Saturday, February 23, 2008
Less Is So Much More
My friend, Grey Horse Matters sent me a beautiful video of trainer Stacey Westfall riding her horse bareback without a bridle or reins at the Quarter Horse Congress. You can go to Stacey’s website, westfallhorsemanship.com to see a video of her performing. It is awe-inspiring to watch communication between a human and a horse at that level. There was so much love that it overflowed into the whole stadium full of people.
The horse is unbelieveably relaxed and calm,so completely absorbed in Stacey that thousands of screaming fans don’t distract it in any way. I thought about Tom Dorrance , one of my favorite cowboy trainers. He talked about how important it is to calm the inward part of the horse. Many trainers only work on the surface, at the mental and physical levels, not getting right down to what’s really going on inside the horse. “No one is going to get this without it coming right out of the inside of themselves. The rest of it has to come from inside the horse.” We’re talking about Spirit and self-preservation. “A person’s approach can assure the horse that he can have self-preservation and still respond to what the person is asking him to do.” Dorrance said.
Billie, over at camera-obscura wisely mentioned to me that people have a tendency to be too loud around their horses. Take it down a few notches and they listen better. It’s the same idea of “less is more” that I strive for in my Feldenkrais exercises. If we live our whole life with the same intentions that we bring to training our horses, it’s going to improve our own Spirit too.
This morning, Silk and Siete were dying to go out in the pasture after staying inside for yesterday’s snowstorm. Almost as soon as they stepped deep in over a foot of freezing, crunchy white stuff, they were ready to come inside again. I mucked quickly, spread shavings, filled water buckets and threw down a couple of flakes of hay. In less than a half hour, I asked Silk if she wanted to go home. Leading her into the barn, I could feel her Spirit singing.