Friday, July 8, 2016

Good for the body and the soul

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Vacations and horses.

And not necessarily in that order...

Well, in such a short period of time, my vacation and our long-awaited clinic with Joe Wolter, have come and gone.  *sigh*

How quickly time goes.

My little chunk of time away from work and responsibilities passed all too quickly.  But like the title of this post states, so much good comes from a little time to oneself.  And our clinic was all that, and a whole lot more.

Me and this horse here?  We did great!  In fact, we did awesome!!

I cannot put into words, nor express my complete satisfaction and pride in this wonderful horse!  He just accepts whatever I come up with to throw his way.  *sigh*  Have I mentioned lately just how much in love with this horse I am!?

Well I am.  Completely.

This is Joe Wolter...horseman.  "The real deal".  He worked with, and studied under Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance for many years, back in the day.  They worked and lived the life of ranching, side by side.  And like he says, "he just soaked up as much as was possible".  And it shows.  My hat's off to this kind man and gifted horseman.  If I get the chance in the future to ride with this man again - I will do it.  I learned more in a single day from him than I have in the past many years.  Ever since the days of riding the Ray Hunt or Tom Dorrance clinics.  How I've missed those wonderful learning opportunities!

Suffice it to say that the clinic was an amazing experience for me and my horse.  I am so encouraged and so thankful that we got to go.

I'll try to summarize without going into too much detail.

I've watched over the past 3 decades as the popularity of clinics has become "big business".  I must say that sometimes it seems as if clinics have become an iconic fad.  Thankfully there are some good horsemen out there, but there are just a few great ones.

I think that Joe Wolter is as true as they come.  He is all about the horse.  He helps people to understand, and he helps people show the horse, so he can understand just what it is that we are asking of them.  That is not easy.  People often expect horses to be subservient.  They want to take choice out of the equation and "make" the horse do their will.  This just makes life miserable for most horses and for some people.  When you get in a conflict with a 1000 plus pound animal who's full of self-preservation, that almost always spells trouble.

Joe learns and grows right along with the horse.  He's a lifelong student of the horse.  His vast experience, with the great horsemen, Tom and Bill Dorrance, and Ray Hunt was acquired while riding and ranching with these men.  He learned from living it.  What works, and what doesn't work.

During our lunch break my husband asked Joe if he'd been riding his whole life?  Joe replied, "not yet".  This is a great example of what he offers, an ever expanding education of the horse.  No egos, no boasting, just loving the learning process, and loving the horse.

There really is no way to convey the wealth of information that comes from Joe Wolter.  It's easier to say what it isn't, than what it is.  It isn't hype, it isn't common, it isn't egocentric.  It's a way of looking at how the horse feels about things, and knowing what we can do to help the horse to understand. This empathetic understanding builds something that is lasting.  This bond is forever, not just for the day.  That's something the human and the horse can build upon.  Mutual understanding and trust. Unity and partnership.  Equals.

I am humbled and grateful that this fine man, gifted teacher and exceptional horseman comes by for a visit every so often.  Thank you is an understatement of the gratitude I feel.  So having said that, if and when Joe comes back, I will jump at the chance to learn from, and ride alongside him again.  I haven't felt this way since I had the privilege of learning from Ray Hunt.

And so in closing, I am so excited to continue this journey with my Eags.  He never fails to amaze me with the amount of heart and try that he has.  I truly am blessed and look forward to putting all the good advice into practice when I ride my horse.  I loved every single minute of this clinic and not even for a single moment, was I nervous or had one bit of doubt that we couldn't do anything.  Just amazes me how calm we both were and how great we did!  I've been doing the happy dance ever since...

Below is my hubby on our dear Ladde.  Doing fantastic and sound as a dollar.  Just could not be any more thankful.  :)

The whole herd enjoying breakfast while my hubby enjoys his morning coffee.

Me and Charlotte last weekend in Sisters, Oregon.  We spent a couple days there with my brother and sister in-law.  Wonderful days filled with perfectly gorgeous weather, fantastic BBQ in Camp Sherman on the beautiful Metolius River, and great live music for their 4th of July celebration.  Good company, good times.  Memories to cherish.  Oh, and of course the dogs had a blast.  Swimming, stick fetching and long walks by the river - does life get any better than that?  :)

I did a little shopping.  Had a pedicure, a manicure, got my hair cut and colored for summer and rode my horse.  A lot!  It was a perfectly wonderful sta-cation and my only complaint is that it's over far too quickly!  Oh and of course I spent time in the pool soaking up the sun, some light reading and even did some flower gardening.  My last day off before returning to work I enjoyed a nap, hubby and I went out for Chinese and then watched the fireworks going off everywhere from our pasture.  The horses weren't too concerned, there was plenty of hay and we were right there which seemed to calm them.

Life is good.

And I am thankful.


Annette Mickelson said...

You look so happy and relaxed. I love that! It sounds like he and Mark Rashid are cut from the same cloth; it's a different way of approaching horsemanship and it's about partnership not controlling.

Kate said...

The clinic sounds wonderful, and Joe sounds like a great horseman. As Annette says, what you say about him sounds just like Mark, no hype, no flash, no giant groups of riders, just plain old quiet, effective horsemanship, taking how the horse feels about things into account.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a wonderful clinic and vacation. You and Eagle look great together.i think the feeling is mutual and he loves you too! So happy for you both.

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Recharging and enjoying life, what a wonderful way to spend your vacation. Glad you worked out a new understanding with your horse. A true horseman/horsewoman can make such a huge difference.

aurora said...

Fantastic, all of it!!! You (and Eagle) look SO great together, relaxed and bonded!! Who took the wonderful clinic photos?? You & hubby? Love the perspectives, the two black & whites of Joe, the gals & horses sitting, and especially those of you working with Eagle!! My kinda photos! Capturing interaction in it's natural form. Unposed, with emotion. You should frame # 9 of you & Eagle, it says it all! I am so happy for you, such a wonderful experience!! No wonder you are on cloud nine :)

T.L. Merrybard said...

This post makes me happy!

C-ingspots said...

Aahh, thanks all of you! I've read quite a few of Mark's books and love them, so I've no doubt that I'd enjoy riding and learning from him as well. Maybe someday I'll get the chance. My friend Mary's husband took most of the photos and my hubby took some too. I never touched the camera, but am thankful to have some pics to remember the clinic by.

Linda said...

Oh man, you got some BEAUTIFUL pictures of you and Eagle together! I'm so HAPPY it went well for you AND Eags! It sounds like it was perfect, and if Joe Wolter is like Hunt and Dorrance, I can only imagine the wealth of things you learned. I'm jealous! I've never attended a clinic by anyone, but his sounds like the one to go to. I'm looking forward to hearing how the clinic helps you at home as you integrate the wisdom into your every day life. That's the good thing about a clinic versus lessons--at a clinic you're there longer and you probably absorb more. Lessons are shorter and then you don't have another for a long time.

DJan said...

You sure do look at home on a horse! Loved this post! :-)

Shawn and Laura said...

Sounds and looks like a GREAT clinic! You and your horse sure look like a good pair.