it. That and then later her birdie cd (separate from the birdie book) will be such a fruitful beginning.
Of course, one is always beginning again... yeah, I know.
It's not embarrassing. It just is.
You mention wishing for a reliable local coach who can point out the difference between your horse actually giving you a yield and just doing the manoeuvre - great thing to want to feel. This is the huge difference - the everything. When I was following the step-by-step program of clinician X, it was all mechanical, and I was desperate for the real thing. I could feel the real thing, was missing between me and my horse. It's what "Turning Loose" is about, isn't it. For me, also reliable-local-coachless, the answer was finding Dr.Deb and, through her, Buck; reading as recommended here, including marathon reading of past Forum threads; lots of Buck clinics (you say there's a colt starting one coming up--that'd be brilliant ), etc etc -- and trying everything out on my grey horse. Horses don't seem to bear grudges, so just do it. You'll find your way.
One thing that's a must, in order to make a winner of your horse every minute, is to get where you feel when each foot is coming off the ground (maybe you feel this already, but tons of people ride for a lifetime without this, and horses for a lifetime hate being ridden so cluelessly), because you can't cue a foot that's weighted. I'm mentioning this because, unbelievably, clinician X's canned money-making program never did. Quite an oversight --it's another of the things that's everything. A physical awareness that's part of the spiritual connection.
As for mistakes -- remember what the man of few words says in Turning Loose: "I don't worry about my mistakes. I'm too busy making new ones."
Cynthia


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