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The Project:

One Mustang directly off the range, One trainer, No tools, Just body language

The Goal:

To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

 

The Perfect Now

What if every time we went out to play with our horses we began with the premise that they were already perfect. There was nothing they needed to be or do to make us happy, just their existence did that. If our starting premise was to be completely pleased in the moment, reaching forward from there to develop the potential in the next perfect moment, and the next, and the next, can you imagine what a fun time our horses would have with us then? At the Horse and Soul tour stop last weekend Pat Parelli reminded me, “Be pleased, and never satisfied”. By the time you say now, the moment has passed, so you might as well accept that it was indeed “the perfect now” and be pleased. Then reach forward and look for the potential just waiting to be developed and train from that perspective.

I find that getting the balance between pleased in the moment and striving for perfection is an interesting challenge. When I get it right there is nothing that feels so brilliant, and at the end of a training session both my horse and I look like we have won the lottery.

Every once in a while I find myself nothing but pleased with no inspiration to perfect or improve anything. Those days are nice, but a little flat feeling by comparison. More of the time I am a driven sort of person, with a list a mile long of all the things my horse needs to learn and a feeling that they just are not quite what I want them to be until they master the tasks I have laid out. Being driven like that, I sometimes can get a great deal done… but the question comes up, what was the cost? Usually I find the cost was my horse’s desire to learn more the next day.

With Myrnah my training continues to go incredibly slowly, yet again and again and again I find the pay off is huge. Her desire to work with me and learn new things seems to increase every day.

With little Errai around, Myrnah’s attention is of course divided, though not nearly to the detriment I had expected. Myrnah seems happy to see me every time I come to visit, and this week we began riding again. The first day I rode, I got on and off a bunch of times to make sure she was comfortable with the idea, then by the time I was ready to stay mounted, little Errai had lain down for a nap, so I just sat on Myrnah while she grazed around him.

The second time I rode, Errai was up and about, galloping laps around us, jumping up and down and being the entertaining, energetic colt he is. He thinks it is very exciting to have his mum go for a walk around the pasture.

The third time I rode, we did a little bit of trotting, and rode some continuous loops on the hill around the central bushes. I am amazed how calm and willing and easy Myrnah is, working with me while her colt creates chaos all around us. I actually can’t imagine any of my other horses being so steady and consistent and reliable in that sort of situation. Is it just Myrnah’s temperament? Or is it the care and appreciation we have put into our development together? A little of both I imagine.

Because I have no tools to force her to learn things any faster than she wants to learn them, the balance between pleased and striving for perfection is easier to find with Myrnah.

With my other horses I find myself sometimes trapped in an egoic state of wanting to do everything faster, smoother, easier, lighter, and more beautifully TODAY- unfortunately willing to sacrifice my horses joy in the process to satisfy my personal ambition, driving us ever faster toward perfection.

 

“The master endlessly seeks perfection, but only the fool expects to achieve it.”

 

I am grateful to Myrnah as she presents me with the proof every day that  it is indeed OK to take training this slowly. Development on Myrnah’s time frame is something we can both take pride in- both of us looking forward to any moments we can spend together and anything new we can learn together.

Errai is going to be an interesting contrast to Myrnah in this training process. Extroverted, and social, and always looking to bite or paw at something, he has none of his mother’s quiet reserve. Building a bond with him is going to have to take into account his youthful, short, attention span, and I will have to have plenty of persistent focus while developing him into the best of himself. He is perfect in the moment and doesn’t need to change a thing, yet it is important that we continually strive to help him develop his potential to be even more brilliant every day.

That is the balance I seek. The consistent appreciation of “the perfect now” and the constant striving to develop into the best of ourselves.

Elsa Sinclair,

EquineClarity.com

4 Comments

  1. LOVE this, Elsa! Look at the three of you guys!!

  2. Another wondderfully written and heartfelt delivery of your passion and dedication.
    I am honored to have had the opportunity to know you , understand you and see your love to your horses. It is the same as the love Ive seen you show all you come in contact with. Your truly a brilliant, patient and absolutley beautiful soul and we all are lucky to have you as a part of our lives.
    Have a remarkable day Elsa.
    Christopher

  3. He is so cute how you progress at all is amazing.

  4. Elsa, “… endlessly seeks perfection….” reminds me of awhile back, at the SJ arena, when you agreed that ‘The fun is in the trying. And where can you go from perfection?’
    Great fun in store, here! 😉 Michael


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