ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Harry Whitney Clinic in Burson California
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
KevinLnds
Member
 

Joined: Mon Feb 23rd, 2009
Location: Leona Valley, California USA
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 4th, 2011 01:43 am
 Quote  Reply 
I recently spent three days at Harry Whitney's clinic in Burson, California. This was my fifth clinic, fourth as an auditor, my first was as a participant (check the archives for my comments on that experience). If you have not been to one of Harry's clinics, even as an auditor, you are missing something special. Each time, I gain new insights.

Jeannie
Member


Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 189
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 4th, 2011 04:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Kevin,
 I would be interested to hear about some of the insights you have gathered from Harry. He can do or say something which will shine a light on something you didn't see before, which will in turn change your approach to horses.

For me it was when he said the horse will do something for you because it wants to be with you, which I've come to understand is what Tom Dorrance meant when he said you have to get the horse to where he wants to be with you more than anywhere else. It seems like one of those simple statements, but in fact it opens a door to a whole new perception.

 I've read Dr Deb telling people this on the forum, and they will gloss right over that, they just want to know about the physical workings, and I want to say, "no,no, wait, you've just missed the most important part".

                      Jeannie

KevinLnds
Member
 

Joined: Mon Feb 23rd, 2009
Location: Leona Valley, California USA
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 6th, 2011 07:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
For me, the most important insight is the importance of the horse's thought. In the best of situations the horse's thought follows your thought, and then he freely does what you ask. I wish I could say that I achieve this most of the time, but I can't. But it's happened enough that I'm addicted. It really is a joyful feeling.

Most of the time, directing the thought is the best I can do. Sometimes that means getting his thought out in front of him, sometimes it means bringing his thought back to me, and sometimes it means getting him to release a troubling thought. When I first saw Harry, my horse could find and hold a new troubling thought with every step. I spent the week at the clinic teaching him to let go. Most horse people wouldn't think I got anything for my money because I didn't solve any "problems." Most horse people can't see that the "problems" are just symptons, that's why I don't care what most horse people think. In the four audits, I saw more examples of troubled horses whose thoughts needed to be redirected.

In this last clinic, I saw crooked horses, a terribly shut-down horse, and a hard to catch horse. What made these horses crooked? Their thought was outside the arena, but the rider blocked the body from following the thought. The horse split the difference between his thought and the rider and moved with a crooked body. Once the thought was in front, the horse straightened out. The shut-down horse's thought lived in some pasture far from humans. Harry first brought the thought back, then moved it out front and the horse followed. The hard to catch horse's thought was outside the round pen. Harry taught the owner how to call it in, and catching him became easy.

Harry did a lot of the work, but not all of it. Most owners accomplished  part of the job. Harry stepped in to help, mostly when the owners could not get big or subtle enough (most owners offer too much for small changes or too little to get big changes). As someone whose first exposure to training horses came from the people not approved here, I always get a kick out of seeing Harry work. Some might say he uses the same techniques as the other clinicians use, but some might call the Grand Canyon a big ditch.

I guess another way to describe all this is "Birdie Theory."

Kevin

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3307
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 6th, 2011 09:22 am
 Quote  Reply 
You understand, Kevin, that Harry and I were both influenced by our elderly teacher. But the day I introduced Harry to Tom, Harry came to that introduction with a vastly different background of experiences than those that I brought to the situation. Also, you might have noticed that Harry's temperament is very different than mine. So are his aptitudes, beliefs, and propensities.

Also, Harry was not there every time I was around Tom, and I wasn't there either every time that Harry was around Tom. Tom did tend to show the more interested students the same lesson again and again -- a good thing, too, because in the beginning we were just as fuddled by the subtleties of what he was offering as anybody else would be. But we were lucky twice over -- first because we were alive in the same place and time as Tom, and second because something in us said 'you better hang in there until you get this, because there is not going to be a second chance in this lifetime.'

But because Harry and I were not always with Tom at the same time, I've got some stories to share about events that happened or things that Tom did that Harry didn't see, and vice-versa. This is one of the most important reasons why all those who knew our elderly teacher should be friends with one another and should continue to get together periodically into the future, because not one of us, even the most talented, got everything Tom had to offer. We are like parts of a jigsaw puzzle -- or if you're a Christian, like the Body of Christ. And as the comedienne says, 'I am a nose-hair in the Body of Christ,' but hey, the nose-hairs are necessary too, because you can't put the whole jigsaw puzzle together unless you have every piece.

For all these reasons, there isn't any way that our teacher's influence could have come out exactly the same in Harry and me, or for that matter in Ray or Buck or in any of the other people that Tom influenced and taught. Harry knows well enough what Birdie Theory is, since he and I were still riding with Tom when I got the idea for it and wrote the manuscript in the late 1990's. This is handy, because it means that when students that have been around me follow my advice and go find Harry, and the student starts talking about 'Birdie', Harry will certainly understand what they mean.

Harry himself tends to talk about 'the mind' or where the horse's thoughts are, directing the thoughts -- which,  Kevin, you beautifully summarize in your post above. As you recognize, we are both talking about the same thing -- just talking about it in different ways, hoping that one way or the other, the student will get the right idea and be able to use one metaphor or another to create the needed changes in their horse and themselves. -- Dr. Deb

Jeannie
Member


Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 189
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Sep 8th, 2011 01:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Kevin, Dr Deb and all, I was thinking how the horse wanting to be with you more than anywhere else could result in the horse's thought following your thought.

Horses want to look at/ be with where ever their thought is. If it is with the person, then they will be picking up clues about what may happen next, so that they might be right there just as you ask them for something. They understand that the path to release is built into our interactions with them, so that by following our intentions and actions, even if we are firming up with them, they will ultimately be finding a place where they are living with no pressure. Thus the motto "Don't get greedy" in working with horses, meaning that that which you can create, you can also destroy. And you can see how you would have to build this into the horse over time, creating a confident horse that has learned how to learn.

 If we talk about a horse that takes over and runs the show, then we are really talking about a horse that feels no increase in well being, no release of internal pressure, by following our intentions and actions. Its' thoughts will be elsewhere, trying to find that place which will increase their sense of well being, the main motivation for horses.

We can also see how a horse that has learned how to focus, move straight and collected, and pay attention to a person would be motivated to continue on that path, because it would feel better to them. And so, as you tell people, Dr Deb, this is the most important part.
                                           Jeannie
 

Jeannie
Member


Joined: Thu May 7th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 189
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 11th, 2011 05:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Further thoughts on thoughts ( if anyone can stand it). I was imagining Tom Dorrance  seeing how horses could move as one unit, which if you see them all synchronizing at liberty, makes you wonder how they accomplish that. He must have been able to see the small signals, as they were shaping up, which would cause one horse to be able to coordinate with another horse, so that they were moving as one.

 Part of the horse's thought, and thus its' attention, would have to be on the other horse(s) for this to happen, but then where do thoughts come from? I think of a thought as a product of mental activity which stems from desire. Desire is defined as a longing or craving, which must come from feelings. Kevin mentions the joyful feeling he gets when the horse's thought follows his thought and he freely does what is asked. So Kevin is motivated to continue searching on this path because of how it makes him feel.

  Tom Dorrance must have seen how you have to address the horse's feelings in order to set it up to have that synchronicity we are all craving. So this must be what he meant when he said that it has to come from the inside of you to the inside of the horse.

                      Jeannie

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3307
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2011 01:42 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Tom often would mention when we were with a group of horses, to look at how the horses would make it so pretty soon, if they started to trot or canter, not only would the whole group join in, but they would have their feet in exact unison if they possibly could. Tom said that horses enjoyed doing this. This was one reason, I believe, that if the group of riders were at all capable of it, much of Tom's clinics consisted of (what is called in 'English' terminology) "troop riding." We did things in pairs, either going the same way or going opposite ways, and there always came a moment -- and everybody with any awareness knew when that moment was -- when ALL the horses all of a sudden got "all right". Suddenly you couldn't hear so many hoofs, and what hoofbeats you could hear were quieter. This was when it was getting closer to "true unity." -- Dr. Deb

KevinLnds
Member
 

Joined: Mon Feb 23rd, 2009
Location: Leona Valley, California USA
Posts: 20
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2011 07:17 am
 Quote  Reply 
When I see great riding, a bullfighter for example, what comes across is not so much that the rider cues a lead change and a turn to the right, to which the horse responds, but rather, the rider changes his lead, goes to the right, and the horse follows in unison. The closest I come to this with any regularity is when I trail ride. At times, I have stopped to look around, and when I'm finished looking, I think to myself that it's time to move on. Before I give any explicit cue to walk on, my horse moves forward. It's as effortless as moving my own legs. Obviously, he felt something in me that said walk. What he felt, I don't know.

It's similar to the feeling I get when I ballroom dance with a good partner. I think left, and we go left.

Kevin


 Current time is 02:22 am




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez