There is no clear line between religion and horse training. Sorry. That’s not a perfect quote. It was (quote #1) “There is no clear line between religion and fly-fishing,” by Norman Maclean. I watched the Redford movie “A River Runs Through It” the other night and I was inspired by certain lines which I assume were written by the author of the book, Norman Maclean. The quotes 1-4 are his.
Here’s the truth that puts religion and horse training side-by-side: anything in nature that we carefully and honestly study and practice will lead us to the brink of the infinite. When you’re working with a horse, you are working with the creation. You and I and the horse are all a part of that creation. There, long-standing laws apply and these laws apply in many areas. Proud humans get into trouble when we try to force nature to fit our desires or fantasies based on personal ambition or ignorance.
(Quote #2) “Man’s nature is a damn mess and only by picking up God’s rhythms (balance/ harmony) are we able to regain power and beauty.” Left alone we human beings will try to control our way through a problem to our ultimate goal and finally destruction, but there is a dance going on. If I bash my way through to the other side of the floor while a dance is going on, the least I could do is disrupt the rhythm of the dancers or worse wind up in a fight with one or more of the dancers on my way through. However, if I adapt the rhythm of the dancers, I’ll waltz safely across the floor and perhaps even find some pleasure in the dance.
So it is with a horse. If anyone forces the breaking of a colt, the colt might break the breaker or the horse breaker may ruin another perfectly good horse. However, if you carefully see what a horse is and listen to his language, getting in step with who he is, you will join in a dance for your mutual pleasure.
(Quote #3) “All good things, including eternal salvation, come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.” As we are attempting this dance with a horse, who is a completely unique individual but also continues a long tradition of what all horses are, we need our creativity and rhythm in finding our steps in the dance. The dance takes some effort and concentration, especially at the beginning with a new partner, but as we grow to know our partner the dance appears effortless.
(Quote #4) “The body fuels the mind.” As we’re going through the steps of round penning, touching the horse, picking up feet, putting a saddle on and off and getting our partner used to things, our bodies are at work. Sometimes our efforts are quite strenuous; sometimes we’re in repose. Finally, we find our physical and mental balance. Off or on the horse we are fully alive – body and soul.