Monday, March 16, 2015
Cowboy Dressage and River
Today is River's day off. I did check in on her this morning to see how her belly wound is looking (great!), and Heather took her for a walk while I went to get my taxes done (would rather it was the other way around). Since there are no new stories for River to share today, I thought I'd chat a little about Cowboy Dressage, and why we want to point River's training toward that venue.
Our goal with River is to bring her along in her training so that she can go to the Cowboy Dressage World Gathering this next November, where we hope to hold an event to find her a forever home. Why Cowboy Dressage? River should have the skills and talents to do any number of "jobs" with all the years she has in front of her. Here's why - "listen" to the mission of this style of riding and competing that is taking the world by storm -
Soft Feel - is the mission and guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage ™. It is a wordless, intimate and for some a spiritual communication within the partnership between horse and rider. Soft Feel is not only sending messages, but having the sensitivity and awareness to feel and receive messages sent by the horse. The timing and use of the release, relaxation, preparation and execution are the fundamentals of Soft Feel.
This is the founder of Cowboy Dressage - Eitan Beth Halachmy (known as "8") on his Morgan stallion, Santa Fe, doing an exhibition at the last Cowboy Dressage World Gathering at Rancho Murieta last November. You can see a video of this performance by clicking on the image below...........
There is also a link to their site in the sidebar to the right of this blog where you can find out more information about not only the fundamentals of this style of riding, but also about the competitions.
The reason I like Cowboy Dressage for River is because of the softness and harmony that are the building blocks of it's teachings. Anyone can do it - any age, any sex, and any level of riding experience. Any horse can do it - Mules, Morgans, Quarter horses, Paints, Iberian breeds, Drafts, and "Mutts", etc. - and they all do very well.
Everyone is supportive, everyone is relaxed, and everyone is having a good time I remember at one of the first shows I attended as the photographer, a trainer couldn't decide which way to turn on a half turn on the forehand. He smiled, everyone laughed, and he finally figured out which way to go. That's the spirit - no stress!
No one looks down their noses at anyone else for having a lesser horse, or lesser tack, or for not having "the" trainer. It's about the horse and rider, not about how fancy they look. I love the tack and the outfits, but it's not glitzy and over the top.
But mostly, for River I love that it's all about the soft communication between the horse and rider. Both trainers and amateurs are very conscientious about helping their horses through the courses - there is no force and no pressure. At the show I see so many rewards at the end of the rides - smiling horses and happy riders - just as it should be.
Below is Jeff Sanders with a young gelding, Simon, at his first show
And this is Jessi on her gelding Maxx, at one of our shows here at Blue Fountain Farm.
And below is an image of a student of mine, Gail Rudberg, riding one of our school horses Tristan (who has sadly since passed) - and having the time of her life!
Our River is going to be a talented horse, of that I'm sure. However, after all the stresses that she has survived in her life, I would like to think that we can provide her with an enjoyable way to partner up with her forever human so they can both eventually "ride off into the sunset" after having formed the basis of a harmonious and lasting relationship through Cowboy Dressage.
After all - River is worth it, don't you think?!