Had a great idea. Last fall I borrowed a friends copy of Dennis Reis Universal Horsemanship training course. I was supposed to watch the dvds and apply them to my horses. However, being the burgeoning procrastinator that I am, I have only watched one of the four dvd courses. Now, guess what? She wants them back so she can go back through them herself. Therefore, I am on a mission aka my great idea. Over the course of the next 30 or so days I will watch the dvds and go through the course tasks to see not only what is taught, but where I am at in the course had I actually attempted to be certified by Dennis himself. Now then, my good friend Jaime Belcher who got me started and carried me along on my trek to become a better horseman taught me alot of the things Dennis covers in his course. And thanks to Jaime I think I am somewhere in the fourth and highest level in the course. But that remains to be seen. The four levels are Freedom, Awareness, Movement and Horseman. And each course has four classes Round pen, ground school, mounted and mounted refined. Each class has a series of tasks to accomplish before you can pass the class and move on. So my bright idea is to keep track of where I am at and test myself on the tasks. Now, since Dennis won't be testing me and Jaime, who got all but one of Dennis' certifications, will not be testing me either, you will have to trust me. Remember, I am a Christian and a Pastor so if my integrity is not intact, who can you trust? I will rate myself on a scale of 1-10, ten being the best no mistakes. passing is at least a five or six with room for improvement.
I started today with Raven and Jake on the freedom course. Round pen tasks are sending, haltering and changing sides. Sending is being able to point and send your horse around the pen in both directions. Haltering is haveing the horse stand calmly with head down low enough so that your elbow doesn't rise above my shoulder when I am putting the halter on and his head is bent toward me softly. Changing sides is accomplished without using the lead, but putting your hand under their chin to the opposite side and with slight pressure bringing their head around so that they change sides without me moving. Both horses do these three tasks with ease, a ten no problem. There are twelve ground school tasks. I will address those in the next posting.
Now you might ask, why are these tasks important to accomplish with your horse? Well the simple answer is the more I can move my horses feet with soft feel the safer I am. That is the main reason, safety. However, a few others are it gives me a task to accomplish, something to do with my horse so that I and the horse are not bored. It also promotes a unity, oneness or harmony with the horse that is almost as if the horse is reading my mind. That is just plain old cool. Have you ever driven a car without power steering? Its hard. But go to power steering and the ease of movement is nice. That is what it is like with a horse who has these things in its tool box. Another more important reason from my perspective is that God gave man the responsibility to rule over or have dominon over His creation, Gen. 1:28. Horses are part of creation. Also because we see it demonstrated by the Horseman of all Horseman, Jesus Christ when He entered Jerusalem the week of His crucifixion. He rode an untamed colt of an ass through a gauntlet of people cheering, throwing branches and clothing in front of Him, reaching out to touch Him and the colt remained calm as He rode. Most of us in a similar situation would have been for a wild rodeo ride. Not Jesus. That is why I want to be able to have this kind of relationship with my horse these tasks measure. In short, it must be in my blood. Why would I on a freezing cold day want to get outside and mess with a smelly horse? All of the above. So til next time, stay between the ears or on your knees.