Friend of FOAH
Since I was a little boy I’ve always been drawn to horses. Cowboys, Indians, knights, draft horses, you name it. I started a riding school at the age of six and kept taking lessons until I was twelve. I liked riding at the riding school, but I always felt that there’s more to know about horses then what they teach.
I kept riding trail rides on private horses and experimenting with different kind of horsemanship, both with my own ideas and from what I’ve read from different books.
Between Christmas and new years in 2008, I first met Leslie in a freezing Sweden. That meeting changed my life with horses. I have learned a lot from Leslie and other great horsemen that Leslie introduced me to since then.
But most of all I have learned from the horse that I bought a year after I met Leslie. A seven years old mare that was as close to a wild horse as you can find in Sweden. To my knowledge she was never ridden, shod, trimmed or handled before. The journey that started there thought me a lot and made me respect horses and what we ask of them on a whole other level. To train that mare, with help guidance of Leslie and other trainers, with the goal to maintain as much feel and sensitivity in the horse as possible has been a challenge and a wonderful experience.
I will never claim that I’m a horse trainer or that I’ll be able to make you an advanced rider, but I do know the value of working with feel and make sure that the communication between you and your horse is working. Noticing those small barely noticeable signs in the horse is what will decide if you’ll get along and get a good result or get a great result and a great relationship.
There’s a lot that I can’t do with my horse. But I’m proud of the responsiveness in her and the sensitivity that she’s maintained. The relationship I have with her and the bond we’ve created is something I couldn’t imagine. When I see the responsibility in her, where to place her feet and how to move, when my kids (6 and 4 years old) handle her or sitting on her back, I’m convinced that working through feel is if not the best way, a great way to handle horses.