Thursday, March 10, 2016

What It Means To Ride (And Train) With Focus

Dorrence and other truly great horseman have written and spoken about the difficult concept of "feel." Feel is easy to demonstrate and nearly impossible to define.

My poor effort to come up with a definition is that "feel" is the ability to produce movement in a horse by wanting the horse to make that movement.

I have come to believe that there is an important precursor to achieving "feel." I think first one must achieve true focus.

Focus, as I use the term, means the ability to concentrate one's senses to the degree that one is able to close down all other senses while redirecting the energy of those senses in the one to be heightened.

Or phrased differently, concentration that allows one to block out all distractions. Focus is reached when one is able to direct one's eyesight to the degree that one might see the tip of the nose on the face of another person without seeing any other part of the face.

This kind of focus is part of what makes it possible to hit a baseball thrown at 100 miles per hour or to hit a bull's eye consistently with an arrow at 30 yards.

Focus comes easier for some people than for others. People who talk fast and talk a lot find achieving focus very difficult. People who spend a great deal of time talking about themselves find achieving focus impossible.

But those who are steady of eye and of movement find focus much easier. Chloe, shown above with Samson, a formerly wild Corolla, is predisposed towards finding focus. Though she has limited exposure to the horses she shows the same kind of focus that I have seen in Samantha, Lydia, Brent, Lido, Ashley and a handful of others.With experience she will be a first rate horse trainer.

People do not understand focus, but horses do. Focus gets stronger with use. On many occasions I have thought that I was alone in a round pen while training only to notice, as I leave, that several people have been standing there the entire time.

Some athletes call it being in the "zone." What ever one calls it, it is  frequency that horses communicate on and it is a channel that great horseman can all tune into at will.

But once again, this is a truth that generates no cash, therefore it is not taught. No money can be made selling videos that tell one to learn to shut up and focus, so it is never taught. It is very liberating to be able to simply teach truth without regard to profit.

I wish more of the big name clinicians had that freedom.

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