I had reached a wall with my tall, red Holsteiner, Chase. True to form, he was (and is) my
guidance system for horsemanship - and life! After a lengthy search and unlikely series of events, we found ourselves with Leslie in the Colliseum at the Equine Affaire in Columbus OH in 2007. It was an opportunity that would change everything. Chase was crystal clear: this was the missing link.
Leslie invited me to ride in an in-depth trainers’ clinic in California later that year. I learned so much. A new chapter had begun. Leslie's teachings about how to truly get with the feel of a horse are compelling. For me, it brought to life like never before my awareness of those "smaller things" in a horse that are right there... when we learn to see. That last part is perhaps the greatest gift of all - to truly "see" the horse is to tune into our ultimate teachers of this art.
I continued to immerse through Leslie's trainers' program, riding in clinics across the U.S, hosting others for my students, and traveling to Sweden for private coaching for several years.
One day I was walking my dog and suddenly p18 of "Bill's Book" popped into mind like a sign-post. I had been so immersed into working with Leslie I'd had no "bandwidth" left to consider what I knew was on that page. Bill credits the old masters of the French Cavalry as an influence in his work, since the 1950s: "The way [Beudant] explained things, there was no doubt in my mind about what a person needed to do to get these little things working for them and their horse."
I had grown up in France, soaking up a foundation from these roots. It was time to re-visit, re-kindle and mine those early teachings. This time I went right to the old masters' original writings. Old lessons were revived with new meaning and deeper appreciation. As Bill wrote, "The Real Masters Understood Feel".
The common ground between the two perspectives is fascinating. Yet more fascinating still were the connections that came to mind about how Bill may have adjusted to support his approach of Feel & Release and primary goal of leaving the horse's genuine, natural, exquisite lightness intact - in a connection through feel.
Feel and Lightness go hand in hand, and to me, augment every moment spent with a horse. What a fascinating path for us all to follow and share our experiences as we go!
I'm so glad to be doing my part to spread the word about these teachings.
Karen Musson, Art of Riding LLC