Thursday, 13 May 2010


Do you know what - I'm wondering about horses and horsemanship.

I rode my horse out yesterday looking for our cows. We found eleven, so only nine missing. The thing is there are so many places they can hide. I walked out later and found another six. Tomorrow we have to get them in to start calving, so hope they all show up then.

Anyway, what I was going to say was this, my old horse Sam, he never really had a chance to be as good as he could have been, cos quite frankly I didn't know what I was doing. Do I know now? Nah, not really! But thank the good lord I do know a little more than I used to. Sam has a bit of a tendency to go a bit 'unbroke' sometimes. You know, you kind of have the feeling that you are sitting on a horse that has forgotten you are there, or maybe never even realised it in the first place. But yesterday I had him, right there. I rode like a demon and he was listening all the way.

So what is that thing that I can bring to the deal, that makes the difference. That elusive quality that for years I had no idea existed, and as life goes on, I find it slightly easier to come up with. That is horsemanship and I love it. And actually, if I was going to be really practical here, which I absolutely believe I should be, specifically what did I do different. Well, it was balance - but not in some 'sit like this' kind of way. It was me and the horse in balance as one thing. The feeling to me is of the horse almost being trapped there - I know that is a slightly dodgy concept but it's how it feels to me. Like the horse can't splurge out from under you. Like he is listening to every step. It feels good!

And when I watch good riders, or think back to watching riders I like, I can see they are doing that same thing. The horse is there, under them, physically, and mentally too! And then you put your horse away and think about that ride, and how tomorrow you are going to ride and try and get it right again.


glenatron said...

It's that same simple-complicated thing again isn't it? Where once you have it understood it's simple, but while you're trying to get there it's pretty hard to know which way to go when. You just have to know how so many different things feel to get there, because even if you hear it described a whole lot of times you're not going to know what that description was about until you have been there.

Kate said...

I've felt what you describe, but not all that consistently. And it's a mental and physical thing, together, and both horse and rider/handler have to be there with that connection. And glenatron is right - it's hard to describe or understand without feeling it.

jill said...

Another well thought post, Tom.
Those moments are good and golden aren't they? The "oneness" with the horse.
That's what we strive for. Great when they happen.

glenatron said...

So would you have got that result if you didn't have a serious job to do?

Tom said...

Glenatron - I agree with you that 'real' work is the crucial issue. I think it is because suddenly there is an agenda that is more important than either the horse's or mine. For example I noticed that we were having to go places where previously I would have said, 'no, I think my horse has done enough now', which I'm sure the horse feels as a bit of a lack of commitment on my part. Suddenly you start to feel a whole new level of horse available to you.

Kate - Consistency is the elusive thing isn't it. I try to take the same approach to my horse every time, but that's not so easy. Again, I think work is helpful, cos it gives a big framework to hang the whole thing on.

Jill - Yep, when it comes to it Jill, for some of us that oneness is what this is all about. Actually to the point where mercifully, the rest of the nonsense, as a goal, drops away.

zIgGi said...

nope, haven't got that T shirt! Splurging from under is probably what we're best at if any under could be achieved at all! Still you are LOADS older than me some perhaps there's hope!