---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <curtisdeltablues@...> wrote :

 Thanks Ann. I found what you wrote and this article equally fascinating and 

From what you wrote I was struck by how your comments were shaped by your 
working relationship with horses. They are not your cuddle toys, you do shit 
together! Intricate split second, had-better-be-in-synch shit. It reminded me 
of how differently you get to know people when you work with them rather than 
socially. All sorts of stuff comes out you would never see out of that context. 
I admire your life choice of living with horses, the constant and consistent 
work that must be necessary for such a relationship to happen. Like people who 
work with working dogs, sled dogs or herding border collies, you have entered 
into a special relationship most of us don't know much about. I have friends 
who do a trick dog show and their daily dedication is unreal to me. (As is 
their ability to travel to shows with over a dozen dogs in a camper!)  

From the article I was struck with the discussion of how quickly they react to 
fear and the connection to autism in humans. I work with some of these kids and 
the skittishness can be spooky. But it made me think that perhaps his is also 
why horses are so great to work with. Not because you have gotten beyond the 
fear, although I'm sure emotionally that is charming, but because they ARE so 
quickly reactive to stimulus. It must sharpen your senses to a peak to keep up. 
I have read about how they pay so much attention to the environment that 
something different on a familiar trail can freak them out. What a way to have 
to see the world to anticipate issues. Do you scan the riding environment with 
this kind of focus? Detecting if something different in the ring will panic 

 Every moment. When you walk in to their stall or paddock you need to warn them 
you are there if they are not looking at you. You need to assess how close you 
are to a wall or where the "out" is in any situation where you are in close 
quarters with a horse. When walking anywhere leading them you have to look 
ahead, be aware of what is behind you or about to be behind you and look to 
both sides and figure out how the individual you have in hand will react. The 
wind is the worst. They are already on high alert and at any moment things move 
or blow or come flying around and even when nothing actually comes loose 
blowing around they expect it will at any moment so very windy conditions is a 
tough one. This of course is instinctual because in windy conditions predators 
can be really, really sneaky.

 Having a trash barrel or new item show up in an arena you ride in every day 
can be a far bigger deal than showing up at a horse show with twenty barrels 
and all sorts of other stuff scattered around because the horse has no 
expectations of what "belongs" in the new environment but change a familiar 
environment and it can be cause for all sorts of reaction.

So if you are on the back of a huge creature (you do dressage right?) and you 
are moving through intricate sequences of movement, your mind has to match the 
instant flickers of their shorter circuit wiring. It must be Zen as hell 
mentally. It must push every other thing out of your awareness, which I believe 
is the kind of flow state humans seek through many means.

 Riding a horse to a high level of the sport requires a 380 degree awareness 
and a focus as small as a pin simultaneously. It is mental gymnastics coupled 
with high intensity feeling as well as anticipation. I haven't really ever 
thought about it all until you started to ask me. I haven't broken it down in 
my mind in quite this way before. What I can tell you is that there is no other 
sport quite like it, although any kind of teamwork sport has aspects that are 
similar. What is different though is the harnessing of the animal's will and 
power to create a partnership made possible through the actual coupling of the 
rider and the horse. You get to be in physical contact with another species in 
order to borrow their speed, their athleticism for a short time. You become 
super human but you have to know how to make it work without the horse coming 
to begrudge you and ultimately resist you. I have a horse who is particularly 
keen to work and who is quite forgiving. He loves to learn and he is also quite 
affectionate. These are all qualities that should ensure success and if we fail 
I only have myself to blame.












Anything more you care to say on this topic would be welcome and I'm sure I am 
not the only one who would enjoy it.

---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <awoelflebater@...> wrote :

 I just found this and thought you could give it a skim. It answers your 
question probably better than I did.

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