Friday, April 30, 2010

A weekend with Mark Rashid

If you're a horse person like me you've probably been to a clinic or two. (Some people "collect" clinicians, like they do the little pins they wear on their hats.)

Maybe to ride, lucky you, or to audit. Auditing sometimes does more for me in the education department. Watching other folks do what they're supposed to do, or not, may be easier for me to see, than them, sometimes.

Over the years I've been to a number of clinics. Numerous John Lyons "symposiums", the Friday-night-feature-style-mini-clinic, the weekend-break-a-horse-in-a-short-time clinic, and the three-day riding clinic. Attended all the clinics, bought the round pen.

I've seen Richard Shrake work with horses. I think it was he. I remember the big winter white felt cowboy hat. The clinic was held in a frigid indoor arena in February. My teeth were chattering so loudly, I hardly heard what he had to say. Didn't matter much. Bought the videos, watched them once, sold them on eBay.

I've watched Clinton (c'mon, not "Clint" yet?) Anderson "train" horses. But in this case he talked so fast and non-stop, I think the horses did what he asked just so they could be done with the man and go back to their stalls. Holy moly, that guy can rattle on, and that's before he starts hawking his special training equipment that you must have to do his "method". I walked away from this clinic, early, and smiled because they didn't get me to buy a single item!

I've seen horses "Join Up" with Monty Roberts. Read the book, got it signed.

Then, last weekend --- came the quiet man.

You know when a person is pretty smart about something. They talk a little, you listen a lot. They have the rider ride, you watch. You quickly say to yourself, "Wow, this guy knows his stuff!"

That's how Mark Rashid's clinic went. He was quiet with the horses and peaceful with their people. As each rider came forward for their one-on-one time, he asked, "How can I help you?" Simple, oh so simple.

Not --- "This is my way, the only way, of training horses." "These are the books, and DVDs and CDs you must use to train your horses the way I train my horses." "This is the equipment that is specially made for you to buy so you can train your horses the way I train my horses."

Oh and, "Did I mention MY way is the only way?"

Not Mark. There was no theory-according-to-Rashid. There was no special tack or bits or halters to buy. Just a gentle, quiet man with a passion for horses and life (which to him, I am sure, is one in the same.)

I didn't ride this time around. My miniatures would have protested mightily if I'd stuffed two or three of them under my behind to carry me around the arena! But someday I'll be retired to my ranch in New Mexico. Someday a new saddle horse will come into my life.

And we will ride with Mark.

Quietly and compassionately.


the7msn Monday, May 03, 2010 2:13:00 PM  

He's the best. Glad you were about to go.

Sandy ~~~ Monday, May 03, 2010 2:43:00 PM  

Absolutely...positively, a delight.

paula Monday, May 03, 2010 5:38:00 PM  

Wow Sandy you described Mark to a "T".
I hope you send your blog to Considering The Horse website so they
can post it!

Hannah and I sure did enjoy our time
with you, I've never talked to a police
officer for so long. Thank you for sharing some of your stories with us
we sure admire all the police officers and what you do for us.

Hopefully we will meet again in Othello next year when Mark and Crissi come back.

Thank you so much for the pictures.

Paula on the yellow horse

Anonymous Monday, May 03, 2010 7:18:00 PM  

Your writing is truly inspiring, it gave me shivers half way through. Keep it up I loved it and it was great to meet and talk with you at the clinic (:
-Hannah Lawrence

Sandy ~~~ Monday, May 03, 2010 10:36:00 PM  

Thank you Paula and Hannah (my mom and daughter team!). I am humbled that you enjoyed my writing and that you think I got Mark "right". It was easy, oh so easy.

Life With Dogs Tuesday, May 04, 2010 4:49:00 PM  

Wonderfully written. It's refreshing to encounter authenticity these days isn't it? :)

Unknown Monday, May 10, 2010 6:57:00 AM  

I've always been attracted to Mark Rashid's work, yet flummoxed by it because he doesnt have a set of rules to follow in his books. Yet I find myself returning to those stories, in my gut I prefer his approach.

I'm so excited - I'm riding with him in October in New Mexico. I rode with his student, Kathleen Lindley just a month ago here in Texas. I learned so much from both observing and riding, I'm still processing it all.

Folks following my blog...


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