Monday, June 4, 2012

Pre-Clinic Conversation with Mark Rashid

Mark Rashid usually does a demo the evening before the clinic starts - no horses, just people - often involving exercises to explore the concepts of flow, energy, bracing and softness.  This clinic we had a conversation, with some moments of illustration, since most of us had worked with Mark before and the only people who hadn't ridden with him had participated in a demo he'd done at Equine Affair in Ohio this year.  He invited questions, and the discussion went from there.

It's interesting to have ridden with Mark for 10 years now - his thinking and presentation of concepts continue to evolve.  He's increasingly focussed on mental/inside the horse/rider issues and less on technique, although of course that comes up.

Some of the questions/topics:

  • Meeting a brace (either a push or a pull) with softness so that the motion can continue and be directed, instead of being blocked.
  • Mental softening rather than a physical release - keeping the connection while providing softness.
  • Just think what you want to do and go do it - like when you rode as a kid.  We humans tend to overcomplicate and lose our focus.
  • We often don't direct and lead the horse with our minds, we just react after the fact.  It's your intention and purpose that direct the horse much more than your aids.
  • Keep your mind focussed on what you want the horse to do, not on what the horse is doing (that you don't want the horse to do - this is just a distraction).
  • The physical cue is just an immediate secondary cue that reinforces the mental cue - the thought of what you want the horse to do.  Physical cues aren't really needed once you're clear what you want and the horse understands - I've certainly found this to be true.
All really, really good stuff that's just the thing I need right now.

Tomorrow we ride . . . !!!

4 comments:

  1. Yay! Can't wait to read all about this clinic!!!

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  2. Hope everything goes great for you! Have fun! Looking forward to the write up.

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  3. The gaited horse clinician I worked with last week, Larry Whitesell, reminds me a lot of Mark. He would agree with all your points that Mark makes. Larry says his goal with his horse is to train him and himself to a point where all he needs to do is think about what he wants to do and the horse responds.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more.

    Dan

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