By: Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)
Last Sunday wrapped up my final horsemanship clinic for 2013. From here on out it is coaching individuals and their horses as we work our way into the end of the year and start the new year. I feel so blessed with what I get to observe as a coach at horsemanship clinics. Each year I find myself seeing different things but the past 10 months have had some really special moments that I want to share with you all.
These special moments are magical because I watched the rider and the horse make a connection in one moment that changed their entire relationship for the better.
Here are some of the magical events I saw this year.
1) In Nebraska I watched a young lady trot out on a horse and overcome her fear of falling off. It was the first time she trotted a horse without falling off and the moment was special because you could see her find some relaxation in the saddle.
2) In California I saw a mother help her 5-year-old daughter lead a horse around. The bond between mother and daughter was wonderful but that horse was something special. The horse stood 16 hands… and that young lady ran along (with her mother reaching out to offer a helping hand if needed) and the horse trotted on the end of the lead line. Magic to see that moment because we all knew that the horse was taking care of that little girl.
3) I saw a lady only 12 months after having some pretty major back surgery take a horse down the fence and turn a cow and score a 73….and there were those who doubted she would ride a cowhorse ever again in competition.
4) Along the way I spoke with a lady who attended a clinic and learned a life lesson. She told me how her life had been stressful but that at a clinic I coached, her horse taught her to not react and make everything into a fight…again magic and life altering events come with horses.
5) In a two-day clinic in Missouri in June I watched a 15-year-old learn to canter her horse with calmness and control. Better than that might have been the joy on her mothers face. At the same clinic I watched many other people safely canter their horses for the very first time in their lives. All they needed was some confidence, support, and to listen to the horse.
6) In July I found myself in Bozeman Montana and once again — I marveled at a young lady who the year previous cried every time her horse stopped….now she was comfortable in the saddle and getting herself moving towards some jumping work.
7) Back to Missouri in October and I found myself experiencing lots of magic. A mother watched her 10-year-old daughter work to successfully side pass her horse without quitting. The look on the mothers face was priceless to see her daughter get past the moment of being stuck. At the same clinic I watched a 10-year-old boy work with his horse and achieve some better harmony. I met a 15-year-old young lady who had been riding for less than 30 days — and I watched her achieve so much on day one — she reported in the next morning telling all of us how she had gone home to work some horses at home after the first day.
8) Just a few days back I watched a lady and her horse find harmony and a nice slow trot. I also watched the lady learn that she could dance with her horse by learning to control footfalls.
9) In October (in Missouri) I watched a lady and her horse build a relationship in less than 48 hours. She showed up at the clinic thinking she might want to sell or send her horse off to a good home and by the middle of the second day she had found her rhythm, relaxation, and connection to the horse that had the two of them dancing across the arena.
10) I watched a lady make a connection with her 10-year-old horse after a few folks had told her to “get rid of the horse and get another one”….when that lady rides now — I see magic each time with the smile on her face and the relaxation she and the horse have when in each others company.
These above are just a few of the great and magical things I have seen this year. Not everything is textbook perfect…sometimes magic happens with heels up, body crooked, horse not quite balanced. Quite a few trainers complain about having to teach people who are “not trying hard enough” or teach people who “do not know enough.” Sometimes these trainers grumble a bit about how hard it is to get someone to listen.
You will hear no grumbling from me. From where I am sitting I have the most blessed job in the world…I get to work with many horses and riders throughout the year and I get to see magic — that moment where you see that connection happen … that moment where you see the rider smile and the horse relax — makes me realize that HORSEMANSHIP IS FULL OF MAGIC.
Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at http://www.dunmovinranch.com. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).