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Cookie Cutter Horsemanship


 Monday, June 9, 2014

Howdy All


Last night I was channel surfing and while checking out what was on a "Horse" channel I saw a well know clinician doing a demo and then taking questions from his audience. A young girl said... her horse likes to turn in and come to her when she is lunging the horse, what should she do to stop it. The clinician responded without hesitation to "take your "stick" and hit him across the nose". Needless to say I was shocked and my ladyfriend looked at me and said.. did he really just say that? Then he said it again and tried to make a joke by saying the politically correct way to say it would be to apply pressure to the nose area or something like that. It then went to commercial where he was selling his training DVD's.


And this is why I really do not like these clinicians who are out there saying Buy my DVD's, Buy my Gear, buy this, buy that and you too can be a Horseman. I'm sorry but its BS, If you want to know what horsemanship is really about, watch, read, or listen to the teachings of Ray Hunt, or the Dorrance brothers. They taught philosophy, not this cookie cutter crap. I've said before and I'll say it again... Horsemanship cannot be achieved via an insert tab A into slot B mentality.


The Horseman who has impacted and influenced me the most is Lee Smith. While at one of her clinics she was asked.. "how do you do..." Lee's answer was priceless and I will never forget it. She said "don't do what I do, see what I see", to me that answer is what defines a Horseman. I do my level best to emulate Lee and do right for the horse. When I am working with a horse and the owner or auditors ask questions I often wonder how would Lee, or Ray answer.


Now back to the question the young girl asked.. the clinician could have followed up with "is your pony just facing up, is he coming in for comfort, is he charging.. ie why is the horse doing what its doing. Maybe just maybe if we would observe what happens before the horse turns in we could influence the horse without being reactive and hitting the horse across the nose with our "HORSEMANSHIP" stick.


Wes Clouse