Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's the Little Things that Get You to the Big Things


I didn't lose any weight this week. Darn. Then I've had company all weekend (my primary writing time) so I'm way behind on my pages count with 22. I will achieve my riding goal. I've ridden three times and am off to the barn this AM for my fourth. So not too bad, I guess.

It's the little things...

As I mentioned I have a guest this weekend. My long-time friend and former college roommate came to stay the weekend because she wanted to audit a Buck Brannaman clinic about 30 miles away. So instead of writing and riding I went with her.

I have mixed feelings about natural horsemanship trainers, having worked with many in the past, but I'm going to avoid that topic and save it for another post down the road. As a friend of mine often says: Beware of cowboys with websites! (Sounds like a good title for future post.)

Regardless, I've read two of Buck's books, The Faraway Horses and Believe. I thoroughly enjoyed them and would recommend them even if you're not into natural horsemanship. I have a lot of respect for the message he conveys in those books.

The auditing fee for this clinic was $25 a day, not exactly cheap, even for someone like me who's used to doing dressage and paying the outrageous fees some dressage trainers charge. The clinic in the AM was for beginners. The afternoon clinic was for advanced horses with some rope work, etc., in it.

So, here I am, sitting for six hours in a clammy cold arena, getting a sore butt, and feeling guilty because I'm not riding my horse or working on my book. I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around some of his training methods because some are in direct opposition to what I've learned in 25-plus years of dressage instruction, some are exactly the same with different terminology. But hey, there are many different right ways to get results from horses. Most of his cues were invisible, and I can appreciate good horsemanship, so I found that part fascinating. Buck, himself, is charming and entertaining with his western drawl and no-nonsense advice on horsemanship, not to mention his sense of humor.

But I'm rambling, again. As all the things I should be doing are running through my mind, including writing this column, I realize that this week's topic is sitting on his horse in the arena. I start writing down Buck's quotes and cowboy wisdom. Granted, most of it is common sense and so obvious that we tend to miss it as we over-analyze things. But here are my quotes from Buck's clinic:

  • Every day I hope your horse will make you a little bit better rider.
  • It's the little things that get you to the big things.
  • When it works, get out.
  • Don't ask questions of your horse that you don't already know the answer to. Prepare.
  • If you aren't willing to do the work to fix it, then live with it.
  • These clinics are my laboratory. I learn something from every horse.
  • If I'd only had experience with good horses, I couldn't be doing this for a living.
  • Most people do just enough to be annoying to the horse, but not effective.
  • A rider with presence has feel coming through them to the horse.
  • If you don't ride enough then nothing you do is going to make a difference, no matter how correct it is.

Have a great week everyone and ride that horse!!!!


mugwump said...

Hey Jamie,
I have lovely news. I can't quite call it losing weight, but my pork has settled back to the original horrific number that first got me to join your crusade. My hike/run thing is paying off, my back is better, my wind is up and I'm running a lttle more on the up hills. I rode all three horses that needed it this week, one of them twice. I still haven't finished my new Christmas cards, but they're creeping to completion.
The biggest + in my mind is that I'm feeling healthier. So let's keep this going OK?

Anonymous said...

I am not doing as well as mugwump or Jami. I rode three times last week but only hiked once and once again did not write a single word on my ms. Mystery #11 will never get done at this rate.

Leslie said...

New week. New goals.
Jami, next week you may find you lost a few pounds and didn't even realize it! You did get your riding goals in, that's something! Didn't you say 50 pages a week? Well, 22 is almost half of that.

I have the book Believe. Agree with "if you don't ride..." and the other statements. Just the last one sticks out at me right now.I don't know what my problem is with just getting out there and saddling up for about 20 minutes.We've even had nice weather this week.
Good for you Mugwump! You're taking the little things into getting the bigger things.
Laura, you got some things done. Like Jami's post says, it's the little things that add up. Don't worry, I have to remind myself of that DAILY!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Those are great quotes!

LatigoLiz said...


Seems like you enjoyed the clinic to me. Lots of what Buck talks about can be overwhelming if you haven’t heard it before.

Correction on your report, though. The morning class wasn’t necessarily for “beginners.” The horses and/or the riders just may not have as much experience. I have been riding with Buck for 12 years and I was in the morning class. :)

Anonymous said...

Well, I haven't weighed. I've been walking, but I had barbecue last weekend. I'm not optimistic.

Pony Girl said...

I was at the same Buck clinic on Saturday too, with my cousin, and again half day on Sunday! What a small world!

I really enjoyed it! I am a natural horsemanship person, I have used a lot of Pat Parelli's techniques, but I am excited to use some of Buck's, too.

I liked your quotes and I am glad you wrote some down because my biggest regret is that I did not take notes! I especially agree that most of the time riders do just enough to be annoying, but not effective. And, that if you don't ride enough, then not even doing the correct thing will make a difference.

Jami Davenport said...

Pony Girl and Latigo Liz,

Maybe next time we can meet? Do you go to any other clinics in the area? Like Mike and Deenie Hosker?

LatigoLiz said...

I have ridden with the Hoskers in the past, yes. I recommend them. :) And I am bringing Ricky Quinn here next September.

Jami Davenport said...

I've ridden with them, too, really enjoyed them., at my long-time friend, Charlie's place. Do you know Charlie?

LatigoLiz said...

Do I know Charlie? Um, yep! She’s the best!