Experience, awareness, and great teachers

Today was the first day of the Buck Brannaman clinic in Sanford, NC. Watching Buck ride is a thing of beauty, and watching him work cows even more so. 

I saw so many changes in the horse’s faces and movement. This is only the first day of three, but the changes were really fascinating. 

I think I learned more about the horse’s mind during the cow work than I have to date. Watching those horses hook on, and discover their confidence, created such a big change in them. 

There is so much to learn, and every time I get a bit of awareness, I realize there is so much more to it! These masters see so much that the rest of us don’t see. I guess years of experience in doing the work has made them real experts in observation of horses and people. 

Buck was able to tell how each horse, and rider, would react to the cow work. Some of these horses had never even seen a cow, and yet, he could tell from observation what the reaction would be. That has got to be some pretty deep awareness.

The cows benefit too, from this calm and educated direction, and you can tell he really cares about their well being. 

I loved watching the horsemanship class too, as he talked about a lot of riders having trust issues. It was as though he was talking personally to me from my experience of last weekend’s clinic. I had felt pretty bad about that, and some of the folks may not have ever been bolted with, and were still uptight. It made me feel like this is a solvable problem. 

Brent gave me a big piece of the solution, and today, Buck added to it. I have helped my own music students get over their fears many times, and the solution is the same. Stretch the comfort zone a little bit, just as one does with a horse. Exposure, with direction. 

It is said the thing that kills fear is knowledge. The horses were able to explore the cows without tension, in a slow and measured way, that called up their curiosity. Observing how each horse and rider handled things, with Buck’s guidance, was real enlightening. 

Experience coupled with awareness is key. It’s easy for me to ascertain where my students are because I’ve seen and done so much of it. I can’t mention every single thing as that would be overwhelming. I work on which is the most pertinent and salient subject to address. 

I suppose that’s what all my teachers in horsemanship and aikido are doing. I am very thankful that I have access to such great teachers!