If you want to dip your toe in to even understanding what I'm talking about, there is a fantastic documentary film called Buck - which is on Netflix! The official trailer is below - it's not heavy going, it's about Buck's life and how he became who he is and how he does what he does - also he was the inspiration behind the Robert Redford movie "The Horse Whisperer" and there are some fantastic shots and comments from RR during the documentary.
I won't bore you with details of the drive and conversations we had on this post, because I want to tell you about the clinic. The clinic was three days - two classes of three hours each day, one for beginners and one for intermediates - and the difference between those two is how much practise your horse and you have had of working in a natural horsemanship way.
Buck was using a borrowed horse who needed work, the horse was also green - which means he had no real experience of working in the way Buck does - within the first day there was a distinct and incredible difference in how peaceful the horse was, the way he reacted to the smallest of movements from the rider - after three days, he'll feel and look like a completely different horse when you're working with him.
Buck had both classes working on serpentines and sharp serpentines, asking for the movement with the riders legs and backing up with a movement in the reins. The aim is to get the horse to respond through leg and pelvic movements instead of being numb to the riders legs and getting pushy with the reins. Why would we want to drag a horse around with their mouth when we could ask for a relationship using small body movements that gives the horse peace? To create peace in yourself leads to a peaceful, healthy life - dis-ease in yourself leads to disease in your body, this is the same for your horse.
The 50 riders that were at the clinic with their horses will take so much away from Buck it's astounding, and even the several hundred spectators are taking away wisdom that will change their lives and their horses. I would love to go and work on his ranch, learn and study from him - working with animals gives me peace. It does make me wish I'd done different courses at University, made some different choices - but I'm 26 years old, if I want to re-train myself I am perfectly capable of doing so.
So perhaps one day I will be trained to work within natural horsemanship - with principles set in front of me by Buck Brannaman, Ray Hunt, Monty Roberts... by these incredible people. As my signed poster says...
"Happy Trails Friend"