The Eighth Secret of Perfect Horsemanship
Don Blazer
          Security is a myth.

          There is no such thing.

          Unfortunately most young riders are encouraged to “hang on.”

          Hold onto the saddle horn, grab the mane, grip with your legs, pull on the reins; all things that are actually the wrong thing to do!

          Doing any of those things creates fear in the rider and encourages the rider to seek security in physical contact.  Seeking security by physical contact is always wrong.   The search for security invariable results in a loss of balance, followed by a loss of confidence, a loss of belief  in “self”, and finally a loss of any natural riding skills.

          The key to perfection in horsemanship is “letting go.”

          Just as the horse learns his responses not from the cue, but from the “release” of the cue, so we perfect our riding and training skills by the reduction of our physical contact.  Perfect horsemanship is only possible when the connection between rider and horse is centered in the minds of both.

          The eighth secret of perfect horsemanship is therefore the “acceptance of uncertainty and giving up the search for security.”

          Perfect horsemanship is possible because you have the power to achieve whatever you can conceive.  As long as you follow your heart, you will never be misled and you can accept all things without judgment.

          If you give instead of take, you will not be seeking security for yourself, but will be removing any block to the horse’s freedom to perform.

          Your intentions and desires will manifest themselves in your reality, so if you are experiencing frustration, difficulties and setbacks, your intentions and desires were to force compliance and establish dominance…security.

          If you are experiencing the wonders of power and grace and responses to thoughts, then your intentions and desires are accepting the uncertainty of “letting go” knowing that it is the only way to attain your dream.

          Reaching perfect horsemanship involves many steps.  The path is sometimes long, with many turns and obstacles.  You may never know how each of the events along the way teach the lessons you must learn.  Do not be concerned; simply accept that things are as they should be.

          When you begin the journey, you may wish to set goals. Goals are a good way to measure your progress, but goals must never be expectations.

          Setting a goal is saying, “I’d like my horse to be able to do this exercise by early next spring.”  Such a goal is acceptable.

          Expecting your horse to be able to do that exercise by early next spring is another matter.  Expectations lead to demands and demands lead to an attempt to force compliance.

          If you attach yourself to your expectations you will soon want something in return for your efforts.  When you want something in return for your efforts you will only receive frustration at not having expectations met.

          To demand the fulfillment of expectations is to demand security.  It is self defeating.

          To do the work of training and riding, while accepting the uncertainty of the outcome is to approach perfection.

          When you are willing to accept the uncertainty of all that you do, you will be secure in yourself and your horsemanship.

          When you are willing to accept whatever happens as a part of the learning, you will have no fear, and without fear you can “let go.”

          When you “let go”, you become a master horseman.

To read about the first seven secrets, please visit the Archives Page

Don Blazer is the author of Nine Secrets of Perfect Horsemanship, a book he wrote for his granddaughter who won an AQHA World Championship in Youth Trail (2008.

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