Since February’s blog I have been on the road, recently returning from the South Island of New Zealand. While there, I got to experience the one in one hundred year storm of very strong winds and rain. I have also been to Charters Towers in Northern Queensland and this weekend I have a course outside of Sydney at Picton in N.S.W. Next week sees me in Howlong in Victoria for a 5 day Horsemanship & Cow Working course and then a 4 day colt starting course. It is then back home for 10 days before going back to DeGrey Station in Western Australia. DeGrey is 1 million acres in size and runs a commercial herd of braham cattle. The focus at DeGrey will be combination of horsemanship, cow working and young horses.
In my travels I am sometimes asked about the difference in disciplines or the difference between countries in regards to horses. My answer is mostly that horses are horses and people are people, for the human it is often hard to see the horse as a horse and to see the horse in front of them. To ride the horse with where the horse is at today is also hard for many of us.
In my courses I inevitably do a horsemanship class where I might ask riders to see how slow they can walk their horses or to see how they can really walk their horses out. I will have riders ride transitions from a collected walk to a collected trot and encourage riders to keep the transitions really smooth. In a Ray Hunt horsemanship class these exercises were always a part of the class. As I watch the riders and their horses, I find it very interesting to watch the horses over the class get more suspension in their gaits. The transitions get smoother as a result and the brace in the horses get less. I see riders develop more feel and their timing improves and as the horse understands better they become more responsive. At the end of the class I encourage riders to not only ride their horse this way in the arena but to ride their horse the same way when they are outside the arena.
As we all progress in our horsemanship, our understanding and awareness grows and we appreciate the significance of the seemingly insignificant.