“There’s something about the outside of a horse that’s good for the inside of a man.” is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill. To me, and I think many other horsemen and women would agree, there’s something more about the inside of a horse that’s good for the inside of me. I started riding later in life than Amy. I think I was 19, Amy was 3. So, when I first started I was very interested in the physical things that would help me stay on. I needed tools to control the outside of the horse, I wasn’t much interested in what he thought about those tools. Obviously with that attitude, I had some experiences that led me to develop some better judgement in regards to the outside of horses. Fast forward several years and Amy’s Dad takes her and I to see a guy named Ray Hunt. Ray had a way with horses unlike anyone we’d ever seen before. But, I was still looking at what he was doing with the outside of them. I struggled and struggled to copy what Ray was doing and I learned lots of things about what worked and what didn’t but I never really got IT. For the past 6+ years I have been working at different jobs and Amy was running Bridle Bit and really refining her horsemanship. I still don’t know how she got on to it, other than she’s a genius, but, she found that when she worked on the inside of the horses she rode, she got better results with the outside. I’m trying to catch up on that piece of my horsemanship because I’m seeing just how important it is to the horses I ride.
Tom Dorrance talks a lot about the spirit of the horse. I’m a Christian so I believe that the Holy Spirit resides in me. In my world, all life is created by the same maker, God, so why wouldn’t there be a spiritual connection between me and the horses He puts in my life? I believe there is, and the more I tap into that connection, the better things work out between my horses and I. We find that place where I just think it, feel it, and we are there together. What an awesome place to be!
I would encourage you to take some time, each time you and your horse are together, to really get together. Stop concentrating on the physical cues, tools, aids, how do I sit, which leg do I use, where should my hands be stuff. Be like that little kid who just went out to the pasture with a string in her pocket and a bucket of oats so that she could climb on bareback when the horse put his head down for a bite and rode off with just the string to guide and the biggest smile you ever saw! Amy survived it, you can too! Our horses are a reflection of us, the real us. If you like what you see, great! If you don’t, look inside you first for the changes that will ultimately give you the perfect horse partner. Have a super day!