Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day one, the demo

Smokey wondering if "clinic" means "alfalfa" in New Mexican

We arrived early in Santa Fe on Thursday, early enough to claim a nice parking spot and stall for Amigo and Smokey. Carlos, the manager for Challenge New Mexico (a therapeutic riding center and our host location for the clinic), was wonderful, helping us back into place, unhook our trailer and get set up.

Now of course we can unhook our own trailer. But I've long ago come to a place where if someone is willing to help then I'm willing to accept it. When I was younger I might feel I needed to make a point of doing it myself.

I'm so over that.

Slowly people arrived and the demo got underway (the full clinic really would start on Friday).

Now if you ever have a chance to take part in a clinic with Mark Rashid - whether as a rider or an auditor - you absolutely must, must, must take part in the demo. Because this is no ordinary demo. This is not some guy riding around on a horse showing how he can do a bunch of cool things with a horse. In fact the one rule at the demo was we could not ask anything about horses. No conversation about "I have this horse..." or "a friend of mine has this horse..." or "let's say, just hypothetically, you had a horse that..."

We were all taken aback by these ground rules, but abided by them, curious what else we could possibly talk about.

This demo was about understanding energy and space.

Mark showed, through a series of exercises, how controlling the space and controlling the energy (or perhaps, more accurately, merging the energy) you could change just about anything.

Along with controlling space and working with energy we learned the importance of intention. At one point I was trying one of the energy exercises (where we push against resisting individuals) and nothing was happening. He came over and said "Now move them." With that intention in my mind, along with a sense of energy and control of space, they did, indeed, move when they hadn't before.

We, as people, are like concert goers with ear muffs, compared to horses when it comes to feeling energy and intention. Our horses have nothing muffling their senses, and I imagine that to them, who readily read energy off a herd or just each other, we must be a jangling mess. I suspect that when they encounter someone who flows, clearly and consistently, it must come as a tremendous relief.

The demo wound to a close and we stepped out into the cool night air from the indoor arena. We drove back to my father's house in the East Mountains of Albuquerque (where we were staying) filled with wonder. This was already like nothing I'd expected. So much of what I was hearing were things, philosophies, really, that I needed in my non horse life even more than in the saddle.

The next day I'd be able to ask every horse question I had, and Smokey, never very good in an arena, would step into a new place, with me on his back.

And there we would begin to find our way.

Sunrise, Friday.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Wow, I'd like to know more about his philosophy. Sounds like useful stuff.

Beautiful sunrise, isn't it? I see that every morning. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You forgot to mention how you also drove all the way down to Albuquerque to join a bunch of us bloggers for dinner....and THEN drove to the far east to spend the night in the mountains at your Dad's house. lol! I don't know how you we're able to keep your eyes open on Saturday morning. whew!

I wish I could have made it to the demo on Friday, too. Sounds amazing. Even on Sunday I was captivated when he'd talk about space (personal and together) and energy, using Japanese terminology related to his experience practicing Aikido.

Can't wait to read more about your observations from the clinic.


Anonymous said...

It's all one thing - horses and life - I'm still learning to apply that in both places! The fun thing about the demos is that they change and develop over time - so that if you go to another clinic there will be new things to think about and explore.

Can't wait to hear more!

the7msn said...

So sorry I never made it up to SF to meet you and Smokey. I would have loved to have been there to watch the transformation. Next time...

Shirley said...

It's not always about the mechanics of riding, is it? I'm looking forward to your posts on this clinic- and love the photos of you and Smokey on Lisa's blog.

Shirley said...

It's not always about the mechanics of riding, is it? I'm looking forward to your posts on this clinic- and love the photos of you and Smokey on Lisa's blog.

aurora said...

Interesting rule, I like the approach. His clinics sound thought provoking, and very worth while.

How fun that you got to meet up with fellow bloggers!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like an amazing couple of days coming up at the clinic. I like the thoughts in the demo, wish I could have an opportunity to go sometime. Saw some of your pictures on Lisa's blog, Smokey and you look terrific.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

What a unique approach. I think I'll write to the Sacramento Horse Expo and ask them to get Mark on their roster. I don't know if he'd do it, though. Usually, it's only the cowboys who want to attract more customers to buy their products who are willing to put on clinics there. The advertising can get shameless at times.

Dan and Betty said...

It was a great event. I'm sorry we couldn't make it to the Demo as it sounded as if there was a lot of good information shared by Mark.


Crystal said...

Love the sunrise picture! The more I hear bout him, the more interested I am in him, sounds like an excellent person to listen to.
I also saw your pics on Lisas blog and you look great!

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I have been hearing a lot of good things about Mark Rashid. It's definitely time for the next 'phase' of clinicians to come along and help people above and beyond what has been available so far.