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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 Year Finishes Up With A Bang!

 

Rumbling thunder, flashes of lightning, and an amazing sky of billowing clouds on blue… backlit by the setting sun- clouds became defined by their bright halos, and the twilight glowed like something out of a story.

 

Tonight was spectacular.

 

Framed by that backdrop of earth and sky, Myrnah and I tackled our final accomplishment of the year. Of all the things I dreamed of doing with Myrnah in our first year together, this last piece brought forth the most excitement in me, and was also something I thought I had given up on doing anytime soon.

 

Galloping.

To ride a horse at full speed is what dreams are made of: wind in mane, the pulse and ripple of strength carrying through space high and fast, all cares left behind, the feel of power and speed filling the senses.

 

To take a wild Mustang off the range, bond with it, partner with it, develop a language with it, and convince it to carry me high- two beings becoming one as the centaur of legend- this too is what dreams are made of.

 

Put together the bond, the trust, the partnership, and the speed, against a backdrop of thunder, lightning, and billowing clouds at sunset: What could be more perfect than that?

 

Did it really happen? Yes it did.

 

Was it that storybook magical?

 

No, not really. It was ever so much more real and mundane and perfect in how it came together.

 

Last ride of the day, I walked out to get Myrnah in the far corner of the far pasture. After I swung up and we started our ride back toward the barn, the rest of the herd began to play. The weather was fresh. Tails flagged, heads tossed, rivalries long buried resurfaced for the fun of dancing and playing and chasing each other in the wind.

 

My first thought riding along on Myrnah was: Here is my opportunity to gallop. The herd is hot and playful; Myrnah would probably follow them and gallop a little, letting me cross that last task off my year-one wish list for Myrnah and me.

 

My second thought was: This is going to be the day I pass up my dream and play it safe. Thirteen horses cavorting and galloping in the wind is not the first place one would choose to ride a newly-started, bridleless Mustang. I was here amidst the crowd whether I chose it or not, but I didn’t intend to join the excitement. Lucky for me, Myrnah really is that bonded with me and respected my request for peaceful travel in spite of the fun going on around us.

 

By the time we had walked up close to the barn, the water troughs, and the trailer, I had decided the energy crackling in the air around us was too good to pass up. It was time to take this opportunity and run with it.

 

So Myrnah and I headed down to the far corner of the bottom pasture- that same corner of the field I had regularly traveled to as a child with four or five friends around me, our horses prancing and chomping at their bits because they knew this was the racing corner. Animals barely held in check until that moment someone yelled GO! Then we would be off in a blur of speed, across the bottom land, up alongside the pond, holding on tight as they jumped the ditch, and then the final burst of speed up the hill past the maple tree, children’s fingers clutching at sweaty reins as we tried to bring the horses back under control before heading back down the hill to the barn, hopefully at a walk.

 

All these memories swarmed through my head as Myrnah and I walked through the bottomland to the corner of the pasture. Here I was, thirty-four years old, and riding that same excitement of a gallop ahead. Only this time there was no frothing, foaming horse fighting the bit, no rivalry of companions arguing about who got to yell go. Instead, here I was bareback on a mare who one year ago was wild and untouched, only to be rounded up and brought into a life she previously had no idea existed. Here I was, about to gallop her for the first time with only my fingertips and my legs to guide her, my voice and my weight to steady her, and our trust and bond to hold us together whatever happened.

We started off and were quickly into a canter. I asked for more speed and she gave me more, I asked again and she gave me another notch more. Crouched low over her neck, fingers wrapped in her mane, I asked again and she stretched out just a little more for me.

 

Was it fast? Not very, but it was faster than we had ever gone before. Much faster than a canter, but still only a portion of the full speed hovering under the surface.

 

Was it smooth? Unbelievably smooth, like carrying riders at speed was something Myrnah had done every day of her life, balanced and effortless.

 

Was it fun? You can only imagine…

All year Myrnah and I have worked, and strived, and dreamed, and meditated on who we are and who we can be together.

 

Here we are. It is less like the fairy tale I dreamed up, and it is more like the brilliant reality I couldn’t have even imagined a year ago. This reality of connection between Myrnah and me is beyond what I expected, and still merely a hint of the potential underlying.

 

So here is to the year ahead! Meditations on Equestrian Art, part one: the year finishes up with a bang! I hope you have enjoyed the ride with me. Meditations on Equestrian Art, part two: here we come; who knows what the future will bring…

Elsa Sinclair

EquineClarity.com

12 Comments

  1. Truly amazing. A brilliant finish to a remarkable year . You are inspirational and beautiful while at the sabre time full of life. I Love You Liziee.. congratulations!
    C~

  2. Very much enjoyed and inspired by your partnership you have developed over the past year. While gentling my own mustang at the same time ( not done yet ) your stories have kept me grounded and motivated to come out of the process with a mustang that is truly willing to take me in. And you certainly ended up with a fine horses !

  3. WOW Elsa, what an appropriate and FUN ending of this first wonderful year with Myrnah! You both deserved that :-)!

  4. I’ve just discovered your blog through a friend and find it so inspiring. Thank you. Please keep going.

  5. I followed your blog ever since I met you earlier this year at a horse clinic. Your story is so inspiring! I have told many of my horse friends about it and shared the link to your blog. What a phenomenal ending of a year’s hard but patient work! Way to go Elsa. I am looking forward to hear what the future will bring you and Myrna.

  6. Congratulations on the great teamwork and patience you have both created as a safe place to grow. What a stellar end to an exciting year. Your horsemanship will never be the same, I think, even when using more traditional training methods. The partners of the horses you train will be very lucky.

  7. What a brilliant year – so glad you took us along for the ride! We have all learned so much through your fearless experiment. Thank you and please keep going!

  8. I have enjoyed reading about your journey over the year, and have been moved by the writing, awareness, and photos. What you describe is a way of being, a lifestyle, a way to be with oneself, horses, and others. It inspires me. Thank you.

  9. Wow!

    I’m going to need to page back and read your blog from the beginning, it’s wonderful.

  10. Elsa I am so impressed with the progress you two have made this last year. I have been following almost the whole year and have found many lessons to inspire my own relationships with my horses (one is also a Mustang, gentled for an Extreme Mustang Makeover in 2010). Keep up this beautiful work! You are leading horsemanship in such an important direction.

  11. You did it! You planned it, you saw it through! And that is well-earned bliss on your face…..be well 😉 Michael

  12. Dear Elsa and Myrnah,

    The end of an incredible beginning. I get weak in the knees to think what you will lure us to follow next! Surely, whatever it is, it couldn’t be as profoundly humbling yet empowering as this journey!
    You will never know how much you have taught us all! Not only by your actions but by your gentle and persitent determination.
    There is NOTHING that teaches as well as one’s EXAMPLE. Thank you forever!
    Much love and respect, always!
    Maggie


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