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The Art of Riding: Terms and What They Mean

Sureness

Sureness requires your full presence in the moment, clear thinking, clear intent, a state of inner calm, peace within, and a focus on the positive.  When it comes to working with 'Feel', sureness develops with understanding and knowing horses, as well as yourself. Sureness lives in offering a good feel to a horse, so that he can offer what you ask. Sureness is built from within. It is a state of being. The horse knows when you have it and knows when you don’t. So we take the time it takes to bring out the true horseman in you. 

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Respect

angel

Sureness in you improves the respect relationship you have with your horse.  For your horse to respect you takes another important ingredient: your respect for him. This means to understand what he is, who he is, how he sees his world, and how this changes from moment to moment. It means to respect his space, so he can respect yours, respect his physical being, so he can respect yours, respect his mind, so he can respect yours.  It means to know that he never lies, because the only thing he knows is to operate from the actual facts of what is presented to him in the moment, through 'Feel'.   

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Trust

Respect earned through 'Release' yields trust from  your horse. When we are talking about working with 'Feel', trust is when your horse sees you as an important and useful force in his life, that he can count on for his own well-being, without question. When his heart is safe, his 'try' and desire to 'try' are released. Pressure between horse and handler kills this type of trust, because his 'try' is based on the alternative consequence of an increase in pressure, rather than trust and his willingness to be guided by you.

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Clarity

Help your horse get clear on his particular job as a riding horse, or whatever job you have in mind for him to do. Clarity is everything. If you are not clear on exactly what you mean in your presentation to him, he will not be clear. And just as important, if you are not clear on what your presentation means to him in terms of 'Feel', misunderstandings will occur, and  this won't lead to the best result.  Clarity is developed through awareness of yourself and your horse, and consistency in what you mean by what you do on the ground, so that  it carries to the saddle coherently and seamlessly. Clarity is when the meaning of the feel you offer your horse flows in time with his feet.

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Lightness

Enjoy lightness in your horse’s performance under saddle, by preserving the diagonals he needs for balance and the life that delivers lightness, whether you are handling him on the ground or under saddle. Understand how he needs to move to be light, so you can blend with and direct this movement as a rider. Know that above all, he needs to be his whole self, with his spirit in tact, in order to be light: he needs to be proud.

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Variety

Variety is the spice of life. Horses need variety too. Trail riding, classical dressage, show jumping and riding across country, including fences and other obstacles are my speciality – according to skill level and desire.

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Troubleshooting

When your horse is not doing what you expected, there is a misunderstanding. He is naturally wired to get along and respond to 'Feel', that's how he has survived. I will help you develop your powers of observation to understand why your horse is doing what he is doing, so that you can offer a presentation that fits better to achieve your goals.

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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

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"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

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"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