Last week, Robert took me to see Cavalia.
The short answer is that there is no one way to be with horses other than what works at the moment WHILE keeping the horse on the path of physical health and mentally/emotionally enjoying his companionship with humans.
I enjoyed Cavalia and enjoyed watching it through the eyes of my fiance who is discovering so much about these wonderful creatures. He had a gleam in his eye the other night as we drove home from the barn after some fun play and told me he couldn't believe how attached he feels to the horses now. He is learning body language, how to use pressure to motivate and the release to reward. He's learning posture, balance, and harmony. Its fun to watch.
Of course, he is at a slight advantage. He gets to play with Augie, my now 20yr arabian gelding who went with me well into Level 4 in the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program. Augie knows the old school 7 games at all three gaits in all four savvies and all 6 directions. Most importantly to me, he does it with feel. I'll be forever grateful to the Parelli organization for what I learned through the inspiration and thought provoked there. Ray Hunt was a tremendous influence on me as well. The man was a gift to the world of horsemanship like so many others.
Watching Cavalia stirred these thoughts. It had been a long time since I'd done serious liberty play with my horses, or focused on teaching things that would be part of a performance routine. Like so many horsemen and women, I've had a few horses who would be grouped as difficult.
I have my very hot young horse, Romeo who is the most stunning animal I've ever had the pleasure of riding. He has incredible movement along with the heart throb P.R.E good looks. But, he is scared of life, paranoid to an extreme and sensitive. I have renewed liberty as an end rather than a means. In other words, I want him to excel at liberty even if it means he is not predominately an under saddle horse. The horse has always told me he loves this and feels most comfortable there. I'm listening.
Philipe and Ernie are fuzz balls right now, enjoying a slower pace to life than they had the past year moving up to Prix St. George. In the meantime, this past weekend, each had terrific a-ha's about piaffe. If the weather will cooperate over the weekend, I just might get some pictures. In the mirror at least, I think we look darn good!