Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Book Review: Think Harmony With Horses, by Ray Hunt

I just finished reading a very fine horse book - Think Harmony With Horses - An In-depth Study of Horse/Man Relationship, by Ray Hunt (Millie Hunt, ed.).  This book is more of an essay - it's less than 50 pages long, although there are some questions and answers at the end.  It's a very good distillation of what I understand to be Ray Hunt's philosophy, and I highly recommend it.

The book is about how you want your idea to become the horse's idea, without force, and the harmony and "togetherness" that can happen with you and your horse when this happens.  It requires a greater awareness of what is happening than we're perhaps used to bringing to the party.   It's about offering the horse a feel, and feeling what the horse is doing and how the horse is moving, and bringing those things together.  It's about feeling the horse's body and feet as your body, bringing the energy up and down through feel, and using that feel to influence the horse's decisions and motions.  Respect and discipline are a two-way street, requiring both rider and horse to participate - it's very definitely not a master/slave relationship.

A quote to give you the flavor of this wonderful little book:
You've got to be awake and alert every minute, every stride, because you're working with something alive that thinks and feels.  He makes decisions.  If we're not there to help him, he may make a decision we don't want him to make.  Then we blame it on the horse.  But, I grant you, it's not the horse's fault. (p. 23)
Red and I were working hard today in our 20-minute walking under saddle session to develop our mutual feel - I was trying to treat his body as my body and his feet as my feet.  I worked on bringing up the life in his walk just with my thoughts and the freedom of movement of my body.  It was a very lovely session, and I think he really enjoyed it.

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