I was talking with Chris Lombard the other day about horsemanship. The dictionary calls it the ‘skill of riding horses.’
But we know it as the relationship with the horse and the skills around that relationship.
“It’s not only how to handle horses,” said Lombard. “But how to be around them.”
So often, he said, we can get caught up in “This guy says this. That guy says that. Who do you believe?” It can be an exhausting search for answers in all the wrong places.
The thing that really matters, he said, is not your connection to a trainer. It’s your connection to your horse.
When Lombard works with horses, he’s giving them something that’ll last a lifetime. Sounds high-minded, but we all do it.
Treatment – good or bad – can be as indelible as a tattoo. Just ask anyone with a rescued horse or one with a troubled past.
Kyla Strange knows this from starting scores of colts in New Brunswick and British Columbia, Canada.
“The different way you work through the process will create a different horse,” said Pollard, who has worked with Martin Black and Jonathan Field.
Recently, Lombard met horses who’d spent time with Kris and Nik Kokal, the New Hampshire brothers whose impressive horsemanship was highlighted in the mustang documentary, “Wild Horse, Wild Ride.”
How did he know they’d been with the Kokals?
“I could feel it,” he said.
As we look ahead to the riding season, perhaps the best mapping strategy is not register for the next great clinic, but to pause for a moment and look in.
“Believe yourself,” suggested Lombard. “People have gone clinician crazy instead of thinking for themselves. You have to get back to feeling it on the inside. ”
Then perhaps find the talented horseman or woman who can help improve with your ‘relationship.’