“The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to infinity.” ― Carlos Castaneda.
It is a rare horseman or woman who makes it to the top of their career field who doesn’t become intoxicated with the idea of themselves. They become the adored- and while they climbed the ladder through real or perceived changes in the horse, it often gets forgotten for the thrill of public adoration. A clinic becomes a show- a production not meant for the student or horse’s benefit, but like reality tv, becomes a drama. It becomes material for further self adoration, while a lead rope is handed back to an owner with empty pockets and an empty tool kit for the aftermath.
When the owner goes home, what then? When the show is over, what is left for the horse? When the clinician goes home with your video and your money, what skills are you left with? The public can become swept off their feet, as they are part of the magic- but once the thrill is gone, what is left then?
Where are the quiet horsemen, working in the arena with you after the sun has set? Where are the humble people seeking to connect you and your horse together, whether the cameras are rolling or not? Where are the teachers willing to say no to the show- to take you away from piaffe and back to the walk, or to prescribe simple basics done in order, instead of a magic show?
These people are often missed, out shouted by the braggarts and the con men, the self proclaimed gurus and men of phony spirituality. What will become of the horse if only these men, who are loud enough and bright enough to not be missed, are the only ones making it in the arena? What will you gain if you lean in and listen to the quiet voice of the horse, as interpreted through soft hands and a man who’s eyes are turned away from the crowd and gaze over the horse?