It's been the year I have waited for, although I did not know if it was possible or it would ever happen for me.
I have struggled for several years now with a deep seeded frustration in my own riding skills, I kept trying to find a feeling in my own seat that I remember having as a child although I did not know the technicals of it as a child. I lost it at some point when I was no longer under my mothers instruction and entered the horse industry all on my own.
I kept trying to find the answer why and came up with answers such as , maybe when my body matured out of adolescence I lost the physical structure to achieve what I once had, or had my body just been broken up so much over the years it could not find that place ever again. I could see what I wanted every time I watched any Nuno video, which I have hundreds of times now seeking and searching. I saw it in another of my teachers, the Master German Baca .
I now know the answer to my own question. After so many years riding and competing in the show arena, I discovered I had become the master of about every contrived seat imaginable. Showing just about every discipline, gaited and non gaited breeds over a span of over 45 years I had learned to adjust my body to what ever the time and style of riding it took to win a class . To adjust to what ever needed to be done for a judge to use me.
Although it made me a very adaptable and versatile rider there was a price to pay. The thought of that is a sad one in what happened to good horsemanship across the board rewarded by each and every judge, not by the acceptable look, fashion and/or politics of the times.
So I had lost that ability I knew once existed of the feel of that horse giving it's self over to me in body 100% raising into my pelvis and us uniting as one unit working within the same energy and gravity together in perfect timing and harmony.
Oh I could get some of it and most people never knew there was more than what I was getting when getting on the horses all over this country, but I knew , it was not complete for me yet. Dave knew of this struggle within myself and pained over my frustration as the trouble was in me, not the horses.
The door came open this year for me in that friend Peggy Cummings came this year for a fast visit here at the ranch between her clinics. I shared my frustration and what I was seeking and she knew! She knew what I was seeking and she had the answers, the help I had almost lost hope of ever finding. So to work on me she went, my heart was singing, I felt what I had been seeking again. So practice,practice and more practice I worked on myself with every single horse I got on for a good 2 months before flying out to her in Aug. for more work and help. I had to know if I was getting it just right and more work we did. What an experience it was, one I will take with me forever. As technical as it was and most would be very lost in how refined it was and needed to be for me at this point, it was perfect. To be a student with the perfect teacher I needed at a very important time in my life. Hard work yes, oh my brain was working in over drive and to keep my body doing every minute adjustment Peggy directed me too was so hard, yet so amazing in the results, it was so real, so changing to what I wanted and needed to get to the next level I desired in my own abilities.
In Nov. we got together again in WA working a locomotion project together with Dave and Master saddle fitter Sara Odell and once again I came away with more in a review I needed, to catch some of those small pieces I had missed.
As a teacher I know to be good, one also has to be able to be a good student and I love being a student and Peggy has been the perfect teacher for me in what I needed.
Often at clinics I do have folks that don't come to be students or have forgotten how to be one or just say the words that they are but never really commit fully. No matter how many times we work with them and even over many years nothing will change until that person learns to let themselves go and be a true student, that's what clinics are, venues of learning, that's what lessons are, venues to learn. They are not a place to show off, market your wares, prove yourself worth, compete with others, to judge the other participants, the teachers or to play games. Understand as teachers we cant make folks learn and receive the help unless they are willing to receive it. Not for one minute would I dream of wasting any time or help Peggy was giving me.
Another treat this year was an opportunity to spend some time with Gerd Heuschmann author of "Tug of War". His message is strong and important to every breed and discipline in our own country and in spending time and learning from him, he also sees himself as a life long student.
It's the only way to truly get to be the best one can for the horses!