The Student Seat is Not Always Comfy.
* Becky & Ringo (photo credit: Denver Deschenes)
I enjoy hearing from students and being part of their success in horsemanship. This blog is penned by Becky Taylor, a dedicated student and horsewoman, dear friend, professional colleague and strong supporter of continuous learning. It is a depiction of the discomforts and rewards of being an adult learner and student of the horse.
I’m proud of Becky and her horses and look forward to our continued study of horses and the harmony with them we all seek. Thank you, Becky, for sharing what it’s like to be a student and for your expression of gratitude. We have many more years ahead! Jonathan
From the Student Seat...
I think I’m like most “horse people”, I am always wanting to enhance connection and communication with my horse(s), they are a rare combination of beauty and power. I think that’s what attracts us to them. But how on earth do we do that?
Enter Jonathan Field Horsemanship. At first, it seems like magic or maybe an illusion or trick to see a person (Jonathan) be so connected and so in tune with a horse. Like many people, the first time I saw Jonathan with horses, it was hard to look away - there was a purity there I hadn’t really seen before. Psychology talks about ‘flow state’ - a piece in time where a person is at one with what they’re doing; skiing, surfing, performing, creating art, people in deep conversation, and those skilled few that can ride a horse and make it look like one being, existing in harmony. It’s very moving when you get to witness people in their flow state, in their connected place, in their mastery of their skill or art, in their complete connection. It's heartwarming and beautiful.
It’s hard to look at that and not want some part of that for yourself! So we pursue that desire and goal, this learning of horsemanship that will open that window for us with our horses. A commonality amongst us, we - the dedicated horse folks!
I’ve had the privilege of learning (and continue to learn) from Jonathan and it has been an interesting journey of adult education. I had to first recognize that there is no magic, no tricks and no exchange of the horse’s dignity for the sake of achieving a look or utopian state. What there is, is a deep commitment to learning, to self discovery and to the ultimate respect for the fact that a horse can always be relied upon, to look, feel and behave like a horse (large prey animal with instincts and a powerful body).
Like all pursuits of learning and development there must be a place to begin or foundation to rely on. Jonathan refers to the foundation skills & principles over and over and over again. The dedication to their development requires our own study of timing, of feel, of observation and objective (lateral) thinking. I think the beauty of his program is in its simplicity of relying on the foundation to set the stage for any and everything you desire to do with your horse as your partnership develops. It’s a program of combination; skills, principles, discipline and an overall way of ‘being’. Like all learning, there can be a roller coaster; exuberance and excitement in direct contrast with frustration, dented egos and healthy doses of fear. None of these extremes have benefit for the horse. We, like them, must learn and practice ‘neutral’ and of hunting the ‘sweet spot’. It’s in that state of awareness and interest that both they (horses) and us can achieve our greatest, speediest learning. We need to be in a learning state; them & us.
For the horses, we teach them the foundation skills; leading like a leader, personal space, primary equine language to all 5 body parts, the Horseman’s Dance and do all of those on the ground and in the saddle…every horse…every time. It’s in the study of this that we find peace for our horse. This takes practice & study!
But..in order to teach that, we must first be good at mastering ourselves; finding our learning state, resetting ourselves to go back to awareness, to calm interest, to control of our bodies and minds where we can observe, learn and respond with skill. It's in the study of this that we find peace for our horse. This takes practice & study!
It’s not just the horses that have to “get good at this”, we must as well. Ready yourself for your learning state, recognizing that mastery and flow state don’t come by accident or by luck, it comes from steadiness and readiness. I think it’s what our horses rely on from us.
I’m grateful to Jonathan and his program. I’m grateful to all my horses. I’m grateful to be part of a strong, dedicated learning community.
I’m ready to learn and keep learning and to continue to be Inspired by Horses!
Jonathan & Becky at James Creek Ranch
Learn Jonathan's Horsemanship Program:
Open Field Membership: Open Field (7 Day FREE Trial)
Attend a Clinic or Live Event: Jonathan's full schedule HERE.
Read MORE articles from Jonathan HERE.
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