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You are here: Home Resources to Explore Articles: Applying Feel The Feel of Release: Riding CALLE 6. The source of genuine lightness is already in the horse and available

6. The source of genuine lightness is already in the horse and available

 

This lightness in Calle was the true feel of a horse, preserved in her training, available to the rider and exquisite.

The horse’s genuine lightness is rooted in his naturally acute sensitivity – seen for example, when he twitches a muscle in response to a fly landing on his shoulder, or in the expression these three horses (below) showed as they experienced each other’s feel, during this first introduction of the grey mare.

(Above) The paint mare is acquainted with both horses. The grey mare meets the lead chestnut gelding here for the first time.


Lightness also comes from a horse’s ability to bring up his life precisely as needed, while delivering the accurate footwork required for a particular maneuver he has in mind – right at that exact moment.

 

(Above) Suddenly there is a need for clarity about who belongs where and at what speed. With shoulders elevated, hips coiled and life released, each horse is exactly where needed directly.

 

The simultaneous maneuvers among these three horses (above) happened when there was a sudden need for clarity about who belonged where and at what speed. In an instant, the chestnut brought his life up to deliver a perfect pirouette and a clear message. The grey mare launched herself directly and precisely in response, in the same moment that she experienced his change in feel. The paint mare also got ready – she is prepared to leave with her right diagonal available to do so –  while a little more measured, in exact correlation with her own experience of the moment, which blended her familiarity with the chestnut, his moves, and her understanding about his intent.

With shoulders elevated, hips coiled and life released with accuracy and poise, each horse is exactly and directly where needed, in order to follow the feel uniquely experienced in that particular moment.

Calle’s feel under saddle retained these characteristics. The scintillating sensitivity and heart illustrated in this three-way greeting (top) was in her feel – I was in her care; she was present for me and with me. The availability of life was “on the tip of your tongue” – right there, ready; and she was available for any maneuver at any time. Leslie’s approach to training preserves and ties right into these aspects of the horse’s nature, so that genuine lightness and precision in maneuvers can also be available to the rider to shape through ‘feel and release’.

Mark Rashid

RashidBookCover

"I see an 'opening' as anything that allows us to help guide, however briefly, an individual in the direction we ultimately would like to go. An 'opening' can be, and often is, a very subtle form of communication between horse and rider that can easily slip past us if we're not paying attention. 'Openings' can and do work both ways. [...] It amazes me just how small an 'opening' can actually be, whether working with horses or with people, and how easy it can be to create an 'opening' when one is needed."

Mark Rashid

"I truly believe developing the ability to see and use 'openings' effectively is only one piece of what one might refer to as the 'harmony in horsemanship' puzzle. When this idea of understanding 'openings' is brought together with the understanding of two other simlar ideas - making a connection with another indvidual, and the role distance plays in overall communication - I believe it is then that harmony in horsemanship becomes a much less daunting concept for us."

Mark Rashid

Leslie Desmond

LDaudiobook

"Bill knew about a place I did not know existed, or could exist, between a horse and a human being [...] Bill included each one of my horses in that information exchange. Over the course of many months,... he took each one by its lead rope and, later, by the bridle reins. Using what he called his 'better feel', Bill showed me and each of them exactly what he meant by what he did [...] It was not long after I made the switch from force when needed (often) to always customizing the feel I offered to a horse, that two tough horses I had misunderstood for years developed into my most reliable mounts."

Leslie Desmond

The lightest hands carry intent that is recognized instantly by the horse, as seen in the maneuvers he chooses to make with his feet. Whether that horse is ridden or handled, the lightest hands can purposefully influence the speed, direction and sequence of each foot with accuracy, in a manner that is reflected in the horse's body and on his face.

Leslie Desmond

Bill Dorrance

bilsbook

"The Real Masters Understood Feel [...] For example, De Kerbrech, (French officer in the cavalry of Napoleon III) really understood horses. He had it fixed up so the horse could succeed. [...] The first time I read Beudant's book was in the 1950s. The way he explained things, there was no doubt in my mind about what a person needed to do to get these little things working for them and their horse."

Bill Dorrance

“Feel, timing and balance: sometimes it’s best to talk about feel, timing and balance separately, and to learn how to apply each thing separately on the start. But when you apply these three things a little later in your training, then you see that each one of these things supports the other. They are interconnected and all three are real important. You really can’t get along without all three.”

Bill Dorrance

Faverot de Kerbrech

FaverotBookCover

“...plus le deplacement du poids est facile dans tous les sens, plus l'equilibre est parfait. En vertue de ce principe, on dit que le cheval est 'en equilibre' quand de simples indications suffisent au cavalier pour modifier a son gre la disposition du poids sur ses colonnes de soutien”

Faverot de Kerbrech

[Translation: ...the easier it is to shift the weight in any direction, the more perfect the balance. By virtue of this principle, the horse is 'in balance' when a simple indication from the rider is sufficient to modify the distribution of weight across the columns of support (four quarters) accordingly]

Duke of Newcastle

CavendishBookCover

"You must in all Airs follow the strength, spirit, and disposition of the horse, and do nothing against nature; for art is but to set nature in order, and nothing else."

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle

"A confrontational approach ‘Astonishes the Weak Horse […] makes a Furious horse Madd; makes a Resty Horse more Resty […] and Displeases all sorts of Horses’. The alternative however is not ‘to Sit Weak […] but to Sit Easie’, in the understanding that ‘The Horse must know you are his Master’"

William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle