"When you build that foundation with your horse through feel, it becomes
possible to direct the horse in any maneuver, at just about any speed, anytime
you need to, and have it weigh almost nothing in your hands.... that is the sign
of true horsemanship".
There is nothing more magnificent than watching the beautiful stride of a
horse. The effortless grace that they exhibit without rider is breathtaking.
Most of us aspire to attain that same balance and lightness when mounted
foundation using the principles of true horsemanship through feel will
enhance your relationship and naturally improve the performance of your
What is Feel? There are two types of feel that a horse understands:
indirect feel and direct feel. When horses are running together as a herd,
they are experiencing indirect feel. None of them are touching each other,
yet they are being directed by a leader and they understand what is
expected and move accordingly. They understand the leader's body
language and clarity of thought.
You can use indirect feel together with intent while riding by looking in the
direction that you want the horse to go and also thinking about that same
destination in your mind. Its a telepathy of sort and your mind plays an
important role in the direction your horse will take. Ever ask a child to do
something but not really mean it? We all know what happens, chances are
the directions will not be followed. It's the same with horses. We need to
have intent and clarity of thought for the horse to understand what we want.
When you are riding your horse and using your reins, you are
demonstrating direct feel. You have a physical connection to the horse
with your reins and/or some part of your body like your legs. This direct
feel is a gentle connection with your horse that is helping him to
understand your desire.
To develop a light horse and collection while in the saddle, it is imperative
to develop the best possible connection through feel with your horse on
the ground first. This relationship, built through a solid commitment to
groundwork using feel, will make your experience in the saddle very
rewarding and nothing short of amazing.